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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Projecting the Huskies’ depth chart for season opener against Hawaii

Sophomore Dwayne Washington takes a handoff from Jeff Lindquist last week. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Sophomore Dwayne Washington takes a handoff from Jeff Lindquist last week. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Here’s an updated projection of what the Huskies’ depth chart could look like this week for the season opener at Hawaii on Saturday (7:30 p.m. PT, CBS Sports Network). Projections are based on what we saw in the first two weeks of fall camp and what coaches and players have said (or hinted at) in the past week. An official depth chart should be released in the next 24 hours or so.

Quarterback

Jeff Lindquist, so., 6-3, 246
Troy Williams, rs-fr., 6-1, 190
K.J. Carta-Samuels, fr., 6-2, 228

Replacing the graduated Keith Price wasn’t going to be easy, and that task looks like it will prove more difficult with sophomore Cyler Miles suspended for the opener. Lindquist, however, made up a lot of ground in the past two weeks, and his ability to move the offense — coupled with his improved accuracy and durable running style — won him the chance to make his first career start at Hawaii. Miles is eligible to return for Week 2 against Eastern Washington, but Lindquist will first have the chance to prove the job should be his full-time.

Running back

Dwayne Washington, so., 6-2, 219
Lavon Coleman, rs-fr., 5-11, 217
Deontae Cooper, sr., 5-11, 199
Jesse Callier, sr., 5-10, 206

The Huskies will go with a back-by-committee early in the season, though Washington and Coleman are expected to get the bulk of the work early on. Cooper, after three major knee injuries, remains the feel-good favorite. And, as the Pac-12 season approaches, watch out for linebacker Shaq Thompson as a part-time two-way player.

Offensive line

Left tackle
Micah Hatchie, sr., 6-5, 308
Jake Eldrenkamp, so., 6-5, 292
Coleman Shelton, rs-fr., 6-4, 281

Left guard
Dexter Charles, jr., 6-5, 311
Siosifa Tufunga, jr., 6-3, 321

Center
Colin Tanigawa, sr., 6-3, 292
Mike Criste, sr., 6-6, 316
Dane Crane, rs.-fr., 6-3, 301

Right guard
James Atoe, sr., 6-7, 381
Shane Brostek, jr., 6-4, 283

Right tackle
Ben Riva, sr., 6-7, 313.
Ross Dolbec, jr., 6-5, 313.

With all five starting returning, the offensive line could wind up being the strength of the UW offense this season. The Huskies boast 124 career starts among the veteran linemen, the most of any team in the Pac-12 (and fifth-most in the country). Hatchie and Charles are both returning from winter shoulder surgeries, but they appear poised to resume their role along the left side of the line.

Wide receivers

Wideout
Kasen Williams, sr., 6-2, 217
DiAndre Campbell, sr., 6-2, 206
Brayden Lenius, fr., 6-5, 217

Wideout
John Ross, so., 5-11, 179
Marvin Hall, jr., 5-10, 188
Dante Pettis, fr., 6-0, 177

Slot
Jaydon Mickens, jr., 5-11, 171
Kendyl Taylor, rs-so., 5-10, 202

Williams’ return to full strength would be a major boost for UW’s young quarterbacks (and to the UW offense overall). Williams is not quite 100 percent back from the gruesome leg injury he suffered against Cal last October, but he remains optimistic he’ll get to that point soon. Mickens, UW’s most spirited leader, expects to make another leap forward after a strong sophomore season, and Ross is a prime candidate for a breakout season as a receiver and kick-returner. At least one of the true freshmen, Lenius or Pettis, will likely see some action this season.

Tight ends

Joshua Perkins, jr., 6-4, 227
Darrell Daniels, so., 6-4, 235
Michael Hartvigson, sr., 6-6, 251

Perkins and Daniels, both converted receivers, are the best options in the passing game, and both figure to have a significant role in the offense. Hartvigson remains a valuable piece in the run game, and could be used regularly in two tight-end formations.

Might Budda Baker start his first game in a Husky uniform? (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Might Budda Baker start his first game in a Husky uniform? (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Defensive line

‘Buck’ end
Hau’oli Kikaha, sr., 6-3, 246
Psalm Wooching, so., 6-4, 225

Tackle
Evan Hudson, sr., 6-6, 273
Taniela Tupou, jr., 6-2, 282
Joe Mathis, so., 6-2, 250

Nose tackle
Danny Shelton, sr., 6-2, 339
Elijah Qualls, rs-fr., 6-1, 311

End
Andrew Hudson, sr, 6-3, 246
Will Dissly, fr., 6-4, 273
Jarett Finau, jr., 6-3, 261

Kikaha, after recording 13 sacks as a defensive end last year, is shifting to the new staff’s “buck” outside linebacker position, which coaches hope will better showcase Kikaha’s versatility both behind the line of scrimmage and out in space. Shelton, up to 339 pounds to start fall camp, is poised for a big, big year in the middle, and both Hudsons (no relation) provide more versatile, veteran experience. After a strong spring, Tupou has continued to impress this month, and Dissly has drawn the most attention among the freshmen.

Linebackers

Outside
Travis Feeney, jr., 6-4, 218
Cory Littleton, jr., 6-3, 229
Keishawn Bierria, rs-fr., 6-1, 221

Inside
John Timu, sr., 6-1, 246
Azeem Victor, rs-fr., 6-3, 244.

Outside
Shaq Thompson, jr., 6-1, 228
Scott Lawyer, jr., 6-2, 225
Sean Constantine, rs-fr., 6-2, 224

Timu, with 220 career tackles, enters his fourth year as UW’s full-time starter at middle linebacker. Thompson enters his third year as a starter, and the projected first-round pick has high expectations in what could be his final season with the Huskies. Add in the uber-athletic Feeney and the versatile Littleton — a starter at defensive end last year — and the Huskies are as stout here as anyone in the Pac-12.

Secondary

Cornerback
Marcus Peters, jr., 6-0, 190
Travell Dixon, sr., 6-1, 195

Cornerback
Jermaine Kelly, rs-fr., 6-1, 190
Naijiel Hale, fr., 5-10, 171

Free safety
Brandon Beaver, so., 6-0, 192
Kevin King, so., 6-3, 183

Rover
Budda Baker, fr., 5-10, 173
Trevor Walker, so., 5-11, 186

After losing three starters to graduation from 2013, the Huskies signed seven defensive backs in February — and secondary coach Jimmy Lake said that four or five of those freshmen will likely play this season. Hale and Baker, the former Bellevue star, have impressed in fall camp — and one or both could end up starting against Hawaii, with Baker, a natural free safety, also getting some strong consideration at rover/strong safety. Fellow freshmen Sidney Jones, Jojo McIntosh and Darren Gardenhire also had productive camps. The versatile Brian Clay, a junior transfer from Hawaii, figures to also provided some needed depth.

Specialists

Kicker
Cameron Van Winkle, so., 5-10, 180
Tristan Vizcaino, fr., 6-2, 210
Mitch Johnson, so., 6-1, 197

Punter
Korey Durkee, jr., 6-4, 230
Vizcaino, fr., 6-2, 210

Snapper
Ryan Masel, jr., 6-1, 199.
Luke Hutchison, rs-fr., 6-2, 221

Travis Coons was special in a do-it-all role for the Huskies. As Coons impressed this month in training camp with the Tennessee Titans, the Huskies staged a four-man competition to replace him as the kicker and punter. Durkee, the Gig Harbor product, showed off his powerful right leg in limited chances early in fall camp. Van Winkle and Vizcaino, meanwhile, pushed each other throughout the month for the starting job.

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