Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

Washington's entire offense needs a confidence boost, but the one with the most talent and explosiveness right now could be the wide receiver position where up to eight players will be vying for time. Read on to find out which players to watch for this spring and who could make a big splash once he arrives on campus this spring.

The Players

RS Jr. D'Andre Goodwin (5-11, 170)
RS So. Alvin Logan (6-2, 225)
RS Fr. Anthony Boyles (6-3, 190)
So. Devin Aguilar (6-0, 195)
So. Cody Bruns (5-11, 175)
So. Jordan Polk (5-8, 165)
So. Jermaine Kearse (6-1, 190)
Jr. Tony Chidiac (5-10, 185)**

** walk-on

Returning starters: Goodwin (12), Aguilar (6), Kearse (4) and Logan (4) all started games in 2008.

Key players lost: none

Projected depth chart heading into spring:

1) Goodwin
2) Kearse
3) Aguilar
4) Boyles
5) Bruns
6) Logan
7) Polk
8) Chidiac

The big question heading into camp:

Will this group fit into the offense the new staff is implementing?

It's no secret that with players like Dwayne Jarrett, Patrick Turner and Mike Williams, USC enjoyed a decided advantage in size at the receiver position and with Sarkisian looking to implement a lot of the elements of the Trojans' offense at Washington they could run into problems because the Huskies only possess one receiver over six feet, three inches tall (Boyles) and only one receiver with size (Logan).

Word out from behind the "Purple Curtain" of the Willingham era was that Boyles was the best receiver on the team midway through the season, but the old staff decided to hold off on burning his redshirt.

Boyles is supremely confident in his abilities and his favorite receiver is Chad Johnson. Once he figured out how to practice with the intensity necessary, he apparently ran circles around the Husky secondary in practices (that might speak to why other teams were able to do that in games as well…but I digress), so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the new staff and the amped-up intensity and expectations in practice.

Coming out of high school Logan's best position was probably on the defensive side of the ball, but he'll get a look at receiver this spring and if the coaches like him there, that's exactly where he'll stay. He's a big body and he's a good blocker, something that is a key to breaking long runs. If he doesn't make an impression on offense however, there's always safety where the Huskies need to add some size as well and Logan was an All-State safety his senior year in Colorado.

Goodwin was Washington's most experienced receiver heading into the 2008 season and while he had a solid season – 60 receptions – but he averaged a paltry 11.2 yards per catch and he only accounted for one touchdown. With his speed and quickness, the expectation was that he would provide the big-play, deep threat the Huskies had been lacking the past few seasons, but that never materialized. How does he fit into the new offense? That will be a question hopefully answered in April.

Kearse and Aguilar were the two freshman that saw the most time in 2008.

Kearse hails from Lakes High School in Lakewood, Wa. and he didn't disappoint the hometown crowd by leading the Dawgs in touchdowns with two and finished second, along with Aguilar, on the team with 20 receptions for 301 yards and also posted the longest reception of the season (62 yards).

Aguilar had a solid season as well, but he was inconsistent and he struggled with reading defenses leading to several interceptions when he didn't read things the same way that QB Ronnie Fouch did. He also struggled with a case of "the drops" as the season progressed, but there's no reason to think he won't bounce back with a solid sophomore season.

The burning of Bruns' redshirt drew more ire from the Husky faithful than almost anything else that Willingham did last year. Bruns only managed to haul in three receptions for 40 yards while also tossing a touchdown pass. When used correctly, Bruns can be an effective slot receiver who can move the chains. He's super-quick, he knows how to find the soft spot in coverages and he's got sticky hands.

Polk is a player who made most of his plays as a returner and that is likely where he'll stay as a sophomore. He can be explosive when given the right opportunity, but with his slight build it's hard to see him making waves in the new offense.

Chidiac is a player who has filled in nicely the past couple seasons as a late-game or injury replacement. Even though he's a walk-on, he's proven himself to be a valuable player on the scout team and on the return units.

Keep an eye on…

The battle between Boyles, Goodwin, Aguilar and Kearse.

All four bring different things to the table and with a year of experience under their belt, I expect Kearse and Aguilar to make big leaps this coming fall.

Goodwin's speed and quickness make him an asset that the coaches will have to figure out how to use, but he will likely be one of the mainstays in the lineup.

Boyles is the wildcard because of his athleticism and attitude, so it will be fun to watch how he progresses with the new staff watching his every move. Can he become the player both he and most of Husky nation think he can be? The next five weeks will go a long way in determining if that's the case or not…

The future…

On signing day, Sarkisian noted that Valley Center (Escondido, Ca.) WR James Johnson was someone the staff expected to come in and contribute immediately this fall.

Does that mean he's that good or that the staff doesn't feel that comfortable with what they currently have on hand at the position?

Whatever the case, Johnson is explosive and someone the coaches feel fits into the new offensive scheme perfectly. Expect him to be eased into things early on and if one of the more experienced players doesn't take their game to the next level, expect Johnson to be starting by the end of the season.

Other position previews:

Running Backs
Tight Ends

Dawgman.com Top Stories