March 19, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Spring practice halftime report — Receivers/tight end
We’ll continue our look at how the position groups stand as UW takes a spring practice break with a review of the receivers and tight ends.
(Since UW often goes with three-WR sets, we’ll list three receiving positions):
Kasen Williams, 6-2, 216, Jr.
DiAndre Campbell, 6-1, 198, Jr.
Jamaal Jones, 6-1, 188, So.
Kevin Smith, 5-11, 213, Sr. OR
James Johnson, 6-1, 197, Sr.
Marvin Hall, 5-10, 181, So.
Jaydon Mickens, 5-10, 170, So.
Kendyl Taylor, 5-10, 200, So.
Antavius Sims, 6-0, 199, Sr.
Finding a third receiver was one of UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s stated goals heading into the spring. As the chart above shows, there is no shortage of candidates. Only Cody Bruns graduated of scholarship receivers off of last year’s team, and UW signed three highly-touted receivers for the Class of 2013 who will arrive in the fall. For the spring, the nine above are battling it out.
Williams is obviously the marquee name, and Sarkisian said Saturday he is playing as well as he ever has, the indoor track season having possibly helped him (he said he thought it might add in his efforts to add some “explosiveness” to his game). Williams generally plays an outside receiver role but UW wants to move him around more this season than it has in the past, and you’ll undoubtedly see him line up all over the place next fall (one reason I’m not going to try much to clarify the receiving roles in the depth chart above).
Mickens has usually worked as another starter, generally at an inside (or slot) position, also earning praise from Sarkisian Saturday for his play so far in the spring. Taylor is also listed as a tailback after moving to that spot early last season after an injury to Jesse Callier. But he has appeared to work mostly as a receiver so far this spring, generally in the same slot-type role as Mickens, also earning praise from Sarkisian after Saturday’s practice (when he and Mickens each caught TDs in a team session). We’ll see how things evolve throughout the rest of spring, but for now it looks as if Taylor is headed more toward being a receiver (and recall that the TB spot was bolstered with the move of former WR Dwayne Washington to running back prior to the Vegas Bowl, essentially leaving the numbers the same at each position).
Johnson returned healthy this spring after missing the 2012 season with a wrist injury. Smith also appears healthier after struggling with knee issues last season. Both have spent time working with the first unit, usually at an outside spot, in what could be a pretty intriguing battle, though the Huskies will hardly complain if each proves worthy of starting status, giving UW that much more depth and that much stronger of a receiving rotation.
Campbell and Hall have also gotten their share of work with the second unit. Sims and Jones each appear to have more of a battle to get into the rotation, competition that will only increase in the fall with the arrival of the freshmen.
Michael Hartvigson, 6-6, 255, Jr. OR
Evan Hudson, 6-3, 249, Jr.
Joshua Perkins, 6-3, 216, So.
SUSPENDED — Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
The big story at this position has also been the big story of the spring so far for UW — the suspension of Austin Seferian-Jenkins after being cited for DUI following a one-car accident. The investigation into the incident by the Seattle City Attorney’s office is still ongoing, leaving it unclear how long Seferian-Jenkins will be suspended and whether he will miss any games this fall.
With him, UW has maybe the best tight end in the country. In his absence, Hartvigson and Hudson, who have each seen regular time on the field the past two years as backups and in multi-tight end sets, are battling it out. As Sarkisian said last week, each needs to get more consistent in their play overall, but specifically in catching the ball. Perkins, who had been slated to be used more at receiver (specifically, in the slot) will return to being predominantly a tight end to add depth in Seferian-Jenkins’ absence.