A post-spring breakdown of the Huskies’ offensive depth chart, with a key question for each position.
For the first time since 2002, the Huskies are expected to enter the 2017 season ranked in the top 10 of the preseason AP poll. Already, they’re ranked No. 6 in the Fox Sports post-spring top 25, No. 8 by Sports Illustrated and No. 9 by ESPN.
Here is a post-spring breakdown of the Huskies’ offensive depth chart, with a key question for each position:
Jake Browning, 6-2, 205, jr.
K.J. Carta-Samuels, 6-2, 219, rs-jr.
Tony Rodriguez, 6-3, 188, sr.
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, 6-2, 210, rs-fr.
Blake Gregory, 6-2, 180, rs-fr.*
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Jake Haener, 6-0, 196
Key question: How healthy is Jake Browning’s right shoulder?
Before the start of spring ball, there wasn’t necessarily overwhelming concern about Browning’s shoulder long-term, but there is nonetheless reason to exhale when the star quarterback’s throwing arm appeared to be OK by the end of April. That’s good news for the reigning Pac-12 offensive player of the year, and for an offense that scored a school record 41.8 points per game last fall. Having not thrown all winter, Browning acknowledged he’ll have to build up arm strength this summer, but otherwise shrugged off any other other concerns.
Behind Browning, K.J. Carta-Samuels had a good spring while taking most of the first-team snaps. This will be Carta-Samuels’ third season as Browning’s backup, and probably his last. Carta-Samuels is expected to explore his options as a graduate transfer after the season and could get a chance to start somewhere for his final season of eligibility in 2018.
This spring was the first extended look at Daniel Bridge-Gadd, who is far and away the Huskies’ best running threat at the position but didn’t otherwise make much of a push to move up the depth chart.
Myles Gaskin, jr., 5-10, 191
Lavon Coleman, sr., 5-11, 223
Sean McGrew, rs-fr., 5-7, 177
Kamari Pleasant, rs-fr., 6-0, 191
Ralph Kinne, sr., 5-10, 220*
Paul Wells, so., 5-9, 170*
Salvon Ahmed, 5-11, 189
Key question: Where does Sean McGrew fit in?
McGrew scored the lone touchdown in UW’s spring scrimmage, and the 5-foot-7 redshirt freshman showed enough this spring to think he could figure into plans for the offense this fall. Much of the same could be said about Kamari Pleasant. Of course, with Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman — who combined for 2,225 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns last fall — both returning, there isn’t an obvious opening for either of the redshirt freshmen. That’s a good problem to have — a “problem” that Salvon Ahmed could add to when he arrives this summer.
Trey Adams, jr., 6-8, 320
Jared Hilbers, so., 6-7, 302
Andrew Kirkland, sr., 6-4, 316
Jesse Sosebee, jr., 6-5, 310
Duke Clinch, rs-fr., 6-2, 303*
Coleman Shelton, sr., 6-4, 297
Matt James, jr., 6-5, 285
Nick Harris, so., 6-1, 287
Henry Roberts, so., 6-6, 295
Luke Wattenberg, rs-fr., 6-4, 291
John Turner, jr., 6-4, 290
A.J. Kneip, so., 6-2, 285*
Kaleb McGary, jr., 6-7, 310
Devin Burleson, so., 6-8, 321
Henry Bainivalu, 6-5, 285
Jaxson Kirkland, 6-6, 325
Cole Norgaard, 6-4, 277
Key question: Who emerges at the two guard spots?
The outlook for the offensive line is probably as good as its been since entering the 2001 post-Rose Bowl season. The Huskies are solid at center, with Coleman Shelton, and at both ends, with Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary. Adams was a first-team all-Pac-12 pick last fall, and Shelton and McGary have that upside, too. If the season started today, Andrew Kirkland and Nick Harris would likely start at guard, and the Huskies would have to feel pretty good about that. Kirkland, however, has been used mostly as a do-it-all reserve in his career — capable of filling in everywhere except center — and that could prove be his most valuable role in ’17, too. Redshirt freshman Luke Wattenberg, a prized offensive line recruit a year ago, lost a bunch of weight last fall while battling illness during his redshirt season. He gained it all back, and then some, this winter, and then missed about half of the spring practices with what appeared to be a minor injury. Wattenberg profiles long-term as a tackle, but he’s a breakout candidate this fall at one of the guard spots.
Dante Pettis, sr., 6-1, 192
Brayden Lenius, jr., 6-5, 234
K.J. Young, sr., 6-0, 188
John Gardner, jr., 6-3, 187*
Josh Rasmussen, so., 5-11, 182*
Andre Baccellia, so., 5-10, 173
Quinten Pounds, so., 5-11, 183
Ty Jones, fr., 6-4, 206
Forrest Dunivin, sr., 6-4, 200*
Nik Little, sr., 6-5, 207
Chico McClatcher, jr., 5-7, 179
Aaron Fuller, so., 5-10, 186
Max Richmond, jr., 5-9, 181*
Jordan Chin, rs-fr., 6-0, 165
Terrell Bynum, 6-0, 184
Alex Cook, 6-1, 186
Key question: Can Brayden Lenius work his way back into the rotation?
There isn’t one man on the roster who can replace John Ross III, and no one man should be asked to do so. But Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher are known quantities — known to be really good — and with Aaron Fuller, Andre Baccellia and Quinten Pounds, the Huskies have capable replacements for Ross, and all three of those guys have a chance to be productive players this fall. Lenius is the wild card — a 6-foot-5 wild card with still a lot of unrealized potential. He reemerged this spring as a viable target and his progress come fall camp will be one of the more intriguing story lines.
Drew Sample, jr., 6-5, 259
Will Dissly, sr., 6-4, 269
David Ajamu, sr., 6-5, 251
Michael Neal, so., 6-4, 246
Jacob Kizer, rs-fr., 6-4, 241
Derek Hunter, sr., 6-2, 235*
Mike Petroff, rs-fr., 6-0, 228*
Hunter Bryant, 6-2, 241
Cade Otton, 6-5, 222
Key question: How quickly can Hunter Bryant get up to speed?
Here’s what tight ends coach Jordan Paopao had to say last month about Bryant, the 6-foot-2, 241-pound incoming freshman from Eastside Catholic:
“He really has limitless potential, honestly. He’s probably the most natural pass-catcher that I’ve seen since Austin Seferian-Jenkins — just in terms for his knack for the ball in the air, his ability to make plays. What’s been most impressive of him is he’s eager and how hungry he is to learn. You can’t teach that. That’s something that’s kind of inherent. He’s definitely got that ‘it’ factor that I’m excited to work with in the fall.”