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2016 Fierce 40 Previews: #30 Washington

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 18, 2016

#30 Washington Huskies

2015 Recap:

It was an up and down 7-6 campaign that ended with three consecutive wins. Chris Peterson is in his third season with the Huskies after coming over from Boise State and the plans for long term success look like they are starting to take effect. The recruiting classes have gotten much better and Washington is seeing less and less home grown prospects leaving for California or other PAC-12 programs.


Coaching:
Want evidence of the dominance that Peterson had set up at Boise State? Look at his 92-12 career record. Peterson now has his stamp firmly on the team and it all started with his feshman quarterback Jake Browning. The Huskies scored a major win prying Peterson away from Boise State and he should be one of the best coaches in the conference for years to come.


Offense

We talked about Chris Peterson and having his own pieces in places for the Huskies, the youth movement is alve and well. You would be hard pressed to find another young combo at quarterback and running back that are sophomores more productive than Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin. Browning was just shy of 3,000 yards passing with 16 TD's and Gaskin had over 1,300 yards despite only starting less than half of the season. Another great sophomore on the team is big left tackle Trey Adams who is still a little inconsistent but has the tools to be a dominant lineman in the Pac-12. Dante Pettis is the only returning starting wide receiver. Pettis only caught 30 passes a season ago and is far from being dominant so Washington will have to spread the ball around. Tight end Darrell Daniels is a sleeper for the 2017 Draft and if he has more opportunities to pass catches he could show how valuable he can be in the passing game.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Myles Gaskin RB 3rd Round 2019.

                                       Jake Browning QB 2nd Round 2019.


Defense

The defense is a good one even though they lost the majority of their defensive front. The linebackers and secondary remian largely intact whioch should allow Washington to make a few more plays in the secondary while the line settles in. Elijah Qualls at nose tackle in the 3-4 front is the lone returning starter along the line and a star in the making. Washington has a long history of moving defensive tackle talent into the NFL and Qualls looks no different. Qualls is an exceptional prospect but there are a few other juniors on this squad that look to be even better potential players at the next level. Safety Budda Baker and cornerback Sidney Jones both could leave school early and declare for the 2017 Draft while factoring into the opening round. Joe Mathis leads an expereinced and taleneted linebacking corps. The Huskies defense ranked 31st overall at the FBS level a season ago which was tops in the Pac-12 along with their 18.8 PPG scoring defense which was 13th in the country.

Best Draft Prospects: Budda Baker S 2nd Round 2018 (Early Declaration possible for 2017).

                                      Sidney Jones CB 1st Round (Early declaration for 2017).


Special Teams:

While the coverage units on kicks and punts could stand some improvement you couldn't have asked for more than what Washington provided last season as far as returning the ball on kicks and punts. John Ross along with Dante Pettis had an amazing six return touchdows with the shortest covering 76 yards. Cameron Van Winkle and Tristan Vizcaino are tops on the depth chart at kicker and punter respectively.


Schedule:

Three relatively easy games before a brutal open to the Pac-12 schedule with Arizona, Stanford and Oregon with only Stanford cominjg at home. Utah, Cal and Washington State will be games the Huskies have to play on the road during the back half of their schedule.

Draft and Overall Outlook:

From a draft prospect standpoint the Huskies may be the most loaded team in the Pac-12 when it comes to young talent on the roster capable of playing at the next level. The outlook has many fans in Washington excited but we still feel like they are a solid year away from contending for a Pac-12 title. It looks like the Huskies will be at the top of the conference for years to come if they continue to win the recruiting battles.

DJ Boyer