Fall Position Preview - Receivers 

With less than 50 days to Washington's September 3rd opener versus Rutgers, it's time to ramp things up with our fall position previews. Up today is a look at the Husky receiving corps.

This spring was the oddest for UW's receivers group, more so than any other group. Yes, John Ross was expected back and he did shine, running a 4.25 40 at the Huskies' Combine Day. He was a bright spot within a group that definitely had its struggles this past April. 

Dante Pettis was rock-solid, as you would expect. So was Chico McClatcher, and Andre Baccellia was arguably the breakout performer of spring ball. But the other four returning scholarship players were either mostly non-existent, or gone entirely: Isaiah Renfro, Brayden Lenius, Quinten Pounds, and Nik Little. 

So that meant half the returners did what they were supposed to do, and at the Pac-12 level half a performance isn't going to get you past the first 15 minutes in a game. It's already over by then. 

There's a couple of national preview magazines that publish position rankings within a conference. Phil Steele has the Huskies with the eighth-best receiver unit in the Pac-12. No other UW unit is worse than fifth. Athlon has the receivers group ranked 10th, and like Phil Steele has no other UW unit worse than fifth. 

It's clear the pundits feel they've identified Washington's weak link on offense. 

The receivers room, more than any other room at Washington currently, is the one riddled with more question marks and more anxiety than any other. New Receivers Coach Bush Hamdan has come to work inspired, but he can only do so much with what's on hand. He's recruited his butt off so far, but that's for 2017 - his first full recruiting class. That class is full of impact receivers in Terrell Bynum, Ty Jones and Alex Cook. 

But that doesn't help this year's group much. 

-----------------------------------------------

Receivers (by year and scholarship)

John Ross III (5-11, 196, Jr.) 

Dante Pettis (6-1, 187, Jr.) 

Brayden Lenius (6-5, 228, Jr.)

Nik Little (6-5, 212, Jr.)    

Chico McClatcher (5-7, 176, So.) 

Andre Baccellia (5-10, 166, RFr.) 

Quinten Pounds (5-11, 170, RFr.)

Aaron Fuller (6-0, 177, Fr.)

Jordan Chin (6-0, 151, Fr.)

Drew Before (6-0, 201, Sr.)*

Connor Griffin (6-3, 225, RJr.)*  

Forrest Dunivin (6-4, 200, Jr.)* 

Taelon Parson (6-1, 195. Jr.)* 

Max Richmond (5-9, 182, So.)*

John Gardner (6-3, 183, So.)* 

Josh Rasmussen (5-11, 188, RFr.)* 

*=Walk on

-----------------------------------------------

Projected Depth Chart

Receiver

John Ross III (5-11, 196, Jr.)

Andre Baccellia (5-10, 166, RFr.)

Quinten Pounds (5-11, 170, RFr.)

Connor Griffin (6-3, 225, Jr.)*

Jordan Chin (6-0, 161, Fr.)

Taelon Parson (6-1, 195, Jr.)*

Receiver 

Dante Pettis (6-1, 187, Jr.)

Brayden Lenius (6-5, 228, Jr.)

Nik Little (6-5, 212, Jr.)

Aaron Fuller (6-0, 177, Fr.)

Forrest Dunivin (6-4, 200, Sr.)*

John Gardner (6-3, 183, So.)*

Slot

Chico McClatcher (5-7, 176, So.)

Drew Before (6-0, 201, Sr.)*

Max Richmond (5-9, 182, So.)* OR

Josh Rasmussen (5-11, 188, RFr.)*

-----------------------------------------------

Where does the Receiver group stand heading into the fall? 

Frankly, this is one banged up group. Their star - Ross - is back and 100 percent healthy, but he hasn't played in over a year so expect there to be at least a little rust to shake off during non-conference play. 

The only receivers with playing experience that have seemingly escaped the injury bug are Pettis and McClatcher, and that's not a great sign. 

So as we wrapped up the spring and looked toward today, it was all about health for the receivers then - and now. 

How will Lenius and Pounds come back from their nicks and dings? Will Ross continue to get stronger and healthier?  Like I said, definitely more questions than answers. 

If - and it's a ginormous if at this point - the receivers can stay upright, this is a group talented enough to help Jake Browning. Ross is arguably the most dynamic receiver in the Pac-12 when he's on his game, able to stretch defenses unlike any other. His route running has improved dramatically, according to Browning, so the hope is he can do more than just break the occasional 80-yarder. Frankly, Ross has been criminally underused during his time at Montlake so far, so Jonathan Smith's first order of business is to get the ball in Ross's hand every which way he can. 

Pettis has the capability to be an every down difference-maker for the Huskies. He's been their most consistent returning receiver, and that has to continue in order for UW to maximize their potential in the pass game. 

McClatcher and Baccellia did everything you could ask of them in spring, and are poised for breakout seasons. Their time is now: they have to produce. Smith and Hamdan can't rely on Lenius and Pounds to immediately bounce back. If they are to contribute to the receiving corps, it'll probably be done piecemeal - a play here and a play there. Lenius showed he could do that at USC. Pounds never really got the chance to show what he could do, so anything they get from him in 2016 should be considered gravy. 

There's plenty of reason for general optimism when looking at Washington's offense in 2016, but if there's one group Husky fans should eyeball with a bit of caution, it's the receivers. They have a lot to prove this fall. 


Dawgman.com Top Stories