The Huskies have a tough test against No. 13 UCLA on Friday, but one of the biggest challenges might be slowing down former Bellevue High School star Myles Jack.
"He's a physical player," said Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Jack is a freshman linebacker and now running back for the nationally-ranked Bruins. UCLA used Jack on offense for the first time in last week's 31-26 win against Arizona, and the move paid off in a big way. Jack ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on just 6 carries. For his effort, Jack was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.
"He's such a different back than what they have," Sarkisian said. "The other guys are a little quicker, scatback-types, and Myles is obviously a very physical runner."
Not only did Jack star at running back against the Wildcats last week, he also played his normal linebacker position, making 8 tackles (1 for loss) and recovering a fumble. On the season, Jack has 62 tackles (5 for loss), an interception, and a fumble recovery.
"I like to hit people rather than be hit," Jack said after last week's game. "That's more my mentality, but whatever the team wants me to do, I'm with it."
It's unclear how much Jack will play running back moving forward, but UCLA head coach Jim Mora says his freshman sensation will still "occasionally" be on the offensive side of the ball.
"Everyone thinks this was great and everyone wants to see more," Mora told the Los Angeles Times. "What they have to realize is coaches for other teams are now prepared for it. They are going to have an answer."
One of the top recruits in the country last year, Jack committed to UCLA before his senior season at Bellevue. He was offered a scholarship by Washington, but Jack stuck with his commitment to the Bruins on signing day.
"This was hands down the hardest decision I've ever made in my life," Jack told me after he signed with UCLA in February. "With the hometown team pulling out all the stops, it just got tougher and tougher. At the end of the day, I had to stick with UCLA."
The Huskies and Bruins fought for Jack in the recruiting process, now they battle each other on the field this week. Washington (6-3) and UCLA (7-2) square off on Friday at 6pm in Los Angeles.