With the final spring practice for Washington football in the books, now it is time to reflect on what took place the last month and a half. Here are a few of the players that improved their stock this spring:
Darrell Daniels, TE
Daniels proved this spring that he can bring a receiving threat to the tight end position that the huskies would otherwise be lacking. Daniels had two catches, each highlighting his strengths.
The first coming on a flat route in which Troy Williams dumped it off to him. Daniels used his size and speed to gain yards on an otherwise ineffective play.
On the second catch, Daniels ran down the seam and made an excellent catch, snatching the ball before it hit the turf, resulting in a 15-yard touchdown from Jeff Lindquist.
Like any wide receiver transitioning to tight end, Daniels’ blocking still needs work. It will be tough for Daniels to jump both Joshua Perkins and Michael Hartvigson on the depth chart, but with his size and speed it won’t be long before he finds himself on the field.
Jermaine Kelly, CB
Kelly looked to have locked up the second corner spot across from Marcus Peters. Kelly took the majority of first team reps opposite Peters.
Kelly looked solid in his coverage and even better from a physical standpoint. He really showed his talents during individual drills in which he undercut a route for a nice interception, showcasing his closing speed and length. Travell Dixon also looked like he could bring size and strength that is always welcomed at the cornerback position.
John Ross, WR
Ross saw limited playing time early in the season despite possessing undeniable speed. Later in the season, Ross began to see his role increase. I would attribute Ross’ lack of production early in the season to the learning curve that comes with the transition to college level playbooks. That no longer should be a problem.
Ross looked sharp last Saturday running mostly with the first team. He had a pair of catches deep over the middle, one going for a touchdown. While both Ross and Mickens are similar physically, Ross has much better hands allowing him to use his speed downfield much more effectively and not rely on the bubble screen as much. I expect Ross to be a go-to-guy come fall camp.
Travis Feeney, LB
Feeney saw extensive time last season, sharing snaps with former husky Princeton Fuimaono. I don’t think he will share snaps this year.
Feeney looked excellent during the spring preview. With his speed and ability to play sideline to sideline, it seemed like Feeney was in on every play. I think Feeney has a real opportunity this fall to cement himself as key member of this defense. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the season Feeney is the Huskies’ leading tackler on a team full of playmakers.
Deontae Cooper, RB
Although Lavon Coleman had the best day running the football, it was Cooper that excited me.
The once-touted running back out of Citrus Hill high school, Cooper has had a difficult tenure at UW. Being able to see Cooper at spring ball for the first time since he enrolled early back in 2010 was a welcome sight for Dawg fans.
With no knee braces on, Cooper was productive during the scrimmage and showing how confident he is in his knees. Due to the depth at running back and the severity of Cooper’s past injuries, I doubt he will ever be shouldering a heavy workload. Fall camp should be more conclusive in seeing how far Cooper has come since his unfortunate injuries. Either way, it is inspiring to see his hard work pay off.
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