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Three storylines to watch one week away from spring ball

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Irvin Taylor McKinney

Julius Irvin (left), Keith Taylor (middle), and Brandon McKinney (right) run off the field after Washington's win over Stanford. All three are back for a UW secondary that will have to replace four starters.

With one week to go until the Huskies start spring football, check out the top storylines to watch as the Huskies look to build on another successful season. 

A new QB1

The Pac-12’s winningest quarterback has graduated, and now Chris Petersen and the Huskies are in search of a new man under center for the first time since 2014. The Huskies have a host of potential contenders, with sophomore Jake Haener the elder statesman of the program, and the only one who played a down for the UW last season.

Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff are back for the Huskies after redshirting last year, and both have plenty of talent. Dylan Morris enters the program after a stellar career at local Graham-Kapowsin High School, and all four will be factors in the race.

Then you throw in former five-star Lake Stevens quarterback and Georgia transfer Jacob Eason, and there is plenty to be excited for at the quarterback position for the Huskies. With legitimate SEC-playing experience, Eason would appear to be the favorite after sitting last season due to transfer rules, and he didn’t practice much in front of the media last spring and fall, but it will be interesting to see how everyone does in the spring.

So about that defense…

In the last four seasons, the Washington defense has been one of the best in the Pac-12, and in the country, in large part due to experience in the secondary and on the defensive front. This year, you can wipe pretty much all of that away. Talented as it is, the Washington defense was decimated with departures due to the NFL draft and graduation.

Among those losses are NFL hopefuls Byron Murphy, Taylor Rapp, Jordan Miller, Greg Gaines, Ben Burr-Kirven, and other starters Tevis Bartlett, Jaylen Johnson, and JoJo McIntosh.

However, the Dawgs always seem to reload fairly well, and will look to new stars in the secondary and defensive line in particular to lead the way. Kyler Gordon, Dominique Hampton and Julius Irvin return after redshirting last season and will look to factor in the secondary along with juniors Keith Taylor and Elijah Molden. On the defensive front, it looks like Benning Potoa’e made the switch to defensive line, and Levi Onwuzurike could take another big step in his development, along with redshirt freshman Sam Taimani and Tuli Letuligasenoa.

And what about those freshmen...

In one of the most highly-touted classes in recent memory, the Huskies have a lot to work with this spring as they had seven freshman enroll early at the UW this past winter.

Those freshmen are linebackers Miki Ah You and Josh Calvert, quarterback Dylan Morris, defensive back Cameron Williams, offensive linemen Troy Fautanu and Julius Buelow, and defensive lineman Jacob Bandes. Ah You and Calvert, in particular, are freshmen to watch as linebacker is a thin position this season for the Huskies.

Offensive lineman Corey Luciano will also compete in spring ball after transferring in from junior college.

Reach Sports Editor Alec Dietz at Twitter: @AlecDietz  

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