Even before he played a down for Federal Way High School, Chico McClatcher was already turning heads. At a 5-star camp at Auburn Mountainview, McClatcher ran a hand-timed 4.35 40, and the legend of the smallish kid with speed to burn was born.
McClatcher hasn’t gotten much taller since those days, but he has developed his body into one that can handle the rigors of the Pac-12 Conference, and his game his been refined to one that most closely resembles that of a Swiss Army knife: whatever you need McClatcher to do with the ball in his hands, he’ll do it.
Need a jet sweep? No problem. Go deep? No problem. McClatcher could even take traditional handoffs if required.
In some ways, it’s a tough beat for Chico in that he’s so versatile and can do so many things that it’s often hard to know what his best role is. Is he best suited as a slot receiver, juking defenders and getting that yard of separation to make a big play? Is he best lined up as more of an X or Z that can be a threat for a reverse or the deep ball?
It really is a hard call for Washington Offensive Coordinator Jonathan Smith, but he’s had a whole offseason to study the things that Chico did well for the Huskies as a true freshman and how he can be best utilized in the Huskies’ offense this year.
McClatcher gained nearly 12 yards a carry last year, and his three rushing touchdowns were second on the team in returners behind Myles Gaskin. He only caught eight passes in 2015, but one of them was a 49-yard touchdown, so there’s no question of his explosive ability.
But with so many question marks surrounding this Washington receiving corps, it’s going to be even more important for Chico to make big plays on offense. He has the speed, the moves, and the body to make people miss. Outside of John Ross, he’s probably the next most explosive receiver for UW at this point, and they need to take advantage of that.