"I can make plays too."

Three true freshmen wide receivers have stepped up and delivered so far this year for the Washington Huskies. Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, and Jordan Polk have all made significant contributions to the Huskies' offense. Between them they have 14 catches, 184 receiving yards and one touchdown in Washington's first three games.

Currently ranked eighth in the Pac-10 at 200 passing yards per game, there's no question these young pups could start to really make their mark against a ninth-ranked Stanford pass defense on Saturday at Husky Stadium. Washington quarterback Jake Locker only has one 'go-to' guy - D'Andre Goodwin. How the younger receivers develop will go a long way toward determining just how balanced the Huskies' offense will be as they jump head-first into the heart of their conference schedule.

Speaking of jumping, the move from high school to college is pretty hard in itself, but imagine playing your first games against three of the toughest schools in the nation. Even with the stiff competition, each one has already had his moments. Kearse had a 48-yard touchdown catch against BYU, Aguilar had 71 receiving yards against Oklahoma, and Polk had key catches in the Huskies two-minute drill against BYU in their final drive that resulted in the now-infamous 'Locker Lob'. There's no question the freshmen are being asked to play beyond their years, something that's much harder to do than say.

But with all the new faces it's been tough to play like a seasoned veteran and be a consistent contributor. "I can make plays out there too," Aguilar told Dawgman.com this week. "It doesn't matter my role because I'm going to play hard right now." With his big game against Oklahoma he's hoping to solidify his playing time for the season. "I'm still trying to find my role," he added. "Just to know I can make plays too, blocks, whatever... I'm just trying to contribute anyway I can. Soon enough the role will come."

With some game experience under their belts and those first-year jitters out of their system, Husky fans should start seeing what these guys are capable of doing as compliments to Locker in the offense. "As the season goes on I'll get more comfortable and it will slow down a bit more for me and I'll be able to create separation and read coverages on the throw," said Kearse.

"They're going to adjust every week, every week they will get better and better and better," added Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano. "To say they're going to be reaching their full potential by the middle of the year? I don't buy that. I don't think that's going to happen. I just think they're going to get better every game."

Youth and inexperience can sometimes be a painful thing to watch as teams go through a rebuilding process, but there are also silver linings. "Sometimes they (other teams) like to bump and run us a lot, so they think were young, they think we can't get off the bump," said Aguilar. "As the season goes on I think they'll learn to respect us a little more. They'll know were just coming to play, it doesn't matter the age."

Kearse also tries to use his youth as an advantage because his opponents just don't know very much about him. "I kind of like it when they underestimate me because then I come out there and surprise them they don't know what I can do because I'm a freshman," he said. "I just go out there and try and make plays and go see what happens."

These freshmen may be young, but they have a maturity about them that is paying off. 'Mature freshmen' is clearly oxymoronic; but having them around makes the transition from high school to college a lot easier because it prevents obvious mistakes, such as being late to meetings, not practicing like you would play in a game, or creating unnecessary penalties. Locker had nothing but praise for the three wideouts. "They have a done good job of stepping up and playing older than are," he said.

With so much young talent at the receiver position, it is hard not to look forward to the future. "Of course, we been thinking about it, but we're mainly focused on getting better this season and doing the best we can do this season and then we'll talk about that in future seasons after this season is done," said Kearse when asked about the possibility of having so many dominant receivers when he's an upperclassmen. Even UW Head Coach Tyrone Willingham has thought about the future play of the wideouts to a certain degree. "He's already made some big plays, and he has already showed himself and if he continues along this pace he will be a very, very, very good receiver for us," Willingham said of the former Lakes star.

Add in Goodwin and second-year man Alvin Logan, and the receiving corps is looking extremely solid for years to come.


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