We have passed the mid point of spring practice and it is time to acknowledge some of the younger players who have put themselves in a good position to get a lot of playing time in 2011. A close look at the list reveals more defensive than offensive players. That makes sense since the defense has had the upper hand most of the spring.
DE Josh Shirley - Josh is going to be a big time weapon over the next four years. He had four sacks on Saturday lining up against the so called Cascade front. This kid can really fly and he is going to be pretty tough to block in 2011. When teams drop back to pass against Washington they are going to see quite a bit of Mr Shirley.
TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - TE Michael Hartvigson - TE Evan Husdson - This position was almost non existent last season and now it looks like it will be a major strength because of these three guys in 2011. We know they can make great catches over the middle, and stretch the field, but will they be able to block well enough in running situations?
WLB Garret Gilliliand - There is a lot of young competition at all the linebacker positions but Garret has been able to hold everyone off and take possession of the position. Look for that to continue into the fall. This kid is a real football player.
FB Zach Fogerson - Zach has been impressive as a FB, Big Back , and receiver out of the backfield this spring. He also is a pretty good blocker so the hope is that the Huskies can add some more offense from a place they haven't been getting it from lately.
WR Kevin Smith - Smith has been competing with James Johnson for the third receiver spot. The competition has been close but it looks like Smith is the guy at this point. That could all change pretty quickly once Kasen Williams arrives.
S Justin Glenn - Justin is finally at 100% which has allowed him to play a significant role in the depth this spring. He is being groomed as a nickel back and a guy that can step in at either corner or safety. Glenn was playing very well until he was injured.
DT Chris Robinson - Chris has put himself in a position to get plenty of playing time next giving Ta'amu a breather and also seeing some time at three technique. He is a powerful player and the coaches have a lot of confidence in him right now.
DE Andrew Hudson - Andrew has been impressive in practice and will be part of the rotation this fall at defensive end. He is around ten pounds heavier than Shirley at this point but he also can bring pretty good speed from the edge.
S Will Shaumburger - Will kind of disappeared into the depth last fall after challenging for a starting job in the spring. He is having another good spring and will be in the rotation this fall at safety.
QB Keith Price - Keith looks like the guy to beat at this point but he still has a lot of work to do to hold off Nick Montana and most importantly play at a level that allows his team a chance to win in the majority of its games next fall.
OT Ben Riva - Ben is the heir apparent to the RT spot and he has been getting a lot of work this spring. The Cascade Front is a very young offensive line. We really haven't seen it at its best since Senio went out with his foot injury. It shows how much work needs to get done by the young guys between now and next fall.