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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #6 Washington

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 25, 2017

#6 Washington Huskies

2016 Recap:
Not much you can say negative about the 2016 Washington Huskies as they qualified for the College Football Playoff, Won the Pac-12 and went 12-2. te only losses for Washington came against top 10 schools USC and Alabama.


Coaching:
Third year was the charm for Chris Peterson after coming over from Boise State. Peterson is winning the recruiting wars in the northwest and starting to pull more recruits from places like northern California. Peterson has left his mark on this program and it looks like the Huskies will be on top of the conference for some time.

 

Offense

If Sam Darnold does not declare for the Draft then all eyes will be on Washington tackle Trey Adams as he is thought of to be the next logical player that has #1 overall status written all over him. Adams will anchor a line that is very big and very versitile. The exciting thing for Adams is he will be helping to anchor a running back and quarterback behind him that also look to be pro bound. Myles Gaskin looks to be the best running back prospect not named Saquon Barkley and Jake Browning showed to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks at the NCAA level. Both players are juniors so it will be interesting to see how many of these players return after this season and how many declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Browning has a quick fleet of receivers to throw to even after losing John Ross to the NFL. Dante Pettis is the next in line and he caught 53 passes with 15 going for touchdowns last season.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Trey Adams OT 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).

                                       Myles Gaskin RB 1st/2ndRound 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).


Defense

The Huskies offense is a capable unit but the defense is what brought Washiongton the Pac-12 title a season ago. The defense was the only one ranked in the top 20 overall in the conference (12th) and the +18 turnover ratio enjoyed by the Huskies led the FBS. The short field allowed for the offense to finish 8th in scoring while the unit itself was only 32nd overall. Vita Vea could be the first defensive tackle off the board as he is the nost tackle in the traditional 3-4 set the Huskies use. Greg Gaines returns and he is built like a defensive tackle for the next level but plays end in the Huskies 3-4 set. Washington will likely battle Stanford as the top team defending the run in the conference. Washington lost a ton of starters and man games in the secondaty so look for the linebackers to be the focal point of the defense. Azeem Victor has the ability to play inside or outside and will lead the unit.

Best Draft Prospects: Vita Vea DT 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).         

                                       Azeem Victor LB 2nd Round 2018.


Special Teams:

Special teams will still be an area where Washington should excel as Dante Pettis does more than catch passes as Washington's top receiving target. Pettis is a highlight machine and could be the return man for punts and kickoffs. Pulling double duty is something Tristan Vizcaino will be doing this year as well. Vizcaino was the punter a year ago and will now be the placekicker for the Huskies.


Schedule:

The first two conference games will be on the road with the first game being a rematch of the Pac-12 title game against Colorado. USC does not appear on the schedule and Stanford will be a road game. Stanford is the only road game in the last five weeks with home contests against UCLA, Oregon, Utah and Washington State.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

The draft outlook is amazing as a number of juniors could declare and Washington has a chance at having four players selected in the first round at first glance. USC and Stanford will offer some competition but Washington will be hard pressed to give up the throne in the Pac-12.

 

DJ Boyer