While the 2012 season ended with a marked loss of momentum with the Apple Cup upset and close loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl (I still refuse to call it the MAACO whatever bowl), the fact that Coach Sark is returning so many starters while simultaneously bringing in his best recruiting class yet clearly has the program on the rise this off season.
One more sign pointing to the strength of Washington’s young players? Athlon has listed three of Sark’s athletes on their Preseason All-American list. Junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the only 1st teamer, but sophomore linebacker Shaq Thompson (I’m so glad everyone has agreed that we can just call him a linebacker now) is on the 3rd team, and junior tailback Bishop Sankey, a breakout star in 2012, is a 4th teamer.
Nov. 23, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Marcus Mason (35) is pulled down by the face mask by Washington Huskies safety Shaq Thompson (7) during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars would go onto beat the Huskies by a final score of 31-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no surprise to see ASJ on the 1st team, though the legal situation brought about by his DUI arrest earlier in the offseason has raised questions about his possible 2013 production that wouldn’t have come up otherwise. But Thompson has, it seems to me, received far less preseason hype than I would expect. He had about as productive a true freshman season as you can possibly hope, and it isn’t like he burst onto the scene out of nowhere. He was a five-star super recruit with a dramatic recruitment, and all eyes were on him all year. So while it’s confused me a bit that I haven’t heard more about him from people that make pre-season lists, it’s nice to see him here.
Sankey had an incredible 2012 season, and did pretty much burst onto the scene out of nowhere, considering that he went from 1B to unquestioned feature back in a matter of weeks. So why 4th team? Well, there are a ton of productive running backs, often with relatively little separating them from one another statistically. It shouldn’t be viewed as a disappointment, or a snubbing, to see three other backs listed ahead of him.
Do you think Athlon was fair here? Any Huskies you would have liked to see alongside these three? Comment below or tweet @HuskyHaul with your thoughts.