Former Lake Stevens football star gets Fiesta Bowl spotlight

Washington Husky walk-on Josh Rasmussen conversed in sign language with a Special Olympics athlete.

On Dec. 28, two days before the University of Washington football team was scheduled to compete in the Fiesta Bowl, Huskies players and coaches visited with about 50 children from Arizona Special Olympics in Scottsdale, Arizona.

UW redshirt sophomore wide receiver Josh Rasmussen was asked by a Huskies staff member to meet and talk with one of the children, a deaf boy.

“I had only taken one quarter of (sign language), so I wasn’t super familiar with it, but I was able to ask him some basic stuff,” said Rasmussen, a 2015 graduate of Lake Stevens High School. “It was a cool experience to have the opportunity to use my skills outside of class.”

The Pac-12 Network captured the conversation on video, which turned into a popular piece of social media. The video has received 121,000 views and 2,157 “likes” on the Fiesta Bowl’s Twitter account.

A clip of the video also was shown by ESPN during the Fiesta Bowl broadcast, followed by a live shot of Rasmussen on the sideline.

“I was surprised that it took off like that,” Rasmussen said. “It’s humbling to have a platform as a student-athlete to help raise awareness for issues like these.”

Rasmussen’s interest in sign language happened somewhat by chance. Before the start of this school year, he changed his major from business to communications, which meant he had to take a year’s worth of foreign language classes.

“I chose sign language because a lot of the guys on the football team had taken it, and I felt like it would be an interesting class to take, and it has been,” he said. “It’s weird to not be able to use your voice, but you learn to use body language and gestures to communicate. We also learn a lot about the culture and the things (deaf people) go through.”

Rasmussen currently is taking his second sign language class, and will take a third in the spring. He said he could take more classes next year as well.

“I’m still on beginner-level stuff, but I think with more practice and learning I can get better and more fluent,” he said. “One of the challenges is that different signs can look similar, so you could be signing one thing and mean something else.”

Rasmussen walked on to the UW football team in 2015, redshirting his freshman year. He spent the past two seasons primarily on the scout team, helping the Huskies’ defensive players prepare for their next game.

He’s hoping to eventually earn some playing time on special teams.

“Being a walk-on is a challenging role,” he said. “You just have to go out there every day and attack it and do your job and accept what comes and keep working hard. If you do that, hopefully coaches can see the impact you’re having, and hopefully that will lead to time on the field.”

But no matter what ends up happening on the football field, Rasmussen has enjoyed his time at UW.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere else I’d rather be,” he said. “The academics are great, my social life is great, and being a part of the football team is something special.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Cascade’s Aidan Kopra and Stanwood’s Gary Grisham wrestle for a loose ball during a game Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at Cascade High School in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: Big 4th quarter lifts Stanwood boys over Cascade

The Spartans outscore the Bruins 33-18 in the final quarter to rally for a 64-54 win.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Dec. 8

Prep roundup for Thursday, Dec. 8: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Nov. 28-Dec. 4

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Voting closes… Continue reading

Washington guard Jamal Bey drives with the basketball against Colorado guard Luke O'Brien during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Washington, Gonzaga set to meet for first time since 2018

UW travels to face No. 18 Gonzaga on Friday night. It will be the Bulldogs’ first game against a state foe in two years.

FILE - Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer paces the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. DeBoer earned AP All-Pac-12 coach of the year honors on Thursday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
UW’s DeBoer named AP Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Six Huskies and one Cougar are named to either the first or second All-Pac-12 teams.

Seattle Seahawks running back Tony Jones Jr. runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seahawks backfield depth getting tested entering stretch run

Tony Jones Jr., claimed off waivers in October, could play a key role for the team over the next couple of games.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of USA perform during the ice dance free dance of the ISU figure skating Grand Prix Espoo 2022 competition in Espoo, Finland, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Hawayek and Baker came second in the event.  (Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva via AP)
Community roundup: Baker qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Plus, Meadowdale grad Rover Stewart is named the NWAC Athlete of the Year, Aussie football is coming to Lake Stevens and more.

Seattle Mariners players including, from left, Cal Raleigh, Paul Sewald, J.P. Crawford, Eugenio Suarez and Adam Frazier celebrate after a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 3-0. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Have the Mariners done enough to keep pace in the rugged AL West?

Seattle has a wide gap to close if it wants to catch the Astros. Meanwhile, the Rangers and Angels are bolstering their rosters.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) runs with the ball as Los Angeles Rams safety Nick Scott defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seahawks WR Lockett moves up team record books

The consistent veteran is now third in all-time receptions and second in receiving TDs.

Most Read