Outside of the departed Dante Pettis, the Huskies did not have a wide receiver rank among Pac-12's top 50 last fall.
The Huskies’ Sept. 1 season opener against Auburn is a mere 163 days away, and another season of great anticipation inches closer with the start of spring practices next Wednesday. We continue a daily series of spring position previews here with a look at wide receivers and tight ends.
Andre Baccellia, jr., 5-10, 173
Chico McClatcher, rs-jr., 5-8, 176
Aaron Fuller, jr., 5-10, 190
Quinten Pounds, jr., 6-0, 182
Ty Jones, so., 6-4, 215
Jordan Chin, so., 6-0, 164
Alex Cook, rs-fr., 6-1, 192
Terrell Bynum, rs-fr., 6-1, 190
Ian Biddle, sr., 6-0, 187*
John Gardner, sr., 6-3, 196*
Josh Rasmussen, jr., 5-11, 184*
Max Richmond, sr., 5-10, 181*
Austin Osborne, fr., 6-2, 188
Dante Pettis, graduated
Brayden Dickey (Lenius), transfer to Portland State
Trey Lowe, fr., 5-7, 174
Marquis Spiker, fr., 6-3, 180
SPRING OUTLOOK: On an offense that returns considerable experience and talent everywhere else, wide receiver is the most important position on the entire roster this year. Dante Pettis’ graduation leaves a sizable hole on the outside, with no sure thing to take over as the No. 1 receiver. Even with Pettis last fall, the Huskies struggled to find consistency in the passing attack. Other than Pettis (ninth in the conference), no other UW wide receiver ranked among the top 50 in the Pac-12 in receiving yards (tight end Hunter Bryant was 42nd). Part of the issues last fall can be blamed on injuries. Chico McClatcher (ankle) and Quinten Pounds (knee) were both lost to season-ending injuries; and Andre Baccellia’s ankle injury limited him for much of the season. The good news for the Huskies is they have options — a lot of promising young options. Baccellia and Aaron Fuller finished strong last season and, for now, project as starters in 2018. The return of McClatcher (31 catches, 574 yards, 5 TD in 2016) will be a huge boost. Among the young receivers, Ty Jones, Alex Cook, Terrell Bynum and Jordan Chin have all, at times, looked capable of contributing, and it will be an important spring for them to take a step forward.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Can freshman Austin Osborne make an early impression?
Osborne, one of three touted receivers in the 2018 recruiting class, has graduated early from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School and is scheduled to enroll at UW next week. There is an opportunity — and need — for one of those freshmen to play next fall, and Osborne’s early arrival obviously pushes him into consideration for that. This summer, further reinforcements arrive in Marquis Spiker and Trey Lowe.
KEY STAT: 29 percent
The Huskies’ returning wide receivers (Fuller, Baccellia, Pounds, McClatcher and Jones) combined for 69 catches last fall — or just 29 percent of the offense’s total receptions.
BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: There are many. All three receivers from the 2017 recruiting class — Jones, Bynum and Cook — have to be at the top of the breakout list. Jones was the only one to play as a true freshman last fall, but his opportunities were scant. He finished with seven catches for 71 yards, but even that little experience gives him a leg-up going into next fall. At 6-4, he is the biggest receiver on the roster and he has shown the ability — in practice — to go up and haul in tough catches. Bynum, up to 190 pounds, is an exciting speed threat, and Cook is a well-rounded option who can play multiple positions.
Drew Sample, sr., 6-5, 261
Hunter Bryant, so., 6-2, 245
Jacob Kizer, so., 6-4, 261
Cade Otton, rs.-fr., 6-5, 244
Michael Neal, jr., 6-4, 237
DeShon Williams, sr., 6-2, 228*
Jusstis Warren, jr., 6-2, 258
Will Dissly, graduated
Devin Culp, fr., 6-3, 235
SPRING OUTLOOK: With Drew Sample and Hunter Bryant, the Huskies are in great shape at tight end. Those two complement each other perfectly: Sample is a capable threat in the passing game but will spent most of his time going unnoticed as a sixth offensive lineman; Bryant might be the best all-around receiver on the roster. Sample, at 261 pounds, played through an ankle injury for almost all of 2017 and, if healthy, could be in for a big season next fall. The Huskies, no doubt, are counting on a big year from Bryant, who missed the final month of the 2017 regular season with a knee injury. He probably won’t be asked to do much this spring. Note that Jusstis Warren, a linebacker used in an H-back/fullback role in some goal-line situations last fall, is now listed on the roster as a tight end.
KEY STAT: 15.0
Bryant averaged 15.0 yards on his 22 receptions last fall. Despite missing the final four games of the regular season, he finished third on the team in receptions and earned ESPN Freshman All-America recognition.
BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: It was a surprise, initially, to see Jacob Kizer take the field as a true freshman last fall. Some of that had to do with Sample’s ankle injury, but much it was Kizer’s early development. Kizer grayshirted the 2016 season as he recovered from a high-school back injury, then played in 12 games last fall. With Dissly’s graduation, Kizer will see even more snaps next fall in the Huskies’ multiple tight-end blocking schemes. Tumwater High product Cade Otton is an intriguing athlete too; he should get plenty of reps this spring.