SEATTLE – After dashing up the left side for a 49-yard gain against Utah last week, Washington running back Chris Polk was helped up by fullback Jonathan Amosa.
Seconds earlier, Amosa was in a three-point stance in front of Polk in the backfield. No one noticed him as the Huskies motioned two players. Washington ran a draw. Amosa blocked his assignment. Polk zipped through the open hole. Once again, Amosa’s job was done. Once again, he went unmentioned.
But that’s the story for Amosa, a redshirt junior who has been plugging away unnoticed since walking on at Washington in 2008.
It’s also the story for most fullbacks. The unglamorous position is critical, whether a player is asked to lead block or stay in the backfield during pass attempts. Being an unknown fullback in Washington’s tactical system is a joy for the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Amosa.
“I’ve dreamt about playing here since I was a kid growing up in Seattle,” said Amosa, who was a fullback and linebacker at Rainier Beach High School. “To actually do it, one it’s a privilege and two it’s kind of I’m at a loss for words because I can’t believe it’s really happening.”
Amosa redshirted in 2008 under then-coach Tyrone Willingham.
“I played fullback in high school,” Amosa said. “When I walked on here, they told me to go to linebacker. As a walk-on, you kind of just go do whatever they tell you to do. I never thought I’d ever actually get a chance to play it.”
He remained a walk-on in 2009. Once 2010 came, he earned a scholarship at linebacker. But last January, he went to head coach Steve Sarkisian and asked for a shot at fullback. Amosa knew the first- and second-string fullbacks would not be returning for UW.
Sarkisian gave him a chance in the spring. Amosa was one of three fullbacks competing for a spot, and trailed Zach Fogerson on the depth chart. But Fogerson suffered a concussion during spring practice that forced him to stop playing. The third competitor transferred. Suddenly, Amosa was at the top of the depth chart.