Okay, so I realize not a lot of suspense in this selection, as running back Chris Polk tops our list of the top Huskies entering training camp.
Polk (pictured against WSU last year in a Dean Rutz photo) will be the key player in UW’s offensive attack this year, the rock the Huskies will build around to help ease new QB Keith Price into things.
Polk said at Pac-12 media day two weeks ago he’s down to about 220 pounds from roughly 227 last year, and expects to be as strong as a year ago but hopefully a little quicker and faster. If so, and depending on the help he gets elsewhere, he could surpass the 1,415 yards he had last season, which was second in school history behind Corey Dillon’s 1,695 in 1996.
Polk is sixth in career yards with 2,561, and with a big season could make a run at Napoleon Kaufman’s school record of 4,106 — barring injury, he should have no trouble moving past Joe Steele (3,168) into second.
One stat I hadn’t really realized until looking through the updated UW record book recently is that Polk is currently the school leader in career rushing yards per game at 94.9 (2,561 yards in 27 games). Tied for second on that list are Hugh McElhenny and Kaufman, with Steele fourth at 81.3 and Greg Lewis fifth at 74.4. (Dillon isn’t eligible since he only played one season — the school says 18 games are required for career records. Dillon had an average of 141.3 yards in 1996, which is the single-season per-game rushing record).
Polk’s importance to the season only increased over the off-season when the Huskies lost a couple of RBs to injury, notably Deontae Cooper, who will miss a second straight year with an ACL injury. Probably can’t overstate how critical it will be to keep Polk upright this season.
Here’s the rest of the list:
No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau’oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant
No. 3: WR Jermaine Kearse
No. 2: DT Alameda Ta’amu
So who got left off the list who was deserving?
You could probably make a case for 5-6 others — I’ve noted the debate in the comments section about Nate Fellner, who was essentially 11th on my list. I didn’t include Keith Price since this is mostly based on body of work to date (and as noted initially, I didn’t include freshmen). Drew Schaefer was certainly in the consideration, as well. And numerous others could be on this list by the end of the season.
Mostly, this was designed a few players and highlight their importance to the team with the season finally nearing. All the off-season questions begin to be answered on Monday.