One of the questions I received this week was if I could put together a rundown on how the players who are red shirting this year are doing. Easier said than done on this one because the coaches don't ever comment on these guys. They rarely even comment on the reserves. So let me share the limited information that I have heard.
Josh Shirley is playing extremely well in practice. So well that he made the trip to Arizona and was named a team captain for the game. They didn't play him so his red-shirt year is still preserved. Washington is one more injury away from having to start him. Lets hope they don't have to do it.
Andrew Hudson is going to be a real good player. He just needs more meat on his bones like Shirley so the off season will determine how much he contributes next season. If he adds some weight and strength he could compete for a starting job. The coaches really are high on him.
Nick Montana spends most of his time running the scout team. He has gotten significant reps in practice with the one's the past couple of weeks with Locker taking a rest from daily practice. Price and Montana will fight it out for the starting QB job this spring and fall. Something tells me that Montana is the guy.
DiAndre Campbell played well enough in camp and practice that the coaches would have considered playing him if there was a need. There is enough depth at the position that there isn't the need even with two starters out.
Micah Hatchie and Ben Riva are expected to compete for starting spots in the spring. The coaches are also high on Tanigawa, Atoe, and Cristie. All these guys are expected to contribute next season. This is shaping up to be an excellent offensive line class.
Like most big men Lawrence Lagafuiana needs a season of conditioning before he is ready to enter the rotation behind Taamu. Big guys need to get re-sculpted.
I haven't heard a single word about Jamaal Kearse who is being converted into a SLB. That of course doesn't mean a single thing. He was a safety and WR in HS so there is the learning curve that comes with changing positions.
I think people were pretty surprised when Victor Burnett was red-shirted. It was assumed that since he had been here for spring football he would challenge for immediate playing time. The coaches felt that he didn't pick up the schemes quickly enough and that the he could use a year of seasoning. That doesn't mean he isn't going to be good. He will compete for a starting spot this spring and is a favorite to win it. From what I have heard they think he is going to be very good.
Michael Hartvigson is out for the season with an injured shoulder. He will qualify for a red-shirt even though he played in some games. The early returns on Michael are good but a shoulder injury is never good when you are trying to bulk up.
It would be nice to have Deontae Cooper in the lineup wouldn't it? We have all seen what Jessie Callier can do and Deontae is even better. He will be back to full contact this fall after undergoing knee surgery.