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UW Quarterback Carousel Turns Depth Chart Momentarily to Bare Bones

The Huskies go from four guys on the roster at this key position to just one in a week's time.

Three quarterbacks checked out in six days.

Cleaned out their lockers.

Handed over their scholarships.

Gave up the battle.

It was goodbye and good luck.

While it's always an eye-opener whenever anyone leaves the University of Washington football program — because it often means a player didn't measure up to the exhaustive hype and expectations bestowed on him — this recent quarterback exodus remains downright startling.

It's been nearly a half century since the Huskies experienced such a massive thinning of the ranks at the position all at once.

The only quarterback turnover that closely resembles what happened here came in 1972, when the UW used four starting QBs during the season and three didn't come back the following year. 

Seniors Sonny Sixkiller and Greg Collins moved on the normal way by using up their football eligibility without redshirting. Sophomore Mark Backman departed with them, choosing to concentrate on medical school. That left only little-used sophomore Dennis Fitzpatrick on the roster.

It was no real surprise when the next Husky team, relying on a one-game starter in Fitzpatrick and some new guys, went rudderless and dipped from 8-3 to 2-9 in 1973.

The circumstances, of course, are far different now. The UW returns a proven four-game starter in Dylan Morris, soon to be joined by 5-star recruit Sam Huard, the most highly regarded QB recruit in program history.

The Huskies will need to get creative to restock the ranks, maybe find another grad transfer somewhere for safe keeping.

That might not be all that easy to do with Morris eligible to play for four more seasons because of NCAA pandemic allowances, and the looming presence of Huard, both situations scaring off other challengers.

Unwilling to join in the next Husky quarterback sweepstakes were sophomore Jacob Sirmon, graduate transfer Kevin Thomson and freshman Ethan Garbers.

Garbers' departure was most surprising. He wasn't supposed to back down and retreat.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound pro-style passer was a 4-star recruit with plenty of credentials. He chose the UW over Georgia and Miami and a host of others. His brother is a Pac-12 starting quarterback.

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Garbers, however, appeared to finish fourth in the four-man competition won by Morris.

Morris had the job coming out of camp and wouldn't let anyone else have it.

Thomson was a strong contender until he got injured.

Sirmon was the only other quarterback besides Morris to draw game snaps in the four-game season.

That left Garbers as the fourth-stringer, maybe too much for him to bear.

The 6-5, 240-pound Sirmon came up short in three quarterback competitions and his exit shocked no one. He went head to head with everyone three times and didn't win the job.

Sirmon's credentials as a 4-star recruit remain as impressive as anyone who has previously signed on as a Husky quarterback. He picked the UW over Michigan, Nebraska and a long list of suitors. Central Michigan is his next destination.

Thomson, of course, was a long shot to return to the Huskies again. With stops at UNLV, Sacramento State and the UW, he had logged seven college seasons using injury and transfer allowances, and he was eligible for yet one more because of the pandemic.

As the 2019 Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year, Thomson might have had something compelling to offer the Huskies, but we'll never know. He no doubt needs to pursue the next level while he can — he's already older than Patrick Mahomes. It's also possible he was even encouraged to move on. 

Morris, while the shortest UW starting quarterback since 1982, more than handled himself when comparing recruiting offers. He was a 4-star quarterback who picked the Huskies over Notre Dame, Oregon and others. 

During the past quarterback competition, UW coach Jimmy Lake insisted he had four guys capable of leading the team, describing how each player had the requisite physical skills to get the job done.

He said it was all going to come down to whoever made the fewest mistakes. The mental approach. A head game.

Little did Lake know that the very cerebral side of it would practically empty out the back end of his quarterback depth chart all at once.

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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