Baker and McClatcher have often lined up opposite of each other during passing drills this spring — two of Washington’s fastest players in a hurry to slow each other down.

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The game, Chico McClatcher says, is starting to slow down for him. Which is good, because the guy lining up across from him certainly isn’t.

McClatcher, the Huskies’ sophomore slot receiver, has often lined up opposite of star defensive back Budda Baker during passing drills this spring — two of Washington’s fastest players in a hurry to slow each other down.

Baker, an all-Pac-12 safety last fall, is as spirited as anyone you’ll find in practice, determined to be first in every drill, every race. Even so, McClatcher has held his own, earning praise from teammates as one of UW’s most improved players this spring.

“He’s all-Pac-12, probably one of the best safeties in college football right now,” McClatcher said. “So me and him going one-on-one, he’s getting me better and I’m for sure getting him better. … It definitely pushes me.”

This isn’t the first time they’ve competed with, and against, each other.

“When we were little we were on the same track team (the Seattle Speed Track Club),” Baker said. “He was one of those not fast guys, but when we ran hills he would beat everybody. He has huge calves, so he would beat even the older people when we would run hills.”

The key for McClatcher, Baker said, is to harness his speed.

“With Chico, you’re going top speed whatever you’re doing,” Baker said. “He’ll learn how to control his speed and his body and he’ll be great.”

As a true freshman, McClatcher, the Federal Way High School product, was the backup to Jaydon Mickens at slot receiver. McClatcher, listed at 5-feet-7, 176 pounds, is a big-play package wrapped in a little body. He did a little bit of everything last season, scoring rushing touchdowns on fly-sweep runs and another on a 49-yard reception; he also returned kicks and punts.

Working mostly with the No. 1 offense, he says he’s feeling more comfortable in the offense this spring.

“The game slows down for me now,” he said. “Freshman year, I was a little jitterbuggy; I was in on certain packages, but now I’m more incorporated in the offense, like Jaydon was.”

As he did last spring, Baker has also experimented with playing on offense. He ran routes with McClatcher and the other receivers for one period on Monday, and said he would “of course” like to play there occasionally this fall.

“I’m just controlling what I can control,” he said. “(If) they tell me to go to offense, I’ll go to offense and help them out or do whatever I have to for them.”

>>>> McIntosh settling in

No one needs to remind Baker how fierce a hitter Jojo McIntosh is.

Going to tackle a Utah receiver at Husky Stadium in November, McIntosh and Baker’s helmets collided, a friendly fire hit that left Baker with a concussion.

“He kind of knocked me out,” Baker said.

Baker feels good about what he’s seen out of his fellow safety now.

“He’s doing great. Last year he did great,” Baker said. “(He) still wasn’t really good with the calls, but he’s a real banger. He’ll hit anyone, no matter how big you are. … He’s not afraid of anything and he’s getting smarter and faster and stronger each day.”

McIntosh, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound sophomore strong safety, has been working with the No. 1 defense this spring, hoping to be UW’s version of Kam Chancellor to Baker’s imitation of Earl Thomas.

“He’s making me compete and I’m making him better; we just feed off each other,” McIntosh said.