Fall Camp Preview: Tight Ends

Washington is lucky enough to have, arguably, the best tight ends in the country on their roster. However, he isn't the only one worth mentioning in the fifth installment of our Fall Camp Previews. Here's a look at the position, which battles will be waged during training camp and what things look like as we peer into the future...

The Players:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jr., 6-6, 266) - Washington has had plenty of talented tight ends come through the program -- Jerramy Stevens, Mark Bruener, Aaron Pierce just to name a few -- but from a talent and statistical standpoint, there hasn't been a better one than Seferian-Jenkins. He's arguably the best tight end in the country and, aside from a very poor decision during the spring that led to a DUI and a suspension from the team, he's a great teammate. ASJ is one of the hardest workers on the team and he has improved immensely as a blocker, the weakest point in his game when he arrived in 2011. It is still unclear whether he will play against Boise State on August 31st, but no matter when he finally steps on the field this fall, he is a key component to the Husky offense and he will be sorely missed when he either leaves early for the NFL or finishes up his eligibility following the 2014 season.

Michael Hartvigson (RS Jr., 6-6, 255) - Hartvigson is the fun-loving, practical joker on the team, but he's also a very talented player. His struggles have come in finding playing time behind Seferian-Jenkins and battling his close friend Evan Hudson, who is regarded as the best blocker of the trio, for reps as well.

Evan Hudson (RS Jr., 6-5, 262) - As noted earlier, Hudson has made a name for himself as a blocker. He's physical at the point-of-attack and he's versatile enough that Washington's offensive staff can use him as a fullback, an H-back or as a second or third tight end. He's also a pretty good athlete and he's got soft hands, but he is rarely used as a target in the passing game.

Josh Perkins (RS So., 6-3, 216) - So far, Perkins hasn't made much of an impact as a player for the Huskies, but that has more to do with him moving to tight end during his redshirt season (in 2011) and sitting behind the likes of Seferian-Jenkins, Hartvigson and Hudson. Perkins has enough speed to be a real threat in Washington's offense, a lot like Fred Davis was at USC, but he needs to get reps, something that has been a struggle to find up to this point. Now, Perkins has done a good job on special teams and that is probably where he will continue to make an impact this fall.

David Ajamu (Fr., 6-5, 245) - Washington was ecstatic when Ajamu showed up at their camp last summer and blew them away with what he could do. He only got better as his senior season moved along and eventually, they were able to pry him away from Oregon State, where he had committed earlier in the process. Ajamu's game is a lot like Seferian-Jenkins' when he came out of the local prep ranks and the Husky staff would love it if he even approached what their budding All-American can do on the field. While the coaches will allow Ajamu to compete for playing time, the expectation is that he will redshirt this season, work on adding size and strength as well as improving as a blocker and be ready to go in 2014 with four years to make an impact.

The Battles: Hartvigson, Hudson and Perkins are all battling for playing time and reps. While Hartvigson is probably the most complete of the three, there is no question that Hudson is the better blocker and that Perkins has the speed and receiving skills to be a threat in the passing game as well. Hartvigson had a great spring, something that caught the coaches' eyes, but he hasn't separated himself enough from Hudson to feel secure.

The Depth: Seferian-Jenkins is the clear leader and it's not really close. As noted earlier, he's arguably the best tight end in the country and likely will be an All-American this season.

First off the bench, at least right now, appears to be Hartvigson if the Huskies want to pass and Hudson if they are looking to run.

Perkins is likely to make his biggest contribution to the team on special teams, but he could see time in goal-line sets and used as a receiver that can sneak into the endzone on play-action.

Ajamu is likely headed for a redshirt season.
The Future: Seferian-Jenkins has made public statements that he plans to return for his senior season in 2014, but no one who follows things closely believes that will happen. It doesn't mean that he's lying, but it means when the NFL comes calling and promising that he could be a top 15 selection, it could be very hard to turn that down.

If Seferian-Jenkins leaves, as is expected, then Hartvigson, Hudson and Perkins, along with Ajamu, would still make for a deep and talented position group.

Add in Coeur D'Alene (Id.) TE Chase Blakley, who has already committed to the Dawgs and will sign with them next February, as well as the possibility of getting Bingham (South Jordan, Ut.) TE Dalton Schultz, the number one tight end in the country, to commit and the future couldn't be brighter at this position.

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