Sophomore Van Soderberg is the Huskies' lone scholarship kicker.
The Huskies begin spring football with their first of 15 practices this morning at Husky Stadium. To conclude our position primers, here’s a look at where things stand on special teams entering spring ball:
Van Soderberg, so., 6-0, 198
Peyton Henry, rs-fr., 5-11, 191*
Sebastian Valerio, jr., 5-10, 176*
Joel Whitford, jr., 6-3, 224
Race Porter, so., 6-1, 178*
A.J. Carty, jr., 6-2, 251
Luke Lane, so., 6-0, 209*
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Aaron Fuller, 5-10, 190
Byron Murphy, 5-11, 185
Salvon Ahmed, 5-11, 191
Sean McGrew, 5-7, 174
Tristan Vizcaino, graduated
Dylan Williams, kicker*
SPRING OUTLOOK: Joel Whitford is back for his second season as the Huskies’ Aussie Rules punter. And A.J. Carty is again the snapper. After that there is much uncertainty on special teams. Replacing All-America punt returner Dante Pettis — who, of course, set the NCAA record with nine career punt-return touchdowns — is no small task. The Huskies do have quality options there in Aaron Fuller and Byron Murphy, among others. No doubt, the Huskies would like more consistency out of their kick-return game next fall, and committing to Salvon Ahmed full-time in that rule should do the trick. But without a doubt the biggest question on special teams is …
BIGGEST QUESTION: Who the heck is going to kick the football?
The quick answer: It’s totally up in the air. Sophomore Van Soderberg is the only scholarship kicker on the roster. He made his first collegiate field-goal attempt, from 23 yards, against California last October. A week later, he missed both of his field-goal attempts in UW’s debacle at Arizona State, and he wasn’t seen again the rest of the season. (Sidenote: The backlash on social media to those two misses was sadly hostile and over the top; here’s hoping Soderberg gets a clean slate from everyone this year.) Behind Soderberg, the Huskies have two walk-ons expected to be firmly in the mix this spring — junior Sebastian Valerio and left-footed redshirt freshman Peyton Henry — and they’ll welcome in another invited walk-on this summer in Dylan Williams (Half Moon Bay, Calif.).
KEY STAT: 59.1
The Huskies converted just 59.1 percent of their field-goal attempts last season (13 of 22), which ranked dead last in the Pac-12 and 111th in the nation.
BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Anyone who can kick a ball reasonably straight. Sorry to be glib, but that’s the truth. Straightening out the kicking game is, outside of the wide receiver position, the most pressing question on the UW roster this spring.