Now that Washington‘s spring game has come and gone and the incoming recruits are tallied, we can reasonably project how the upcoming season’s starting lineups might look.
In Part I, we’ll break down the offense.
QB – Keith Price
Here’s hoping this works better than it did last year.
RB – Bishop Sankey
No surprise here. Coming off a breakout season where he put the team on his back in countless situations, Bishop Sankey will be the focus of opposing defenses this season. Hopefully, more consistent play from Price and a wider variety of offensive options for the Huskies won’t leave the teams’s offense entirely on Sankey’s shoulders.
WR – Kasen Williams, Jaydon Mickens, DiAndre Campbell
Even though I love Damore’ea Stringfellow’s potential, and Washington has one of the best wide receiver recruiting classes in the country, I’m picking all veterans for my starting three receivers.
Kasen Williams needs no explanation. But even though there are older players on the roster, Jaydon Mickens and DiAndre Campbell both played splendidly in the spring and are ready to contribute. Both got valuable experience last year and are excellent athletes who should thrive in UW’s uptempo offense.
TE – Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Only the best tight end in the country, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a likely first round NFL draft pick should he choose to go pro at the end of the season. The only hiccup is a DUI incident several months back, but there has been nothing to indicate he will be unable to play in the first game.
LT – Micah Hatchie
Things get a little less certain with the offensive line, a unit with a strong incoming class and a number of starters returning from injury. At left tackle, Micah Hatchie has the size (6’5” and 300) and experience (started every game at left tackle in 2012) to be the clear choice here.
LG – Dexter Charles
Coming off starting 11 of 13 games at left guard last year, Dexter Charles won the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award and will only come back better in 2013.
It’s likely the offensive line will be a heavily rotating group of 7-9 players during the season, so both starters and second-stringers will see lots of playing time, but Charles has earned his starting spot
C – Mike Criste
Washington lost experienced starter Drew Schaefer here, but one of the true breakout players in the spring was junior Mike Criste. Criste played all over the line last year, and although he suffered something of a baptism by fire, his improvement was noticeable during the spring game.
Although I was projecting incoming freshman Dane Crane (watch him regardless) to start here, Criste has played his way to the top of the depth chart.
RG – James Atoe
The massive (6’6”, 335) James Atoe is the presumptive starter at right guard, although Colin Tanigawa might contend once he returns fully from injury. Atoe moved around the line a lot last year, but gained valuable experience in his first meaningful season and should be serviceable, at least, right of center.
RT – Ben Riva
Coming off missing five games last season due to a broken arm, Ben Riva is the unquestioned choice to anchor the right side of Washington’s offensive line.
Riva started every game at right tackle last season once he returned from injury and did nothing to weaken his position in the spring game.
It’s highly possible that will be the lineup the Huskies trot out on opening day, and in terms of experience, it’s a huge step up from last year. Coming up in Part II, we’ll break down the defense.