After a magical season that culminated in a Pac-12 championship and berth in the College Football Playoff, Washington was not surprisingly hit hard by several underclassmen declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft this offseason.
Not everybody is leaving Seattle however, and the school confirmed to the Seattle Times that mammoth defensive tackle Vita Vea would be back in the fold next season for his redshirt junior year and not opt to declare for the draft.
Vea was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2016 but may have developed into the Huskies’ most important player on defense with his blend of size and quickness in the interior of the line. He recorded 39 tackles and five sacks last season, getting to quarterback Jalen Hurts once in the team’s Peach Bowl loss to Alabama on New Year’s Eve.
While Chris Petersen and company will have to replace several starters from last year’s stingy defense, getting Vea back for another season is a huge coup as he should be the bedrock for another run at the playoffs in 2017.