SEATTLE – Washington will have an entirely new offensive line in 2024.
On Thursday, starting left guard Nate Kalepo and right guard Julius Buelow each announced verbal commitments to Ole Miss, where they’ll have one season of remaining eligibility.
Left tackle Troy Fautanu and right tackle Roger Rosengarten previously declared for the NFL draft, while standout center Parker Brailsford announced he’ll follow head coach Kalen DeBoer and beloved offensive line coach Scott Huff to Alabama. Three other Husky offensive linemen (and former four-star recruits) — junior Geirean Hatchett, sophomore Landen Hatchett and true freshman early enrollee Paki Finau — have entered the transfer portal as well.
For now, that leaves UW with just nine scholarship offensive linemen, none of whom have started a game in Seattle. It’s possible some combination of Finau and the Hatchett brothers could ultimately return to UW. Thus far, 11 of the Huskies’ 25 portal entrants have committed to outside schools, while three others (quarterback Will Rogers, linebacker Khmori House and defensive back Dyson McCutcheon) have recommitted to Washington.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss has now pulled an offensive lineman (or two) from UW for the second consecutive season, after right tackle Victor Curne relocated and started all 13 games in Oxford, Miss., last fall. The Rebels have made perhaps the biggest transfer portal splash of any program this offseason, with 16 commits and counting.
Kalepo — a 6-foot-6, 327-pound senior — appeared in 40 games across his five seasons in Seattle, making 18 starts. The Renton product and Rainier Beach High School alum was ranked as a four-star recruit, the No. 6 player in the state of Washington and the No. 36 offensive tackle in the 2019 class by 247Sports.
The 6-8, 313-pound Buelow signed in he same class, after being ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 4 player in the state of Hawaii by 247Sports. The Kapolei, Hawaii, standout went on to appear in 32 games across five seasons in Seattle.
Now, new UW offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Brennan Carroll will essentially start from scratch.
Best of luck to you, Brennan.
Former UW edge signee Noah Carter announces commitment to Alabama
In the nearly two weeks since DeBoer traded Washington for Alabama, four Huskies have followed to Tuscaloosa — junior wide receiver Germie Bernard, sophomore center Parker Brailsford, redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Mack and true freshman edge Noah Carter.
Carter — a 6-foot-4, 228-pound pass-rusher and former four-star recruit — announced his Crimson Tide commitment Thursday, after completing an Alabama official visit last weekend. He initially signed with Washington last month but was subsequently released from his national letter of intent.
A Phoenix product and Centennial High School standout, Carter is ranked as a four-star recruit, the No. 3 player in the state of Alabama, the No. 8 edge and the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2024 class by 247Sports. Prior to his de-commitment, he was UW’s mos highly rated commit.
Carter — an Army All-American — contributed 55 tackles, 11 sacks, eight receiving touchdowns and two punt return scores in his senior season at Centennial.
In a written evaluation last fall, 247Sports recruiting analyst Blair Angulo called Carter an “uber athletic edge rusher with two-way production. Multi faceted defender with ability to move well laterally. Shows terrific bend and explosiveness in pursuit. Thrives in stand-up role where he can crossover blockers. Uses his quickness to the outside to put immediate pressure on offensive tackles. Displays the ability to get slip through creases to keep charging forward. A long strider with fluid movements who can cover a ton of ground. Considerable room to fill out physically and add strength.
“Could continue to refine his pass-rush technique, particularly with his hand usage. A high-upside prospect with potential to immediately impact at the elite Power Five level and draw Day 2 NFL draft buzz.”
Carter won’t earn that NFL buzz in Seattle. Seven of the Huskies’ 15 freshman signees last month have since entered the transfer portal or been released from their national letter of intent — including their only other edge rusher, three-star prospect Keona Wilhite. (An eighth player, early enrollee linebacker Khmori House, briefly entered the transfer portal before deciding to remain at UW.)
Of the 25 Huskies who have entered the transfer portal this offseason, 11 have since committed to outside schools.
Unsurprisingly, Washington’s loss has all-too-often been Alabama’s gain.
DL signee Ratumana Bulabalavu decommits from UW
Freshman defensive line signee Ratumana Bulabalavu has decommited from UW and asked to be released from his national letter of intent, 247Sports reported Wednesday night.
The 6-4, 285-pound Bulabalavu is ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 40 defensive lineman in the 2024 class by 247Sports. He produced prolific numbers at the Army & Navy Academy, compiling 99 tackles with 20 tackles for loss and 19 sacks as a senior in 2023. That’s after he amassed 108 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks as a junior as well.
Bulabalavu — the cousin of departing UW defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa — also earned offers from Arizona, Oregon State, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Utah and more.
“The coaching staff change was really big for me,” Bulabalavu told 247Sports. “Washington is still in the running but I want to be absolutely sure UW is where I want to be.
“I just feel like it’s in my best interest to consider all my options right now. I just don’t want to have any regrets or ‘what if’s,’ so I’m hoping to get out of my letter of intent and then see what else is out there.”
So far, seven of UW’s 15 December freshmen signees have either entered the transfer portal or asked out of their national letter of intent. (An eighth, early enrollee linebacker Khmori House, entered the transfer portal but quickly decided to remain at UW.)
Bulabalavu could still follow his cousin’s path to Seattle.
But he’s suddenly considering alternate paths.