I’m tired of writing and reading about the Mariners, so here’s some ridiculously early speculation on what true freshman might play for the Huskies this year. The Huskies depth is steadily improving, but they still have plenty of places where true freshman have excellent opportunities to play, and in some cases they’re even being counted on. I have no inside information, and this could change greatly as camp goes on and some players pick up on the playbook more quickly, but, barring injury, here’s my projection of the guys to watch.
Going To Play
Deontae Cooper- RB Right now, Cooper sounds like he’s sharing the first backup spot with Johri Fogerson. I’ll be curious to see if Fogerson gets more carries this year, or if he stays in the third down pass-catching role. If his role is the same, expect Cooper to get a ton of carries.
Josh Shirley- DE/LB The late addition has maybe the best chance to make an impact as the speed rusher this team is lacking. Watch the linebacker competition. If one of the veterans doesn’t take the spot, Shirley might get semi-regular time there. If not, he’ll probably start as a pass rushing specialist.
Surprise If They Don’t Play
Jesse Callier- RB The other spring standout at running back, Callier’s not quite the lock to play as Cooper isbecause he’s not quite as physically developed. He is a big breakaway threat and a shifty runner, however, so he’s almost sure to see the field at some point. Could be a big return threat, although Cooper’s getting more time there in the first couple of practices.
Sean Parker- S Not a lock only because of the good depth at safety. Still, he’s probably the highest rated of the freshman and Sark says he looks good. I could see him doing everything from starting to redshirting, depending on what the veterans do, but I would bet on closer to the former.
Sione Potoae- DT Potoae’s story is similar to Parker’s. Decent depth ahead of him, but he has the potential to be the best at his position in short order. Sark’s comments on him the first couple of practices have been glowing.
Hau’oli Jamora & Andrew Hudson- DE Small caveat here: I don’t know if both of these guys will play, but I’m betting at least one of them will. I don’t know how incredible either of them really are, but they both project well and are playing a position with lingering depth issues. Jamora has one of the cooler names on the team.
Greg Ducre- CB Lots of depth at corner, but Ducre seems to be getting the most buzz from the coaches and players. Could go either way, but I’m betting he plays, and plays a lot.
Kevin Smith- WR He brings a different body than most of the Husky receivers, as a big Terrell Owens type. Sark seems impressed, and they could use another body here.
Victor Burnett- LB A spring enrollee, he’s likely to see time as a top backup, with an outside shot at starting at some point.
Nick Montana- QB I’m betting everyone knows the story here. If Locker stays healthy, I bet he redshirts. If Locker gets hurt (knock on wood), right now who will play is a toss-up between Montana and Price.
Erik Kohler & Colin Porter- OL These guys have both been running with the second team line and seem most likely of all the OL recruits to play. I’d imagine Sark would like to redshirt them, but if they’re the best option or a few injuries crop up, either or both could see the field.
Lawrence Lagafuaina- DT A big boy who could surprise. If they’re ready physically, D Line can be a good spot for freshman to see time.
Taz Stevenson- S Should probably be higher, because it sounds like he’s getting a lot of time as a returner.
DiAndre Campbell- WR Another guy getting a look as a returner, he’s a big wide receiver who could work his way into some plays.
Jamaal Kearse- LB/S Getting talked up with Alvin Logan retiring. Good bloodlines, of course.
Likely to Redshirt (But What Do I Really Know)
Michael Hartvigson- TE Given Middleton’s dismissal, could play if the back-ups don’t produce.
Zach Fogerson- FB Lots of question marks at this position, so he could see some time if he impresses.
James Atoe, Mike Christe, Micah Hatchie, Colin Tanagawa, Ben Riva- OL Likely to redshirt, barring lots of injuries.
Cooper Pelluer, Garret Gilliland, Princeton Fuimaono- LB Pretty easy spot to jump in, so don’t count them out.
Again, these are just educated guesses, but those are all the freshman, outside of the walk-ons. Sarkisian has made clear through both words and actions that he will play the guys that can best help the team win, whether they’re freshmen or seniors, so don’t be surprised by anything.
I’m not sure if any of us will have a chance to get to practice in the next couple of weeks, but if we do, we’ll pass along a report. It’s looking like a fun season. We’ll try to weigh in on the major news as it comes up. If there’s anything you want our thoughts on, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best post something about it. Go Dawgs!