UW Football Primer: Translated, Ulofoshio Means Husky Stardom

Dan Raley

Edefuan Ulofoshio is the definition of an accomplished inside linebacker: aggressive mindset, exceptional footspeed, superior athleticism.

He also has definitions.

Acting almost as if he were a museum tour guide, the 6-foot, 234-pound defender generously offered the back story to a exhibit well worth examining on the University of Washington football team.

Himself.

In making the biggest jump of any player up the 2019 roster, Ulofoshio went from, in this order, redshirt freshman walk-on to late-season starter to celebratory scholarship recipient. 

As he picked up more minutes, people wanted to know whatever they could about him.

Ulofoshio, of Nigerian descent by way of Anchorage, Alaska, and Las Vegas, was only too happy to oblige. 

Translated, his first name means "the sun has risen."

His surname is even better: "not afraid of war."

Now ready to battle on a warm day, Ulofoshio could become the backbone of the Huskies' second row. It is hoped he can help turned the defense's weakest link last season into a pillar of strength when play resumes.

Without him, the first-unit ILBs took a conservative approach, waiting for plays to come to them. Ulofoshio offers a much different brand of play, using his ability to run well to press the issue. 

Coming out of high school, he wasn't heavily recruited and had scholarship offers from Northern Arizona and Robert Morris. He want much more than that. He was willing to enroll at Washington without a financial guarantee and prove himself. 

"Honestly, I just bet on myself," he said. "I just thought I could do it."

Not afraid of war.

In the ninth game last season, Ulofoshio pulled considerable time against Utah and showed that he belonged. 

He came off the bench to play most of the next game at Oregon State and rang up nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. His performance brought him Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

His Corvallis showing also earned him a starting job for the rest of the season against Colorado, Washington State and Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

"Honestly, it was me doing my job and playing with my teammates," he said of the Oregon State ignition point. "I didn't even know how good I did until after the game and everybody was high-fiving me. I was like, 'Hey, we all won here.' "

Following the Vegas Bowl, where his family resides, Ulofoshio entered a team meeting called by his new coach Jimmy Lake, who singled him out in front of his teammates.

Lake excitedly recited the high points of Ulofoshio's fledgling career and announced the linebacker would be paid for his services from now on. 

The room exploded in celebration, with teammates jumping all around him and pounding him on the back. He saw this reward as something to take the financial strain off his parents. He seeks much bigger aggrandizement. 

"I would be upset if getting a scholarship was the whole highlight of my college career," Ulofoshio said. "I have bigger goals and bigger aspirations."

Definitely not afraid of war.

SUMMARY: This confident player has talent well suited for the UW's second row, but just three starts to show. He's just getting started.

GRADE (1 to 5): Ulofoshio gets a 3.5 initially because he still hasn't played much but he gets a bump because there is no substitute for fast feet. If he can keep his warrior mentality intact, he should have a huge career. 

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