Three biggest questions for Washington football heading into summer

Washington head coach Jedd Fisch at spring football press conference
Washington head coach Jedd Fisch at spring football press conference / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

No program in any of the Power-4 conferences, and perhaps the entire FBS, faces a bigger turnover in personnel (both players and coaches) than Washington football does heading into the 2024 season. With only two returning starters, 29 players from the two-deep leaving and ranking 130th out of 134 teams in returning production, things are certain to look very different in Montlake. However, some questions loom larger than others.

With Will Rogers bringing over 40 games of starting experience from Mississippi State, Demond Williams Jr. looking as impressive as he has during spring and the recent addition of Northern Colorado transfer Shea Kuykendall as the third scholarship quarterback, the most important position in the roster seems to be clearly settled. However, the same thing can't be said for all of the others.

Jedd Fisch and his staff have brought in 46 new players between transfers and freshmen, sealing the #11 ranked transfer portal class in the country according to 247Sports in the process. "I think we've learned that they like to compete -- they understand that and how to act like pros," Fisch said after the spring game when asked about what he learned about his team through spring. But there is still a lot more to learn.

Biggest questions for Washington football after spring

Offensive line

There is no position group that causes greater uncertainty than one without virtually any FBS starting experience. Washington won the Joe Moore Award for having the best offensive line in the nation in 2023, but none of that group remains in Seattle. Fisch said before spring that they would be looking to add at least four more offensive linemen before the start of the season, and while the spring portal saw only three incoming, the total number of newcomers for the 2024 class added up to 7.  

If we were to pencil in Maximus McCree, transfer from Iowa Central CC, at left tackle, Enokk Vimahi, Ohio State, at guard, D’Angalo Titialii, Portland State, or Landen Hatchett at center,  Gaard Memmelaar or Zachary Henning at the other guard and Drew Azzopardi at right tackle, they would only amount to a combined total of 8 starts, 6 for Azzopardi and 2 for Vimahi, at the FBS level.

Titialii does have extensive starting experience in the FCS, but it is worth noting that Fisch saw fit to thank Parker Cross, Michael Watkins, and Zack Henning for turning themselves into centers on the fly when there were none on the roster due to Hacthett's knee injury. It will be no easy task for this group to grow into a unit strong enough to be able to hold up against the likes of Michigan's, Penn State's, and Oregon's defensive lines, but one they'll have to figure out.

Wide receiver

After losing three of them to the NFL Draft and an elite fourth option to the transfer portal, wide receiver is certainly a huge need. 2-time First Team All-Conference USA Zakhari Franklin visited Washington on Tuesday the 21st after a disappointing 2023 season at Ole Miss.

If he were to land somewhere else, the Dawgs would still have California transfer Jeremiah Hunter, who is coming off a very productive 2023 season; the speedy Giles Jackson, who is now a sixth-year senior; and Denzel Boston, who would be their big-bodied go-to card at 6-foot-4, 207-pounds. Beyond that, however, there is not much experience to rely on, and guys like Jason Robinson Jr., one of the key true freshmen, will be asked to step up.

Tight end

Fisch himself has acknowledged the need to add another tight end, as there are only 5 currently listed in the roster. He did say in his post-spring game press conference that "we have some commits that we just can't comment on because of the fact that they haven't signed or enrolled, but I think we are pretty close to having our roster full."

With Quentin Moore as the only veteran with significant experience from that group, creating tight-end depth will be of paramount importance for this team before the start of the season, and this could be another unit where a freshman like Decker DeGraaf gets substantial playing time.