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Getting To Know Your Dawgs – Wide Receiver

Camp is almost half over and the first game is 2 weeks away.  It seems as if training camp has brought a new injury with it everyday.  When you list everything out (which I will do after I run through the wide receivers) it doesn’t look as bad as what the perception is.

I’ve written about quarterbacks, running backs, and fullbacks so far in this series and I move on to receiver today.  The position is going through what seems to be a little bit of a face lift this year, with Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar graduating.  Those two had very good careers at U-Dub, although they both came with their fair share of frustrations.  Most fans agree that, while the 2012 group is young, they have a good amount of talent and shouldn’t see a huge drop off in production.  On to the names!  I’ll include most players (I will probably leave off some walk-ons who I don’t see as contributors this year).  The order I list them is in the order I perceive as the current depth chart.

Kasen Williams (SO.)

I was just reading Ted Miller’s blog (which is fantastic) and he was asked to compare Kasen Williams and Marquess Wilson.  He said that it wasn’t a fair comparison in comparing someone who is an All-American and someone who is mostly based on potential at this point.  This is exactly right.  Kasen Williams has as much potential as any receiver in the Pac-12 and maybe the country.  No, really he does.  He flashed it at times last year but he has hardly proven himself.  He’s not in the Pac-12 elite but I would be surprised if he wasn’t in that group by the end of the season.  Every Husky fan (and a few WSU fans) have the picture of Kasen leaping over a defensive back in the Apple Cup cemented into their memory bank and these are the type of plays that we hope to see all year.  Last year, Kasen caught 36 passes for 427 yards.  I expect him to double those yards.  By all accounts, Williams should be a star at some point, the question is if that will happen this year.  I sure hope so.

James Johnson (SR.) 

James Johnson has had an interesting career as a Husky.  He scored the first touchdown of the Sark era, as a true freshman.  Johnson then went on to have a great freshman year (39 catches for 422 yards), particularly in the first half.  He was then injured before his sophomore year and somehow got lost in the mix at the position.  He never really saw the field, aside from a few plays here and there.  Last year brought something of a comeback for Johnson (28 receptions for 366 yards).  He would have a few great games (Nebraska comes to mind) and then disappear for a game it seemed.  He did miss a few games due to injury.  This year is off to an ominous start, as he’s suffered a dislocated wrist and a few torn ligaments.  Sarkisian said that he’ll be out 4-6 weeks.  This is a blow to the Dawgs for the first few games as most people had James penciled in as the number 2 receiver.

Cody Bruns (RS SR.)

Speaking of interesting careers, I’m not sure any player could top Bruns in that category.  Cody Bruns played in his first game half way through his freshman year because Ty wanted to run some trick plays.  Cody would get on the field for about 3 plays a game and it wasn’t usually to catch passes.  Bruns was a bit lost in the depth his sophomore year and then played a little more his junior year.  He’s been labeled as a player who could do everything from holding on field goals, to passing the ball, to punt coverage, to actually receiving.  Last year, he was dealt an emotional blow as his father passed away.  The coaches and Bruns decided that a redshirt year would be best for all involved.  Now Bruns enters his last year and figures to be an integral part in the receiving corps.  He may be used in a more conventional way than usual but don’t be surprised to see him be on the field in many different capacities.  He has surprising speed and is said to be a sharp route runner.

Kevin Smith (JR.)

It’s easy to forget that Kevin Smith didn’t play all 4 years of high school football.  He started later but his athletic ability made up for however raw he was.  Now he’s an upper class-man who could be a pretty big contributor (208 yards receiving last year).  Smith is still recovering from an ACL injury and could be limited for the first month of the season.  If he does come back to 100% healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the Huskies 4 best receivers.  You may also see him back returning kicks and showing off his speed.

Jaydon Mickens (FR.)

Mickens was rated as a four-star recruit coming out of California and has been turning heads in the first 2 weeks of camp.  He has even been running with the starters in the last couple of days due to injuries ahead of him and his good play.  Mickens is the smallest of the receivers (5-10, 170) but has a ton of speed.  He’s almost assured to play this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in 2 weeks.

Kendyl Taylor (FR.)

Much of what I said about Mickens rings true for Taylor.  He was a highly rated recruit coming out of Arizona who has been making plenty of plays thus far in camp.  He’s also 5-10 but a little bulkier than Mickens.  His high school mascot was a Husky so that’s cool, I guess.  Taylor will see plenty of playing time, especially as Johnson and Smith work their way back as the season progresses.  Sure, these 2 freshmen probably have their best days a few years down the road but we don’t have the luxury to wait for that since the Dawgs need them now.  I’m guessing they’ll come through with only a few hiccups along the way.

A few more guys and notes after the jump. Continue reading

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2012 UW Wide Receivers

Looking at the current roster, with minimal attention paid to the 2012 recruiting class.

Who They Lose

Jermaine Kearse

Devin Aguilar

Kearse had a very contentious career for a guy who is probably one of the five or so greatest receivers ever at UW.  He made play after play and caught a huge amount of touchdowns.  I can’t get the Husky record book to open right now, but he’s near the top in a number of categories.  The consistent issues with drops plagued Kearse.  More than a few had major effects on games and kept him from being a huge fan favorite.  He was never quite what he could have been because of the drops, but he is still a huge threat to replace.  Aguilar was a little more consistent but not quite the playmaking threat that Kearse was.  Still, he made a lot of catches at critical moments.  Replacing these two is a fairly tall order.  They both had flaws, but they are clearly one of the better WR combos the Huskies have ever had.

Who Is Back

Kasen Williams- Sophomore

James Johnson- Senior

Cody Bruns- Senior

Kevin Smith- Junior

The saving grace in an otherwise lackluster group is Williams.  It took him half the season to get going, but once he did, all the hype he brought with him seemed inadequate to the actual talent he possesses.  He looked faster than expected, and his overall athleticism is ridiculous.  His leap over a Cougar in the Apple Cup is already legendary.  I expect Kasen will take a huge jump forward this year and be one of the best receivers in a conference full of good ones. Continue reading

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UW Recruiting- Wide Receiver & Tight End

Outside of Jermaine Kearse, the receiving positions lacked playmakers for the 2010 Huskies.  Luckily for the Dawgs, each position has an elite talent in this recruiting class, as the two highest rated players in the class are Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Wide Receiver

Commits

Kasen Williams  6′ 3″ 215 lbs. Skyline HS (WA)

Josh Perkins  6′ 3″ 200 lbs. Gahr HS (Cal.)

Jamaal Jones  6’2″ 180 lbs. Graham-Kapowsin HS (WA)

Possibilities

The Huskies have a number of other offers out, but few of them seem likely to be Dawgs.  The possible exception is Marvin Hall, QB recruit Joseph Gray’s top target at Dorsey H.S.  Hall is a smaller receiver who might be a nice complement to the big guys already committed.  He’s slated to visit UW at the end of January and is planning to decide on or near signing day.

Overview

Williams is the big name here.  It’s no stretch to call him one of the greatest high school players in Washington state history.  He’s big, physical, a good route runner and tough to tackle.  Reportedly, he lacks elite speed but seems to fit that old Jerry Rice profile of never being caught from behind.  He’s probably the highest rated recruit UW has had since Reggie Williams, and definitely the most talented receiver since Reggie.  If he doesn’t receive a good chunk of playing time next year, it will be a surprise.  I don’t know much about the other two commits, but they fit the mold of big, athletic receivers that USC favored while Sarkisian was there.  This is a good group that should go a long way toward replacing Kearse and Aguilar when they graduate after next year. Continue reading

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Countdown to Camp: Recruiting

5 days until camp!  Today, we’ll look at some of the 2011 recruits who have committed and might commit to play football at Washington.  Sark and staff have had a great start to this class and it has potential to get a way better.  Let’s take a look at some players.

Verbal Commits (as  reported by Scout.com):

Jarett Finau- TE (Offered by Arizona, BYU, Hawaii, Utah State, and WSU)
Scott Lawyer- OLB
Josh Perkins- WR (Offered by Minnesota, New Mexico St., San Diego St., San Jose St.)
Jamaal Jones- WR (Offered by Idaho and WSU)
Connor Cree- DE (Offered by ASU, Boise St., Colorado St., Uconn, Idaho, WSU, Wyoming)
Matthew Lyons- OLB
Dexter Charles- OT (Offered by Arizona and WSU)
Taniela Tupou- DE (Offered by BYU and WSU)
Kameron Jackson- CB (Offered by Boise St. and WSU)
Aubrey Coleman- DE (Offered by ASU)
Maataua Brown- DT
Elijhaa Penny- FB (Offered by UNLV)
Evan Zeger- S (Offered by ASU, BYU, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, UCLA, UNLV, WSU)

Note: Some offers don’t get recorded by Scout.  Some people might have more offers that are not on here.  These recruits will also be getting more offers as the year goes on.

There’s not a ton to say about these guys, as many of them haven’t been scouted by the big sites (rivals and scout).  One of the best things about this list is the group of guys that are from Washington.  There are 5 guys from Washington as Sark continues to put the so-called ‘fence around the state.’  It’s also good to see the amount of defensive lineman on that list.  That is a serious need for the Dawgs.

The Big Three (Plus a few more):

Brett Hundley- QB
Hundley is one of the highest ranked quarterbacks in the nation.  He hails from Arizona and is down to two schools, UW and UCLA.  Hundley has great size (6-4, 217) and good mobility (4.65 40-time).  UCLA has received a committment from a quarterback a few weeks ago so that could be a good sign for us.  This is one of the first times Neuheisel and Sark have gone toe-to-toe for a great recruit.  Except for Josh Shirley.  Hmm… That’s weird.  I have a good feeling about our chances with Hundley.

Kasen Williams- WR
Kasen is rated as the best receiver recruit on the west coast by most sources.  He has narrowed his list to UW, Cal, Notre Dame, LSU, and Florida.  That is a big-time list.  Williams goes to Skyline and both his parents went to U-Dub.  My guess is that he ends up a Husky.  Here’s to hoping!

Austin Seferian-Jenkins- TE
Jenkins might be the most coveted of these three and he might be the hardest to get.  Jenkins if from Gig Harbor and is down to Texas and Washington (although he’s said Florida and Alabama are in the mix also).  He’s visiting Texas this week and we’ll know his decision on August 16th.  Condotta thinks he’s a UW lean and he usually knows best when it comes to all things Husky.  I’m not so sure this time but I hope so!

Brendon Bigelow- RB
Bigelow is one of the best running backs on the west coast and is actually listed as a commit to UW.  Unfortunately, he’s going to continue to look around.  Washington was the first school to offer, he jumped on that chance and now is having second thoughts, more or less.  He has spent a ton of time at California lately and I would not be surprised to see him end up there.  This whole situation reminds of Keanon Lowe with Oregon last year.  That’s not good news.

DeAnthony Thomas- CB
Here’s a quote by scout Scott Kennedy about Thomas, “The only player I’ve ever said that could legitimately be 5-Stars at four different positions, RB, S, CB, WR. The only thing that keeps Thomas from being the #1 prospect in the country is that he’s on the small side. But his combination of raw speed, change of direction, balance, and natural athleticism is at the top of the heap. His long-term future may best be served at corner where his size isn’t a liability.”  Unfortunately, Thomas is a soft commit to USC (like Bigelow is to us) and looks to be headed there.  He is visiting for the Nebraska game and that gives us a little hope.  

It’d be awesome if 3 of these 5 guys committed.  If 4 of 5 did then the Dawgs might have a top 5 class in the nation.  This class is off to a great start and if a few things break the right way this could be something special.  Go get ’em Sark!

Andrew

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