True freshmen receivers impress UW coaches
John Ross, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels are getting every chance to prove themselves in the first week of Husky football practice.
Seattle Times staff reporter
For Washington’s young wide receivers, there have been dashes and flashes — on the field and in film study — during the first week of training camp.
Even after just a few days, it’s become clear that the potential is there — in raw talent and in revved-up opportunity — for John Ross, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels to perhaps find their way onto the field as true freshmen. Perhaps.
UW coaches will know a bit more after Friday’s first workout in full pads, but they say they are giving the young receivers every chance to prove themselves. And all indications are that Ross, Stringfellow and Daniels are catching on so far.
“The big thing about all three of them is they’re not getting big-eyed or overwhelmed by the college environment,” UW offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said. “They’re really doing a good job of studying each day and making sure they’re just focused on that day’s practice. They’re not looking too far ahead, so I think they’re doing a good job from that respect.”
Ross, a 5-foot-11, 173-pound speedster from Long Beach, Calif., was working as the slot receiver with senior quarterback Keith Price and the No. 1 offense for several series in practice on Wednesday.
“He came out (on Monday and Tuesday) and really made some big plays,” Kiesau said of Ross. “I wanted to give him a shot and see what he could do with Keith and the No. 1 line. It wasn’t the performance I was looking for — not just him, but the whole offense. We’ll keep working on it and see how it progresses throughout camp.”
With the Huskies’ shift to a no-huddle, up-tempo offense, coach Steve Sarkisian said it will be imperative to find added depth everywhere, and especially among receivers. UW has 13 receivers listed on its roster — 10 on scholarship — but only one true established outside threat in junior Kasen Williams, who had 77 catches for 878 yards and six touchdowns in 2012.
Not counting star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the next five returning pass-catchers after Williams — sophomore Jaydon Mickens (20 catches in 2012), junior DiAndre Campbell (16), sophomore Kendyl Taylor (14), senior Kevin Smith (six) and sophomore Marvin Hall (two) — combined for 19 fewer catches than Williams alone last season.
In short, UW needs someone else to emerge as a second go-to option out wide, and Sarkisian would be thrilled if it ends up being one of the freshmen.
“Those guys are getting a lot of work, a lot of reps, and they’re big, strong physical guys,” Sarkisian said this week. “I’ve been impressed with all those guys. … We’re starting to figure out that we’re getting what we thought we were getting (when they signed). Hopefully, one, two or three of them will be playing a role for us here this fall.”
Preseason honors continue to pile up for Seferian-Jenkins, who on Thursday was named a preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated.
At 6-6, 276 pounds, he enters his junior season already holding virtually every significant record for a UW tight end. His 110 career catches, 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns are all school records at the position.
Many project Seferian-Jenkins to be a first-round NFL draft pick.
Helmet Car retired
The Husky Helmet Car, a fixture at Husky Stadium for decades, is being retired.
As part of a $261 million renovation to the stadium, the track around the field was removed, leaving no room for the helmet car to roam.
The car will be donated to the Museum of History & Industry in a ceremony Aug. 15. The ceremony, open to the public, begins at 10:30 a.m.
According to UW, the origin of the helmet car is believed to be traced back to the 1977 season, when the Huskies won the Pac-8 championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. According to UW lore, several supporters hoped to drive the helmet car to Pasadena, Calif., and into the Rose Bowl Parade. The car never made the trip. In 1978, the helmet car first started circling the track after every UW score, with members of the band and cheer squad riding in celebration.
The car was financed by the athletic department and maintained and operated by Husky Marching Band directors and members.
No picture day
Citing logistical issues with ongoing construction at Husky Stadium, UW will not host its annual “Picture Day” for fans.
Instead, UW fans wanting to meet coaches and players this month are encouraged to attend a “Raise the Woof” fundraising barbecue dinner on Aug. 24. Ticket prices are $60 for adults, $30 for children 3-18 or $150 for a family of four.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @a_jude