Bronson hopes position move works out for Husky football

Family traditions come in many different forms. Decorating the Christmas tree a certain way, a yearly fishing trip to Westport, or inheriting dad’s hairline at 30 are just a few of the good — or bad — parts of life.

The family tradition in the Bronson household involves playing tight end at the University of Washington.

Gordon Bronson was the first to do it back in the 1970s and, now, his oldest son, Jared, is following in his dad’s rather large footsteps. The 19-year-old, 2003 Thomas Jefferson grad is currently red-shirting as a walk-on sophomore tight end for the Huskies.

“His day is going to come,” said Gordon. “He’s got a ton of upside and good speed. We’re pretty excited. He just has to be patient and continue to work hard.”

Working hard shouldn’t be a problem for Bronson. That just goes with the territory being a walk-on at a Division I football program. As a non-scholarship player at the University of Washington, Bronson has the pleasure of running with the scout team offense during practices, which lines up against the first-team defense day after day.

“I get a lot better going up against them,” Bronson said. “But it’s tough because the guys are really good. I haven’t really got flattened yet.”

The biggest difference from high school football and Pac-10 football?

“There are really big guys that are really athletic,” said the 6-foot-4 Bronson. “There are guys in high school who are 5-8, 170 pounds and here those same guys are 6-6 and 250 pounds and just as athletic.”

Bronson isn’t wearing rose-colored glasses about his football career at the University of Washington. He knows as a walk-on he’s going to have to work harder and improve more than players on full-rides to see the turf at Husky Stadium on a future fall Saturday. The Huskies’ roster currently lists eight tight ends and seven of them are underclassmen.

Bronson is, however, optimistic about his future as a tight end.

“I’m doing pretty good,” Bronson said. “I think I’m a year or two away. My goal is to get a scholarship.”

“That has just made him more determined,” Gordon Bronson said.

But he did get a taste of his status on the Husky totem pole when he was issued his uniform number before the season. Which happens to be the ever-popular tight end No. 99.

“I came in and they didn’t have a number for me to wear,” he said. “So I thought that I was going to pick one, but they just gave it to me. I didn’t get to choose. I will be happy to change it next year.”

Bronson was also happy to change positions following a solid career at TJ. From the time he started playing football in eighth grade at Totem Junior High, Bronson was always throwing passes, not catching them, and he continued to play quarterback through his senior year at TJ.

“When I first went out I wanted to play receiver,” Bronson said. “But we didn’t have a quarterback and I just kind of stuck with it. Playing quarterback was fun. But I’m having fun playing tight end now.”

It was always in the back of Bronson’s mind that he would switch over to tight end after high school, which he did last season when he attended Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz.

“I went down to Pima and I didn’t get enough playing time,” Bronson said. “It really didn’t go as planned. So my dad brought up the idea of coming up here, giving me an extra year (of eligibility).”

This red-shirt year, which means he gets to practice with the team and stand on the sideline without pads during home games, will also give Bronson and extra year to put on the pounds needed to play tight end at the Division I level.

As a high school senior, Bronson weighed in at 200 pounds. Now, thanks to the motivation of former Husky hulks and current U-Dub strength coaches Steve Emtman and Pete Kaligis, Bronson tips the scales at 240. A weight that is still pretty light for a Division I tight end.

“I’ve been working out really hard ever since I graduated,” Bronson said. “I think they want me to get up to about 260 and keep my speed.”

• Harris seeing playing time — Darin Harris, a 2004 Decatur High School grad, isn’t playing as much as he would like. But Harris is starting on the Huskies’ kickoff team and making an impact.

Harris, who was an all-state safety at Decatur last year, didn’t play in Washington’s first game against Fresno State, but saw the field against UCLA and at Notre Dame Saturday.

The 5-11, 200-pounder is one of only five true freshman on the Huskies’ roster who won’t be redshirting this season. Harris is currently listed behind five players for Washington’s two safety positions. But he has been impressive just a month into his Husky career.

“He’s very sharp, very aware, a very good player,” Husky coach Keith Gilbertson said in a release about Harris.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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