This is where it gets exciting! This might be the Huskies best receiving group since the days of Reggie Williams, Charles Frederick, and Paul Arnold. This position is not only talented but also has depth. Here’s my depth chart:
Jermaine Kearse, 6-2, 200, Jr: Kearse became the Huskies go-to receiver last year. He is very good at catching the jump ball and making catches in one-on-one coverage. It was easy to see that Locker had loads of confidence in Kearse last year, that will only grow through more time. Kearse has the potential to be in all pac-10 receiver this year.
What Kearse needs to improve on this spring: Like all the Husky receivers, Kearse was prone to a few drops throughout the year. He also went through a spell in Fall camp in which he struggled last year. If Jermaine becomes more consistent and becomes even more comfortable in the offense the sky is the limit for him. He is becoming one of the most exciting players to watch on this team.
Devin Aguilar, 6-0, 185, Jr: I admit, I wasn’t a big Aguilar fan. That was until his late season surge. Coaches would rave about him and he’d always be in the starting lineup but never seemed to do much. Then he went on to have huge game after huge game this season. Although he was slowed with an injury last year, Aguilar had 5 touchdowns and was second behind Kearse with 42 receptions. While Kearse is more of a down the field threat, Aguilar is more of a possession receiver.
What Aguilar needs to improve on this spring: Like Kearse, Aguilar needs to improve on his consistency. He seemed to do that towards the end of the season and if he continues that through spring he will become one of the best #2 receivers in the conference. The more comfortable these top two receivers become in the offense the better the Huskies will be. Developing an even better chemistry with #10 is a goal for the spring.
James Johnson, 6-1, 193, So: Johnson was a freshman sensation last year. Coming in without much fanfare, Johnson was fantastic in the first half of the season. Like many freshman before him, Johnson hit a wall about halfway through the season. He was still a contributor but drops became common and his receptions went down. Despite this, James Johnson will be a very good player for the Huskies over the next few years.
What Johnson needs to improve on this spring: Johnson needs to improve his strength and endurance so that he’s able to play a full season to his potential. This won’t be done in the spring as much as it is being done right now in winter training, as he lifts weights. This spring I think that the game will slow down for Johnson. He will be able to read the defense and will be able to keep up physically. The more time Johnson has on the practice field and the weight room, the more Johnson will mature as a player. I expect to see the James Johnson that we saw in the first few games of the season this spring.
D’Andre Goodwin, 5-11, 183, Sr: Goodwin went from leading receiver to backup last year. In 2008 Goodwin was one of the few bright spots in the Huskies woeful season but last year he was hampered by a hamstring injury and never got back to the same level. Goodwin seemed to be turning his game on halfway through the season but then suffered a nasty concussion against Notre Dame and didn’t play much after that. D’Andre is very capable of being a good receiver, it’s just a matter of him being healthy.
What Goodwin needs to improve on this spring: First of all, D’Andre needs to be healthy. He suffered an injury in spring last year and never truly recovered. Goodwin relies on his speed to get open and if he’s suffering after effects from his hamstring he will be buried on the depth chart. Once he is healthy, Goodwin just needs to go out and play. Husky fans know what he can do but the coaches have yet to see his full potential. If he’s at his full potential I think Goodwin could be a starter. This is a big spring for Goodwin, so go out there and show the coaches what you can do D’Andre! (Cheesy, I know).
Jordan Polk, 5-7, 162, Jr: Everyone loves Polk’s speed. The kid is one of the fastest players on the roster but doesn’t play much because of his size. It’s hard to jump over cornerbacks to catch a pass when you’re 5-7. He adds excitement to the game with his speed but hasn’t shown that he’s an every down player. Last year Jordan came in to run the ball on reverses or be a decoy on a reverse, not to catch passes.
What Polk needs to improve on this spring: Jordan needs to show that he can be an every-down player. If Polk comes out this spring and shows that he can go out and catch passes with regularity than he will get more playing time. Polk needs to find ways to get open using his speed and neglecting his size. There’s no questioning Polk’s work ethic it’s just tough for a guy his size to be a pac-10 starter. Hopefully he has a good spring and we get to his speed on the field more in the fall.
Cody Bruns, 5-11, 180, Jr: I watched Cody Bruns carve my high school football team up for 3 years in a row. He set records in Washington for most receiving yards as a high schooler but has disappeared since coming here. Bruns gets in during blow outs and trick plays because he has a pretty good arm. Coaches say he is a good route runner but I don’t think he matches up physically enough to play regularly.
What Bruns needs to improve on this spring: Like Jordan Polk, Bruns needs to improve in the weight room so he can match up physically. You can run a perfect route but that doesn’t overcome natural talent. I’m not saying that Bruns doesn’t have natural talent, he just might not have as much as the guys in front of him. I don’t think Cody has had much chance to prove himself at UW so this spring will be his chance. I think he can play at this level and play effectively but he needs to show the coaches that.
Luther Leonard, 6-2, 208, RS. So: Leonard came into school as a quarterback but has been switched to wide receiver since. Leonard is really buried on the depth chart and not many people have seen him play a lot. He looks the part with his 6-2, 208 frame but he hasn’t done much on the field.
What Leonard needs to improve on this spring: To be perfectly honest, Leonard needs to improve on just about everything. He has a very talented group ahead of him on the depth chart and it will be tough for him to see playing time. Leonard is a gifted athlete and is capable of showing the coaches something but he hasn’t done much so far to make me think that he’ll see playing time.
There are several good freshman coming in this fall who could challenge for playing time but they won’t be here for spring practices. This is a great position for the Dawgs. The future is bright for this position also; there is only one senior in this group.
UW Dawgpound also did a receiver overview the other day, you can find it here http://www.uwdawgpound.com/2010/3/10/1366519/spring-outlook-wide-receivers.
Thanks for reading!