Every season I look forward to examining the depth chart and imagining which players will become the next stars in purple and gold. Will a true freshman be too good to keep off the field and have a big impact, or will it be a senior finally getting his chance to start and ascend to All-Conference level? Of course there is the range of possibilities in between, each one exciting in its own right.
If the offense is to take the step forward that so many fans desperately want, it would likely require “breakouts” of varying degrees from multiple players. The good news is that with the talent on hand, returning quarterback, and veteran offensive line, the opportunity more than merely exists - it’s there for the taking. But who will be the biggest breakout?
And thus we find ourselves 17 days away from Washington’s season kicking off. To the list!
WR - Terrell Bynum
Let’s start with the trendy pick - unless you consider his 31 catch, 368 yard and 2 touchdown 2019 season his breakout. But, he was still fourth on the team in receptions that year. Despite this he seems to have finally ascended to be a primary target for the quarterbacks in his senior year. When Dylan Morris isn’t throwing to Cade Otton in fall camp, he’s finding Bynum. Everything points to him being the steady veteran presence this offense needs him to be, and he should easily eclipse 50 catches this year. However, I am not sure that is enough to constitute a breakout season. I’m setting the bar at 65 catches, 750 yards, and 8 touchdowns.
WR - Rome Odunze
In Odunze’s true freshman season, he oozed tantalizing potential, which we caught glimpses of in the Stanford game. Behind Otton and Bynum, the sophomore has arguably been the next most targeted receiver in camp. If he emerges as the explosive threat the Huskies so desperately need in the pass game, it could be transformative.
Suffice it to say, the weaponization of Odunze in the offense would certainly constitute a breakout season for the talented wideout from Las Vegas. He ended the four game 2020 season with just 6 catches for 72 yards, but it feels like those numbers will balloon as he establishes himself as an outside threat. I’m going to say at least 35 catches with a minimum average of 15 yards per, and 7 touchdowns, is a breakout.
RB - Cam Davis
With the steadily productive Sean McGrew and physical Richard Newton likely to get the most carries, Cam Davis will need to emerge as the true first choice running back to constitute a breakout season. Which to me means 1,000 yards. That probably won’t happen unless someone ahead of him misses games, but he is going to see the most action of his career this season. He has a role in this offense and if he shows the same burst and vision he had in high school, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to burst onto the scene.
QB - Dylan Morris
Can’t ignore the quarterback. Dylan Morris showed some promise as an efficient and steady leader for the offense in 2020. He also showed a bit of crafty playmaking and a cool head. With the help of his receivers, if he gets the explosive part of the pass game dialed in, his numbers could take off. The offensive staff seems dedicated to running the ball, so perhaps a lot of his potential red zone scores will go to the running backs. Either way, things can certainly break right and he ends up with a 3,000 yard, 25 touchdown, 65% completion type of year. Perhaps not the most likely, but multiple recent UW quarterbacks have hit those marks.
OL - Victor Curne or Henry Bainivalu
Is it a breakout if both were Honorable Mention All-Conference last year? Perhaps not, but the OL deserve a shoutout. Heck, it could be whoever wins the LG battle. As I wrote in my Most Likely to be an All-American piece, Jaxson Kirkland will have the opportunity to face off against two of the best and most athletic pass rushers in the country in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) this season. Victor Curne will line up opposite Kirland and will get his shot to block those guys too, and if he turns in a dominant performance and gets on some All-American lists, that might be considered a breakout season.
Henry Bainivalu feels like he’s been steadily improving in each of his five years in the Husky program. He’s big, physical, and athletic for 6-6 330, and if he reaches his full potential he would be a huge boost to the offensive line. Similar to Curne, I’ll consider an All-American season from Bainivalu a breakout.
Verdict - Terrell Bynum
I really want to go with Odunze here - or even Morris - but it just feels like Bynum’s year. He showed flashes in 2019 of being a reliable all around threat at receiver, being able to make tough catches over the middle but also take jet sweeps for first downs. He will be the first target at wide receiver and will be looked to on those critical 3rd and mediums all season. Morris was a strong contender for me, but it almost feels like his play last year could be considered a breakout for a freshman. Odunze is absolutely primed for at least a solid year but I don’t know if he’ll get quite as many passes thrown his way between Bynum, Otton, and the running back carries.
Who is your pick?
Who will be Washington’s breakout offensive player?
This poll is closed