Kenny James – Midnight Matness Update

One of the biggest questions waiting to be answered is who will be at the top of the depth chart at tailback next season for the Huskies. When the running game was taking so much beating last season, Rick Neuheisel still refused to back off from his stance of red-shirting Kenny James. All eyes will be on the young man from Dos Palos, California this spring to see if what he is made of.

Like all freshmen and first-year players, James had his first experience with mat drills this winter and by the looks of it, he came out a survivor.

"I'm feeling pretty good now that it's (mat drills) over with," said James. "When mat drills started off it was kind of rough but as it continue on it got easier and easier."

James was one of the few players who did not have to utilize one of the "puke buckets" that was placed around the mats in case somebody felt the workout could not hold last night's dinner in. As a matter of fact, he was one of the more impressive players that hit the mats hard during Midnight Matness.

"No I didn't do any puking but I did get a little tired," laughed James. "I was waking up really early but I started to get used to it."

It will be interesting to see what the red-shirt season did in terms of development. James was actually the first top tailback prospect to be red-shirted by Neuheisel during his tenure at Washington. Paul Arnold, Rich Alexis, and Chris Singleton all did not have the benefit of a full red-shirt season as James did.

While it may have pained him to only watch for a season, he believes that the year preserved will be a valuable asset to him for his performance.

"I'm ready. I sat out a year last year and it was kind of frustrating with the running game kind of being disappointing. I felt Rich (Alexis), Braxton (Cleman), and Chris (Singleton) all worked hard but at times, the running game just fell short.

" We're going to need to pick things up this year and hopefully I can go out there and make things happen."

With the graduation of Cleman and Alexis being out this spring with a shoulder injury, that leaves only Singleton as the experienced tailback taking reps during spring drills. James and Shelton Sampson, another red-shirt freshmen, will get their chance to show the coaching staff that they deserve some serious playing time.

"Right now I'm just focusing on going out to spring practices and working hard and doing things that I have to do to make the running game come back to the top at the University of to Washington," said James.

"I expect spring practices to be really fun. I'm expecting a lot of reps behind the ball and a lot of carries in the Spring Game and hopefully everything will work out very well."

Standing at 5'11 and weighing 210 pounds, James looks to have the physical tools to be a dominating running back and with a 4.5 40-yard speed, it just makes him even more of a dangerous weapon.

"Physically, I think I am ready," said James. " I just have to get mentally prepared this spring to get this thing ready to go." Top Stories