Welcome to the newest addition to the UW Dawg Pound weekly schedule, the Weekend Debate. The plan is to pose a question to the Dawg Pound faithful every Friday and to let everyone hash it out over the weekend (snarling, growling and barking is encouraged).
We are going to start off the debate with one of the most glaring questions facing Husky football in 2012, who is going to fill the shoes of the great Chris Polk? To answer the question, we first have to look at our options. The two leading candidates are going to be junior Jessie Callier and sophomore Bishop Sankey, with the dark horse being Deontae Cooper. No offense to Willis Wilson, Erich Wilson, Jonathon Amosa, Ryan McDaniel, or Psalm Wooching, but if any of them lead the team in rushing this year, it's going to be a long season.
First let's have a look at Jessie Callier, he's 5'10'', 203 lbs and has played in all 26 games his first two years at the UW. His freshmen year, Callier had 77 carries, 433 yards rushing, for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. In 2011 Callier had 47 carries, 260 yards rushing, for an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Callier also has a lot of experience on special teams, after his sophomore season he was already ranked #2 on the UW career kick return yards list with 1,309 yards.
Next up we have Bishop Sankey, he's also 5'10'', 197 lbs and has played in 12 of the 13 games in his first season on campus. In 2011, Sankey had 28 carries, 187 yards rushing, for an average of 6.7 yards per carry.
Finally, the dark horse, Deontae Cooper, he's 6'0", 197 lbs and has missed the last two seasons, each due to knee injuries.
It really is an interesting comparison, all three backs are quite similar, but they do have their differences. All seem to have breakaway speed, Callier seems like more of an outside of the tackles running back, where as Cooper and Sankey seem more comfortable between the tackles. Callier has the experience, but Sankey has shown he can find a crease and turn a normal run into a big gain. I tend to think of Callier as the slash and dash style running back, Sankey as the between the tackles running back, and Cooper as the all around do everything back. I honestly think all three have the tools and ability to be a starting running back in the PAC12, but I think Cooper (when healthy) is the best overall running back.
Back to the question at hand, who will be the UW's leading rusher in 2012? If I knew Cooper would make a full recovery from the knee injuries, I'd pick him every time. So initially I was going to go with Sankey, he's got all the tools and quickly showed that he belonged in the conversation.But, after watching multiple highlight videos, I am going with Jessie Callier. Watching the videos of Callier highlighted his ability to be patient, change directions, bounce off a tackler or two and keep going. Callier and Sankey are awfully similar, both very talented, but I think Callier's experience and maturity on the field will win out in the end.
Now it's your turn Dawg Pound faithful, who do you think will lead the UW in rushing yards in 2012?