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30 Day Countdown- Day 30: Strongest Position Group

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Join us for the first edition in the series counting you down to the Husky opener against Auburn!

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

IT’S HERE!!!

Husky Football season is officially upon us! Today is the Coach Pete press conference and tomorrow is the first day of fall camp but we’ve also arrived at the first day of the 30-day countdown. That means we are just over four full weeks away from the titanic showdown against Auburn in Atlanta. Plus, you know, another 11 to 14 games after that for those interested in that sort of thing.

And we will be here with one article per day getting you ready for those contests. Some will be serious. Some will be silly (basically the ones written by Gabey). All will be worth your while. So step right up and let’s start things off by determining what will be the UW’s strongest position group this season.

Option #1: Cornerback

You can just kind of shoehorn this position in ad infinitum as long as Jimmy Lake is here. Corner has been on the short list every season since his arrival and this crop may be one of the best. Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller each missed about half of last season with injuries but when on the field they proved they were one of the best duos in the country. There’s also depth. 5’8 Myles Bryant was a sensation as the nickel back last year although he occasionally struggled when injuries forced him to match up against bigger receivers. Austin Joyner has a wealth of experience and the pedigree to match as the first backup option outside. And behind those four there are a wealth of recent underclassmen 4-star recruits including Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor, and Kyler Gordon. Not bad.

Option #2: Offensive Tackle

If you go strictly off of Way Too Soon 2019 Mock Drafts then choosing the Husky bookend tackles of Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary seems pretty clear-cut. Adams is a consensus early first-round draft pick if he can show that he has returned to form following an ACL tear in the Arizona State game last season. While McGary doesn’t have the same hype about his pro prospects, he has a good shot of being a second-day pick himself. Both players are on the Outland Trophy watch list for the best lineman in football. Henry Roberts covered for Trey Adams at left tackle during spring ball while Luke Wattenberg filled in frequently during last season following the injury, although those two will likely play at other spots on the line this season if the starters are healthy.

Option #3: Running Back

Any time a top-10 leading rusher in conference history (#9) is coming back to school, running back automatically makes this list. Myles Gaskin has been as consistently great as any Husky I can remember (he’s averaged at least 5.0 YPC in 60% of his career games). He’s rushed for between 1300 and 1400 yards in each of his first three seasons. If Gaskin does it again then he’ll move into third all-time in the conference behind just Charles White and Royce Freeman. And backing up Gaskin is the dynamic true sophomore Salvon Ahmed who averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season as the third back. If there’s a nitpick with the group it’s the lack of a proven bruiser to push the pile on 3rd and 1. The only other back with more than 10 carries last year was Sean McGrew, who also has a scatback body type like Ahmed. Kamari Pleasant will have a shot as a short-yardage guy as will true freshman Richard Newton, although the former seems more likely.

Option #4: Safety

Corner isn’t the only position in the secondary that’s loaded. The dynamic duo of Taylor Rapp and JoJo McIntosh have the ability to make an impact all over the field. McIntosh is known as the big hitter while Rapp is the versatile piece able to plug any hole in the defense. Rapp should be no worse than a second-round pick if he decides to leave after his junior season for the NFL. The pieces behind those two are inexperienced but with impressive pedigrees. Brandon McKinney and Isaiah Gilchrist are each underclassmen but both entered the program as 4-star recruits. Both will be ready to step in for any length of time if required this season.

Honorable Mention: Quarterback

Jake Browning will have his name etched at the top of every entry in the Husky passing record book by the end of this season. And everyone knows the QB room is loaded. So why aren’t they on this list? Because no one other than Browning who is eligible this season has yet thrown a pass in college football. Having Jacob Eason is great but he can’t help for 2018 and the duo of Yankoff/Sirmon will probably redshirt as well. Jake Haener has made big strides but I don’t think there are (m)any fans excited at the prospect of him seeing the field this year. I need a little more proven depth to move them up.

What do you think? Vote below.

Poll

What will be the strongest Husky position group in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Cornerback
    (602 votes)
  • 8%
    Offensive Tackle
    (76 votes)
  • 15%
    Running Back
    (150 votes)
  • 11%
    Safety
    (105 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (17 votes)
950 votes total Vote Now

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