SEATTLE — Washington star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended for the Huskies’ season opener Saturday against No. 19 Boise State, multiple UW sources told The Seattle Times.
Seferian-Jenkins, a preseason All-American, will serve the one-game suspension after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge in July. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, 363 of which were suspended. He paid a $695 fine and spent the night of July 15-16 in an Issaquah jail.
One source said Washington coach Steve Sarkisian had initially handed down a two-game suspension for Seferian-Jenkins, but the suspension was reduced after Seferian-Jenkins met some of Sarkisian’s disciplinary “requirements.”
Seferian-Jenkins had been cleared medically to play this week against Boise State, sources said. He broke his right pinkie during UW training camp on Aug. 12 and had surgery three days later to insert a pin in the finger.
Seferian-Jenkins will be available for the Huskies’ second game, against Illinois in Chicago on Sept. 14.
His absence against Boise State is significant for a UW team expected to improve on three consecutive 7-6 seasons while opening the new $280 million Husky Stadium on Saturday.
Seferian-Jenkins had six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in the Huskies’ 28-26 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Listed behind him on UW’s depth chart this week are sophomore Josh Perkins and junior Michael Hartvigson.
A 6-foot-6, 276-pound junior from Fox Island, Seferian-Jenkins holds every major UW record for a tight end. He had 69 catches for 850 yards – both season school records – and seven touchdowns in 2012.
He is a projected first-round NFL draft pick. Sports Illustrated on Thursday ranked him as the No. 16 prospect for the 2014 draft, when he would first be eligible to turn pro.
On March 9, the 20-year-old Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in the University District. He registered a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit of .08 percent and nine times the limit of .02 for a person under the age of 21.
Three days later, Sarkisian suspended Seferian-Jenkins from team activities. The tight end resumed informal workouts with teammates over the summer, then rejoined the team for the start of training camp on Aug. 5.
Seferian-Jenkins apologized for the incident in an Aug. 6 interview with local media.
“It’s still a process,” he said. “Nothing’s healed just like that. It happened in March, and there’s obviously people that are still hurt by it. It’s a very serious offense and I take it very seriously, because that’s not the type of person I am at all.”
He added: “When you lose things like football, which is the game I love – and this is the most important thing in my life – it really puts everything in perspective.”