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

We continue our position-by-position look at what happened this past season, the returning players at each position and we give our thoughts on what things might look like in 2015. Today, we look at the offensive tackles where there will be quite a bit of competition during the offseason to figure out who will start and who will be in backup roles...

2014 Review - Washington was lucky enough to have their left tackle, Micah Hatchie, stay healthy all season and he came through with probably his best season. On the right side, things couldn't have been more shaky as Ben Riva, considered one of the leaders of the line and poised to have an All-Pac 12 type season, was never able to stay healthy so redshirt freshman Coleman Shelton and James Atoe split time outside. The Huskies were okay in pass protection although they did have some breakdowns that stalled drives when Washington needed points. However, for the most part, the Huskies got above average play from Hatchie to go along with average to below average play from the right side between Shelton and Atoe.

Returning Players

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5, 292) (RS Jr.)
Andrew Kirkland (6-4, 315) (RS So.)
Coleman Shelton (6-4, 281) (RS So.)
Matt James (6-4, 258) (RS Fr.)
Kaleb McGary (6-7, 295) (RS Fr.)

Incoming Players

Devin Burleson (6-8, 280) Trey Adams (6-7, 285)

Position Overview

Coleman Shelton - Shelton is the only player returning who has any significant playing time, starting seven games at right tackle when Riva went down and playing in 13 of the Huskies' 14 games this season. Shelton is a good athlete and as he continues to develop it will be interesting to see if he winds up staying at right tackle or if Chris Strausser opts to move him to the left side of the line.

Jake Eldrenkamp - There was much fanfare for Eldrenkamp when he signed with Washington back in 2013, however, we have yet to see the the fruits of his acquisition. Eldrenkamp always seemed like a better fit inside and that might ultimately be where he winds up, but for now, he's projected to battle for the starting left tackle position once spring camp gets underway.

Andrew Kirkland - We're including Kirkland here because he can play either guard or tackle, depending on the need. Kirkland's feet are good, but has yet to show he can shadow or mirror a super-quick pass-rusher off the edge. Kirkland has long arms and he has a nice solid base. He appears to be a better fit at guard, but it's not out of the question for him to move outside and challenge for playing time.

Matt James - I was one person who was very excited to see what James could do when he got here. I had heard rave reviews from several people, including a former Husky coach who lives in Idaho, that James was a guy who could wind up being a very impressive linemen at the collegiate level. My excitement turned to disappointment though when I saw he showed up weighing right around 250 pounds. Eesh. Still a lot of work to put in for James to earn a spot, but don't be surprised if he winds up in the two deeps if he can add some bulk to his frame.

Kaleb McGary - McGary started off on the defensive side of the ball, but midway through the first month of the season, he was moved over to the offensive side and he drew some rave reviews for his efforts. McGary has never played along the offensive line, so it's hard to say if he will actually be able to push for playing time this early in his development. He's got the overall skills and athleticism necessary to be a good one, but only time will tell if he's a guy who can be a player this fall or not.

2015 Preview - The Huskies have a ton of work to do at this position. Unlike at guard where you have several players who have seen some live reps, the Huskies only have Shelton who has seen extensive playing time. These spots will be in constant flux as Strausser does his best to find the right combination. Don't be surprised if a guy like Adams winds up winning a spot at right tackle. This staff has no allegiances to the older players, so it will be whoever is better and the most consistent player on the field.

Dawgman.com Top Stories