University of Washington

He gave himself a nickname after a New York Yankees pitcher. Now he starts for the Huskies

Washington offensive lineman Jesse Sosebee, shown blocking Montana defensive end Cy Sirmon earlier this season, goes by Boomer because of former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells.
Washington offensive lineman Jesse Sosebee, shown blocking Montana defensive end Cy Sirmon earlier this season, goes by Boomer because of former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells. AP

When the Washington Huskies offensive linemen take their weekly quizzes, position coach Scott Huff always find himself taking a second glance.

Not at the answers.

Just the name.

Jesse Sosebee?

“I call him ‘Boomer,’” Huff said. “If someone says Jesse, I am like, ‘Who are you talking about?’”

And folks better get used to either name, because the 6-foot-5, 312-pound junior from Garden Grove, California, became one of the surprise starters coming out of preseason camp.

When Jake Eldrenkamp left his post as the two-year starter at left guard, many figured it would be senior Andrew Kirkland — who has 12 career starts, including five at right guard last season — who would fill that spot this season.

But in a close battle, Sosebee got the nod.

“He did a better job of communicating, seeing the looks and communicating with Trey (Adams) and Coleman (Shelton),” Huff said. “That was probably the biggest thing, his overall consistency.”

Because of Kirkland’s overall experience, and ability to play both tackle positions, it actually has worked out better that the senior became the Huskies’ swing lineman.

“I love the guy. It could have just as easily been him as it could have been me,” Sosebee said. “He is playing at such a high level right now. I’ve got to be on my Ps and Qs to make sure I am playing as good as I can play.”

As the Huskies prepare to open Pac-12 play Saturday at Colorado, Sosebee makes his second career start against a conference opponent — and first in two seasons (first start was against California in 2015).

Sosebee is an engaging man with an ability to spin stories. An example is how he got the nickname “Boomer.”

He said he actually gave it to himself when he was 5, and going off to his first Little League baseball game.

“I was … 95 pounds, and a short, chunky fat kid,” Sosebee said.

Playing for the Yankees’ youth team, he wore No. 33.

As he was leaving for the game, he noticed the announcers on television talking about hefty New York Yankees pitcher David Wells coming into the game wearing the same exact number — No. 33.

“I go up to my dad, ‘Who is that?’” Sosebee said. “He said, ‘Boomer is pitching.’”

Sosebee decided to adopt that name for himself.

“My dad thought it would last a week,” Sosebee said. “And here we are 16 years later, and I am still Boomer.”

His UW line mates have easily taken to him, too.

“I’ve taken him hunting with me a couple of times,” said right tackle Kaleb McGary. “We are working on (him being a mountain man). He is getting the body type and the beard thing down. But we are working on getting him out of California, because he still likes sun and beaches too much.”

For a first-year starter, Sosebee certainly seems confident and relaxed. It helps that the guys around him are all returning starters.

“I don’t have to worry about what they are doing, I can focus on my job and executing the best I can,” Sosebee said. “Growing up, football has always been easy for me – just reading defenses, seeing things. I’ve always had an eye and ear for notching formations, and how they are going to run.”

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