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Joe Tryon’s “Earn My Reps” Mentality Has Helped Him Excel at UW


Redshirt freshman Joe Tryon has drawn a lot of attention for his prodigious size and athleticism; however, the Hazen High School product flew under the radar for most of his high school career. Playing in the North Puget Sound League in high school, he had quite an adjustment jumping from the prep level to college. He remembers one specific incidence where one of Washington’s massive offensive linemen got the best of him in practice.

“Kaleb (McGary),” Tryon laughed. “I remember he tossed me a couple times and I was like ‘ah, jeez’.”

At the Husky Combine last spring, Tryon jumped an impressive 35-inch vertical, a remarkable feat for a 6-foot-5, 267-pound outside linebacker; however, the athleticism at a D-I football program like Washington’s caught the Renton, Washington product by surprise.

““It was ‘dang, do I really’ – I knew I belonged here,” the redshirt freshman pass rusher explained, “but it was a matter of bringing my competition from myself up a level. A lot of better athletes here. It wasn’t easy, but I got used to it. I remember it was a lot faster and we had a lot of things to do that was just jumbling around in my head. I didn’t know what to do. I was just following Benning (Potoa’e) and Tevis (Bartlett), all the leaders on the team.”

It didn’t take him too long to adjust, however. In just his second year on campus, Tryon has played in every game and even has a start under his belt. His best game of his career was against the Washington State Cougars, the school to which he was originally pledged to play college football. He tallied two tackles for a loss and a sack in Washington’s 28-15 Apple Cup victory.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said of the Apple Cup win. “Just a scrappy game, a defensive battle. Having a lot of fun in the snow, it was a good time.”

Over the course of his two years with the Huskies, Tryon has focused on getting better everyday. It wasn’t in a single moment that everything started to click for the talented edge rusher, but a productive mentality has helped him carve out a role in Washington’s suffocating defense.

“Just starting to practice harder,” he said. “Coming in, I was a young guy, I knew I had to step up and trying to compete everyday was something I had to pride myself in and coming in every day, earning my reps, not just coming in and having a daily routine.”

Tryon and the Huskies are slated to play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl on January 1st. It will be Washington’s third straight New Years Six Bowl Appearance. 

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