Jaxson Kirkland announces return to Washington for 2022 season
Washington got tremendous news on Thursday. A two-time First Team All-Pac-12 tackle on the left side of the Huskies’ line is returning for one more season.
Jaxson Kirkland has been cleared by the NCAA to return for a sixth season in 2022. Kirkland declared for the 2022 NFL draft but ankle surgery forced him to pull his name out and petition the NCAA to reinstate his eligibility.
Throughout the spring period, head coach Kalen DeBoer reiterated on multiple occasions UW was in wait-and-see mode on Kirkland’s waiver. Now they have an answer.
This will always be home. 💜 pic.twitter.com/bzVolwERUw
— Jaxson Kirkland (@jaxson_kirkland) May 5, 2022
“Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a Husky,” Kirkland said. “The purple and gold, the tradition, it runs through my veins. To carry on the family legacy was a dream of mine. Being developed into Sunday players is the standard we all set around here. This place is special. It has turned me into the man I am today. The brotherhood and bonds that go along with being a Dawg are unbreakable for life.
“The atmosphere and the 70,000 faithful at Husky Stadium mean everything to me. Words cannot describe how much it would mean to me to step back on this field and put the purple and gold on with my brothers one more time. Getting that opportunity would allow me to leave this program on my terms. Husky Nation: I’m back.”
An All-Pac-12 selection in 2020 and 2021, Kirkland brings a wealth of experience back to the UW offensive line. He started 10 of Washington’s 12 games last fall, including the Huskies’ final four games after battling back from the ankle issue that plagued him all year.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Portland native has 39 starts to his name across four years on the field. He has played both guard and tackle for UW and should give offensive line coach Scott Huff some options in putting together the first-team line. Sophomore Troy Fautanu took first-team reps at left tackle during the spring period and could theoretically move around as needed.
While UW likely would have wanted to have Kirkland available to the new staff during the spring, getting others a bank of reps should only serve to help the o-line depth in the fall.
The son of a UW great, Kirkland will now get the chance to end his career the right way.