Top Performers - Week One

SEATTLE - Week One of Washington's Fall Camp has come and gone, and after seeing everyone go through their paces with and without pads here are the players we've chosen as the top-5 performers so far.

(Listed Alphabetically)

Travis Coons - The junior kicker from southern California (by way of Mount SAC) has been nothing short of sensational this first week of camp. He got off to a rocky start on Monday, but since then has been nearly flawless with his kicks. During one two-day stretch he went 10-10 with a couple made from being 50 yards that could have been good from 60. His leg strength is clear to see, with most of his kicks still on the rise when they go through the uprights. It's been a while since the Huskies have had a kicker that could consistently create touchbacks for the opposition, but Coons just might be the guy to turn that around.

Jaydon Mickens - It's a shame that Mickens, a true freshman from southern California, sat out Saturday due to a groin strain, because up to that point he had been one of the real bright spots on the offense for the Huskies. With Kevin Smith and James Johnson out, freshmen like Mickens and Kendyl Taylor have spent a lot of time playing with the upperclassmen during their first week of college ball, and they seem very comfortable already in their surroundings. Mickens has received the most raves, however, due to his speed and ability to catch anything thrown his way. We knew going into camp there was a good chance one of the frosh was going to see action this year, and I'd say right now Mickens has the inside track.

Drew Schaefer - Everyone knows how important Schaefer, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound center from Eastlake High, is to the Washington program right now; he's the anchor to the offensive line and its most experienced and savvy player. He's played every down of fall camp so far without any lingering issues with his knee that sidelined him for part of spring ball. Not only has Schaefer provided stability and longevity at the position, but he's already shown up as the undisputed leader of the OL. With Erik Kohler out with a dislocated kneecap and no real backup to left tackle Micah Hatchie other than RS Frosh Dexter Charles and true frosh Jake Eldrenkamp, Schaefer has not only taken some snaps at the LT spot but has also constantly been in Eldrenkamp's ear to give little tips and tricks of the trade to the frosh to help speed up his learning curve.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - The undisputed leader in the clubhouse when talking about the players that have shown up ready to go. The 6-foot-6, 266-pound sophomore tight end from Gig Harbor has been a monster so far in terms of being the defense's worst nightmare. He's an instant mismatch for any player he goes up against, and he has the hands to snag any pass that comes his way. And because he seems to always be in a position to quickly catch a pass, he's the ultimate safety valve for the quarterbacks. Not only has Keith Price come to depend on finding ASJ in a pinch but even the true freshmen signal-callers are starting to understand how No. 88 can make them look really good at what they do. One of the bigger improvements in ASJ's game is his pass protection; while not flawless yet he's come a long way in terms of matching the physicality of the defense and giving as good as he gets. It's just one more piece to the puzzle that makes ASJ one of the top tight ends in the country.

Tre Watson - The 5-foot-9, 183-pound junior transfer from Central Washington has continued his stellar play from spring. While Desmond Trufant and Greg Ducre have long nailed down their spots in the cornerback rotation with their experience and play, it's been up to the other players - guys like Watson, Marcus Peters and even two of the true freshmen in Brandon Beaver and Cleveland Wallace - to show they can quickly and confidently step in at a moment's notice. And whether it's because of his age, maturity, competitiveness - or a little bit of all of the above - Watson has quickly emerged as a guy to be reckoned with for the offense. He's come up with a few interceptions this first week of camp - but more importantly he's showing that the Huskies have more than just a couple defensive backs that can not just play in space but can also cover receivers man-to-man without the dreaded 10-yard cushion that became a hallmark of most recent UW defenses. Under the tutelage of Justin Wilcox, Keith Heyward and Donte Williams, the cornerbacks are 'stickier' than they've ever been - and arguably the biggest example of this newfound 'stickiness' from last year to this year is Tre Watson.


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