BY Art Thiel 04:20PM 06/17/2020

Thiel: Huskies add grad transfer QB from Sac St.

QB Kevin Thomson, an Auburn-Riverside grad in 2014 who starred last season at Sacramento State, joins Washington as a fifth-year graduate transfer.

Kevin Thomson was the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year. /

Now we know what new Huskies football coach Jimmy Lake thought about the quarterback crew he inherited from Chris Petersen:


Kevin Thomson, a lightly recruited QB in 2014 — yes, 2014 — from Auburn Riverside High School who became the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year at Sacramento State, is transferring as a graduate and will be immediately eligible at Washington, his third school in seven years.

“We’re really pleased that Kevin is returning to play for his hometown school,” Lake said in a statement announcing the move Wednesday. “He adds a lot of experience to our quarterbacks room and should help raise the level of competition for everyone.”

Should Washington play its home opener as scheduled Sept. 5 against Michigan, Thomson’s old team will be next up Sept. 12. He helped lead the Hornets to a 9-4 record and, at 7-1, a share of conference title and a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs, a first in program history.

Thomson, 6-2 and 200 pounds, spent his first two seasons at Nevada-Las Vegas before having Tommy John elbow-ligament surgery that kept him out two seasons, for which he was granted medical redshirts. He transferred to Sac State as a sophomore in 2017, where he was 97-for-175 for 1,828 yards, 17 TDs and three interceptions. In seven games in 2018, he went 79-for-145 for 1,380 yards, eight touchdowns and one pick.

Last fall, Thomson completed 265 of 450 passes for 3,216 yards and 27 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Perhaps as importantly, he rushed for 619 yards and a team-best 12 rushing TDs. Against Arizona State, he was 32-for-50 for 263 yards an a TD pass.

He tied for third in voting for the Walter Payton Award, given to the nation’s top FCS offensive player, and was also a three-time Academic All-Big Sky selection.

Thomson’s experience and his capacity for rushing are big assets in a QB room that has a combined three passes among redshirt soph Jacob Sirmon and redshirt freshmen Ethan Garbers and Dylan Morris.

In 2019, heralded transfer Jacob Eason’s one-and-done UW season was a disappointment as the Huskies finished 8-5. Hyped as a first-round talent for years, Eason, a junior, was taken in the fourth round by Indianapolis — the sixth QB taken — to be one of three candidates to back up newly acquired veteran Philip Rivers.

Eason’s transfer from Georgia to Montlake inspired Jake Haener and Colson Yankoff to transfer from Washington. Retaining either one could have forestalled a need for Thomson, but the mismanagement of the QB recruiting left a gap.

The Pac-12 Conference has given permission for schools to allow players on campus to resume voluntary workouts on each campus. A report by Sports Illustrated said that the NCAA is considering a plan for schools with a Sept. 5 opener to begin required workouts July 13 and a six-week extended training camp July 24.

All sports calendars for return are subject to revision based on local governments’ decisions regarding management of the spread of coronavirus.



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  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Lake has his work cut out for him, as good as Peterson was, he didn’t do the program any favors by placing the entire program in Eason’s hands. But given the hype on Eason would any other coach have done it differently? I would venture to guess the program lost two quality QB’s with Eason being virtually handed the job. Hope for the best.

    • art thiel

      Just as in hoops, there’s always risks with one-and-dones. Eason certainly had the pedigree and the arm.

  • 1coolguy

    I hope running is truly his forte, as Michigan will blow past this newby UW OL – we lost some quality players there.It could be a reprise of RW and the Hawks OL – YIKES!

    • art thiel

      His legs will be a huge asset. The three current QBs are standard pocket passers like Eason. Which isn’t bad. But his season, if it happens, will be mayhem anyway.

  • Husky73

    I didn’t like the courting of Costello, and I don’t like this. There are two quarterbacks who have been loyal and waited their turn, and another who arrived on campus early. Hard work and loyalty counts for something.

    • art thiel

      Hard work still counts, but this is a cutthroat business. I think most kids are hip to the ruthlessness. I’m just glad some players get to transfer without punishment.

      • Husky73

        Ruthlessness, yes. I don’t like it.

        • art thiel

          Fair enough.

          It’s nothing new in big-time college sports. It’s just more transparent, and helps some players.

  • woofer

    Next season will be an adventure, no doubt about it. Thomson is experienced and a survivor — maybe a good insurance policy in the year of the great pandemic.

    • art thiel

      The disruptions will cause messes a rookie head coach hasn’t imagined. A panicky rookie QB is no help.