Freshman Tailback ready for action

When Washington was able to get Chris Singleton to fax in his letter of intent to the Graves Annex building in Seattle, as opposed to Heritage Hall in Los Angeles, Recruiting Coordinator Chuck Heater knew that he had found a good one. The dividends are coming early, as Singleton eschewed a redshirt season and saw action from the second game on in 2001.

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Now that Tony Alford has left Washington to become an Associate Head Coach at Iowa State, Heater reaps the benefits of Singleton firsthand, as he is now his position coach.

"I am real pleased with him. He has good instincts for running and he is very fast. He is probably our fastest tailback," said Heater after practice.

Singleton clocked a 4.40 in the 40 this spring. At 6-2 and nearly 200 pounds, the sophomore-to-be from Etiwanda, California, is a tough guy to stop.

"It is always good to have real legitimate speed. I've been real pleased with him, he is a nice kid. He has decent size and speed. He has all the measurables you are looking for at that position," added Heater.

"If history is any indicator at the position, we are going to need all of our running backs. We have played three or four guys at a time. It's a ‘get-beat-up' position because those are big bodies that are trying to hit and tackle them. I am sure we will need them all."

After getting just over 20 carries as a true freshman, Singleton is ready to stand up and be counted this fall when Heater calls his number.

"Spring practices are going great. They are fun and we're learning a lot. It's great to get back in pads. I'm excited to compete so I'm having fun," said Singleton after the first week of spring.

"I'm trying to get a whole lot of playing time. That is my goal and I hope that that is what my role is at the tailback position."

Singleton was happy that he didn't have to ride the bench last season. "I was happy to play as a true freshman because my goal is to graduate in four years. I didn't want to redshirt my first year and I also wanted to get some running experience. I didn't want to have to practice with the scout team all year as far as running all of the offensive plays," said Singleton.

"I knew I wouldn't get to play that much. I was hoping I would, but had the realization that I wouldn't get to play that much. I just wanted to be able to learn the offense."

So when the Idaho Vandals came to town in week two, Singleton got his first taste of collegiate football. "I remember my first carry clearly. I went for about seven or so yards, went in a straight line and then got tackled," he said with a chuckle. "The crowd was loud. I thought I could even hear my parents, even though they were in the Don James Center. It was exciting."

Ever the perfectionist, Singleton hopes to be even faster when fall rolls around. "Right now my forty time is 4.4 flat. I am a little disappointed with that. I want it to be around a 4.37 or in the 4.3 range."

He and Jelani Harrison are good-naturedly vying for the fastest 40-time of the tailbacks. Harrison clocked a 4.39, as Singleton winces and acknowledges that his teammate's time is 1/10th faster than his. "Technically, he is faster than I am. Technically. As far as football speed, I think I am the fastest. But, that is just my opinion," he said while smiling.

Singleton's biggest moment of the season came in the blowout loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl. He broke through the line and went for over 20 yards before being tackled by the strong safety.

"College football, especially playing for the Huskies, is always full of exciting moments. The Orange Bowl against Miami, that game was exciting. I liked how the crowd was really against us. It kind of got to me, but I really liked it. My parents were proud of me though. They were excited even though we lost by so much, but that is how parents are," said Singleton.

Chris is getting used to his new running backs coach, and believes they may still be in the honeymoon phase. "Coach Heater is still getting into the position. We are still getting the feel for him and he is still getting the feel for us. I'm sure we haven't seen all of his true colors yet," said Singleton with another smile.

His running style, for those Husky fans that didn't get an opportunity to see him with the rock, is a mixture. He is big enough to stay between the tackles but his speed allows him a lot of latitude once he gets past the line of scrimmage. "I love running to the outside, but I also like to cut back to the middle and bang heads."

If you are wondering why #42 wears bands of white tape on his knees, they aren't a fashion statement, but rather a precaution for 2002. "My first year I was running and got turf burn right in these spots," said Singleton as he pointed to the areas right around his knees. "They say that you aren't supposed to get turf burn on this turf, but it happened to me. And so this is my little ‘turf burn' prevention."

When he's not out on the football field or hitting the books, Singleton craves one activity in particular. Sleep. "Since I have been in college, my spare time is filled with getting as much sleep as possible. I do homework and have a little bit of a social life outside of football, but my favorite place to hang out is in my bed. Gotta love the bed."

So Chris Singleton is a sleeper. OK. Husky fans will be very excited when he wakes up on Saturday mornings and sets off alarms of the Defensive Coordinators throughout the Pac-10. Top Stories