A primer on UW's wide receivers and tight ends entering spring practices next week.
To count down the start of the Huskies’ spring football on March 27, we’ll offer a primer of each position unit, assessing what happened in 2016 and expectations for 2017.
Today: Wide receivers and tight ends
Projected depth chart:
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Dante Pettis, sr., 6-1, 192
Andre Baccellia, so., 5-10, 173
K.J. Young, sr., 6-0, 188
John Gardner, jr., 6-3, 187*
Josh Rasmussen, so., 5-11, 182*
Quinten Pounds, so., 5-11, 183
Brayden Lenius, jr., 6-5, 234
Ty Jones, fr., 6-4, 206
Forrest Dunivin, sr., 6-4, 200*
Nik Little, sr., 6-5, 207
Paul Wells, so., 5-9, 170*
Chico McClatcher, jr., 5-7, 179
Aaron Fuller, so.,
Max Richmond, jr., 5-9, 181*
Jordan Chin, rs-fr., 6-0, 165
2016 review: It would be difficult to overstate the influence John Ross III had on the Huskies’ offensive breakthrough last season. His presence — and, specifically, his speed — was something defenses had to account for on every snap, making things just a little bit easier for Jake Browning and the rest of the offense. Ross put together one of the greatest seasons by a UW receiver ever — 81 catches, 1,150 yards, 17 touchdowns — and appears to be a sure-fire first-round NFL draft pick next week. Ross’ All-America season overshadowed the (long) strides Dante Pettis made as a junior. Going into 2016, there were questions about Pettis’ ability to make tough catches and to be a committed blocker downfield; he answered just about every question, and should step in nicely as Browning’s new No. 1 target. Pettis is one of the best all-around athletes on the team — this weekend, in his first track meet since high school, he posted a mark of 23 feet, 10-1/4 inches for the UW track team in their outdoor season opener at USC; that mark was best on the team and sixth at the meet — and figures to take over as one of the team leaders this year, too.
2017 outlook: Ross has moved on, and so too has wide receivers coach Bush Hamdan, who in one season transformed not only his position group but the passing game as a whole. In Hamdan’s place steps the well-traveled Matt Lubick, who spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator/WR coach at Oregon. Lubick inherits a young position, with the likes to Andre Baccellia, Quinten Pounds and Aaron Fuller all flashing some potential last fall. Brayden Lenius, coming off a redshirt season, and 2016 transfer K.J. Young (no catches in five brief appearances last fall) have much to prove. Lubick also inherits a “three-headed monster” of a recruiting class featuring the 6-4 Ty Jones, 6-1 Alex Cook and 6-foot speedster Terrell Bynum. Jones is scheduled to arrive on campus for the start of spring classes next week, and Hamdan had been telling all three of those incoming freshmen to be prepared to play this fall.
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
Mike Petroff, rs-fr., 6-0, 228*
2016 review: UW’s tight ends combined for 32 catches and four touchdowns last fall, 17 of those catches and three TDs from Darrell Daniels. Daniels is off to the NFL — he’s projected as a late-round pick next month — but Drew Sample and Will Dissly, two of the offense’s more underappreciated contributors, are back. Both guys seem to fit perfectly with what the Huskies like to do with their two- and three-tight-end formation. They block about 90 percent of the time but always seem to be open when called on in the passing game.
2017 outlook: A lot to like here. There was good depth already here, and with Michael Neal coming back from injury and Jacob Kizer enrolling this winter, the depth this spring gets better. There’s more reason to be excited come fall, when two in-state signees — Eastside Catholic’s Hunter Bryant (6-2, 241) and Tumwater’s Cade Otton (6-5, 222) — arrive on campus. Bryant was a touted recruit, and based on the success he had throughout his high school career — which included 138 catches for 2,483 yards and 35 touchdowns — he looks like a candidate to step in and help right away this fall in the passing game.