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Washington wide receiver Puka Nacua celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown against Hawaii during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

Former Orem High WR Puka Nacua intends to transfer from Washington

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Mar. 7, 2021 at 4:13 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — A former Utah high school football standout is likely moving on.

Former Orem High star Puka Nacua has entered the transfer portal and intends to leave the University of Washington, he told the Seattle Times on Sunday.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound former four-star prospect entered the portal this weekend after playing each of the past two seasons for the Huskies. The former Deseret News Mr. Football and Gatorade Utah player of the year, Nacua most recently played in each of the first three games of the Huskies truncated 2020 season.

The former Tigers standout caught nine passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, a 65-yarder against Arizona, and was named the coaches' Offensive Player of the Game with a career-best six catches for 67 yards in a 24-21 win over Utah.

Nacua played in eight games with three starts in 2019 as a freshman, seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. He's the third Washington receiver to transfer in the offseason, a list that also includes former Provo High standout Ty Jones (now at Fresno State).

As a senior at Orem High, Nacua set new Utah high school records with 260 career receptions, 5,226 yards and 58 touchdowns. After his final season of 103 catches for 2,336 yards and 26 scores — three single-season state records — Nacua went on to earn Polynesian Bowl Offensive MVP honors.

He went on to sign with Washington under former coach Chris Peterson, making his decision live on television before calling his coach to confirm it in the middle of a blizzard.

"Yes, coach," he said as Peterson call him as soon as the broadcast ended. "I'm a Dawg, coach."

"I get to go play football at Division I and continue my education," Nacua told KSL.com that night. "It was really hard to say there was a bad choice. But there is definitely a place for me, and I feel like that is Washington."

The younger brother of former BYU safety and current 49ers defensive back Kai Nacua, Puka Nacua's other brother Samson recently announced he had entered the transfer portal as well after three years with the Utes.

Both brothers were heavily recruited out of high school, and Puka Nacua selected the Huskies over a final grouping that included UCLA, USC, Utah and BYU, among others.

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