Chris Polk lived up to his potential last season by becoming an every play type of running back who proved he could move the pile and break the big one. Chris picked up 1113 yards on 226 carries and scored five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2009. The only question mark going into spring is his shoulder which was operated on for the second time in as many seasons. Obviously the coaches won't expose him to contact till August but since he has the number one job nailed down it gives a chance for a true back up to emerge behind him.
Jr. Johri Fogerson, So. Demetrius Bronson, and Jr. Curtis Shaw return fro last season. They didn't get a lot of work in 2009 because Polk was in 90% of the time. The coaches paired Polk and Fogerson early in the season and that resulted in some key catches out of the backfield for Johri. Fogerson's playing time diinished once he became dinged up as the season went on.
Bronson had a strong spring and went into fall camp as a serious contender for the starting job. An injury and the bobbles moved him down in the depth chart. Bronson has some of the size the coaches would like to use next season but he needs to do a better job of holding on to the ball.
Shaw was tried as a kickoff returner against Idaho but a fumble knocked him out of contention for that spot. He will get another shot in 2010 but he is definitely running out of time. Brandon Yakaboski has been hurt since the day he arrived at UW and while Sark said he was excited to see what he can do this spring insiders thing he is headed for a transfer or medical scholarship after two serious knee injuries. Willie Griffin decided to transfer this winter after getting limited playing time in 2009.
The Huskies welcome true frosh Deontae Cooper and Jessie Callier this spring. Cooper is expected to slide right into the backup role behind Chris Polk. Deontae has been on campus since January and has been participating in the strength and conditioning program. The coaches expect big things out of Cooper who was one of the top running backs in California last season.
Jessie Callier also was one of the top RB's in California statistically last season and he played against much better competition than Cooper did. He racked up 2466 yards and 30 TD's for Warren HS in 2009. The coaches will be looking at him as a RB and kick returner this spring. He is also a candidate to make a move to CB if he gets buried in the depth at RB. He is definitely a kid you want to see on the field and not waiting on the bench.
Over at FB Paul Homer graduated after a steady four years of blocking and special teams play. Figthing it out for his job this spring will be Sr Austin Sylvester and RS Kimo Makaula. Sylvester is a solid blocker and that will go a long way toward earning a starting job but he doesn't have the overall tools that Makaula may show this spring. Kimo is a better athlete who has the size to lay the lumber but just may be a better option catching passes out of the backfield since he has better hands and speed.
In the fall Johri Fogerson's younger brother Zach will arrive on the scene. Zach enters UW as one of the top high school FB recruits in the country. The only knock on him has been the injury bug which curtailed his production the last two years at O'Dea. When healthy Zach gives you everyhting you are looking for in a FB. Chances are he will sit out 2010 to stay healthy and get stronger.
Overall these are strong positions for Washington that are only getting stronger. The addition of Cooper and Callier plus another two being added for 2011 means that the coaches have this position nailed now and into the future. Look for the Huskies to bring in two more running back in 2011 and also look for some probable attrition at the position by next January or sooner.