Washington football has an experienced offensive line coming back, and with what is expected to be a resurgent year on offense, the line will play a big role in the offensive success
Washington football’s star left tackle Trey Adams decided to return for his senior year. He tore his ACL in 2017, and missed most of 2018 with back problems. Although he didn’t start, he played a lot against Oregon State and in the Apple Cup against WSU. He started in the Pac-12 Championship game and the Rose Bowl, which preserved his medical redshirt.
Adams was projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft just like right tackle Kaleb McGary, who was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the 31st overall pick.
Adams is hoping he can get back to where he was at if not further when he was a sophomore, when he was named an All-American. If he can get back to form, he’ll certainly be a first-round pick.
Jared Hilbers who took over at left tackle in 2018, is expected to start at right tackle. The senior has the experience and is expected to have a big season after playing very well in Adams’ absence.
Redshirt freshman Matteo Mele and redshirt sophomore Henry Bainivalu are considered the backup for Adams and Hilbers at tackle. Mele is 6’5” 305 pounds out of Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Arizona. Bainivalu is from local Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington and comes in at 6’6” and 326 pounds. Bainivalu played in all fourteen games last year, and should see some more playing time this season.
The two starting guards are expected to be redshirt junior Luke Wattenburg on the left side and redshirt sophomore Jaxson Kirkland on the right. Wattenburg started five games (at left tackle) in 2017 before starting all fourteen games in 2018. Both players have a great deal of experience, and should be rock solid members of the line this season. Kirkland started all fourteen games at right guard all season last year, and earned a spot on The Athletic’s Freshman All-American team.
The Huskies’ backup guards should be M.J. Ale at left guard with Henry Roberts on the right. Ale is a redshirt freshman out of Fife, Washington. Roberts is a redshirt senior, who played in seven games last year, and can play both tackle and guard.
Nick Harris is Mr. Reliable at center, and is the most experienced member of the line. As a true freshman, he played in 12 of the Huskies’ 14 games (as a guard), and started four of them He started all 13 games at right guard and was named as an All-Pac 12 honorable mention. Last year, Harris slid over to center and started every game except one, and was named All-Pac 12 first team.
Redshirt sophomore Cole Norgaard, who is supposed to be Harris’ backup, played in only one game last year. If the Huskies have a big lead this season, expect them to work him in a little more.
Training camp is upon us, as the Huskies prepare for their season opener against Eastern Washington on August 31st!