One of the best offensive lines in college football happens to be anchored by two former Trinity League players who start side-by-side.
Nick Harris and Luke Wattenberg graduated from JSerra in 2016 and together headed to the University of Washington on athletic scholarships.
Harris wasn’t nearly as heavily recruited as Wattenberg in high school, but he ended up starting four games at center his first season before emerging as a full-time starter his sophomore year.
Wattenberg redshirted his first fall with the Huskies, moved into a part-time starting role at left guard the following season and then became a full-time starter at left guard last season, playing right alongside Harris.
Three other starters also return on the offensive line for the Huskies.
“We have so much experience,” Harris told the Tacoma News-Tribune. “We have a lot guys who have that passion to play O-Line. They aren’t just doing it because they’re big. Those guys want to be the best O-linemen on the field.”
Heading into his senior season, Harris has been singled out as a player to watch. He was an all-Pac 12 first-team preseason selection and a second-team All-American.
Wattenberg remembers when Harris first transferred to JSerra as a sophomore.
“I didn’t know what to think of him,” Wattenberg said. “At that time, a lot of transfers were coming in and out, so I thought he was just another one.”
Harris didn’t start right away at JSerra and his listed size of 6-foot-2, 260 pounds as a junior wasn’t particularly eye-catching either.
When the Washington coaches came to visit Wattenberg, then-JSerra head coach Jim Hartigan suggested they also take a look at Harris.
“Washington listened to us,” Hartigan told the News-Tribune.
He paid a visit to Washington and quickly accepted the offer.
Harris continued to impress the offensive line coaches at Washington with his quick feet and good use of his frame. Harris quickly moved up to second string during his first training camp, much to the surprise of head coach Chris Petersen, who wasn’t expecting to see a true freshman so far up the depth chart before his first season.
“And then I watched ten plays, and I went, ‘Oh, I get why he’s with the twos,’” Petersen said. “So much for all the recruiting experts.”
Fast forward three years and Harris has emerged as not only a dependable starter, but someone who’s looked up to as a leader.
“It’s pretty crazy when you put it in perspective, just how fast the time has gone by,” Harris said. “But it’s a role I’ve been ready to embrace.”
A poll of media members over the summer indicated that Washington is expected to battle it out with Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12 North Division.
Harris wants to enjoy every minute of his senior season.
“I’ve been playing this game since I was six, and the love I have for it just grows every day,” Harris said. “The fact that I have the opportunity to be out there is why I’m focused. I’m not taking it for granted. I love every second I’m out there, being with my brothers. This is my last season, so I’m definitely trying to make the best of it every day.”