Washington football’s training camp will answer a lot of questions going into the 2019 season, can’t it come faster?
Washington football will have a new starting quarterback and running back for the first time since 2015, and the defense is replacing nine starters. The biggest battle by far will be at quarterback with returning redshirt sophomore Jake Haener and junior transfer Jacob Eason. Eason is heavily favored to be the opening starter; however, Haener might see some action early on the season as well.
Like Jake Browning, the Huskies have to replace Myles Gaskin who started all four years at running back. Junior Salvon Ahmed is the projected starter. He played in all 14 games last year having 104 carriers for 604 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 21 catches as well.
Redshirt sophomore Sean McGrew had a fine year in 2018, carrying the ball 50 times for 226 yards and a touchdown. He caught six passes for 110 yards as well. The Huskies in all have six running backs on the roster, and the Huskies might use a committee approach to start the season, to utilize the different skill sets of the different backs.
The Huskies have a lot of experience and talent at the wide receiver position. Aaron Fuller and Ty Jones are expected to start on the outside, and according to our own Roman Tomashoff, Austin Osborne should start in the slot.
At tight end, the Huskies may have the most talented pass catcher in the NCAA in Hunter Bryant. He played in the last five games in 2018, catching 11 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown. Though he is listed as a tight end and has the size showing for it he has the speed to outrun a lot of defensive backs. If he stays healthy, he should be the primary receiving option for the Huskies.
Cade Otton is an underrated tight end, who’s known for his blocking; however, he had 13 receptions for 174 yards and three touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. He could improve on those numbers with Bryant on the field more often.
On the defensive side of the ball the Huskies lost three defensive backs to the NFL in Byron Murphy and Taylor Rapp, who were taken by the Cardinals and Rams in the second round, respectively, and Jordan Miller in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons.
Myles Bryant will be returning, whether it be at nickelback or safety. He has the most experience for the Huskies in defensive backfield playing in 37 games over three years. Junior Brandon McKinney is expected to start at safety. He doesn’t lack experience, he’s played in 27 games over the two years, but he’s only started one, which was the Rose Bowl.
When it comes to 1st and 2nd team depth chart junior Elijah Molden started only two games last year though he did play in all 14 games, and earned All-Pac 12 second team honors as an all-purpose player. Keith Taylor is slotted to start on the other side, and Husky fans will get to know him quickly
On the defensive line Greg Gaines, who was picked in the fourth round by the Rams, will be hard to replace. The new guys, highly touted recruits redshirt freshman Tuli Letuligasenoa and Sam Taimani will definitely get some playing time, along with Levi Onwuzurike and defensive tackle Josiah Bronson.
At linebacker, Ben Burr-Kirven will be missed as he led the nations in tackles and he was the inspiration on the defensive. He will stay home being drafted by home team Seattle Seahawks. The Huskies will run with two inside linebackers, Brandon Wellington, and potentially Ariel Ngata or Edefuan Ulofoshio, this is definitely the hardest position to project. Kyler Manu, M.J. Tafisi, and Jackson Sirmon are all names to watch
Put your money on the Huskies now, as they’re getting severely underrated by most media outlets because of the talent they lost to the NFL, but this team has a ton of potential.