Craig Chambers: Fresh on the Scene

At 6-foot-5, Craig Chambers is listed as an inch taller than Reggie Williams. At 190-pounds, he's 35 pounds lighter, however. The highly heralded incoming freshman says he's a much different receiver than Williams, and hopes to show just what he means on the field this season.

Projections are always a dangerous thing, especially in the sporting world. How many times have those dubbed as the "greatest athlete" turned out to be the "greatest benchwarmer"? In college sports, where fragile egos are a part of life, this is even truer.

That being said, it's hard not to project the latest crop of receiving talent to join the University of Washington football team.

There are plenty of new faces to go around - Craig Chambers, Bobby Whithorne, Corey Williams, Quintin Daniels, Anthony Russo, Charles Smith and Sonny Shackelford.

All are athletic, each can catch the ball, and every single one have much to prove. Three will likely have to suit up as true freshman to provide depth in the opening game at Ohio State, little more than three weeks away.

For a guy like Chambers, thought of as the headliner of the 2003 recruiting class, projections may be a bit unfair.

At 6-foot-5, many assume that he's the next Reggie Williams without having seen him play a down. Chambers says that would be a foolish assumption.

"Everyone compares me to Reggie, buy I think we are two totally different types of receivers," said the freshman from Jackson High. "He's so much bigger than I am, so I wouldn't compare us."

One reason the two receivers are different is because of their bodies. Chambers is tall and skinny, still just 190 pounds. The 6-foot-4 Williams is tall and thick, weighing in a 225 pounds. Williams can body opposing defensive backs. Chambers has to still a) learn how, and b) bulk up.

Also, it's hard to project how Chambers will match up with collegiate talent. In high school, where he had 93 catches for 1,972 yards and 18 touchdown over his career, he had several advantages. The first; he was taller than anyone else and could come down with any "jump ball." The second; he was faster, and could leave most any defensive back in the dust once the ball was in his hands.

In college, where the talent across the board is more evened out, Chambers has yet to prove that he can step in and do what Williams did as a frosh in 2001.

In fact, there are no guarantees that he'll be one of the handful of receivers who will play immediately in 2003.

Chambers says he'll deal with his fate as it comes.

"Anybody who comes in (as a freshman) wants to play right away; it's a lot better than having to sit out your first year," said Chambers. "But if that's what it comes to and I have to sit out, I won't be disappointed."

Two days through fall ball, each of the freshmen receivers have showcased their individual talents.

Chambers and 6-foot-3 Corey Williams each have the hands to go with their height.

Withorne has shown hands and route-running ability.

Russo has put his speed on display, showing tremendous burst.

Shackelford, Smith and Daniels are quick, slippery route-runners.

On the field, the battle is on. Off the field, each has taken the time to engage with one another and become better friends.

"We've been hanging out quite a bit," says Chambers. "Coach Kennedy kind of hinted to us that he wanted us to be a tight-knit group because we'll be hanging out together for the next four or five years. We've been eating lunch together, gone to meetings together, and gotten to know each other pretty well.

"Once you get on the field, you are friends but you have to go do your job. Once you get off the field you can hug and you're like family."

Each in the group of freshmen know there are jobs open for the taking. Which in the group will win out? That'll be determined over the coming weeks of camp, where they'll be run through drill after drill.

Just don't ask me make any projections. Top Stories