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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Washington Huskies 2014 outlook: Running backs

Dwayne Washington ran for 332 yards and four touchdowns on 47 carries as a redshirt freshman in 2013. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Dwayne Washington ran for 332 yards and four touchdowns on 47 carries as a redshirt freshman in 2013. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

A position-by-position analysis of the 2014 Washington Huskies roster before national signing day on Feb. 5. Today: Running backs. Tuesday: Wide receivers.

2013 review: Junior Bishop Sankey put together the most productive season ever by a UW running back, rushing for a school-record 1,870 yards plus 20 touchdowns. Now he’s off to the NFL. The loss of Sankey and QB Keith Price means UW will have to replace 80 percent of its 499.3 yards per game from 2013, a school record for total offense. (Wild stat: Sankey and Price combined for exactly 400 yards per game.) Sankey also accounted for 69 percent of the carries among UW’s running backs and 26 percent of the team’s scoring. He was a classic workhorse, and it will likely take more than one person to help replace his durability and productivity.

2014 projected spring depth chart:

Jesse Callier, sr., 5-10, 207*
Dwayne Washington, so., 6-1, 220*
Deontae Cooper, sr., 6-0, 201*
Lavon Coleman, rs-fr., 6-0, 209*
Ryan McDaniel, 6-0, 204*
Nick Zelle, fr., 5-11, 175

2014 outlook: New running backs coach Keith Bhonapa said he would start from scratch with this group. “There is no depth chart,” he said last week. The good news for Bhonapa and the Huskies is there is some experience and plenty of potential at the position. There are, of course, some questions: Can Callier, the opening-game starter in 2012, regain his explosive form from before his ACL injury? Were Dwayne Washington’s back-to-back fumbles at Illinois an aberration? Can Cooper, after three ACL injuries in three years, continued to build confidence in his knees? Would Coleman, as a redshirt freshman, be ready to step into a major role? As noted here a couple weeks ago, Callier gets the nod atop this depth chart for the time being because he’s a senior and the most experienced. He’ll certainly be a factor in 2014, but Dwayne Washington is the most talented of the group — and don’t be surprised if he emerges as the go-to guy at some point next season. Coleman is a bit of a mystery, but should be a factor, too.

Position grade: B

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