With Spring Practice getting underway around the country, teams will be sorting out their depth charts to find success in 2013. For the Washington Huskies and Steve Sarkisian, this spring will be focused on sorting out the pecking order of the wide receiver depth chart.
The top of the depth chart is already set. Wide receiver Kasen Williams caught 77 passes last season and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins hauled in 69 receptions, both in the top six season totals in school history. Both options return in 2013, giving Keith Price (or whoever emerges this spring as the starting quarterback) a solid pair of options in the passing game. After that, however, things get a little murkier.
The leading contender for playing time is James Johnson, a fifth-year senior who has struggled with injuries during his Washington career. Sarkisian said Johnson should be ready for spring practice and has some good experience under his belt with 68 career receptions. If healthy, he could finally live up to the potential everyone saw in him when he signed with the Huskies back in 2009.
Behind him, there’s Kevin Smith, a senior who made six catches for 68 yards last season in spot-duty while he recovered from a 2011 knee surgery. The 5-foot-11, 213-pound wideout could see a marked uptick in his playing time and his production if he is able to stay healthy and make an impact this spring.
After that, the Huskies could turn to a trio of younger players who are in prime positions to jump up the depth chart. Sophomores Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall and junior DiAndre Campbell have all gotten some valuable experience over the last few seasons and could finally break through and be major contributors in 2013. Of the three, Mickens showed the most last season, catching 20 passes for 190 yards.
Of course, all of them have to worry about the trio of super-recruits that Sarkisian and company was able to sign in February. Darrell Daniels, John Ross and Damore’ea Stringfellow were three of the best wide receivers on the West Coast and all of them will be bringing their talents to Seattle next season. Any or all of them could have a significant role in 2013, which would push some of the older receivers down the depth chart.
Anybody who wants to hold onto their spots over the incoming freshmen (who won’t join the team until fall camp), then this spring is their chance to grab hold of a job. It will be critical for receivers to establish their roles in the offense this spring, proving to the coaches that they have worth next fall, or they will risk getting pushed out of a deep, yet still undefined, wide receiver corps in Washington.