A few years ago, something remarkable happened. The Isaiah Stanback jersey that I had been wearing to Husky football games throughout college suddenly changed, and in its place was…a Chris Izbicki jersey. Needless to say, my purple No. 4 replica ended up stashed deep in the back of the closet.
It’s a funny thing about college football. Uniform numbers turn over from year to year, taking a memorable digit to a complete unknown from spring to fall.
In the case of my Stanback jersey, it’s not that I was worried about people mistaking me for a Chris Izbicki fan (which I most certainly wasn’t). It’s that I simply didn’t want to invite the jokes that would come along with the number. Stanback wasn’t legendary enough to be recognized as the one and only No. 4. And Izbicki, as it turned out, wasn’t even mediocre enough to dispel memories of Stanback. So it was that No. 4 faded into the mist.
Which brings us to No. 10.
On Saturday, I stumbled across thousands of Husky fans wearing the big one-oh on their backs. They wore it in purple, in white, in black. Men wore it, women wore it, children wore it. Everybody, it seemed, was a John Timu fan.
Yes, no longer is there a quarterback named Jake Locker to occupy the first double-digit. Locker, as you may have heard, has transitioned to the NFL. All he left behind on Montlake were memories, a Holiday Bowl victory, and a jersey now occupied by a true freshman linebacker from Long Beach, California.
It would be nice if we could get Timu’s thoughts on being bestowed the uniform number of a Husky legend, but alas true freshmen are off-limits to the media until they’ve had a year to mature. Instead, we’re left to speculate on who Timu is, what he’s all about, and if he’ll ever take No. 10 and make it his own.
The internet tells me that John Timu was a high school “athlete,” meaning he played a multitude of positions, most of which he excelled at.
On offense, Timu quarterbacked the Jordan High School Panthers, earning league Player of the Year honors as a junior. A runner/passer in the mold of (you guessed it) Locker, Timu tossed 1,395 yards in the air and gained 642 more on the ground in 2008.
On defense, the 6’1″, 220-pounder logged most of his PT at safety, earning a three-star ranking from Scout.com, while also being listed as the No. 61 safety prospect in the nation. The UW coaching staff has since projected their first-year player as a linebacker.
Beyond the numbers, what do we know about Timu’s intangibles?
First of all, we know he’s gutsy. Coaches love gutsy players, right? And Timu’s gutsy enough. He suffered a knee injury his senior year and had to sit out, bouncing back this season to suit up for the Dawgs. A member of the high school class of 2010, Timu delayed his collegiate enrollment by a year to avoid squandering redshirt eligibility. So not only is he gutsy, but economical, as well.
Second, we know he rocks the Dirty Sanchez mustache, not unlike another Husky legend, Brandon Roy. We’ve had good luck with the Sanchez here at Washington. Let’s keep the streak alive.
Third, he was a prep teammate of current Husky linebacker Princeton Fuimaono, who played in all 13 games last season as a true freshman and has near-identical measurements (6’1″, 215 pounds) to Timu. If Fuimaono is any indication, the future bodes well for Timu.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, we know that Timu (and, in turn, Fuimaono) is a member of the same high school alumni association as one Warren Griffin, III (aka Warren G.) and Ron Fairly. THE Ron Fairly. A storied group of individuals, to be certain.
He is a mystery, more myth than man at this point. He is not our starting quarterback. He is not a golden child. He is not projected as a future NFL lock. He is John Timu, a 19-year-old Southern California native with one game played and one assisted tackle to his credit at the college level.
And for now, that will have to do.