We’ll finally conclude our look at the Huskies by position heading into the fall by examining the special teams.
POST-SPRING DEPTH CHART
PK — Erik Folk, Jr./Eric Guttorp, Jr.
P — Will Mahan, Sr./Folk
Holder — Cody Bruns, Jr./Will Mahan, Sr.
Snapper — Brendan Lopez, Jr./Kavario Middleton, Jr.
KO Returner — Chris Polk, So./or Quinton Richardson, Jr./or James Johnson, So./or Deontae Cooper, Fr./or Jesse Callier, Fr./or Jordan Polk, Jr.
Punt Returner — Devin Aguilar, Jr./Johri Fogerson, Jr./Cody Bruns, Jr.
NEWCOMERS ARRIVING IN THE FALL — None at the kicking positions. Some freshmen could emerge at other spots, notably Kevin Smith as a returner.
POST-SPRING OVERVIEW — There won’t be any suspense in competition for the kicking spots this fall with the return of Folk and Mahan, each starters a year ago whose jobs are set.
Folk was somewhat erratic in the spring, but UW coach Steve Sarkisian often referenced Folk’s 18-21 performance last fall as evidence of his ability. The main issue with Folk will be improving the depth and consistency of his kickoffs. The only other PK on the roster in the spring was Guttorp, a walk-on who had a moment of glory with the final PAT in the spring game.
Mahan averaged a respectable 40.6 yards per kick last season and was unchallenged in the spring, though it is expected there will be a walk-on punter in the fall.
(Remember that UW tried to sign a kicker last February, Alejandro Maldonado, who was a commit for months before deciding right before signing day to instead attend Oregon).
UW needed to find a new snapper and holder in the spring and appeared to solidify each spot with Lopez — a walk-on from Bellevue who has been on the roster since 2008 — taking over at snapper and Bruns at holder. (That’s Lopez pictured above).
The return spots were left a little more vague as spring ended — the Huskies didn’t perform any returning in the spring game to avoid injuries. There is no lack of candidates, however, including the players who handled them the most effectively last season — Chris Polk on kickoffs and Aguilar on punts.
Aguilar will probably begin as the starting punt returner. The KO job figures to be up for grabs entering camp, however — as you can see, there are a number of candidates and hard to tell right now who has much of an edge (and throw freshman Smith right into the mix, as well).
Here is Sarkisian’s post-spring assessment of the position:
On Folk: “When you are working with new snappers and all that, they are working through some mechanics and we might see him miss three or four in practice. I don’t get worked up over it. The first time we had to attempt a long field goal in a scrimmage setting the guy hits it from 47 like it’s nothing. So he’s going to be fine. He’s hit big kicks for us and he was very consistent last year, going 18-21, so that won’t change.”
On the returners: “We do have a lot of guys and sometimes when you have a lot of guys you don’t find one guy, so our focus going into fall camp with all of those guys back there on kickoffs and punts is to hunker down and find kind of the lead guy, and then the other guys that can fall in when he needs a break or gets nicked up or something.”