Fall camp begins for the Huskies on Aug. 4, and as we countdown to the start of Chris Petersen’s first season at Washington, we’ll preview each position on Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to the start of camp.
TODAY: Wide receivers
WHO’S GONE: Kevin Smith, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Antavius Sims. Smith became UW’s most dependable receiver in 2013 and one of the most respected voices in the locker room. He led the team with 765 receiving yards, with 50 catches and four touchdowns. He’s currently on the Seahawks’ roster. UW announced in May that Stringfellow, who pleaded guilty to assault and malicious mischief a month earlier, would transfer. Stringfellow had started UW’s final three games as a true freshman last season. (After initially committing to Nebraska, Stringfellow has landed at Ole Miss, though he’s not yet listed on the Rebels’ official roster.)
— Kasen Williams, sr., 6-2, 212; 2013 stats: 29 receptions, 421 yards, 1 TD, 14.5 yards per catch. … If not for his season-ending broken leg in October, Williams would surely have been tempted to join Bishop Sankey and Austin Seferian-Jenkins as another early entrant in the NFL draft. As it is, Williams is working his way back from the devastating injury he suffered while leaping for high pass against Cal. He missed all of spring ball, but has said he should be full-go by the time the Huskies open fall camp. His return to top form would help mitigate the loss of Stringfellow. Williams’ 142 career receptions are fifth all-time at UW; he needs 38 catches to match Jermaine Kearse for second place. (Reggie Williams holds the school record with 243 receptions for 3,598 yards.)
— Jaydon Mickens, jr., 5-11, 171; 2013 stats: 65 receptions, 688 yards, 5 TD, 10.6 yards per catch. … The leader of the self-proclaimed “Legion of Zoom” had a breakout season in 2013. Mickens loves to talk, and loves to have fun, and he was usually able to back that up last year. It’s fair to expect even more — chatter and production — this season.
— John Ross, so., 5-11, 180; 2013 stats: 16 receptions, 208 yards, 1 TD, 13.0 yards per catch; 31 kickoff returns, 720 yards, 1 TD, 23.2 yards per kick return; 4 punt returns, 21 yards, 5.2 yards per punt return. … Like most true freshman, Ross was slow out of the gate last season, but slow isn’t part of this guy’s vocabulary. His 100-plus-yard kickoff return was the highlight of the Fight Hunger Bowl, and in May he ran a hand-timed 4.29-second 40-yard dash during the “Husky Combine.” Ross will be in line to start — and to shine — this year.
— DiAndre Campbell, sr., 6-2, 199; 2013 stats: 3 receptions, 34 yards, 11.3 yards per catch. … It’s probably unrealistic to expect that Campbell, who has battled some nagging injuries in his career, could replicate the success Kevin Smith had in a similar situation last year, but he should have every opportunity to do so.
— Marvin Hall, jr., 5-10, 182; 2013 stats: 8 receptions, 140 yards, 17.5 yards per catch; 5 punt returns, 47 yards, 9.4 yards per punt. … Hall’s highlight of the season was a 50-yard reception at UCLA, showing off his ability as a speedy deep threat. Now a junior, he figures to be consistently in the rotation this year.
— Kendyl Taylor, rs-so., 5-10, 203; Redshirted in 2013. 2012 stats: 35 carries, 209 yards, 6.0 yards per carry; 14 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD, 7.9 yards per catch. … Taylor is a wild card after redshirting last season (his second year with the program) and spending some time as a scout-team defensive back. He’s a full-time receiver now, and as his spectacular “Husky Combine” showed, he has the physical tools to be a key contributor.
— Taelon Parson, so., 6-1, 188; 2013 stats: Walk-on made his debut for UW in victory over Idaho State. … Missed all of spring ball while injured.
— Neel Salukhe, so., 5-11, 162; 2013 stats: Walk-on made his debut for UW in victory over Idaho State.
— Dante Pettis, fr., 6-1, 175, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (Junipero Serra). Highlight video.
— Brayden Lenius, fr., 6-5, 220, North Vancouver, B.C. (Chaminade). Highlight video.
OUTLOOK: Depth will be a concern here, especially early on as Williams works his way back into playing shape. The loss of Stringfellow is significant — he would have likely started this season — but it’s not a crippling one. The starting unit is still solid, and the return of Campbell gives the group another mature, experienced voice. Mickens, after a breakthrough sophomore season, should take another leap forward, and Ross has star written all over him. Hall showed glimpses of his potential late last season, and Taylor capped a nice spring with an impressive “Husky Combine.” They’ll be expect to produce early and often. One of the true freshmen might have to play early, too.