Austin Seferian-Jenkins (US PRESSWIRE)
SEATTLE - Now that all the hard work has been done, it's time to hand out the hardware. Kim Grinolds, Scott Eklund and Chris Fetters of Dawgman.com went through various categories and took all of Spring Football into account when thinking about these awards. Monday, it's time to laud the offense; on Tuesday we'll do the same for the defense.
Kim Grinolds - Other than Keith Price, it has to be Austin Seferian-Jenkins. At times, he was just unstoppable. At times, it just wasn't fair. An most of the time, you just shake your head and think of the possibilities.
Scott Eklund - Austin Seferian-Jenkins. There wasn't a more explosive offensive player on the field and, as I've said time and again, he is an automatic mismatch from the moment he steps onto the field. Seferian-Jenkins consistently caught passes in traffic, made acrobatic receptions look routine and he's improved his blocking enough to be considered above-average in that area.
Chris Fetters - Austin Seferian-Jenkins. To quote Hugh Millen, Austin is a man playing with children out there on the field. When he's at his best, he's basically unstoppable in a conventional football sense, and even though he probably wasn't at 100 percent coming back due to his body having taken half a season's worth of basketball punishment, he was still the best player on offense by far. Spring Game aside, there wasn't a practice that didn't go by where ASJ didn't have at least one catch that made your head turn, no matter what you were looking at.
Offensive Most Improved
Kim Grinolds - Michael Hartvigson. He's added weight, improved his hands, become a work out warrior, and it's all tuned into confidence and play making ability on the field. he's worked his butt off and it shows
Scott Eklund - James Atoe. The coaches have raved about how far he's come and he held his own this spring. Atoe has a huge frame and he's reshaped his body so that he actually looks like a Pac 12 offensive lineman now instead of the dough-boy who showed up.
Chris Fetters - James Atoe/Michael Criste. With the retirement of Colin Porter and a knee injury to Drew Schaefer, Atoe and Criste were asked to grow up in a hurry and do a lot. They stepped up to the challenge to the point where they are now either ensconced as starters or sure backups at their respective positions. Steve Sarkisian, Eric Kiesau and Dan Cozzetto have talked about both players in glowing terms, especially in terms of their improvement.
Most Likely to Step Up - Offense
Kim Grinolds - Bishop Sankey. He looked great all Spring and looks like he's just tapping into his development. WSU fans just have to hate this.
Scott Eklund - Bishop Sankey. While I really like what Jesse Callier brings to the table, it has become apparent that Sankey is the odds-on favorite to be the starter at tailback when the Huskies take the field against San Diego State on September 1st. Sankey showed quickness and great receiving skills this spring and that will likely mean plenty of chances this fall to prove he's ready to take a bulk of the carries.
Chris Fetters - Bishop Sankey. Much like Chris Polk when he first came to Washington, Sankey didn't have the size or the consistent breakaway speed to be that guy UW fans looked to as an every-down back. In fact, Sankey was pegged as an RB from the start more than Polk, who fiddled around with some receiver before dedicating himself to being an every-down back. Sankey has the chance to be that every-down guy they are looking for, and a pain-free spring gives him the edge over Jesse Callier and Dezden Petty as they head into the fall competition. I expect Bishop to continue where he left off, and while he won't make fans forget about Polk right away he certainly will give them reason to smile in 2012.
Most Likely to Struggle - Offense
Kim Grinolds - Derrick Brown. He's still just a pup and he's just not close to being ready.
Scott Eklund - Dexter Charles. Charles is very talented and he plays with a mean streak, but he's still a year away from even being remotely ready to play. He still needs to add strength and get used to the speed of the game as well as what it takes to get the job done up front versus D-1 talent.
Chris Fetters - DiAndre Campbell/Josh Perkins. Going all the way back to players like Dajuan Hawkins, it seems like UW has always had receivers step up in spring but ultimately fall back when the pressure of the season is upon them. Campbell was the guy that had a great spring last year, but a key missed catch against Hawaii seemed to derail what looked to be a promising 2011. Now Perkins is the flavor of the month, catching four passes from Derrick Brown for 40 yards in the Spring Game, but if history is any indicator one of these guys are going to step back a little in their development. And with players coming in like Kendyl Taylor Dwayne Washington and Jaydon Mickens chomping at the bit for playing time too, Keith Price is going to have a lot of mouths to feed - so a couple dropped passes could spell trouble for Campbell or Perkins this fall like it did for Campbell last year.