Where They Stand: A look at UW's WR Position

We continue our position-by-position look at what happened this past season, the returning players and we give our thoughts on what things might look like in 2015. Today, we look at the wideouts where there is already a lot of turnover on the roster and more could be on the way...

2014 Review - It wasn't a banner year for the Husky passing game and, specifically, the wide receivers. The implementation of a new offensive system and very inconsistent quarterback play combined to really hurt the wideouts' stats, but the blame also falls on this group as they rarely got separation and there were very few explosive plays for the Dawgs. Jaydon Mickens led the way with 60 receptions, but the junior averaged just 10.3 yards per catch and he had just four touchdowns, compared to 65 for 688 yards and five scores last year while playing out of the slot and as the second or even third option in 2013. Kasen Williams ended his career with a sub-par performance that saw him produce the lowest numbers of his career -- 20 receptions for 189 yards and two scores. The senior was hurt most of the season, but he also lacked confidence and seemed to get very frustrated with how he was being used. John Ross is a big-play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball, but the move to corner took his speed and quickness out of the lineup and that also hurt the Huskies' receiver corps. The bright had to be the play of freshman Dante Pettis who showed some big-play abilities, both as a return man and in the passing game, but he didn't get many opportunities to be the go-to guy the Huskies needed. Overall, the wide receiver corps just didn't have the playmakers they needed to be a consistent downfield threat and that, combined with Cyler Miles' struggles resulted in a very inconsistent passing game. After the season was concluded, sophomore Kendyl Taylor made the public announcement that he plans to transfer and that takes yet another player with substantial reps out of the lineup heading into the offseason.

Returning Players

Jaydon Mickens (5-11, 174) (Sr.)
Marvin Hall (5-10, 188) (Sr.)
John Ross (5-11, 179) (Jr.)
Dante Pettis (6-0, 177) (So.)
Brayden Lenius (6-5, 217) (So.)
Drew Before (5-11, 195) (RS Jr.)*
Taelon Parson (6-1, 184) (RS So.)*
Neel Salukhe (5-11, 167) (RS So.)*
John Gardner (6-3, 182) (RS Fr.)*
Max Richmond (5-9, 173) (RS Fr.)*
Neel Salukhe (5-11, 167) (RS So.)*
* denotes walk-on

Incoming Freshman

Chico McClatcher (5-9, 185)
Andre Baccellia (5-11, 170)
Isaiah Renfro (6-2, 185)
Quinten Pounds (6-1, 175)

Position Overview

Jaydon Mickens - Mickens is an explosive player, but the way he was used this season, he just was unable to break free much. In the bowl game against Oklahoma State we got a glimpse of what we expected to see when the talented junior hauled in seven receptions for 82 yards including one he took 23 yards for a touchdown while also taking a reverse 31 yards for another score. Mickens is all about emotion. He's not very big and he's okay as a blocker, but the more emotional he gets the better he seems to play. Mickens showed some inconsistent hands, dropping several passes early in the season, but he's great in space and he can usually make defenders miss in space when he gets some room. He's also the voice of the receivers and his leadership will definitely be tested as a senior with so few experienced players around him.

Marvin Hall - Hall is one of the fastest players on the field, but that hasn't translated to big plays on the field and Hall has become a bit-player in Washington's system. So far, Hall's biggest contribution has been as a passer. He hit TE Josh Perkins for a 36-yard touchdown against Arizona and he had a throwback pass to Cyler Miles that netted 28 yards. As a freshman, Hall handled punt return duties and appeared set to be a home run threat as a returner, but he had too many drops and made too many bad decisions and that opened the door for others to take over and he's never been able to get back out there to show what he can do. Worth noting is that there are some rumors floating around that Hall is expected to transfer, but at this point in time, they are just that...rumors.

John Ross - We're going to include Ross here because he'll get several snaps per game at receiver, but most of his reps will be on the defensive side of the ball. Ross is a true home-run threat, both as a receiver and as a kick returner. Ross only had 17 receptions as a sophomore this past season, but he still managed to tie Mickens for the team-lead with four touchdowns and he had a robust 21.8 yard average on his catches. Ross' size dictates that he plays out of the slot where he can use his quickness and speed to be a mismatch with a safety or linebacker when they drop into coverage. Ross' slight frame makes it hard for him to get off the line at times, but if he can shake his head-up defender he can usually get open.

Dante Pettis - Pettis' role increased quite a bit as the season wore on. He didn't see many reps as a receiver until the Oregon game in mid-October, but after that game, he saw more and more plays with several targeting him as the first option. Pettis is a very good athlete and he's got deceptive speed. One area where he can get better is as a blocker. While he was adequate in this area, Pettis can be much better with a year in the strength program. With no true outside receivers on the roster ahead of him, there is a very good chance that Pettis could wind up a starter in the fall.

Brayden Lenius - Lenius is the one true "big" receiver currently on the roster. He's a big target and seems destined to be a short and intermediate target once he gets the offense down. As a freshman, Lenius finished with just seven receptions for 56. He definitely can improve as a blocker too and that will help him see the field that much more as he continues to improve.

2015 Preview - Mickens again should be the leader of the wideouts, but watch for Pettis and Lenius to see many more opportunities to contribute. You can also expect several of the incoming freshmen, especially Renfro, to come in and play right away. This unit doesn't have much in the way of size, so the coaches will have to figure out how to use them best. If they can add another big receiver to the mix -- A.D. Miller or Jaylin Hawkins are possibilities -- then the Huskies could find themselves with at least a handful of new players getting reps. Pounds will also get a look on offense first, but most think he could wind up in the secondary before the end of the 2015 season. The nice thing about receiver is that young players tend to have success early in their careers. Let's hope that's the case with this group because they will be needed early and often.

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