At 6 feet 5, 217 pounds, freshman Brayden Lenius brings an element of size and sure-handedness any program covets in a wide receiver. His addition is a particularly welcome one to a Washington receiving corps in need of another true outside option.
“He’s a 6-5 savage,” junior receiver Jaydon Mickens said. “He’s just a beast. When the ball is in the air, I don’t even have to look. You know who’s coming down with it.”
UW’s other freshman receiver, Dante Pettis, has also impressed Mickens with his quick cuts on routes and his attitude. Pettis, Mickens said, isn’t afraid to against the Huskies’ top cornerback, junior Marcus Peters.
As senior Kasen Williams continues to round back into shape following last year’s leg injury — Williams has said he hopes to be 100 percent by the Aug. 30 season opener at Hawaii — Lenius is another true outside receiver with big-play potential.
Pettis, at 6 feet, 177 pounds, has the versatility to play outside or in the slot.
“I think they’re going to contribute right away,” Mickens said. “I talk to them every day. … I tell them, ‘Don’t try to become a vet all in one time. You don’t have to. We don’t need you to. We just need you to contribute when you can and just know your assignment and play fast.’”
Among the other freshmen signed in Chris Petersen‘s first recruiting class, five of the new defensive backs could play this year. Budda Baker, the former Bellevue High star, headlines that group, and he will likely open the season as sophomore Brandon Beaver‘s backup at free safety. Baker is also expected to get some opportunities as a kickoff return specialist. (Running backs coach Keith Bhonapha said Baker hasn’t gotten any work as a running back, but Bhonapha would be open to that in the future).
Cornerbacks Naijiel Hale, Sidney Jones and Darren Gardenhire, and safety Jojo McIntosh are likely to play as freshmen. On the defensive line, freshman Will Dissly (6-4, 273) has worked mostly with the second-unit; Jaylen Johnson, Shane Bowman and Vita Vea are also candidates to contribute there.