Shaq & Co
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the frontrunner for the Mackey Award despite his recent suspension. Bishop Sankey and Kasen Williams will have the eyes of NFL scouts on them. Shaq Thompson absolutely stole the show on defense last season. And everybody knows Keith Price.
But football is an 11-on-11 game, and the Washington Huskies gets plenty of contribution from lesser-known players.
The following is an ode to five of the Huskies quietest, but steadiest playmakers.
As a 6’1″ speedster, DiAndre Campbell quietly contributed 16 catches for 167 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the season; the third-most TDs behind Kasen Williams and Bishop Sankey. While this illustrates the asymmetric nature of Washington’s offense in 2012, Campell was a lesser-known, but real option as well.
He looked much improved in the spring, and will be mistakenly overlooked by opposing defenses this season.
Shaq Thompson got all the press on defense — and rightly so for an outstanding season — but lost in the hubris over the freshman was a tremendous breakout season by sophomore Travis Feeney. Feeney was Honorable Mention All Pac-12 thanks to 76 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions — numbers almost to identical to Thompson’s 67 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions.
Speedy and surprisingly hard-hitting for his size (6’4”, 209 pounds), Feeney will be a major part of Washington’s stellar linebacking corps.
For once, Washington fans are excited about the returning offensive line, and a big (literally) part of that anticipation is 6’4″, 292-pound Dexter Charles.
Coming back from starting almost every game at left guard and being named the team’s offensive lineman of the year, Charles will be one of the leaders of an experienced unit. Charles is an excellent run blocker and pass protector who can be counted on to make things a little easier for Keith Price this year.
The do-it-all nose tackle was one of the highlights of an limp Washington defensive line last season. Starting every game, Shelton commands double teams effectively, can get into a backfield and is a solid run stopper.
The high-character Shelton deserves more recognition for making both Honorable Mention All Pac-12 and All-Academic Pac-12 first team — a rare achievement.
Why aren’t more people talking about John Timu? Much like fellow linebacker Feeney, Timu is a tremendously underrated player. As a captain last year (one of Washington’s only sophomore captains ever), Timu hit the double with Honorable Mention All Pac-12 and Academic Honorable Mention All Pac-12.
Starting every game at linebacker, Timu’s exceptional coverage skills coupled with elite speed makes him every bit a playmaker as Thompson.
Timu also happens to be a great story and class act all-around.
These five guys don’t get the press Washington’s superstars do, but make no mistake: they are every bit as important.