Washington hasn’t had a punt returned for a touchdown since 2003, and hasn’t had a kickoff returned for a TD since 2007.*
Mercifully, there were signs of life in Tuesday’s scrimmage. The hype continues to build around true freshman receiver John Ross, who at 173 pounds is already looking like quickest and most elusive player on the field. He proved that when he returned a punt about 50 yards Tuesday, side-stepping and zooming passed crowds of would-be tacklers, before finally getting tripped up at the 20-yard line.
Sophomore Marvin Hall followed with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown later in the scrimmage. Hall, as a true freshman last season, had just two catches for 21 yards, but proved most effective as a return man — nearly bringing a kick back against Portland State (above). He finished with 16 kick returns, average 22.3 yards per, and six punt returns, averaging 5.5 yards.
Jaydon Mickens had a team-high 19 kickoff returns last season (averaging 21.5), Kevin Smith had five for 83 yards, Shaq Thompson had two for 46 yards and Greg Ducre had one for 15 yards. (I haven’t noticed Thompson participating in return drills during fall camp; not sure if that’s in the plans going forward.)
Kasen Williams has also been in the mix on punt returns, along with Marcus Peters, Mickens, Smith and Jermaine Kelly.
*Charles Frederick returned a punt 86 yards at Oregon State on Oct. 18, 2003; Louis Rankin returned a kickoff 89 yards against Washington State on Nov. 24, 2007
A few links:
Steve Sarkisian said he hopes to know more on Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ broken pinkie later this week. It’s unclear how long ASJ will be out.
Meantime, ASJ made ESPN’s list of top 25 players in the Pac-12. Sounds about right.
Speaking of great punt returners for UW, Hardcore Husky catches up with Beno Bryant.