UW Notebook: Wide receiver Jalen McMillan announces return to Washington in 2023

On New Year’s Day 2022, Washington wide receiver coach Junior Adams left the team to become co-offensive coordinator at rival Oregon.

Five days later, Jalen McMillan decided to stay.

“I meant what I said on June 25, 2019 (when I made my verbal commitment to UW) and I will stand by it,” UW’s second wide receiver wrote on social media. “I’m excited about this team, the offense and the coach (Kalen) DeBoer. Let’s ride.”

More than eleven months, 71 catches, 1,040 yards and eight touchdowns later, McMillan is still standing.

He’s staying too.

After standout quarterback Michael Penix Jr., left tackle Troy Fautanu and edges Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui previously announced they would be returning to UW for the 2023 season, McMillan announced the same decision Thursday.

“I’ll come again next year. Go Huskies,” McMillan tweeted.

Fellow sophomore Rome Odunze remains undecided (at least publicly) about his NFL future.

Together, McMillan (71 catches, 1,040 yards, 14.6 yards per catch, 8 TDs) and Odunze (70 catches, 1,088 receiving yards, 15.5 yards per catch, 8 TDs) were the first UW teammates to win that same season Dwarfed by 1,000 receiving yards. Redshirt freshman Ja’Lynn Polk had 38 catches, 649 receiving yards and six other scores. With a productive system and a wealth of trustworthy targets, Penix leads the nation in passing yards (4,354) and passing yards per game (362.8).

McMillan is of course a reason for that.

The 6-foot-1, 186-pounder from Fresno, Calif., amassed a heaping helping of Husky highlights — two touchdowns in the opener against Kent State, an 84-yard catch-and-run score against Portland State, a 47 – Yard reception on the opening drive against Michigan State, a 34-yard grab he ripped from defenseman Christian Gonzalez against Oregon, a 27-yard double reverse screen score against Colorado, a 75-yard touchdown in the first Second-half game against Washington State…

The list goes on.

McMillan — a former four-star recruit and top 40 contender — scored a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the first game of scrimmage in the 2020 All-American Bowl.

In the Alamo Bowl against No. 20 Texas on December 29, he will return to the scoring scene.

But when it comes to husky highlights, McMillan has room for more.

Starting cornerback Muhammad from Oklahoma joins UW

In his early signing day press conference on Wednesday, Kalen DeBoer said, “I would expect at least probably one more[defensive lineman]to join the class at some point.”

Washington’s coach didn’t say how soon.

Jabbar Muhammad – a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerer who has started Oklahoma state’s last 13 games – will move to Washington with two seasons left, the program announced Thursday morning.

Muhammad adds a husky haul that includes a total of 26 prospects and six other defensemen in Class 2023 – four-star corners Caleb Presley and Curley Reed, three-star corners Leroy Bryant and Thaddeus Dixon (JUCO), den Four star security Vincent Holmes and three star security Diesel Gordon.

“I couldn’t be more excited about what this group brings as a whole,” DeBoer said Wednesday of the UW class of defenders.

The class does not lack quantity.

quality too.

In 12 games this fall (10 corner starts and two by safety), Muhammad — an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick — led the Cowboys with 10 pass breakups and added 48 tackles with one interception and one forced fumble added.

(UW “Husky” Nickel Dominique Hampton and defender Tuli Letuligasenoa, by comparison, were tied in team lead with four pass separations each.)

Muhammad, a former three-star recruit from DeSoto, Texas, has produced 72 tackles with 13 passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble and one tackle-for-loss in three seasons and 31 career games. He signed with the State of Oklahoma through offers from Colorado, Houston, North Texas, Texas Tech and Tulsa in 2020.

UW struggled mightily in secondary school this fall — ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in pass defense (241.7 yards per game allowed), sixth in opposing completion percentage (62.5%), ninth in interceptions (7), and 10th in allowed Passing touchdowns (25), opponent pass efficiency rating (146.66), and opponent yards per pass attempt (7.8).

Those struggles were multiplied by mounting injuries to cornerbacks Jordan Perryman, Mishael Powell, Julius Irvin, and Elijah Jackson, and safeties Asa Turner, Vince Nunley, and Tristan Dunn. Starters Perryman and safety Alex Cook are ineligible to play this offseason, while reserve corner Zakhari Spears has moved to Connecticut.

Some DBs are on the way.

Many more are added.

“That was the position that we were most significantly under this year when it comes to the number of grants,” DeBoer said Wednesday. “We certainly have a lot to do and I would expect at least one more to join the class at some point.”

Muhammad immediately made amends with DeBoer’s explanation.

Now it’s time to get to work.

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2022/dec/22/uw-notebook-wide-receiver-jalen-mcmillan-announces/ UW Notebook: Wide receiver Jalen McMillan announces return to Washington in 2023

Brian Ashcraft

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