Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

Part four of our spring preview series turns the spotlight on the wide receivers, probably the deepest position on the entire roster. With playmakers up and down the depth chart, the main question is who the two starters will be once the season starts against BYU in September…

The Players: Jr. Jermaine Kearse; Jr. Devin Aguilar; So. James Johnson; Sr. D'Andre Goodwin; Jr. Cody Bruns; Jr. Jordan Polk; So. Luther Leonard

The Questions: Will this unit be able to build on a huge 2009 season? Does Washington have more talent, top to bottom, at receiver than anyone in the conference?

Kearse, Aguilar and Johnson came into their own in 2009 and were a big reason that Locker had such a breakout season.

All three were playmakers, hauling in a combined 121 receptions for 1,181 yards and 16 touchdowns, but it was the emergence of Kearse (50 rec., 866 yards and eight touchdowns) as a true number-one receiver that really accelerated this group's progress.

Kearse has outstanding body control and showed sticky hands down the stretch. At times he lost concentration and struggled to hang onto the easy catches, but he made two huge receptions in Washington 's game-winning final drive vs. USC and that showed he has what it takes to be a reliable target in pressure situations.

Aguilar and Johnson are almost interchangeable with their size and route-running skills. Johnson is probably faster and, with a solid freshman season under his belt, he could end up taking over opposite Kearse due to his down-the-field playmaking abilities. However, Aguilar isn't a slouch in that area either and he isn't just going to give up his playing time without a fight.

Goodwin and Polk are very similar in what they bring to the table, but Goodwin probably has better straight-line speed. Polk's size hurts his abilities at times in this offense, but Washington 's coaches have drawn up specific plays for him to get the ball in space, allowing him to use his quickness against slower defenders.

Bruns is a mystery since he possesses more size than Polk and is a better route-runner with better hands than Goodwin. He just appears not to fit into the Husky coaches' plans at this point, but a big spring could go a long way in determining if he sees playing time this fall. Expect the Huskies to give him a lot of work during April.

It's been a surprise to some that Leonard hasn't been one of the players to look elsewhere for playing time, but word is he's looking forward to showing the coaches how much he's improved over the past year (he was moved to receiver during spring ball last year).

This will be a fun position to keep an eye on during the spring and once we get to July, the Dawgs will add the services of Kevin Smith and DiAndre Campbell to the mix.

Smith could end up being the most exciting player to sign with the 2010 class due to his outstanding speed, strength and athleticism as well as the fact he has big-time upside since he's only played football for about two years.

With the speed, route-running and work ethic of this unit, the argument could be made that Washington possesses the deepest receiver corps in the conference.

While Oregon gets a lot out their receivers, and UCLA and Arizona both have solid groups, only USC boasts the productivity, playmaking ability and depth that Washington possesses.

This unit, along with the continued maturity of Locker, will go a long way in determining how explosive the Husky offense can be this fall.

Other position previews...

Spring Preview: Quarterbacks
Spring Preview: Offensive Line
Spring Preview: Running Backs

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