Unfortunately, the news has broken this evening that sophomore defensive end Pio Vatuvei has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. The 6’3″ 280-pound Vatuvei was a four-star recruit coming out of Patterson High School in Patterson, California. He played sparingly at defensive end and even a bit at fullback last season as a true freshman before suffering a serious injury that pretty much killed his season.
Some are already labeling this a serious loss for Washington based on Vatuvei’s potential as a high school recruit. But really when you consider how minimal his impact was last season, his removal from the team does not cost the Huskies anything as far as lost production. Any loss beyond the removal of a body from the depth chart is only based on future expectations that may or may not have been fulfilled had he stayed.
Defensive end was not a particularly terrific spot for Coach Sark last season, injuries to Vatuvei and others deserving a large chunk of the blame. But luckily help appears to be on the way from freshmen like Marcus Farria and Joe Mathis, two player who should contribute during their first year on campus, and there’s reason to believe Vatuvei could have been leapfrogged on the depth chart anyway.
Never good to see a player kicked off the team, especially one that I was pretty excited to see the Huskies get out of high school, but the team should be just fine.