With the announcement of Josh Shirley earlier this week transferring out of the Washington program. This a great team to take a look back and analyze how things transpired for Shirley during his time as a Husky.
Off the field, Shirley took care of business as he did not have any legal issues after coming to Washington. Shirley, never was subject to any disciplinary action by the coaches that caused him to be thrown off of a team.
He was able to break the family trend off the field issues as his brother Jason had multiple incidents while playing at Fresno State including a DUI.
On the field, Shirley who if he had truly utilized properly would have been an outside linebacker his entire career instead of being force fed into the defensive end position. The start of Shirley’s career lived to the huge hype coming out of Fontana, California. In the 2011 season, Shirley recorded 8.5 sacks but after that he just never found a way to put everything all together.
The 2012 and 2013 seasons led to a sharp drop off in production as Shirley was never to get truly big enough to be an elite defensive end. In fact, all three sacks for Shirley took place in the Illinois game on the road. Thus, looking ahead to this fall it was going to be a challenge for Shirley to play his way into a starting role.
That is why it makes sense for Shirley to play his final season at a program like a San Diego State which is close to Fontana. It also would put him in a conference more suited to his size and skillsets in the Mountain West Conference.
Overall, this is a good example of the previous regime led by Steve Sarkisian mishandling Shirley and not giving the maximum chance to succeed on the field. The Josh Shirley is an off the field success if he leaves with a degree and is able to parlay that into a very productive career after football.
But, as far as the on the field the Josh Shirley story is one of a coaching staff not getting the job done in developing him. It happens to ever coach but for Sarkisian this happened too often and that is why the Huskies could never break the 5-4 barrier in conference play. It also is the perfect example of why Steve Sarkisian should never be mentioned in the same breath as Don James.