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Washington Huskies Links: Vita Vea Shines at the NFL Combine

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NFL fans this weekend learned something that Pac-12 offensive linemen have painfully known for three years: Vita Vea is a freak of nature.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Vita Vea, as it turns out, can lift heavy things and run real fast. Who knew?

In addition to Vea increasing the value of his already impressive draft stock, the men’s basketball team dropped a frustrating regular season finale against the Oregon Ducks, and the women’s softball team continues their impressive run to remain the best team in the nation.

The Seattle Times — Huskies’ NCAA hopes hang on Pac-12 tournament after comeback falls short vs. Oregon

The Huskies in all likelihood needed a home sweep against the Oregon schools to keep their hopes of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament alive, but a loss to the Ducks in the regular season kept them from realizing that goal. Now, the No. 7-seeded Huskies will likely need to win the Pac-12 tournament in order to secure a March Madness bid, starting with Wednesday’s game against No. 10 Oregon State.

The Seattle Times — Huskies’ late-season collapse probably costs them NCAA tournament berth

At this point, columnist Matt Calkins doesn’t see much hope for Washington’s NCAA hopes, saying that it will take “a borderline shocking” performance in the conference tournament to turn their fortunes around. While some might take exception toward his description of Washington’s “collapse” since beating No. 9 Arizona on Feb. 4, it does seem objectively true that the Huskies’ 3-5 finish to the season will be the decisive deciding factor assuming the Dawgs are not granted a bid.

The Athletic — Defensive playmakers Vita Vea and Roquan Smith look like good fits for the Raiders’ top pick

Approximately zero people would be surprised to see the Oakland Raiders spend their 10th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft on Vita Vea, after the former Washington defensive tackle bench-pressed 225 lbs. 41 times and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.11 seconds at last weekend’s NFL Combine. If that happens, Vea would join Jake Locker and John Ross in becoming Washington’s third top-10 selection since 2011.

Top-ranked Washington softball team moves to 22-0 with victories over Alabama, BYU

The No. 1-ranked Washington softball team has now accomplished something never before done in program history by starting the season with 23 consecutive wins. (Since the Seattle Times article above was published, the Dawgs also took down Portland State 4-1.) It’s difficult to overstate just how impressive the team has been so far in 2018: Through 23 games, they’ve outscored their opponents 180-20, including 12 shutouts, while the offense is hitting a .374 average while racking up a 1.104 OPS. The team is off until Friday, when they take on New Mexico State and UNLV in the Rebel Classic.

Sports Illustrated — Shaquem Griffin Making His Combine Invite Count After Inspiring Bench-Press Effort

If you haven’t yet seen the story of Shaquem Griffin, the former UCF all-conference linebacker, there’s no better time to acquaint yourself than now. Andy Staples traces Griffin’s story back to his childhood, when the future NFL prospect first learned how to compensate for the lack of his left hand, which never fully formed and was amputated when Griffin was four years old.

Dots

  • Mike Mayock has some glowing things to say about Vita Vea’s performance at last weekend’s Combine.
  • ESPN ranks Washington’s trio of Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin and Chico McClatcher as the third-best set of offensive triplets in college football.
  • With the men’s basketball regular season in the rear view, some of Washington’s players have begun to earn recognition for their performances that led the Huskies to the program’s first 20-win season since 2011.