By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SAN FRANCISCO – Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has played his last game as a Husky.
Seferian-Jenkins, a junior, said after UW’s 31-16 victory over Brigham Young in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday that he will enter the NFL draft.
The Mackey Award winner said he was motivated by “the idea that I can provide for my mother and I can play in the highest level in the world for football, and I can compete against the best guys.”
“I need to take care of my mom,” he said. “That’s my biggest thing, is just taking care of my mom and making sure she’s financially OK.”
Seferian-Jenkins is the UW career record holder for receptions, touchdown catches and receiving yards by a tight end.
Huskies win short-handed
Interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo spoke at length this week about Washington’s senior class, and how much he wanted a positive result for them in Friday night’s Fight Hunger Bowl game against Brigham Young.
But the Huskies played without one of their two fifth-year seniors, safety Will Shamburger, who was sent home earlier in the week after violating team rules. Brandon Beaver started at safety in his place.
Additionally, sophomore cornerback Marcus Peters, who led UW with five interceptions this season, sat out the first quarter because of what the school called an academic issue. Peters entered the game to start the second quarter.
Tre Watson, who started in Peters’ place, was credited with six pass breakups.
Wilcox to USC?
According to a report by CBS Sports on Friday morning, UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will leave the program to take the same position at Southern California under coach Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian was thought to be bringing Wilcox with him to USC when he accepted that job in early December, but the Trojans were hesitant to pay the $1 million buyout Wilcox would owe to UW for leaving to take a job at another Pac-12 school.
It’s unclear of USC will pay that buyout, or if new UW coach Chris Petersen simply chose not to retain Wilcox on his staff. If that’s the case, and if Wilcox was informed that he was not going to be retained, USC could avoid payment.
Ross to the house
It had been more than six years since a Washington football player had returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Freshman receiver/defensive back John Ross changed that in the second quarter of Friday’s game, when he received a BYU kickoff about four yards deep in the end zone and ran it back for a score.
College kickoff returns that begin in the end zone are only counted from the goal line, so Ross’ return goes in the books as a 100-yard run. He’s the first Husky to accomplish such a feat since Louis Rankin, who returned the opening kickoff of the 2007 Apple Cup for an 89-yard touchdown.
Ross’ big return had an impact beyond the points it put on the scoreboard. On ensuing kickoffs, BYU chose not to kick to him, instead pooching the ball to UW’s 25-or-so-yard-line.
That strategy worked the first time. But the second time BYU tried it, running back Jesse Callier fielded the pooch-kick on a hop, then ran the ball 47 yards to the Cougars’ 35-yard line. A four-play touchdown drive ensued.