Spring Breakout Players: No. 7

Senio Kelemete was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. With his matriculation from UW, the search is on for the Huskies' next great left tackle. Micah Hatchie was the answer this past season, starting all 13 games - but is the sophomore truly on his way to being a three-year starter? If anyone can challenge Hatchie's tenure, it should be Jake Eldrenkamp.

Background: Eldrenkamp is a winner, no question about it. He helped Bellevue win four-straight 3A state championships, something no one else at UW can say - outside of his BHS teammate Michael Kneip. In his four years as a Wolverine they only lost three games. He was rated the No. 60 offensive guard recruit in the nation and No. 8 prospect in Washington, according to scout.com his senior year and was a finalist for the 2011 Seattle-King County National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Why Eldrenkamp?: Even though Hatchie had a vise-grip on the starting left tackle position, it wasn't necessarily that way heading into the season. In fact, things were so touch-and-go with Hatchie's play during fall camp that the Huskies were thinking about using incumbent center Drew Schaefer to protect Keith Price's blind side before the sophomore from Hawaii responded positively and earned the trust of Dan Cozzetto and Steve Sarkisian. But an over-abundance of holding calls and sacks during the 2012 campaign means Cozzetto is more than anxious to see how Hatchie has responded this off-season. He's also curious if there are going to be any challengers to push Hatchie. Left guard Dexter Charles was the player listed behind Hatchie on UW's 2012 depth chart, but the reality was true freshman Eldrenkamp was the one being groomed near the end of the season and during the bowl practices in preparation for a position battle this spring. It's asking a lot for a redshirt freshman to handle the edge as a tackle, especially on the quarterback's blind side - but if Jake can show the same winning mindset and attitude that carried him at Bellevue he will take Hatchie to the brink throughout spring and fall. Hopefully a bloodbath of a position battle during both spring AND fall will leave both players tested and ready for the rigors of the 2013 schedule - because the likelihood of needing more than one left tackle to play during any season is always high.

The Competition: The potential for Eldrenkamp to break out is magnified because the Huskies just don't have a lot of viable options at left tackle - at least based on last year. They certainly have tackle prospects - like Ben Riva, Mike Criste, and even fellow frosh Nathan Dean - who have been right-sided players that could be given a shot to play on the left. And Charles, who was an 11-start stalwart at left guard, could move outside if Hatchie falters and Eldrenkamp simply isn't ready. But the likelihood of Charles moving is remote because of his dominance at left guard (as well as the uncertainty surrounding Colin Tanigawa and his possible return from two knee injuries), so the position competition this spring is wide open for Eldrenkamp to push Hatchie to the brink.

Jake Eldrenkamp Scout.com Profile

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