Washington Football’s 5 Most Intriguing Players Heading Into 2014
5 Intriguing Players to Watch for Washington in 2014
Spring practice has started for the University of Washington as the Huskies usher in a new era on Montlake. Former Boise State coach Chris Petersen takes over for Steve Sarkisian, who left in December to take over at the University of Southern California. The excitement around Seattle for Huskies football is the highest it has been in years with the coaching change, but there are some big questions going into the 2014 season for coach Pete.
Three players who were expected to contribute in big ways for the Dawgs are currently suspended, one for only the first two weeks of spring practices and the other two indefinitely. Senior middle linebacker John Timu is the player with the shorter suspension; there is no word as to what warranted the suspension.
The other two players suspended are quarterback Cyler Miles and wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow, who were suspended in February after allegedly assaulting at least one Seattle Seahawks fan during the Super Bowl celebrations in Seattle. The news came as a shock to Huskies fans as Miles was the favorite to take over for graduating senior Keith Price in the upcoming season. Stringfellow was expected to be the big receiving option with Kasen Williams still returning from his leg injury.
Petersen will have his work cut out for him trying please this fanbase, which is starving for a return to national prominence. The nine wins last season were the most wins since Rick Neuheisel took the Huskies to the Rose Bowl in 2000, where they defeated Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers to finish with a 11-1 record. His job will be a little bit easier as the Huskies return many of their key defensive playmakers.
Here is a look at five of the more intriguing players for the Washington Huskies as they prepare for the 2014 season.
5. Kasen Williams, WR
The reports coming out of Seattle say that Williams should be back to full speed by the summertime. Williams will be key in the Washington offense this year since he will likely draw safety protection, opening up the field for Jaydon Mickens and John Ross.
4. Jeff Lindquist, QB
Jeff Lindquist was a highly-touted recruit coming out of Mercer Island High School. Sadly for him, he came in with another high-ranking QB in Cyler Miles. Lindquist will be the favorite to start with the indefinite suspension of Miles during the offseason.
3. Hau'oli Kikaha, DE
Hau'oli Kikaha had a breakout season last year for Justin Wilcox and the Husky defense. Kikaha won the most outstanding defender award at the Fight Hunger Bowl, and expectations are high for another great season as the Dawgs return almost all of their key players on the defensive side of the ball.
2. Shaq Thompson, LB
Shaq Thompson has lived up to all of the hype since enrolling at the University of Washington. He was used at safety during his freshman season before being moved to strong-side linebacker during sophomore year. There have been rumblings during spring practice that Thompson could see some time at running back, kind of like the situation that Myles Jack had at UCLA last season. Coach Pete is seeing just how explosive Thompson can be, and that getting him on the field in as many ways as possible could be beneficial for the Dawgs.
1. John Ross, WR/KR
John Ross had a decent season as he adjusted to college ball. The true freshman caught 16 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown in a mostly run-first offense. Ross reignited the hype surrounding the speedster when he took a kickoff back 100 yards untouched in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Husky fans should not expect that he'll take every kickoff back, but they did get a glimpse of just how talented Ross is. Ross will also be a true sophomore, meaning that he will be with coach Pete for at least two more seasons.