Easily one of the biggest surprises from the Huskies on Saturday was the emergence of Sophomore wide receiver Jaydon Mickens.
After catching just 20 passes during his Freshman season, Mickens emerged as Price’s go to target against Boise State, catching 9 passes for a total of 109 yards. In UW’s new high tempo offense, Mickens was a go to target on screen passes at the line of scrimmage, allowing him to use his speed and elusiveness to create plays in space. Not only did Mickens line up in the slot, he lined up in the backfield alongside Keith Price, giving him more chances to catch the ball and make plays. With the screen pass similar to a glorified run play, the UW receivers will be able to catch a high volume of passes in the new no-huddle offense.
If Mickens is able to keep the hot hand, he has the chance to put together a special season at the UW. After hauling in 9 passes in the first game, Mickens is on pace to have one of the greatest statistical reception seasons ever put together at the UW. Husky legend Reggie Williams caught a season best 94 balls in 2002, and if Mickens somehow mantained his current pace, he would easily break the record in 2013. That would mean accomplishing a feat that no Husky has managed: recording 100 receptions in one season. Even with the plethora of talent UW has in its receiving core, Mickens’ speed and versatility will give him plenty of opportunities to get on the field and catch passes.
Saturday brought many great moments and surprises for Husky fans, but none may have been bigger and more surprising than Mickens. After struggling to hold on to the ball his Freshman year, he looked like a whole new player to open 2013. With the UW’s up-tempo offense in full force, Mickens will have plenty of chances to haul in receptions. With a skill set heavy on speed and elusiveness, Jaydon Mickens will likely be a go to target and big play maker for the Huskies for years to come.