Husky Football: Position Preview – WR
Husky football season is right around the corner (fall training camp begins on Aug. 4th). As camp approaches we will be going position by position, providing a detailed preview of the Dawg’s roster. Today we are diving deeper into the wide receiver position.
Kevin Smith: Smith battled knee injuries throughout his career, but gradually became UW’s most reliable receiver in 2014. His athleticism and chemistry with Keith Price proved to be an essential part of the Washington offense, particularly on 3rd downs. Smith graduated and is currently battling to make the Seattle Seahawks roster.
Antavius Sims: Sims’ transfer from a JC to Washington earned a lot of hype due to his elite athleticism. Unfortunately, he never seemed comfortable and couldn’t land significant playing time. He was a valuable practice player who contributed on special teams.
Demore’ea Stringfellow: One of the biggest losses this off season is certainly the transferring of Stringfellow to Ole Miss. Stringfellow found significant playing time as a true freshman towards the second half of the year to help mitigate the loss of an injured Kasen Williams. String filled in beautifully and showed the potential to be a prototype NFL receiver with his blend of size, speed, and hands. Unfortunately, he ran into some off the field troubles and found himself suspended indefinitely by new Head Coach, Chris Petersen. Coach Pete seemed open to the idea of Stringfellow returning to the team, as Miles did, but apparently Stringfellow wanted to move on to greener pastures. He is an elite talent; expect to see him playing on Sundays in a few years.
Kasen Williams: (6-3 217 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 29 receptions, 421 yards, 1 TD) All signs were pointing that the 2013 season would be Williams’ breakout year on a national level; however, a devastating lower leg injury sidelined him for the majority of the season. As much as we hate to see our players injured, this may have been a blessing in disguise. If Kasen had the season he was expecting to have in 2013, he probably would have left for the NFL Draft. Having an experienced, strong, possession-type receiver return will be extremely helpful as the young quarterbacks try to adjust to prime time college football. Williams was sidelined all spring ball, but should be a full go come the start of fall camp. Expect Williams to emerge as somewhat of a “safety net” for our young QB’s, and to finish his career off with a huge season and 2nd all-time in career receptions.
Jaydon Mickens: (5-11 174 lbs; Junior; 2013 Stats: 65 receptions, 688 yards, 5 TDs) Mickens had a breakout year in 2013. He showed tremendous quickness and agility that make him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He has an uncanny ability to make people miss in the open field and is also the best route-runner on the team. He is not only the leader of L.O.Z (Legion of Zoom), but also found himself in a position to be a locker room leader. Look for Mickens to continue this momentum and have a brilliant 2014 campaign.
John Ross III: (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore; 2013 Stats: 16 receptions, 208 yards, 1 TD) Ross plays a very fast brand of football, much like Mickens. Ross proved he belongs in the L.O.Z when he returned a kickoff 100 yards in the bowl game against BYU. Also, Ross reportedly ran a 4.29 40 yard dash making him not only the fastest player on the Husky roster, but also one of the fastest players in the nation. With another year under his belt, expect Ross to contribute more consistently on offense, special teams, and perhaps even defense. He is certainly one of the most exciting players to watch in the PAC-12 and Husky fans should be anxious to see what he can do.
DiAndre Campbell: (6-2 206 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 3 receptions, 34 yards) Campbell graduated last spring and was ready to move on from football until Coach Pete convinced him to exercise his last year of eligibility. Campbell hasn’t been a regular contributor throughout his career; however, he is a veteran player who can offer valuable experience and advice to a younger WR corps. Also, Campbell has an opportunity to contribute more under this new coaching regime.
Marvin Hall: (5-10 188 lbs; Junior; 2013 Stats: 8 receptions, 140 yards) Hall is the third and final member of L.O.Z and lives up to the name. Hall is certainly one of the faster players on the roster as evidenced by his punt returning skills. He has mostly contributed solely on special teams, but look for his role as a wide receiver to expand under the new coach staff.
Kendyl Taylor: (5-10 202 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore; Redshirted in 2013 and played RB in 2012) Taylor has been somewhat of a nomad throughout his Husky career. He was recruited as a WR, immediately moved to RB, switched to DB last season, only to return to WR this season. Taylor has not seen significant playing time at any of the aforementioned positions, but he has generated a lot of buzz this off season thanks to a jaw-dropping combine workout. He displayed tremendous athletic ability in the 40 yard dash (4.47), 3-cone drill (6.48), pro agility (3.90), and vertical jump (40.5). The Huskies are hopeful that this athleticism will translate onto the football field come gameday.
Taelon Parson: (6-1 184 lbs; Sophomore; Walk On) Has not seen any significant playing time. Valuable practice player; don’t expect too much more from Parson this season.
Neel Saluhke: (5-11 167 lbs; Sophomore; Walk On) Has not seen any significant playing time. Valuable practice player; don’t expect too much more from Saluhke this season.
Dante Pettis: (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman) Pettis is the younger brother of Boise State legend, Austin Pettis. Clearly the connection between the Pettis family and Coach Petersen lured Dante to Montlake. Dante possesses the kind of athleticism and soft hands to make a successful jump to college football. Expect Pettis to redshirt this season due to the depth in front of him, but look for him to become a household name in the future.
Brayden Lenius: (6-5 217 lbs; Freshman) Lenius is an intriguing prospect; he possesses the kind of size and athleticism that makes all college and NFL scouts to drool. It seems that he will begin his career at WR, but don’t be surprised if he puts on some weight and ends up at TE. Expect Lenius to redshirt this season due to the depth ahead of him at both WR and TE, but Husky fans should be excited to have a young athletic specimen like Lenius on the roster.
The Huskies have a deep and talented pool of wide receivers entering the 2014 season. With Kasen Williams returning to form the Dawgs will have a big possession type receiver who will be complemented nicely by the L.O.Z. Expect the top three contributors in the passing game this season to be Williams, Mickens, and Ross. All three of these players have all-conference ability and should provide plenty of excitement this upcoming season. If these receivers can develop good chemistry with whomever the starting quarterback ends up being, expect the Huskies to have a potent passing attack in 2014.