Washington received tough news following their final scrimmage last Saturday as Kalen DeBoer announced on Tuesday that RB Cam Davis and OL Gaard Memmelaar both will miss the 2023 season due to injury.
Some tough news for UW: Kalen DeBoer announces that RB Cam Davis and OL Gaard Memmelaar will miss the season due to injury. Davis was in line for RB1 duty, Memmelaar would have been on the depth chart at guard.— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) August 22, 2023
The Davis news in particular is a tough blow for this year’s squad. The Huskies brought in several running backs this offseason but Davis has been the unquestioned #1 back in the coaching staff’s mind since the first day of spring practices and seemed poised for a breakout season. Last year he led the team with 13 rushing touchdowns and finished 2nd in rushing behind Wayne Taulapapa with 522 yards.
If there is any consolation about the news, it’s that the running back spot was fortified in the offseason through the transfer portal. Washington secured one of the top backs available in Mississippi State’s Dillon Johnson. Last year Johnson ran for 488 yards with 3 TDs plus caught another 49 passes for 285 yards in the Mike Leach offense. Johnson has been banged up from injury for much of the offseason but has seen increasing work over the last few weeks and now will have a chance to earn the starting spot. The Huskies also added Arizona State’s Daniyel Ngata who last year ran for 272 yards as the Sun Devils’ backup running back.
Also in the mix for playing time will be several other returners. Former Nebraska transfer Will Nixon has been heavily involved throughout preseason practices. He started out last year competing with Davis for the #2 job but gradually was phased out throughout the year. The former wide receiver had 89 rush yards and 66 receiving yards for the Huskies. Former starter Richard Newton is also back with his 971 career rushing yards, as is local former four-star Sam Adams II who scored a pair of receiving touchdowns last year. Incoming RB recruit Tybo Rogers looked in the spring like he might be able to contribute right away but is suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.
Washington should have the running back depth to survive the injury to Davis, particularly given the pass-happy nature of the offense but this is still incredibly unfortunate. Davis was a highly rated recruit and appeared ready to fully breakout after waiting patiently for his turn throughout the last several years. Best of luck to him in his recovery and hopefully he will be back to form by the start of next season.
The Huskies also lost reserve OL Gaard Memmelaar for the season. He was expected to crack the 2-deep but realistically would not have been one of the first few linemen thrust into a bigger role if a single injury occurred on the line. Still, Gaard almost certainly have seen reps with the #2 O-line when the Huskies had a big lead in the 4th quarter and it slows his development to not be available this season.
Coach DeBoer also announced that walk-on safety Sean Toomey-Stout will take a medical retirement. He played 18 defensive snaps last season per Pro Football Focus and finishes his Husky career with 5 tackles.