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Husky Roster Review: Troy Fautanu Deserves As Much Attention As Anyone

The UW left tackle is better than a lot of people think.
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With another season fast approaching, the experts, analysts and general college football know-it-alls recognize University of Washington edge rusher Bralen Trice, wide receiver Rome Odunze and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. among the nation's best, and rightly so considering their past accomplishments.

Each has put up huge numbers in what they do. Each has unmistakable football prowess. Each has put their name out there.

Troy Fautanu might be as good as all of them — the difference is the list-makers don't know it, and they might not fully realize it until he's starting someday up front for a welcoming NFL team. 

The 6-foot-4, 312-pound junior from Henderson, Nevada, has the disadvantage of playing alongside a handful of designated headliners and, unless you're a program such as Alabama or Georgia, the Huskies likely have reached their quota of major reward recipients.

However, expect Fautanu to keep people guessing over how good he is and can be.

"It's just fun," he said of his current state of football mind. "I have the confidence of having gone though a whole season."

Going down the roster from No. 0 to 99, Fautanu, who wears No. 55 on offense, is next up in a series of profiles about each of the Huskies' scholarship players and assorted walk-ons, summing up their spring football performances and surmising what might come next for them.

Fautanu already did something fairly remarkable last season — he made Jaxson Kirkland change positions. Downgrade Kirkland all you want because he wasn't drafted, but the legacy player was a three-time, first-team All-Pac-12 selection and there's just no way you can turn your nose up at that accomplishment.

Claiming the NFL money position at left tackle, Fautanu turned Kirkland into an offensive guard again while showing off his athleticism and becoming a second-team All-Pac-12 choice himself in 2022.

Kirkland didn't get any worse as a football player last season; Fautanu just got better.

Entering his fourth UW season, Fautanu has been developed at a comfortable pace and, unlike Kirkland and others up front, he's never been injured on the college level. No knees, ankles or shoulders beaten down.

With another good season, this nimble, powerful and sometimes animated player should find his way to pro football without any trouble. And unlike Henry Bainivalu, Corey Luciano and Kirkland, he should get drafted in a fairly comfortable spot.

While some wonder if the the UW offensive line will be as good as it was last season, one of the common denominators is the guy at left tackle is back for more. When they run the ball, the Huskies should run behind Fautanu as much as they can and see if anyone complains. That is anyone other than the defensive linemen who get moved out of the way.

In spring football, Fautanu seemed loose and properly motivated at all times. He was always talking to others, hustling in and out of position and got a groove on in the offensive-line gatherings when a song echoing through Husky Stadium led to dance steps.

Kirkland still might turn into a successful pro. Fellow Husky offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten won't be short-changed when it comes to an NFL career either. Yet Fautanu might turn out to be the best of all these guys, even deserving of top-level All-American honors. 

The experts and analysts just don't seem to know it yet.


Service: Fautanu has appeared in 26 career Husky games, starting 16 of them, 14 at left tackle, all 13 last season. No fault of his teammate, but Fautanu played in the shadow of Kirkland for his first three seasons. He's the one casting the shadow now.

Stats: He was a big reason the Huskies permitted just 7 sacks last season, ranking them second in the nation, and kept Penix healthy in the pocket for the first time in the quarterback's five college seasons.

Role: Fautanu should go for it all — individual Pac-12 and All-American honors, plus a deep playoff run — and take a lot of bows at the end of the season before giving up his final year of eligibility and becoming a successful pro. He's really good at what he does. It's just that everyone hasn't figured it out.

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