Jake Browning – When it’s all said and done, Browning could be the first four-year starter at the quarterback position in the modern era for the Huskies. Like all young signal-callers, he has a lot to work on, but this season we got a glimpse of how good he can wind up being as he improved week after week.
Young Offensive Line – The Huskies started a true freshman (Trey Adams) at left tackle, a redshirt freshman (Kaleb McGary) at right tackle and they had several other players with limited experience – Jake Eldrenkamp, Coleman Shelton and Andrew Kirkland – who got tons of snaps under their belt with two of them filling in at multiple positions.
Myles Gaskin – Washington has been blessed over the past decade with some good tailbacks, but Gaskin might wind up being the best of them all. He needs to get bigger and work on being a better receiver out of the backfield, but as far as his running abilities, he's got the vision, quickness, a good burst and running instincts that really set him apart from the crowd. As long as he remains healthy, Gaskin could very well become the program's career rushing leader.
Adaptability of Chris Petersen and his process/program – When he came to Washington back in December of 2013, Petersen came with a reputation of having his process and sticking to it. In the high-stakes game of Pac 12 recruiting, you have to get in the game much more quickly in order have a chance to haul in some of the top prospects out there and Petersen has shown the ability to adapt his process to get offers out much earlier in the recruiting cycle for each class than what we saw when he was at Boise State.
Willingness to make a change – Brent Pease had a history with Petersen when he was tapped to coach Washington’s receivers. However, after two seasons, he appeared to be the weakest link on the staff and Petersen didn’t hesitate to make the change.
Ikaika Malloe – Sure, Jeff Choate was a very good coach and a solid recruiter, and no one is saying he won’t be missed, but you couldn’t have found a better person to bring in to take his spot that Malloe who A) understands the Husky culture, 2) is a young and ambitious coach with the reputation of having solid developmental skills and 3) his connections in Hawaii should definitely give Washington a much stronger recruiting foothold out in the islands.
Jimmy Lake – Lake has proven he can mold talented , young players into a cohesive unit that flies around and makes plays. He’s also shown the ability to get into the homes of top-rated defensive back prospects and he gives the Huskies a shot with pretty much any prospect they target.
The Secondary – The Husky deep patrol has at least two players -- Budda Baker and Sidney Jones who will be playing on Sundays currently starting and with Kevin King as the first DB off the bench, Washington’s defense is already very tough to throw against. Toss in the expected development of younger players like Jordan Miller, Austin Joyner, Jojo McIntosh and Ezekiel Turner and this group looks to be heading toward a long run as one of the top secondaries in the country.
A Deep Defensive Front Seven – The Huskies have recruited pretty well along the defensive line, especially at the interior spots, as well as at linebacker. Losing experienced players like Taniela Tupou, Travis Feeney and Cory Littleton will definitely be felt, but with talented players like Tevis Bartlett, Jusstis Warren, Benning Potoae, Jaylen Johnson and Greg Gaines, the Huskies are in great shape at both linebacker and along the defensive line.
Recruiting - Washington's 2015 class currently averages 3.46 stars with 13 players committed. If things close out as strongly as we think they can, this class could edge up enough to have them average over 3.5 stars. One of the biggest concerns that many expressed with this staff when they arrived back in December of 2014 was what level of recruits they would be able to bring in. So far, this staff has gone out and gotten it done on the big stage, hauling in several big-time recruits including the California State Player of the Year (Sean McGrew) and an three four-star offensive linemen over the past two years. Make no mistake, there have been some misses, but the more established this staff gets at Montlake, the easier it will become to get those big-time recruits to give the Huskies a look and eventually, like most evolving programs, they will begin to grab their fair share of them, even when they are facing off against schools like Stanford, USC, Texas and Oklahoma among others.