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