Washington’s Sankey to enter NFL draft


SEATTLE — In a busy day of comings and goings for the Washington football program, one of the most accomplished running backs in the university’s history, Bishop Sankey, announced on Monday he would enter the NFL draft, forgoing his senior season.

Sankey has not hired an agent, his family told The Seattle Times. NFL evaluators project him as a third-round pick in May’s draft.

Sankey, listed at 5 feet 10 and 203 pounds, rushed for a school-record 1,870 yards this season, with 20 touchdowns. His 37 career rushing touchdowns are a UW record and his 38 career touchdowns are tied for the most in school history.

Sankey is the second UW junior to declare for the draft, joining tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Seferian-Jenkins announced his intention to turn pro after UW’s 31-16 victory over BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday.

Sankey, a graduate of Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep, was named a first-team all-Pac-12 running back this season and a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation. He was the Huskies’ offensive MVP and earned second-team all-academic honors in the Pac-12.

Also Monday, new Washington coach Chris Petersen announced the hiring of eight assistant coaches at the same time UW announced that former UW assistant Tosh Lupoi has been “reassigned to other duties within the athletic department,” less than two weeks after the NCAA began an investigation into allegations that Lupoi had paid for a recruit’s tutoring classes.

Lupoi, UW’s defensive line coach the past two seasons, will not be part of Petersen’s 2014 staff but his coaching contract with be honored while the investigation continues. Lupoi has denied the payments, which would be an NCAA violation if proved.

Lupoi is under contract with UW through Feb. 6, 2015. UW would owe Lupoi $700,000 until Jan. 13, 2014 if he is “terminated without cause”; the payment drops to $350,000 if he is terminated between Jan. 14, 2014 and Feb. 6, 2015.

A UW spokesman said there was no update available on the status of the Lupoi investigation.

USC has announced the hiring of former UW assistants Justin Wilcox and Marques Tuiasosopo, the popular former Huskies quarterback. Tuiasosopo will serve as the USC tight ends coach, and Wilcox will be the Trojans’ defensive coordinator.

Petersen, meanwhile, said in a statement that he was “thrilled” to welcome eight assistants to UW, all of whom had worked with him previously at Boise State. All but one, defensive line/special teams coach Jeff Choate, had previously been reported to join Petersen in Seattle.

Most notably, Jonathan Smith, 34, will take over as Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The former Oregon State quarterback, the MVP of the Beavers’ 2001 Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame, will be a coordinator at the FBS level for the first time, though he did spent two years in that role at Montana from 2010-11. He joined Petersen in Boise as the quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

Pete Kwiatkowski takes over as defensive coordinator, the position he held at Boise State the past four years.

Bob Gregory, the defensive coordinator at California from 2002-09, will coach UW linebackers and Jimmy Lake will be the coach of the secondary, the same position he held on Keith Gilbertson’s staff at UW in 2004.

The offensive staff also includes Brent Pease (wide receivers), Keith Bhonapha (running backs/recruiting coordinator) and Chris Strausser (associate head coach/offensive line).

Also, Tim Socha follows Petersen from Boise State to be the new strength and conditioning coach. Tacoma native Rich Rasmussen has been named director of player personnel and Mike McHugh comes from Fresno State to be director of football operations.

Former UW quarterback Damon Huard has been retained as chief administrative officer for the football program.

A UW spokesman said salary figures for the assistants would not be immediately available.

Petersen hopes to name a tight ends coach “within the week, according to a UW news release. Tuiasosopo, UW’s interim coach for the Fight Hunger Bowl, turned down the UW tight-ends coaching position, sources said.

Jordan Paopao, UW’s tight ends coach this season, is a candidate to remain in that role, a source said.

Wilcox and UW signed a “mutual termination clause,” meaning no money will be exchanged with Wilcox’s departure to USC. Wilcox could’ve been owed $520,000 if he was let go “without cause,” and Petersen did not offer Wilcox a position at UW. Had he left on his own, Wilcox would have owed UW a $1 million buyout.

UW will pay former offensive coordinator Eric Keisau about $276,000, which is equal to 65 percent of his annual salary due in his UW contract guaranteed through Dec. 31, 2014. Similarly, UW cut a check for about $97,500 to former offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto, whose contract runs through June 2014.

Coach Steve Sarkisian, who left the Huskies for USC on Dec. 2, had a $1.5 million buyout in his UW contract, a sum UW is expected to collect from USC.

UW was scheduled to pay Boise State $750,000 for Petersen’s buyout, meaning the Huskies should come out of the coaching shuffle with a “net positive” of about $376,500 in coaching contract payouts and buyouts, not counting Lupoi’s situation.

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SANKEY’S NUMBERS

20

Touchdowns this season

38

Career touchdowns, tied for school career mark with George Wilson (1923-25)

1,870

Rushing yards this year, a UW record

3,496

Career rushing yards, third-most in UW history

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(c)2013 The Seattle Times

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