Examining the Official Roster for Fall

DC Justin Wilcox will have some bigger athletes to work with this Fall - Steve Dykes

Fall Camp for the Huskies starts August 5th, and the UW has released their first official roster for the upcoming season. We took a look and found a few items of interest...

With Fall Camp nearly upon us, the UW has released their first official roster for the upcoming season. This is the first roster to include the incoming freshmen (other than those that enrolled early this past Spring), and is of interest to see listed heights and weights for those frosh as well as any notable changes among returning players. At this point it appears that there haven't been any updates to the measurements on returning players - at a quick glance, they all appear to have the same listings as for last year, so I suspect they haven't had a chance to measure and weigh them yet.

Now, it's always wise to be a bit skeptical of the accuracy of these listings, as there is often some fudging of numbers to make kids look better. That said, under Sark the listings have often proven to be right on, or very close to accurate when judged against official numbers from the NFL Combine, so I have a bit more trust in the accuracy of these numbers than most rosters.

It also reveals any roster news, i.e. players not listed that were expected to be. This release is no different, as there are multiple interesting notes to be gleaned from the roster:

Official UW Roster for 2013

First off, sharp eyes will probably note a few freshmen not listed:

  • DT Andrew Basham
  • DL Jamie Bryant
  • OL Coleman Shelton

Bryant is not a surprise - we already knew that the plan was to have him "greyshirt", or delay enrollment until January. Basham is also not a surprise - it's been a poorly-kept secret that he might not have the grades to meet the NCAA minimums; whether he opts to keep re-taking tests and try to enroll in 2014, goes the JC route or quits football remains to be seen.

The surprise on the list is Shelton. He was a late addition to the commitment list, verbally committing just three days ahead of Signing Day. Sark talked about how he was a rare under the radar prospect and was excited about landing him.

The scuttlebutt is that he's also going the greyshirt route. He's apparently young for his class, and the plan appears to be to give him more time to physically mature before starting his eligibility clock. The risk (as with Bryant) is that he is again a recruitable athlete until he begins classes, so both kids could choose to enroll elsewhere. The greyshirt route has had mixed results for the UW in the past, with some (Brent Williams, Kalei Aluelua) parting ways with the UW; some clearly benefitting from the delay (John Timu, Devin Aguilar) and some that enrolled, but didn't/haven't made much of a mark (Anthony Boyles, Marvin Hall).

The next thing of interest is the size of our incoming freshmen. It was discussed in recruiting posts and on Signing Day, but it bears repeating - these are physically impressive kids. Justin Wilcox has made a point of finding longer kids to help defend the spread, and last year's class was successful in that regard. Here are some of the standouts:

  • WR Darrell Daniels: 6'4", 232lbs - This might be the most eye-opening. We knew Daniels had really good size, but this is an inch taller and about 10 lbs bigger than I was expecting. If Daniels ends up struggling at WR for any reason, he's got the size and speed to be a terror at LB. For reference, DE Marcus Farria is listed at 6'5", 235 lbs.
  • WR Demore'ea Stringfellow: 6'3", 225lbs - String is only slightly less imposing than Daniels. From media day talk we've heard that String is actually up to 235lbs now, and from looking at his film and pictures of him, it's almost certainly all good weight, though it wouldn't surprise me if by the end of camp he's shed a few of those pounds. Hard to imagine that he won't see the field this Fall.
  • LB Azeem Victor: 6'4", 232lbs - Victor has outstanding size for a frosh LB and still has room to get bigger. It will be interesting to see how he's utilized - will he fill more of a MIKE (MLB) role for the defense, or does he get split out wide to battle with Josh Shirley and Cory Littleton for a REB role?
  • LB Connor O'Brien: 6'3", 235lbs - Another good-sized frosh LB. The Huskies recruited a lot of safety-sized athletes in recent years and moved them up to get speed at the LB position in their attempt to combat the spread (Princeton Fuimaono, Matthew Lyons, Taz Stevenson), but Wilcox and LB coach Peter Sirmon have targeted - and landed - longer LB prospects that can still fly to the ball.
  • CB Jermaine Kelly: 6'2", 183lbs - With the trend of bigger WR's and the proliferation of the spread offense, it has become more important to find taller CB prospects that have the size to cover the bigger WR's out there and the ability to defend the run against spread attacks. Kelly is exactly what you look for, as he has the size and the coverage ability to match up against anyone. Scout.com analyst Greg Biggins has raved about Kelly, calling him one of the best recruits in the West in the 2013 class, and he has the athleticism that he could probably excel as a WR as well.
  • CB Kevin King: 6'2", 178lbs - King still has some work to do in the weight room, but he's got the length coaches are after and the athleticism to carry a thicker build and still handle CB coverage responsibilities.
  • DL Joe Mathis: 6'4", 250lbs - Mathis is a physically impressive kid, and appears to be a prototype DE with the frame to get bigger and handle 3-tech and 5-tech roles when needed, and the speed and physicality to be a pass-rushing threat on the edge. Mathis flirted with dropping weight and trying to prove he could be an SEC-style big MIKE as a Senior in H.S., but he's almost certain to play with his hand on the ground for the Huskies.
  • DE Marcus Farria: 6'5", 232lbs - I already mentioned Farria above, but he deserves his own note. He'll need some work to get thicker, but he's got an NFL prototype frame for DE and excellent athleticism. Many close to the program insist that Farria is the best player in the class, and it shouldn't shock anyone if he's pushing for a starting job against Boise State.
  • RB Lavon Coleman: 6'2", 209lbs - Coleman comes in listed at least 3" taller than any of the recruiting services had claimed. I was expecting he was more of the classic sized RB, but it appears he's definitely on the taller side and with some room to get thicker and stronger. Sark has always talked about his desire to get some bigger backs in his rotation, and Coleman appears to fit that bill.

Besides the freshmen, here are a handful of returning players that we'll keep an eye on when the heights and weights are updated on the roster:

  • OL Shane Brostek: 6'4", 280lbs - Brostek, son of Husky Legend C Bern Brostek, came in with a lot of hype last year and was pressed into the starting lineup midway through the season as injuries ravaged the OL. What wasn't widely known at the time is that Brostek was battling some issues that saw his weight drop significantly - he was reportedly down in the 260 lb range at the end of the season. The goal since then has been to build him back up physically, and in an ideal world the OL would have enough quality depth this year to allow Brostek to take the redshirt year he missed out on last year.
  • CB Cleveland Wallace: 5'11", 165lbs - Some kids struggle to put on good weight in their first few years in college, and Wallace appears to be in that camp. The RS-Fr is one that has often been praised by coaches for his work in practices, and he's expected to be in the mix for a starting job opposite Marcus Peters at CB, but he is on the smaller side of what Wilcox prefers from his secondary. It will be interesting to see if his weight has increased.
  • LB Travis Feeney: 6'4", 209lbs - Given his off-season shoulder surgery, it would not a big surprise if Feeney hasn't made any big strides in bulking up, but I do worry about how well he'll hold up given his hard-hitting style combined with his lean build.
  • OL Erik Kohler: 6'4", 299lbs - If you asked Kohler directly, he'd probably tell you that in the past he's carried a bit of sloppy weight. As he enters the last couple of years of his career here, I expect that he's wised-up and is doing a better job watching his diet and getting his work done in the weight room. It'll be interesting to see if his physique has the leaner, stronger appearance of teammate Ben Riva when Fall practices begin.
  • TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: 6'6", 266lbs - ASJ has a terrific frame, one that's big enough that many recruiting analysts figured he was destined to be a LT. But he's stayed relative lean so far and enters the 2013 as the premier TE in the country. The big question will be how he looks after being suspended from team activities. Unlike last year, he decided not to play basketball so he could both rest and focus on developing himself for football. He's also battled nagging leg and ankle issues his first two years - if he can get past those, imagine how much better he'll look when he's not limping down the field on pass routes.

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