Best Spring Performance - Offense
Kim Grinolds - Chico McClatcher. Will be a prime target for Jake Browning and could wind up being the leading receiver this season.
Chris Fetters - Jake Browning. The Huskies needed him to take a big step forward from year one to year two, and this spring showed Browning has worked on his deficiencies - namely the deep ball. His relationship with John Ross is blossoming, and he’s miles ahead of any other QB on the roster.
Scott Eklund - Andre Baccellia. I liked the spring that redshirt freshman WR Andre Baccellia had. He got open consistently and showed the open-field skills that could make him a nice weapon this fall.
Luke Mounger - Andre Baccellia. With Brayden Lenius limited all spring long and Isaiah Renfro apart from the team, Baccellia took advantage of the extra reps he got and showed he's capable of contributing.
Best Spring Performance - Defense
Kim Grinolds - Budda Baker. All-Conference performer played injured most of the year. Now he’s 100 percent healthy. He's everywhere.
Chris Fetters - Budda Baker. Led by example all spring. Like Kim said, Budda was everywhere the defense needed him to be, and he showed he can help on special teams too with blocked kicks. The defense goes as Budda goes.
Scott Eklund - Jordan Miller. Sophomore CB Jordan Miller had five interceptions and generally locked down his man on a daily basis.
Luke Mounger - Jordan Miller. Similar to Baccellia, Miller had a few extra opportunities to show up when Sidney Jones got some rest during team periods. He did not disappoint.
Spring Most Improved Player - Quarterbacks
Kim Grinolds - Tony Rodriguez. We thought he was just a warm body, but now is a legitimate contender for the backup job.
Chris Fetters - Tony Rodriguez. Until two weeks ago I would have said Jake Browning in a walk, but the switch went on for Rodriguez and he went to work. Has every opportunity to beat out K.J. Carta-Samuels in the fall.
Scott Eklund - Tony Rodriguez. Tony Rodriguez looked very solid throughout the 15 practices showing good decision-making and knowledge of the offense.
Luke Mounger - Tony Rodriguez. Tony really hit his stride during the last week or so of campus, looking comfortable and confident with his decision making.
Spring Most Improved Player - Running Backs
Kim Grinolds - Jomon Dotson. Gaskin didn't get a ton of reps and Dotson took advantage of the opportunity.
Chris Fetters - Jomon Dotson. Not as easy a call as it seems, as Lavon Coleman had a very good spring too in my opinion, but Dotson is the heir apparent. He’s now starting to pair the inside game to go with his outside speed. It’s not there yet, but you can see it being developed.
Scott Eklund - Jomon Dotson. Jomon Dotson showed himself to be the top candidate to backup Myles Gaskin, showing soft hands and breakaway speed.
Luke Mounger - Jomon Dotson. Juice showed us this spring that he can make plays either taking handoffs or catching passes out of the backfield, proving he's more than just a speedster.
Spring Most Improved Player - Receivers
Kim Grinolds - Chico McClatcher. Jaydon Mickens won't be missed.
Chris Fetters - Andre Baccellia. We knew he had a chance to shine this spring, especially with three scholarship players hurt or out, and he took full advantage.
Scott Eklund - Andre Baccellia. Andre Baccellia showed solid route-running and soft hands and made plays when called upon.
Luke Mounger - Chico McClatcher. As Bush Hamdan alluded to in an interview, McClatcher is no longer a package player. It looks like he's taken the steps needed to become a contributor on a consistent basis, no matter where he lines up.
Spring Most Improved Player - Tight Ends
Kim Grinolds - Drew Sample. Not flashy, just gets it done. Now 6-5, 260. Expect All Conference honors
Chris Fetters - Jeff Lindquist. Jeff went from the weeds at quarterback to now having a legitimate opportunity to make a difference with the tight ends. It was a big ask for him to move, and he’s clearly embraced the chance. His underrated athleticism is now on full display.
Scott Eklund - Jeff Lindquist. Jeff Lindquist drew raves from the coaches for his efforts this spring and they think he can be a real asset to the offense this fall.
Luke Mounger - Will Dissly. Dissly, a converted defensive lineman, played some tight end in high school. It seemed that by the end of spring, Dissly was back in a groove at that position. A couple of impressive catches stood out as highlights, especially for a guy that big and with that much appeal as a blocker.
Spring Most Improved Player - Offensive Line
Kim Grinolds - Trey Adams. He's added nasty to his game.
Chris Fetters - Andrew Kirkland. It’s not easy to be asked to be proficient at both tackle positions, but that’s the brief Chris Strausser put in front of Andrew Kirkland this spring, and he’s not an emergency guy anymore. Kirkland has put the time in and he’s ready to challenge for regular action.
Scott Eklund - Andrew Kirkland. Andrew Kirkland continued to show why the coaches like him so much, filling in at both left tackle and right tackle at different points this spring.
Luke Mounger - Henry Roberts. Different guys getting nicked up a little might have played a roll, but by the end of spring Roberts was mixing it up with the second unit offensive line and was able to hold his own.
Spring Most Improved Player - Defensive Line
Kim Grinolds - Vita Vea. He's turned into a grown man this Spring. He'll anchor the interior.
Chris Fetters - Jaylen Johnson. His three sacks in the spring game wasn’t a fluke: he did that all of spring. That defensive tackle spot opening was a three-way battle heading into April with Shane Bowman and Damion Turpin, but it’s Johnson’s now. He put a stranglehold on that sucker.
Scott Eklund - Jaylen Johnson. Jaylen Johnson already has played a lot, but after watching him this spring, he looks very tough to stop with his outstanding quickness and his ability to get into the backfield.
Luke Mounger - Jaylen Johnson. He was able to consistently hold off Shane Bowman and Damion Turpin for the majority of first team reps all camp, and capped it off with a three sack performance at the spring game.
Spring Most Improved Player - Linebackers
Kim Grinolds - Tevis Bartlett. Solid, not spectacular. Smart player whose nose is always in the middle of it.
Chris Fetters - DJ Beavers. A classic case of others in front of him missing work, and Beavers took advantage of his chances with the ones and twos to put his face right in the shop window. Don’t be surprised if Beavers is right in the rotation behind Keishawn Bierria this fall. He’s started to earn that chance by his work this spring.
Scott Eklund - DJ Beavers. DJ Beavers opened some eyes with his performance when Keishawn Bierria and Ben Burr-Kirven went down with minor injuries.
Luke Mounger - DJ Beavers. Beavers ended up getting some reps with the first team defense after Bierria, Burr-Kirven, and Constantine all got dinged up. He seemlesly picked up the slack and fit right in.
Spring Most Improved Player - Defensive Backs
Kim Grinolds - Jordan Miller. Big time recruiting get and showing why. Still needs to add a few pounds but an emerging star.
Chris Fetters - Jordan Miller. Easy call here. Miller put in the kind of work that showed he can be the next in the line of shutdown corners produced at UW since Desmond Trufant left Montlake to become a first-round NFL draft pick.
Scott Eklund - Jordan Miller. Jordan Miller's freshman season was a mixed bag, but this spring he looked like the lockdown corner the Huskies thought they were getting when he signed in February of 2015.
Luke Mounger - Taylor Rapp. It's tough for freshman to look like they know what they're doing in spring ball, let alone look good. Rapp, however, was pretty impressive when he got his chances. Obviously, he's still learning, but his athleticism is exciting.
Spring Most Improved Player - Special Teams
Kim Grinolds - John Ross III. Welcome back.
Chris Fetters - Tristan Vizcaino. Thought Van Soderberg would come in and immediately replace Korey Durkee, but didn’t realize how much Soderberg would have to tinker with his mechanics. Vizcaino stepped in without any hesitation and looks set to be the starting punter. We’ll see what happens in the fall, but Vizcaino continues to show he can do it all.
Scott Eklund - Tristan Vizcaino. Tristan Vizcaino doesn't have a big leg, but he showed improved consistency and looks to have figured out rugby style punting and will likely be the successor to the now graduated Korey Durkee.
Luke Mounger - Van Soderberg. The true freshman looked like he was working in his drop and getting punts off in just one step. It looked like he was having a hard time at first, but by the end of spring it was starting to look more natural.
Which true freshman has the best chance of playing in the fall based on their spring performance?
Kim Grinolds - Taylor Rapp. he's going to be special.
Chris Fetters - Taylor Rapp. Don’t think Rapp will do anything in terms of position, but I can see him becoming a special teams demon his freshman year. He’s going to make it tough for the UW coaches to keep his redshirt on, but it could happen.
Scott Eklund - Myles Rice. Myles Rice has the look of a standout player in the making, but it'll be hard to get on the field with the talent in front of him at the BUCK position.
Luke Mounger - Taylor Rapp. I don't think he will play, but he seems the closest to being ready of any freshman that was at spring camp. Also, with Beaver out, he's an injury away from possibly being part of the two deeps, meaning circumstance may force coach Petersen's hand.
Kim Grinolds - Chico McClatcher.
Chris Fetters - Vita Vea. Have to agree with Scott here. Vea was helping do it by committee last year, but a year later and a move toward a more prominent role is going to put Vita out there as a household name by the end of the 2016 season. Book it.
Scott Eklund - Vita Vea. Vita Vea sure looks like a future star. He has great size and quickness and he looked really good this spring.
Luke Mounger - Andre Baccellia. It seemed like Baccellia stood out every practice throughout the duration of spring. His 'breakout' season won't be 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he could end up hauling in around 40 catches (just over three a game for 12 games). That contribution from a non-starting receiver would be incredibly valuable.
Who Might Take A Step Back?
Kim Grinolds - David Ajamu. Can't stay healthy.
Chris Fetters - David Ajamu. Agree with Kim: the brace he had to use at the end of spring was an ominous look ahead. Rooting for him to overcome his knee injury, but hard to stay optimistic.
Scott Eklund - K.J. Carta-Samuels. Hard to say, but I wasn't overly impressed with K.J. Carta-Samuels' spring and think that there's a chance Rodriguez could take over for him as Jake Browning's primary backup.
Luke Mounger - Brayden Lenius. This is a little unfair, because he was out for the majority of spring. However, with the return of John Ross, improvement of Chico McClatcher, and emergence of Andre Baccellia, Lenius will find himself fighting an uphill battle for targets come fall.
Updated 2016 record prediction based on spring performance
Kim Grinolds - 9-3.
Chris Fetters - 8-4. I can see the Huskies doing well initially, sweeping their non-conference schedule away without much fuss, but then it gets tough - as expected. Stanford and the two road games at Oregon and Utah are the losses I’m seeing right now, but Pete’s teams seem to relish being Road Dawgs. I think the key is the last three games of the season. USC is always going to be tough, ASU has had UW’s number forever it seems, and going to Pullman after Thanksgiving is no easy chore. If they can somehow find a way to sweep those three going into the bowl season, things look amazing heading into bowl season. I think 2-1 is probably what happens, but if they can get on a roll, look out.
Scott Eklund - 9-3. I still think UW goes 9-3 during the regular season and then go on to win their bowl game, giving them double-digits for the first time since 2000 and only the second time since 1991 they've accomplished that feat.
Luke Mounger - 10-2. The Pac-12 is really tough, especially the north. Going on the road to Utah and Oregon and playing Stanford at home stand out as a few of the tougher games on the schedule. Just like last year, the defense is good enough to keep Washington in those games. The question is, is the offense good enough to step up and take them? The improvement of players like Chico McClatcher and Darrell Daniels along with the emergence of players like Jomon Dotson and Andre Baccellia this spring has to be encouraging.null