Huskies’ quarterback situation ‘more clear-cut’ after Jake Haener’s departure

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Jacob Sirmon wasn’t supposed to appear on Washington’s season-opening depth chart.

But there was his name on Monday morning, slotted just below Jacob Eason’s at quarterback. A few days ago, Jake Haener occupied that spot. But on Saturday, just about 24 hours after head coach Chris Petersen announced Eason as the starting quarterback, Haener decided to leave the program.

Now all evidence of Haener’s time at UW has been erased.

The battle between Haener and Eason lasted from spring to the final days of fall camp. On Friday, Peteren said Haener had earned the opportunity to play and would definitely see the field during Saturday’s season opener against Eastern Washington.

While Petersen acknowledged Sirmon’s improvement, he added that Haener’s departure would alter the plan to use two quarterbacks. It will also change the strategy for the Huskies going forward. Petersen previously didn’t rule out Haener seeing snaps beyond the season opener. That’s obviously off the table now -- and it could affect Eason’s mindset.

As a senior at Bothell High School, Sirmon completed 132-of-227 passes for 2,061 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. A four-star prospect, he was considered by 247Sports to be the No. 4 player in Washington and the No. 8 pro-style quarterback nationally in his class.

Asked about his confidence in Sirmon, Petersen offered a wry grin.

“I think all those quarterbacks had a pretty good fall camp and made a lot of progress since spring,” he said. “I’m smiling because it was all about our starting quarterback, now we’ve already moved on to our backup quarterback. Can we start with that and stay there? Let’s go to the third-stringer. We’ll see. It’s time to play and see what guys can do.”

Haener was the second quarterback the Huskies lost this offseason as redshirt freshman Colson Yankoff transferred to UCLA in June. Sirmon also briefly placed his name in the transfer portal around the same time but ultimately decided to return to UW. True freshman Dylan Morris is the only other quarterback currently on the roster.

Next year, the Huskies will bring in four-star quarterback Ethan Garbers. Five-star Kennedy Catholic quarterback Sam Huard -- considered by 247Sports to be the No. 11 player in the country -- is already committed for 2021. With the amount of recent transfers, Petersen said the coaches are monitoring their approach for recruiting quarterbacks.

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