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30 Day Countdown - Day 28: Which Husky Wide Receiver Will Break Out?

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A look at Washington’s pass catching candidates

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 27 Washington Spring Game Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Everyone agrees that the Huskies need to get more out of their receivers in 2019 to drive the offense forward. What everyone doesn’t agree on is how they are most likely to get to that goal. Some fans believe that the established starters—Aaron Fuller, Andre Baccellia, and Ty Jones—need more opportunities with a different QB and position coach. Others believe that the more hyped recruits behind those three offer a better chance at improved production. A smaller minority sees some of the receivers coming off injuries as candidates to improve. Today, we will look at the top breakout options outside the established core of receivers.

Young Veterans

Terrell Bynum: Bynum was a popular breakout candidate last year as a redshirt freshman. He came into the program as a four-star recruit from the powerhouse St. John Bosco high school in California. At 6’1”, 198 lbs, he looked the part of a big-time WR. He was on the field for 8.5% of UW’s offensive snaps (most of any WR outside the three starters), but did not make an impact in the passing game. He was targeted twice and has not yet made his first collegiate catch. The pedigree and underlying talent are there for Bynum, so he is a good candidate to show progress.

Jordan Chin: Chin enters the year as a redshirt junior, but only made his first career catch against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. He played 68 snaps after seeing action in six games as a freshman. Chin came into the program with Fuller. Neither was a highly-rated recruit, but Fuller has clearly taken a bigger step forward than Chin, and Chin would have to beat the odds to break into a rotation that now includes many more physically gifted players.

Injury Comebacks

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Chico McClatcher: If you added up the collegiate accomplishments of everyone else on this list, they wouldn’t total what McClatcher has done by himself. Unfortunately, injuries have sidetracked a promising career. He played every game as a true freshman in 2015. The Pride of Federal Way broke out in 2016 with 31 catches for 574 yards and five touchdowns. He started well in 2017, but his season ended with a major leg injury in the fourth game. While he came back last year, he never quite found his groove and struggled to hold onto the ball. He missed the final five games of the year for undisclosed reasons. Everyone will be rooting for McClatcher to end his career on a high note. It will be an uphill battle.

Quinten Pounds: Three out of Pounds’s four years at UW have ended with major injuries. At this point, it’s clearly a trend. When healthy, Pounds has flashed some needed big-play ability. Among semi-regular players, only Hunter Bryant beat Pounds’s impressive 20.8 yards per catch last year. Even if his body won’t allow him to be a full-time contributor, Pounds could carve out a niche as a big play threat.

Mostly Unknowns

Marquis Spiker, Austin Osborne, Trey Lowe: Out of this group only Lowe saw the field last year, and that was for a total of three snaps. Last year’s touted freshman class now has a year of practice under its collective belt, and all three should have a much more nuanced understanding of a complex offense. Spiker and Osborne were the two highest-rated recruits Petersen had ever signed at the WR position. Lowe was a four-star recruit as well, though more as an all-purpose back. With such a crowded position group, it will be interesting to see if anyone emerges as a regular member of the receiving group. Spiker, in particular, is a thrilling prospect. At 6’3 and with breakaway speed, he put up mouth-watering numbers in high school.

Total Unknowns

Puka Nacua, Taj Davis: Nacua and Davis have seen as many snaps as Spiker and Osborne, but they might have to get in line because they haven’t had the practice time the first group now has. Nacua is a big, strong, tough receiver out of Utah who picked UW over USC and Oregon in a dramatic, weather-delayed signing ceremony. It looked for a while that Davis might be the only WR in this year’s freshman class and he could probably use a year to get his body to Pac-12 level in terms of strength.

The Pick

Two names stand out to me as the most likely to become difference-makers this year: Bynum and Spiker. Bynum has the advantage of spending more time on the field and Spiker is the most physically gifted receiver on the roster. If Fuller, Jones, and Baccellia consistently play as well as they looked at their respective bests last year, there might not be a need for a fourth receiver. If any of them have health issues that persist into the season or if they repeat the slumps that each of them had in 2018, then some help from this group will be a necessity.

Poll

Who will be Washington’s breakout WR?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Terrell Bynum
    (138 votes)
  • 1%
    Jordan Chin
    (12 votes)
  • 16%
    Chico McClatcher
    (169 votes)
  • 4%
    Quinten Pounds
    (43 votes)
  • 29%
    Marquis Spiker
    (301 votes)
  • 10%
    Austin Osborne
    (110 votes)
  • 4%
    Trey Lowe
    (43 votes)
  • 20%
    Puka Nacua
    (213 votes)
  • 0%
    Taj Davis
    (2 votes)
1031 votes total Vote Now