The Washington Football team may not be in the NCAA Playoff discussion, the team still provided fans plenty to be thankful for.
The Washington Football team has plenty to be thankful about this season. While the Pac-12 Championship and the College Football Playoffs are unreachable at this point, there are still a lot of things to be thankful about this season. The Washington Football team remains relevant enough this season to earn a bowl bid. On top of that, the team continues to showcase the Pac-12 conference as a tough gritty conference now and for years to come. Be sure to keep these in mind when we think about next season, and no matter what bowl game the Dawgs end up in. In fact, you can definitely chat over these topics at the dinner table if you have a Cougar fan relative!
Despite the injuries to Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller, the Washington Football team has benefited from exceptional cornerback play this season. Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor are promising young players. Both Miller and Murphy will be back next season, along with Taylor Rapp, who is arguably one of the best free safeties in the country. Myles Bryant has been an exciting emergence at nickel back The only question mark for next season is JoJo McIntosh, who still has one more year of eligibility but might test out the draft.
Whether or not first year players are true freshmen or redshirts is irrelevant. Freshmen have made a significant impact this season. Running back Salvon Ahmed is the back of the future. We’ve already seen the unlimited potential that he has shown returning kicks. He excels in free space, where gadget plays some backfield sets unleash his speed.
Similarly, I have high hopes for wide receiver Ty Jones. It’s a good sign that we see him on the field. As a rule, head coach Chris Petersen wouldn’t do that unless he was 100% confident in his ability. He has earned time against camp standouts like Jordan Chin and Brayden Lenius. Redshirt freshman cornerback Byron Murphy performed better than the brochure before his injury. With all this young talent waiting in the wings, the Huskies roster will reload next year. And that 2018 class will shine for years to come.
One name to remember is quarterback Jacob Sirmon. The Huskies have missed on the last three five star prospects from the state of Washington (Foster Sarell, Jacob Eason, Max Browne). And while you can say what you want about Eason and Browne being busts, Sirmon is different. This kid has been studying the playbook for a year and a half. In fact, he is already planning on enrolling this spring. He is the highest rated prospect that the Huskies have brought in since Shaq Thompson, and the biggest in state recruiting win since Budda Baker.
Dual Threat doubles the danger
Combine that with Colson Yankoff, the Huskies will have two highly touted weapons that they can use under center. Wide receiver prospects Austin Osborne and Marquis Spiker have tons of potential, and Devin Culp is essentially a clone of Hunter Bryant, a tight end who runs like a wide receiver. This team is going to reload next year and the Pac-12 needs to be ready, because unlike 2015, this team has the veteran leaders that really know Coach Petersen’s system and will teach these young guys on the fly.
Jake Browning now holds the record for career touchdown passes, while Myles Gaskin now holds the record for rushing touchdowns, and is quickly closing in on the all time rushing yards mark too. Oh just in case you haven’t heard, there’s also that Dante Pettis guy who’s pretty good. I’m pretty sure that nine punt returns is an NCAA record of some kind.
How Far We’ve Come
Let’s remember that this team is still not even ten years removed from going 0-12, and as the Detroit Lions can attest to, a winless season is hard to overcome. This team has risen from the ashes and is now at the point where fans are calling a season with 11 wins still possible, including the bowl game, a failure. This team has gone from being one of the biggest jokes in the country, to being ranked every week. Remember when getting to the Holiday Bowl was a huge deal for this team? That memory feels like a million years ago now, and I think that Husky fans should be thankful for that. I don’t care if that makes me sound like a loser, as long as Chris Petersen is at the helm this team is headed in the right direction.
Also, a quick honorable mention for the purple helmets that the team wore against Cal, I’m very thankful I got to see those.