With spring practices just around the corner the 2013 previews are in full force. In this third installment we analyze what we/I think the WR's and TE's will look like in 2013. Jack Follman started it out with the QB's. Gekko followed up with the RB's. And now its my turn to discuss the pass catchers.
Heading into 2012 there were mixed views of the receiving group. A strength in 2011, it was thought by many to not miss a beat in 2012. The other faction felt that the loss of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar - who were both basically four year starters - would just be too much to overcome. I personally fell a little in the middle, but probably more towards the positive side. Of course those of you who know me, would not be surprised by that statement. . With former Parade Player of the year in SO. Kasen Williams returning and all world TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the future looked bright. All the Dawgs needed was one other guy to step up. Sr. James Johnson would get the first chance, followed by Kevin Smith, DiAndre Campbell, Cody Bruns, and Freshman Jaydon Mickens.
By now most you know that James Johnson missed the year. Kevin Smith did not bounce back from injury, DiAndre Campbell and Jaydon Mickens were too inconsistent and Cody Bruns... well for all he did do, he is not big enough and fast enough to be a third WR, let alone a second if don't include ASJ as WR. The bigger issue for me, at least early on was the down field blocking. Devin Aguilar was maybe the best blocking WR in Washington history. In my mind Aguilar basically created the term. I, like many, took that aspect of his game for granted for too long and I vow not to let that happen again. There was also and expectation that the Huskies would run multiple TE sets to get ASJ more involved in the passing game, while still having a TE in for run and pass blocking. Michael Hartvigson and Evan Hudson provided very little in the passing game, and you would hard pressed to say either of them was a standout as a blocker. All that being said, Sark has made it clear that will values both positions. He should continue to try to be able to recruit elite athletes at both positions. Lets hope my stance on Sark being able to develop his players and not Lear Pilot's hold true in 2013 and beyond.
Coming and Going
The only loss to the position is Prosser native Cody Bruns. How good was his HS team with Kellen Moore at QB and him catching balls? His roller coaster career is one that many fans of this era will remember, and not for all the right reasons: from Ty Willingham wastefully burning his red-shirt in 2008 to Sark giving him back that season after his father died in 2011. Bruns was also the holder and handled punt returns when Sark just wanted to make sure there was no turnover. Bruns' intangibles and sure handedness will be missed more than the rest of game.
The key returner at WR will be the aforementioned Kasen Williams. The junior will return for what may be his last season on Montlake. If he stays 4 years he would have a real chance of breaking Reggie Williams' school receiving records. The rest of the rest of the returners will all be fighting for playing. I for one love the competition.
Projected Spring Depth Chart:
1. JR Kasen Williams
2. SR James Johnson
3. SR Kevin Smith
4. SO Jaydon Mickens
5. JR DiAndre Campbell
6. SO Marvin Hall
The only spot on my project depth chart that is solidified is Kasen Williams. I do believe the rest of the playing time will be hotly contested by everyone listed. I believe that Kendyl Taylor stays at RB, but it is worth noting that he was recruited to play WR. RS-FR Dwayne Washington also made the move to RB in during bowl practices. This will probably open a spot for a freshman to show what they are made of.
With three highly rated WR recruits showing up in the fall, this is a position that Sark and staff continue to put a high level of focus on. Damore'ea Stringfellow appears to be the one that will push for some playing right away. Don't be surprised to see him break the two deeps come August. And he may follow in the footsteps of Reggie Willams and Kasen Williams of being a starter from day 1. Darrell Daniels is projected by most to need a year to learn, and will probably redshirt. If the third incoming freshman John Ross, plays in 2013 it will most likely be on special teams. The talented return man/slot receiver, has a bright future but could also see a redshirt year.
At TE the huskies return the best pass-catching TE in the country in Austin Serefian-Jenkins. ASJ will go down as the best TE in Husky history, which is no small feat. And is a likely first round pick in the 2014 draft. Unfortunately for Lorenzo Romar the talented athlete gave up on basketball this winter. That tells me his plan is to leave after his junior year. He will be backed up by Evan Hudson and Michael Hartvigson, who could battle all spring and fall for the backup spot. UW brings in one new TE in the fall in 6'5" David Ajuma. Barring any injuries Ajuma will redshirt.
Question to be Answered:
1. Will Kevin Smith be 100%?
I will say yes. ACL injuries often heal 100% now. I know some people will point to other players that have had multiple knee injuries, but that is not the norm. Keith Price will need to rely on Kevin for more production in 2013.
2. Will someone step up to be the third option in the passing game and who?
I am going to say Jaydon Mickens. From what I saw of him he has great speed, and can certainly stretch the defense. Making a couple easy catches last year would have many people have a different attitude on our QB as well.
3. What Freshmen will play?
Hopefully just one, and that will be Stringfellow. One of the top WR in the country last year, he may not have the athleticism of Kasen Williams, but he may be a better WR as freshman.
4. Can Jaydon Mickens get rid of the drop passes and become the deep threat that his speed allows?
See question number. I am looking at big things from him this year. I fully expect him to be third on the team in reception in 2013.
5. Will Kasen Williams and/or ASJ, be first team All-Americans or see a senior season?
Yes and no. ASJ is as close to a lock to be All-American and Mackey Award winner. He will be a first round pick in 2014. I hope Kasen is an All-American and leaves early. That will mean he will have great success and so will the team. Odds are probably 50/50 right now on either of those things happening.
The 2013 the Dawgs will feature two of the best pass catchers in the country. But after that, there are many unknowns, and opportunities for young players to create their legacy on Montlake. Sark wants to pass the ball. The fans want a lot of points and 10 wins this year. Who the next level of WR's step up will go a long way in achieving those goals.