Due to a lack of talent inherited by Steve Sarkisian when he took the job at the UW, many freshmen have had to make an impact as soon as they stepped on to campus. Now that Sarkisian has been able to bring in his own recruiting classes, as well as develop his depth, less freshmen have had the chance to see the field early on. The Class of 2013 has many players who have a chance to see the field early on for the Huskies, but these five stand out as the top impact freshmen for the upcoming season.
- WR Damore’ea Stringfellow – The easiest choice for the list, Stringfellow is the star of the Class of 2013 for Sarkisian and the Huskies. Stringfellow has the potential to be an impact player for the Huskies as soon as he steps on campus and could potentially start at receiver, opposite Kasen Williams. His combination of strength, speed and size make him a go-to outside receiver. He has added almost 20 pounds since getting on campus and Sarkisian has said he reminds him of Anquan Boldin. Look for Stringfellow to have an impact as soon as he hits the field for the Huskies.
- WR John Ross – A shifty slot receiver, Ross gives the Huskies a dynamic athlete with great ball skills and quickness. Ross has the potential to see the field as a receiver, as well as on special teams as a return man or on the coverage team, giving the Huskies great versatility. Ross has great speed and shiftiness, as well as the ability to quickly change direction, making him an ideal candidate to play the slot. With the college game getting faster and faster, Ross has the game breaking speed to make a impact right away for the Huskies.
- DT Elijah Qualls – Teams can never have enough lineman, and Qualls posses the skills to make him a candidate to see the field early on in the trenches for the Huskies. You know Qualls is an impressive athlete when he can double as both a defensive tackle and a running back in high school. He will play defense for the Huskies and with his great downhill power and shiftiness, can be an excellent run stuffer early on. Qualls is a little raw on defense, but due to his tools and size has a very high upside. He is explosive off the line, and plays with great pad level. He sometimes struggles rushing the passer, but is still developing his moves and skills. With more and more teams running the up-tempo, no huddle offense, Qualls’ run stopping penetration makes him a solid back up option for the Huskies. Who knows, Qualls could be an option at fullback on the goal line, making him even more versatile.
- DE Joe Mathis – Defensive end will be a position to watch during fall camp, even though both starters return, many players will be fighting to try and steal a starting spot. Mathis is a high-energy, tough defender, who possesses great size and speed. He has shown he has the skills and moves to be an effective pass rusher, as well as the burst and motor to be a productive run stopper. Mathis held offers from some of best programs in the nation, including the University of Alabama. Defensive line is always a position that needs depth and Mathis will get plenty of chances to make an impact early on in his UW career.
- K Cameron Van Winkle – As many Husky fans noticed last year, the kicking game wasn’t one of the team’s strongest areas. Many games were lost, most notably the Apple Cup, due to the kicking game. The answer may very well be Cameron Van Winkle. Van Winkle enrolled early at the UW and has already made good impressions during spring camp. He holds the WIAA records for both single game and season field goals made. His great leg strength is shown by his ability to make field goals from 50+ yards. With his great leg strength, he should also immediately improve the Huskies’ kick offs, too.