Fall Camp Standouts

John Ross (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com

Now that game prep has gotten underway, the media is only allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of practice, so we here at Dawgman.com thought we'd give our thoughts on some of the standouts from training camp that showed they will be big-time contributors this fall and why...

Chris Fetters

RB Bishop Sankey - The steady Eddie of the camp, Sankey has really turned the running back competition into so much of a foregone conclusion that we rarely talk about it anymore. But he deserves all the mention he gets now because he's just been so rock solid. He already looks to be in mid-season form and another near-1500 yard season surely is in the cards if he can stay healthy and play in every game.

WR Kasen Williams - Another rock of the UW offense, Williams has become Keith Price's safety valve in every way possible, especially with Austin Seferian-Jenkins being out. And the other reason the junior standout needs mention here is while the rest of the receiving corps, save Kevin Smith, has been very inconsistent catching balls - Williams has been incredibly reliable. During Tuesday's 120-play scrimmage Kasen had nearly 10 catches on the night, a testament to just how important he's going to be to Price when the season hits.

S Sean Parker - The spine of Washington's defense is Danny Shelton, John Timu and Sean Parker; you could argue Parker is the most important player of the bunch. He's the quarterback of the secondary, taking care of all the communication and setting the tone with his play. The senior's calling card in 2012 was his crunching hit on Oregon State's Markus Wheaton, taking the prolific pass-catcher out of the game and ultimately affecting how the Beavers moved the ball. He has plenty of motivation heading into his final season, especially if he holds NFL aspirations. As we've seen with Bob Sanders and Earl Thomas, you don't have to be a big safety to make a big impact as a professional. Parker could be one of those guys in time.

LB Princeton Fuimaono - It seemed almost inconceivable that Travis Feeney was going to be denied first-team reps this fall; he was held out all of spring because of shoulder surgery, so the sophomore needed the practice time to get game sharp. But something interesting happened; a senior decided he wasn't about to just hand Feeney the job. Fuimaono has brought the wood to fall camp, leveling ball carriers (sometimes when he wasn't supposed to) and also making his presence known on special teams. Sarkisian noted Thursday how the linebacker group was arguably the deepest group on the team, and the example of Fuimaono rising from the depth is a perfect example of that.

WR John Ross - The true frosh just might be even better than expected. Throughout the 2013 recruiting cycle, it was apparent the Washington coaches were in love with John Ross. They made him a priority, and that was interesting considering he's less than six feet tall and they already had two sub-six footers in Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall. Having seen him now for nearly two weeks, it's easy to see why the coaches put the Long Beach star at the top of their board. Steve Sarkisian invoked the Reggie Bush card when talking about Ross's cutting ability on a punt return during Tuesday's first big scrimmage of fall camp. His athleticism is nothing short of effortless and extraordinary. Mickens - as long as he stays healthy - will most likely start versus Boise State, but Ross will find plenty of opportunities as a receiver and also as a running option. But it's his threat as a punt returner that will have Husky fans thinking about to Charles 'ET' Frederick, minus the dreads. He's that explosive.


Marshall Cherrington

WR John Ross - Even though he is just a true freshman and is probably as skinny as you can get to play football, John Ross is an electrifying player. He will make a major impact on the team this year, whether that be in the return game or as a true wide receiver. He also has gotten looks at running back, which could add a lot of speed to the position. The biggest thing that Ross does is that he adds a different element to the team. Although Jaydon Mickens is one of the fastest players on the team, Ross might be even faster and have better hands than Mickens. Look for Ross to have an early impact.

OT Ben Riva - Riva really looks like a man now. He has put in a lot of work this offseason to improve physically as well as on the field and it looks like it has paid off so far. I don't think there needs to be much worry about the left tackle position on this team. Riva has made the adjustment from right tackle to left tackle look seamless and he should be the leader of the offensive line this year.

CB Marcus Peters - It's hard to believe that Peters is just a sophomore. With his play and leadership, he already looks like a senior. I think Peters will be able to step up in a big way this year and I look for him to take over the shutdown corner role that Desmond Trufant left open when he graduated. Peters has the speed, nastiness and size to take the next step this year and I think he'll be able to do it. When Peters and Sean Parker line up on the same side of the secondary, doubt will instantly creep into the opposing quarterback's mind. I think Peters will have over four interceptions this year.


Scott Eklund

DL Joe Mathis - Honestly, I'll admit it, I am absolutely blown away by the fact that Mathis has pushed himself into the two-deeps along the defensive line. Most people will probably scoff at my admission because, other than Danny Shelton, there isn't anyone with a guaranteed spot along the defensive line for myriad reasons -- injury, talent, productivity, etc. When he signed, I first felt like it would be a miracle for him to qualify (which he did) and then, even if he did, he would need at least a year or two to push for playing time due to needing to add more bulk and get used to the speed of the game. Now, he isn't perfect and he definitely has been swimming, but boy oh boy, does he look great along the defensive line. After a year of working into the rotation, I expect him, as long as he's healthy, to be a fixture along the Husky starting defensive line, either at end or at tackle, for the next three years (2014 - 2016). He's big, he's shown outstanding quickness and agility and he plays with a fire I haven't seen in quite some time along the defensive line.

LB John Timu - I've been a Timu believer for a while and the junior is starting to show my belief in his abilities was warranted. All he's done is improve since he arrived at Montlake. Now, there have been bumps in the road, especially when it came to being a sure-tackler, but toward the end of the 2012 season, he was much better and under Peter Sirmon's tutelage I believe Timu can and will be a First Team All-Pac 12 performer over the next two years. He's got outstanding quickness and underrated speed and he's become much more physical in the way he plays the game. Timu is also very smart and he reads things well and that is why he's one of the leaders of a defense that jumped over 70 spots in yards allowed last year and hope to make a move into the top 20 this fall.

OT Ben Riva - I was dubious on the move of Riva to left tackle, but, once again, I will admit it, I was absolutely wrong. Returns from camp are that the move for both Riva and Micah Hatchie, who moved to right tackle, has been a positive one. Riva just looks like an NFL offensive tackle in the making. He's a legit 6'6" and weighs over 300 pounds and he's got those long arms that teams covet. Riva showed surprising athleticism and seems to handle the speed rushers pretty well, although there were times he was beaten by Josh Shirley for "sacks" during camp. Expect Riva to be a huge key in how Keith Price performs this season and do be surprised if/when, by the end of the season, he winds up on one of the All-Pac 12 teams.

WR John Ross - The early returns from Ross' play have been outstanding. He's got deep speed and sure hands. He won't start, that is Jaydon Mickens' spot, but he'll play a lot this fall and Washington worked in different packages to find ways to get him the ball and let him do his thing. Washington's secondary, no slouches by any means, struggled to keep Ross in check and that should mean a very solid and productive freshman campaign lies ahead.

LB Princeton Fuimaono - The senior linebacker wants to go out with a bang and he set the tone early and often in camp, unloading on several ball-carriers including two decleaters that sent tailbacks to the sidelines for a spell. One thing that head coach Steve Sarkisian likes about "Bobo", as he's known to his friends and teammates, is that he can play any linebacker spot on the field and their defense doesn't miss a beat. He isn't very big, but he packs a wallop when he arrives at the ball and he'll be a key cog both on defense and in the coverage units as the Huskies try and improve on their punt and kick coverage from last year.

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