A position-by-position analysis of the 2014 Washington Huskies roster before national signing day on Feb. 5. Today: Specialists.
2013 review: After a rough ending to the 2012 season, senior Travis Coons had a terrific 2013 while again doing triple duty as the place-kicker, punter and kickoff specialists for most of 2013. He finished 15 of 16 on field-goal attempts — a 93.8 percent success rate that ranked first in the Pac-12 (and fourth in the nation). He earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors as a punter and honorable mention as a kicker. He also took over on kickoffs after an injury to freshman Cameron Van Winkle
2014 projected spring depth chart:
Cameron Van Winkle, so., 5-10, 183
Korey Durkee, jr., 6-4, 221
Ryan Masel, jr., 6-0, 216
Luke Hutchison, rs-fr., 6-1, 230
Weston Blackburn, jr., 5-9, 204
2014 outlook: A healthy Van Winkle would make this a much more comfortable position. But the uncertainty over his back injury makes this one of the biggest question marks entering the spring, with UW needing a new starter at kicker, punter and kickoffs. Van Winkle had handled kickoffs for the first month of the season before an apparent back injury flared up before the Stanford game; he then missed out the rest of the season. Durkee won the punting job as a true freshman in 2012 — averaging 36.9 yards on 15 punts — before losing his role to Coons later that season. UW needs him to emerge as the answer there now. The one positive here is Masel enters his third season as the starting snapper, so it appears UW is in good hands there. Three-star kicker/punter recruit Tristan Vizcaino committed to the Huskies earlier this week, and would figure to get an opportunity to play right away.
Position grade: C-