Post-Spring Top-40: 30-26

SEATTLE - There were a ton of great stories and great performances coming out of Spring Football for the Washington Huskies, and now it's time to take roll call. Who had the best spring? Who made the biggest jumps? Dawgman.com counts down the top-40 from Spring Football, five players at a time. Yesterday was 35-31; now it's 30-26.

30 - Jonathan Amosa - It's easy to forget about Amosa, the former walk-on from Rainier Beach - but the 5-foot-11, 239-pound fullback was the Steady Eddie of that position group, especially since Dezden Petty was used a lot more in spring as a running back, and the only other healthy options at the position was the switch of another walk-on - Cole Sager, who is typically undersized for the role. The UW coaches moved Cooper Pelluer to offense from linebacker - a move they did with Amosa at the same time last year - but he was unavailable to play for a lot of spring with a reoccurring shoulder injury. That means Amosa was pretty much it - and he did everything you'd want out of a fullback in Steve Sarkisian's offense. It's clear the Huskies are going to want to see how incoming athlete Psalm Wooching fits in at that position, but they should be comforted to know that they already have a senior in the position that is about as rock-solid as it gets.


29 - Ben Riva - The time is now for the big right tackle to shine. Riva, who prepped at O'Dea, has been given ample time to come good - a lot of people expected him to be in the mix for the starting right tackle spot last year, but the sophomore spent most of his time on the PAT/Field Goal squads. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Riva has put the last 12 months to good use, sculpting his body and getting ready for a lot of playing time in 2012. With limited numbers in spring, Riva was pretty much it for scholarshipped right tackles, especially with Erik Kohler moving inside (the No. 2 RT was walk-on Ross Dolbec), and he got through his work effectively and without incident. And that might be the biggest news of all for Riva, because he's got the natural ability to shine as long as he stays upright and in good shape physically. He's got the feet needed of tackles at the Pac-12 level, and at 6-foot-6 has the frame to cover any defensive end that comes his way. Now it's just a matter of having the mental stamina to do it. He's right on the precipice; this fall will determine whether Ben Riva sinks or swims. Based on spring, he shouldn't have any problems.


28 - Michael Criste - Criste, like Riva, is another member of that infamous seven-man 'Cascade Front' that signed with Washington in 2010. Coming out of 2010, it was Criste who appeared to be on the slowest track - with Colin Porter, Colin Tanigawa, Erik Kohler, Ben Riva, James Atoe and Micah Hatchie having already played various live minutes last year. But he didn't play like it this spring. The 6-foot-5, 282-pound Criste moved right in when Drew Schaefer was hampered by a knee issue, and immediately battled toe-to-toe with Danny Shelton. He didn't win a ton of those battles, but he stalemated the big sophomore DT enough times to make a difference with the offensive line. Plus his snaps to Keith Price were very solid in the shotgun. Under center with second-string QB Derrick Brown was a little more hit-and-miss, but for the one player out of a seven-man signing group to not see playing time in 2011, he performed better than expected. Unless Kohler makes massive strides this fall and Colin Tanigawa is 100 percent healthy by the September 1 opener against San Diego State, I would pencil Criste in as Schaefer's backup; he did more than what was required to show he can compete, battle and perform at the center spot.


27 - Tre Watson - Local recruitniks will remember Watson as part of that fabulous Kennedy secondary with WSU's Nolan Washington - and many will state to this day they felt Watson was a better player than Washington, even at the high school level. But the offers tell the tale, and by that measure Watson staked his claim out at West Hills College in southern California in an attempt to jump-start his collegiate career. The next year he moved to Central Washington, where he started 10 of 11 games. But the whole time, he had the goal of getting to Washington, and that goal was fulfilled when he was invited to walk-on last fall. With two years to play two starting this fall, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Watson comes to the cornerback position with experience and savvy - and that showed itself in April. He wasn't necessarily on Steve Sarkisian's radar going into Spring Football, but by the end he was being mentioned as a standout nearly every practice. It's going to be hard for Tre to supplant the likes of Desmond Trufant and Greg Ducre. But his strong spring means he's going toe-to-toe with frosh phenom Marcus Peters and is definitely in the mix with other veterans, like Adam Long and Anthony Gobern. Add true freshmen Brandon Beaver, Cleveland Wallace and Darien Washington to the mix, and cornerback now looks like it could be UW's deepest position in 2012.


26 - Josh Perkins - Josh Perkins did in spring 2012 what DiAndre Campbell did a year ago; become the breakout wide receiver of Spring Football. The 6-foot-3, 213 pound redshirt freshman became a go-to guy for Derrick Brown, catching four passes for 40 yards in the Spring Game. But we all saw what happened to Campbell when the rubber met the road of the regular season - he dropped a couple of passes and that was it. His two catches in 2011 wasn't close to what was expected coming out of Spring Football, and now Perkins faces the same daunting task. He had some absolute flashes of brilliance during the April practices, but Sarkisian specifically pointed to him as a player that still has to make that mental jump in maturity to get to the place where he can be a regular contributor. So it's all right there in his hands. Perkins showed this spring he's capable of being a reliable pass catcher when he's on his game. Now all he has to do is show that he can bridge the gap that kept Campbell from being that same guy last year.
Post Spring Top-40: 40-36
Post Spring Top-40: 35-31


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