Post-Spring Top-40: 20-16

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? counts down the top-40 from Spring Football, five players at a time. Yesterday was 25-21; now it's 20-16. Welcome to the Top Twenty!

20 - Micah Hatchie - Hatchie was a big-time prospect coming from Oahu in 2010; 2012 is expected to be his coming-out party in purple and gold, emerging from the sizable shadow of Senio Kelemete and his matriculation to the NFL. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore left tackle has everything going for him when it comes to the athleticism, nasty and drive required to protect Keith Price's blind side this fall. And unlike most of the offensive linemen being asked to take over from 2011 starters, Hatchie is one that has actually played in conference games before, so jumping in as the starter isn't necessarily foreign to him. So the biggest thing for Hatchie in April was to get through the 15 practices of Spring Football intact, which he did. He was able to get all his work in, and it was against some very good defensive ends. Other than Drew Schaefer at center, Hatchie would have to be considered as close to a 'lock' as any OL starter for 2012, and so it was vitally important for Micah to put his work in. He did, and he did nothing in spring to think he won't be ready to fully take the mantle from Kelemete in short order.

19 - James Atoe - Unlike Micah Hatchie, James Atoe's springtime fate had more to do with the players expected to be in front of him on the depth chart - namely Colin Porter - than the graduation of any player. But when Porter was shockingly forced to retire due to degenerative shoulders, Atoe's future as Washington's right guard was moved front and center - and the 6-foot-6, 332-pound sophomore from The Dalles, Ore. responded by having as strong a spring as any player on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, when asked who impressed during Spring Football, new Offensive Coordinator Eric Kiesau mentioned two players - Atoe and Bishop Sankey. That tells me Atoe, who has dropped a good 30-40 pounds since his UW arrival, stepped up big-time. And while I think it still could be some time before he makes people forget about Porter or if he even starts to sniff the lofty praise Steve Sarkisian heaped on him Signing Day two years ago, there was no question Atoe made significant moves toward securing a spot as one of Washington's starting five offensive linemen. For a big man, his feet are awfully fast, and he just covers up the sun. If Atoe's development can continue to ramp up in the fashion that took him from being a role player to starter in 15 practices this spring, it will be a lot of fun watching him emerge in the fall as a legitimate Pac-12 lineman with the opportunity of being a three-year starter.

18 - Jesse Callier - Callier, the 5-foot-10, 203-pound junior running back from Downey, Calif., is arguably the most experienced returning skill player on offense - so Spring Football wasn't as important to him as it might have been for some of the younger backs like Bishop Sankey and Dezden Petty. But was was key was staying upright and getting his work in, and that proved to be a tough task given he was dealing with a gimpy ankle for much of April. Still, Callier looks to most likely be in a Dawgfight with Sankey for the starting RB spot on Opening Day. As we've seen the past two years, Callier is a determined runner with instincts honed from his days at Warren High School, equally adept in returning kicks as taking screen passes. Jesse wasn't asked to be as productive in 2012 when it was clear the carries at running back were Chris Polk's to lose; this year he'll have as many as he wants, provided he shows the UW coaches he can be that lead back that can do a little bit of everything, including pass protect. Blocking is probably the one area where he has it over his competition, but the coaches haven't hesitated to give the other backs a shot. During Spring Game, Sankey carried the ball 11 times compared to only two for Callier. Knowing how competitive Callier is, he will do everything in his power to show the coaches that he is the man that can be trusted with the rock.

17 - Will Shamburger - Spring Football is never going to be a great situation for a player like Shamburger. With hitting at a minimum and health a primary concern, guys like Shamburger - who thrive in environments where he can lay his hat on anything that moves - just won't be seen as big movers during a period of time where technique and fundamentals take precedent. That being said, Shamburger was a clear force in April, especially with the moves of Taz Stevenson, Evan Zeger, and eventually Nate Fellner to linebacker. That meant more time for Shamburger to be a primary focus at safety and to get his work in. He did that, and so much more. The secondary as a whole was praised by coaches and knowing pundits alike for their improved coverage skills and ability to 'stick' to receivers in a way they never seemed to do on a consistent basis last year. Shamburger was one of those secondary players who got his hands on a lot of footballs during Washington's 15 spring practices; problem is he rarely came up with the rock. Now it's obviously a cliche to say that if a defensive player had great hands he'd be playing offense, but coming up with that key turnover on a regular basis should be the goal for Shamburger going forward. Normally he'd just try and knock the ballcarrier into next week, and if they dropped the ball as a result, even better. But he showed in April that he can ballhawk too. If Shamburger and Justin Glenn can add reinforcements to Sean Parker - and we know Parker can pick passes off - then the safeties should easily surpass the five interceptions they had as a unit in 2011.

16 - Justin Glenn - Speaking of Glenn, the senior from Kamiak has been waiting for a breakout ever since he suffered a broken leg at Notre Dame back in 2009, but the injury bug wouldn't leave him alone. Even when things seemed to be looking up for the 5-foot-11, 209-pound Glenn, a foot injury at Stanford stopped him in his tracks. It didn't derail him completely, though - as Glenn was still able to play in all 13 games, but his career has certainly been stamped with the idea of what could have been…until this spring. Based on his 15 April practices, it sure looked like Glenn has adiosed the injuries and embraced one last chance to really put his imprint on UW football. Unlike Shamburger, Glenn is known as a player who can keep his mitts on footballs if he can get a hand on 'em, and he's always had a penchant for being in the right place at the right time; his 15 stops at Nebraska last year was the most by any UW defender. When he's right, Justin Glenn has shown he can be productive and a difference-maker. Because he was able to get through all of Spring Football intact and invigorated, that means he will play a lot in 2012 and probably be the starting safety opposite Sean Parker when it's all said and done.
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