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University of Washington Huskies Football

UW Huskies wide receivers coach Junior Adams joins rival Oregon in same position

Washington assistant coach Junior Adams tosses a ball to players before an NCAA college football game against Arizona State Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Seattle.   (Associated Press)
By Mike Vorel Seattle Times

Oregon continues to win head-to-head matchups with Washington.

Junior Adams – who just completed his third season as the Huskies’ wide receivers coach – will leave to join Dan Lanning’s staff in Eugene, he confirmed to The Times in a text on Saturday afternoon. The move was initially reported by ESPN.

When new UW head coach Kalen DeBoer announced his completed staff last month, Adams and offensive line coach Scott Huff were the only Husky assistants he chose to retain. Two weeks later, the former Montana State wide receiver has reportedly accepted the same position with Washington’s primary rival.

Adams’ departure could also further signal an exodus in UW’s wide receivers room. The majority of UW’s scholarship wideouts committed to play specifically for Adams, and two of them – junior Terrell Bynum and redshirt freshman Sawyer Racanelli – already entered the transfer portal last month. Sophomore Jalen McMillan, who led the Huskies with 470 receiving yards and also contributed 39 catches and three touchdowns last season, deleted all mention of UW from his social media profiles on Friday evening as well.

Besides McMillan, UW currently touts seven scholarship wide receivers – junior Giles Jackson, sophomores Rome Odunze and Taj Davis, redshirt freshmen Ja’Lynn Polk and Jabez Tinae, and true freshmen Germie Bernard and Denzel Boston.

In the wake of Adams’ departure, Bernard’s status could be called into question as well. The four-star recruit and Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year told 247Sports in November that “with coach Jimmy Lake getting fired nothing has really changed for me because my position coach (Adams) is still there. If anything changes it would be because my position coach left, but I don’t see that happening.”

It has happened, and it’s unlikely DeBoer saw it coming either. But when it comes to recent results in this particular rivalry, Adams’ unceremonious exit could be considered relatively unsurprising. Oregon has won 15 of the last 17 games between the two, and this weekend former UW starting defensive tackle Sam “Taki” Taimani – who recently entered the transfer portal – took an official visit to Eugene, Ore., as well.

Prior to arriving at UW in 2019, Adams served as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for two seasons at Western Kentucky. He tutored wide receivers at Boise State (2014-16) and Eastern Washington (2009-13) as well.

Logically, DeBoer might choose to pursue Kirby Moore – who served as his wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator in each of the last two seasons at Fresno State. But that may ultimately prove a tough sell, considering new (and old) Bulldogs head coach Jeff Tedford since elevated Moore to the role of offensive coordinator.

Regardless, considering the tenuous status of UW’s wide receiver room and the impending February signing period, DeBoer better make a hire in a hurry.

And whoever succeeds Adams – who acted as interim offensive coordinator in UW’s final three games last season, following the firing of John Donovan – will be tasked with aiding a Husky offense that ranked eighth in the Pac-12 in passing plays of 30 yards or more (13), ninth in scoring offense (21.5 points per game), 10th in pass efficiency rating (119.14) and 10th in yards per pass attempt (6.6).

There is work to be done.

And, suddenly, no one to do it.