UW Keeps Raiding the Portal for Talent and Here's How it Stacks Up

The Huskies have found five new faces in college football's talent free-for-all. Some should be of immediate help.

A portal, by definition, is a door, gate or other entrance, in particular a large and imposing entryway.

In this particular case, Jimmy Lake is the guy standing there with the clipboard, looking everyone up and down, and deciding who gets inside.

It's Husky Studio 54. 

The beautiful people.

Time to party all night long.

While we're not sure about everyone's social standing here, the football pedigree is hard to ignore.

Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Nebraska once removed and now Michigan.

This looks like a bowl lineup or the middle of a top 20 poll.

Instead, it's the springtime Husky haul from the transfer portal, college football's always percolating Grand Central Station. 

With this list now climbing to one third the size of the UW's latest recruiting class, it might be good time to readdress the talent and see where it all fits in.

Giles Jackson

Anytime you've got two scintillating plays on your college football resume that go 95 yards or longer, which Jackson does as a kick returner and wide receiver, you seriously hear him out and lend a sympathetic ear to whatever went sideways for him at Michigan.

With a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash, this product of Antioch, California, started three of six games at wide receiver for the Wolverines before Jim Harbaugh replaced him during a 2-4 pandemic-shortened struggle. He caught 7 passes for 58 yards against Michigan State, so he can be a No. 1 target on any given Saturday. He runs the fly sweep when necessary.

UW role: Reserve. Jackson will replace Sean McGrew on kickoffs, but it will be hard for him to budge one of the returning first-team receivers in Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze or Jalen McMillan, plus he'll start out behind the other portal receiving addition in Ja'Lynn Polk. He has three seasons in Seattle if he wants. He'll be a specialty player used at all times to hit a home run.

Bookie Radley-Hiles

Everybody wants to go to Oklahoma, not leave it. But this guy did just that after starting 32 games over three seasons at cornerback. Bold move. His presence presents an interesting competition dilemma. If he wants to take the field as a starter, he'll have to beat out Trent McDuffie, a returning second-team All-Pac-12 selection, or Kyler Gordon, a freakish athlete who has twice drawn All-Pac-12 honorable-mention accolades as a special-teamer.

The one thing the UW secondary lacked last season was a defensive back willing to blow up a play by throwing his body at it. Photos exist online of Bookie losing his helmet after planting it in an opponent's midsection, and there are vast accounts of him drawing penalties for his overaggressive play.

UW role: Starter. Radley Hines, with his long flowing beard and extensive travel log, won't unseat McDuffie, but he should make Gordon squirm a lot. He's just too much of an experienced, big-stage playmaker to sit for long stretches. A senior, he still has two seasons at the UW if he desires. 

Jeremiah Martin

He's played in the SEC, which is a huge plus in his favor. However, the edge rusher couldn't crack the starting lineup for Texas A&M, used only as a reserve and a special-teamer. 

Martin could have been backed up again at the UW, probably relegated to the third team as an outside linebacker, but then Laiatu Latu had his career ended by a serious neck injury. Coaches rave about the California native's athleticism that led to him becoming a 5-star recruit and his interest in learning both strong-side and weak-side responsibilities with the Huskies.

UW role: Reserve. Martin, as good as he is, isn't going to replace either starter Zion Tupuola-Fetui or Ryan Bowman, but he should draw more minutes on defense than he did at A&M. He has two seasons left if he wants.

Ja'Lynn Polk

This guy, with seven starts in 10 games as a true freshman at Texas Tech and the ability to go deep, could make people forget the departed Puka Nacua and Ty Jones, both starters who transferred out. Polk got behind TCU's secondary for a 60-yarder. He had 28 catches in his debut season.

The native Texan is still working his way up the Husky depth chart, but after watching him in early receiving drills he might have the best set of hands of any of the other guys.

UW role: Starter. This guy is simply too good to keep him out of the lineup. At the same time, who makes room for him, Bynum, Ondunze or McMillan? For sure, all of them will be aware of his presence. He has four seasons left.

Patrick O'Brien

After three Husky quarterbacks departed, O'Brien must have spotted opportunity in Seattle.  However, he will likely prepare as the back-up just in case anything should happen to Dylan Morris. He also could be hard-pressed to stay ahead of touted freshman Sam Huard.

A fourth Californian out of these five, he's in his sixth collegiate season after originally starting out at Nebraska and comes off 12 starts in two seasons at Colorado State. He's a journeyman who redshirted for the Rams in 2018 while former Husky quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels was the No. 1 guy.  

UW role: Reserve. O'Brien, working out next to Morris and Huard, looks capable enough as he runs plays. Yet at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he better resembles Jacob Sirmon, who couldn't get a sniff as a starter. O'Brien simply rates as an insurance policy.