Choosing a UW Starting Lineup: What We're Hearing About the QB Competition

It's unofficial, but one of the four candidates for this position might have separated himself some from the rest of the field.

It's been the best-kept secret in Seattle for a month — the University of Washington quarterback competition.

Total news blackout by Jimmy Lake. 

Continual tap dance by all of his assistant coaches and players.

Nobody connected to the program has dared venture forth with an observation, an opinion or even a prediction regarding QB1.

Everyone has been under strict orders to be as vague as possible when quizzed about the most important position on this football team.

With 12 days remaining until the UW-California opener, Lake still hasn't publicly tipped his hand.

Yet unofficial word coming from Montlake is there might be a winner.

It was Jacob Sirmon's job to lose. 

He was the back-up.

He might be the back-up again.

Or backing up the back-up.

Ethan Garbers brought the ultimate daydream.

His brother Chase is the Cal starter.

Imagine a Manning brothers-like Saturday night standoff.

Maybe next year.


A young darkhorse.

A little on the short side.

He's got plenty of time left to earn the job.

Which leads us to the only player with any kind of NCAA experience.

A lot of experience.

Seven years in college football.

The grad transfer who has shown up in more school-released videos and photos than anyone else over the past month.

This clip almost looked like congratulations were in order.

As we await confirmation of Lake's selection, which might not be for another six days, we'll be surprised if the Husky starting quarterback isn't the guy who's older than Patrick Mahomes.

Did you honestly think they weren't going to have a grad transfer taking the snaps?

QB candidates: Kevin Thomson, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, senior; Jacob Sirmon, 6-5, 240, sophomore; Dylan Morris, 6-0, 200, redshirt freshman; Ethan Garbers, 6-3, 215, freshman.

Starting experience: No one has opened a game at the UW; Thomson, 27 starts at Sacramento State.

Our selection: Thomson. He's a proven dual-threat guy, which is what the new John Donovan-designed Husky offense apparently demands. He's the only candidate who can make that claim. At Sacramento State last year, Thomson threw for 3,216 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for another 619 yards and 12 scores. Huge numbers at any level. He was named Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year and an FCS All-American. He does it all. Nothing should surprise him anymore. A late-bloomer from Auburn, Washington, a half-hour from campus, he's been in three collegiate programs now in three states — UNLV, Sacramento State and the UW. From his college highlight videos, he appears to be a savvy, gritty leader. He gets seven games to show he's Pac-12 worthy.

Other QB options: The good thing for Sirmon is he won't lose any eligibility if he sits again because of the pandemic. He'll be a fourth-year sophomore if he comes back next year after not playing. He can become another Thomson — an old guy. The bad thing is he's lost out on the No. 1 job before and may grow really impatient with this process, especially if a runner is required. Morris fits that bill better than Sirmon. Yet should he start at some point, he'll be the Huskies' smallest QB starter in nearly 40 years since Tim Cowan. Garbers might be the player of the future for the UW, bringing size yet mobility, plus those good family genes. He also might be insulted that the Husky fan base has already given next year's starting job and beyond to Sam Huard. 

Greatest Husky QB: Bob Schloredt. OK, he wasn't a record-setting passer, but who's to argue with a two-time Rose Bowl MVP? He was the first-team AP All-American  as a junior, denied the same honor as a senior because he was injured for half the season — breaking his collarbone while making a tackle on defense against UCLA. He quarterbacked the Huskies to a 15-2 record in his season and a half behind center, losing by 1 and 7 points. 

Other legendary UW QBs: Don Heinrich, the first-team AP All-American quarterback in 1950 and 1952 (missing 1951 with a shoulder injury); Marques Tuiasosopo, 2001 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and Rose Bowl MVP; Warren Moon, 1977 Pac-8 Co-Player of the Year and Rose Bowl MVP; Billy Joe Hobert, 1992 national championship quarterback, Rose Bowl MVP and 19-0 as UW starter; Jake Browning, 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a four-year starter; Mark Brunell, 1991 Rose Bowl MVP.  

The UW Starting Lineup:

Left tackle — Jaxson Kirkland

Left guard — Ulumoo Ale

Center — Luke Wattenberg

Right guard — Corey Luciano

Right tackle — Henry Bainivalu

Tight end — Cade Otton

Tight end — Devin Culp

Wide receiver — Puka Nacua

Wide receiver — Ty Jones

Running back — Richard Newton

Quarterback — Kevin Thomson

Kicker — Peyton Henry


Outside linebacker — Laiatu Latu

Defensive tackle — Tuli Letuligasenoa

Defensive tackle — Josiah Bronson

Outside linebacker — Sav'ell Smalls

Inside linebacker — Edefuan Ulofoshio

Inside linebacker — Jackson Sirmon

Cornerback — Kyler Gordon

Cornerback — Trent McDuffie

Nickel back — Elijah Molden

Strong safety

Free safety — Julius Irvin

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