Two Deeps After Two Weeks

It’s that time to start putting some names on lists to give Washington fans a glimpse as to who has been playing where so far through two weeks of spring football. Most of it is pretty straightforward, but there have been some moves of note, as well as some omissions that need to be talked about.

Quarterback



Jake Browning (6-2, 205, So.)

K.J. Carta-Samuels (6-2, 219, RSo.)

The Washington coaches, from Chris Petersen on down, love to talk about their ‘seating charts’ instead of ‘depth charts’, but they might as well write the quarterback ‘seating chart’ in concrete. It’s not going to change from now until the Rutgers opener. Browning is the man, Carta-Samuels is the next man, then Tony Rodriguez. True freshman Daniel Bridge-Gadd is taking his lumps, but a redshirt year will put him in good stead to compete in a serious way a year from now.

Running Back



Myles Gaskin (5-10, 193, So.)

Lavon Coleman (5-11, 220, RJr.)

While the quarterback position is very easy to decipher, the running back position isn’t as clear-cut. The starter for sure will be Gaskin, but who will back him up? This is where down and distance will dictate some of it, as well as who has the hot hand. Coleman is the experienced back, whereas Jomon Dotson has shown he can be a home-run threat - not just in the run game but also as a pass-catcher. So the reality is that Running Backs Coach Keith Bhonapha has two legitimate options to back Gaskin up for the time being. Having Sean McGrew in this group would have been a great addition, but we won’t get a great handle on exactly how Washington Offensive Coordinator Jonathan Smith wants to use him until he gets to Montlake. 

Wide Receiver


Receiver

John Ross III (5-11, 196, Jr.)

Andre Baccellia (5-10, 166, RFr.)

Receiver 

Dante Pettis (6-1, 187, Jr.)

Nik Little (6-5, 212, Jr.)

Slot

Chico McClatcher (5-7, 176, So.)

Max Richmond (5-9, 182, So.)*

*=Walk on

This group has been under-represented big time this spring, for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that two scholarship players - Brayden Lenius and Quinten Pounds - have not been available for the majority of spring. If they had been, the depth chart would definitely have a different feel. The second reason is that Isaiah Renfro, who played last as a true freshman, has not been around the team since the first spring practice. Petersen cited ‘personal’ issues as the cause for Renfro’s absence. But there have been four main receivers the quarterbacks have focused on so far through two weeks: Ross, Pettis, McClatcher, and Baccellia. After that core group there is a substantial drop-off, so getting the other scholarship players back for fall will be critical. 

Tight End 



Darrell Daniels (6-4, 237, Sr.)

Drew Sample (6-4, 260, RSo.)

Darrell Daniels has a daunting task ahead of him - replacing Joshua Perkins’s production. But he’s capable of doing it. Drew Sample is 15 pounds larger than last year but the added girth doesn’t appear to have changed his ability to get downfield. After that, David Ajamu has been the primary target, followed by two newcomers to the position: Jeff Lindquist and Will Dissly. Redshirt frosh Mike Neal still needs another year of strength and conditioning to fully integrate himself into the mixer. 

Offensive Line 


Left Tackle

Trey Adams (6-8, 306, So.)

Andrew Kirkland (6-4, 313, Jr.)

Left Guard

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5, 284, Sr.)

Michael Kneip (6-5, 284, Sr.)

Center

Coleman Shelton (6-4, 292, Jr.)

Matt James (6-4, 291, So.)

Right Guard 

Shane Brostek (6-4, 285, Sr.)

Jesse Sosebee (6-5, 314, So.)

Right Tackle

Kaleb McGary (6-7, 300, So.)

Devin Burleson (6-8, 301, RFr.)

While Offensive Line Coach Chris Strausser has a number of options at his disposal this spring, the offensive line has appeared to be pretty set at all five positions. At left tackle, Trey Adams comes back in as the starter, but when he’s needed a break Strausser has gone to Andrew Kirkland, who started the last two games of the season there. Kirkland also started five games at right tackle, so he can also back up Kaleb McGary in a pinch. At left guard it’s been Michael Kneip who has taken the most snaps so far, but incumbent Jake Eldrenkamp finally got back to full action last Friday. Probably the one offensive line spot that has a genuine battle going on is at right guard, where Shane Brostek has taken the first team snaps but Boomer Sosebee - who has two starts from 2015 - is right there to grab the nod if Brostek falters. Strausser had one starter to replace after the 2015 season, Siosifa Tufunga, so he went to his most dependable and versatile lineman to handle the job, Coleman Shelton. Matt James has been his steady backup. 

Defensive Line 


Defensive End

Elijah Qualls (6-1, 321, Jr.)

Shane Bowman (6-4, 290, So.)

Nose Tackle

Greg Gaines (6-2, 318, So.) 

Vita Vea (6-5, 329, So.)

Defensive Tackle 

Jaylen Johnson (6-2, 285, So.)

Damion Turpin (6-3, 284, Sr.)

Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is still employing the same odd front that was the base for the Huskies’ phenomenal 2015 defensive effort, but from a personnel standpoint it’s looked a lot different this spring. For one thing, the defensive end position has gotten much bigger: Elijah Qualls replaces Joe Mathis at end, which is a jump of roughly 70 pounds in size. Kwiatkowski has been experimenting a lot with Qualls and either Greg Gaines or Vita Vea together up front, and I expect that experiment to continue into the fall. As is the nature of Kwiatkowski’s philosophy, the end and tackle positions are going to interchange, so expect to see a lot of movement of players around the nose. Jaylen Johnson and Shane Bowman have experienced a lot of physical growth, so they could play tackle or end very easily. Expect Benning Potoa’e to be able to do the same when he gets up to speed with the playbook. Expect those seven players to form the basis for Kwiatkowski’s defensive line this fall, depending on how quickly Levi Onwuzurike hits the ground running. 

Linebacker


BUCK (weak side outside)

Joe Mathis (6-2, 256, Sr.)

Tevis Bartlett (6-2, 229, So.)

WIL (weak side inside)

Keishawn Bierria (6-1, 226, Jr.)

Ben Burr-Kirven (6-0, 215, So.)

MIK (middle)

Azeem Victor (6-3, 227, Jr.)

Sean Constantine (6-2, 232, Jr.)

SAM (strong side outside)

Psalm Wooching (6-4, 230, Sr.)

Connor O'Brien (6-3, 240, Jr.)

Continuing Kwiatkowski's odd front look means four linebackers - as well as replacing both outside ‘backers in Cory Littleton and Travis Feeney. That means moving Joe Mathis back to a spot he was scheduled to play last year, the BUCK outside linebacker position. Both the BUCK and SAM outside linebacker positions can be utilized as mirrored positions, so expect a lot of movement between Mathis and Psalm Wooching, who has been the other outside linebacker starter so far. They’ve been steadily backed by Tevis Bartlett and Connor O'Brien, but there have been a number of other athletes involved: Jusstis Warren , Bryce Sterk, Myles Rice , and Amandre Williams. Inside is where the meat of the linebacker corps resides: Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria will be asked to handle the leadership and direction of this unit, and they are poised to take the front seven toward the next level in their development. Sean Constantine and Ben Burr-Kirven have been the second choices at MIK and WIL, respectively, with DJ Beavers also getting a lot of looks so far through two weeks. 

Defensive Backs


Cornerback

Kevin King (6-3, 190, Sr.)

Darren Gardenhire (5-11, 187, Jr.)

Cornerback

Sidney Jones (6-0, 180, Jr.)

Jordan Miller (6-1, 176, So.)

Safety

Budda Baker (5-10, 184, Jr.)

Trevor Walker (5-11, 190, Jr.)

Safety

Jojo McIntosh (6-1, 208, So.)

Ezekiel Turner (6-2, 210, Jr.)

You might as well write this two-deep in stone, because nothing has really changed for Jimmy Lake’s crew since the first Monday of spring football. The only notable tweak to proceedings has been Sidney Jones not participating in a lot of the team periods the last couple practices, which has allowed a lot of ‘live’ looks for Jordan Miller and Brandon Lewis. Other than that, everything has been as expected: Jones and King outside with Gardenhire as the nickel DB; Baker and McIntosh manning the ones at safety with Trevor Walker and Zeke Turner ably backing them up. Also of note is true frosh safety Taylor Rapp, who has been working steadily with the threes despite a large cast surrounding one of his hands. Austin Joyner at corner and Brandon Beaver at safety aren’t full-go yet, so they could offer up a bit of an extra threat come fall, as well as whatever Lake asks of the true frosh, including Byron Murphy, Kentrell Love, and Isaiah Gilchrist. 

Special Teams


Placekicker

Cameron Van Winkle (5-10, 189, Sr.)

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2, 201, Jr.)

Punter

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2, 201, Jr.)

Van Soderberg (5-11, 199, Fr.)

Kickoff

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2, 201, Jr.)

Van Soderberg (5-11, 199, Fr.)

Punt Return

Dante Pettis (6-1, 187, Jr.)

Andre Baccellia (5-10, 166, RFr.)

Kick Return

John Ross III (5-11, 196, Jr.)

Chico McClatcher (5-7, 176, So.)

Snapper

A.J. Carty (6-2, 245, RFr.)

Luke Hutchison (6-2, 226, Jr.)

Holder

Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 244, Sr.)

Dante Pettis (6-1, 187, Jr.)

True freshman Van Soderberg’s move toward a one-step delivery has slowed his progress, making it clear at least as of now that Tristan Vizcaino will be the one to replace Korey Durkee at punter this fall. And redshirt frosh A.J. Carty is on pace to take over where Ryan Masel left the snapping chores. But other than that, new UW Special Teams Coordinator Bob Gregory has no other holes to replace on special teams, and in fact gets back one of the Huskies’ most explosive pieces in John Ross. Ross and McClatcher provide one of the best 1-2 kickoff return combos in the Pac-12, and Dante Pettis’s prowess at punt return is already well-documented. Pettis continues to also back up Jeff Lindquist at holder. 

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