Washington 2010 WR Outlook: Jermaine Kearse Leads Talented Young Group

Todd WilliamsCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 19: Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Washington Huskies catches the pass during the game against the USC Trojans on September 19, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Trojans 16-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Over the years the Washington Huskies have had their share of playmakers at the wide receiver position.

From Spider Gaines to Reggie Williams, the Huskies have had several notable wide receivers throughout the years.

This current group of young Husky wideouts, led by Jermaine Kearse, is trying to resurrect the reputation of Husky Legends from the past.

Any discussion of pass catchers in regards to Washington needs to also include the tight end position. Although at one time tight ends were only known for blocking, nowadays they have to catch the ball too, and the Huskies have had a long list of NFL-quality tight ends, earning the school a reputation as "Tight End U" as recently as the '90s.

While there hasn’t been a notable tight end since 2002, UW had six tight ends drafted in the NFL between 1992 and 1998.

Sophomore tight end Kavario Middleton is trying to bring back the proud tradition of tight ends at Washington. Youth is a common theme when looking at the receiving corps for Washington and gives much hope towards the future as we take a look at the current group.

Only one receiver that has any pass catches is older than a sophomore, junior D’Andre Goodwin. The group is rounded off by three sophomores and a freshman when looking at those that have caught a pass, but in total there are 11 receivers currently on the roster. All are freshman or sophomores except for two juniors, the aforementioned Goodwin and seldom-used Tony Chidiac.

Here is a quick look at the returning impact receivers and how they performed thus far in the 2009 season.

The leading receiver for this group in 2009 is sophomore Jermaine Kearse. Kearse has grabbed 43 catches for 719 yards and seven touchdowns. He was the highest rated of the WR recruits coming out of high school and has lived up to expectations. He is a steady performer that has led this young group.

Second in receptions is another sophomore, Devin Aguilar, who has provided 521 yards through 37 catches. He has also hauled in three touchdown passes. Aguilar is another steady performer who has shown decent hands and good elusiveness in the open field

Third in receptions is the true freshman James Johnson. Johnson has shown big play ability with his 37 catches for 406 yards. Reaching the end zone three times on the year, Johnson looks to have a bright future for Washington.

Coming in fourth for receptions for receivers is Junior D’Andre Goodwin. D’Andre has proved 227 yards on 14 catches. Not as frequently used as a target, he is still a good option to throw the ball to and as a junior has some experience at the college level.

The last receiver to register any catches this year is sophomore Jordan Polk. He has caught five balls for 42 yards on the year.

Although he has not caught a pass this season, look for sophomore Cody Bruns to make an impact in the coming seasons.

The top two out of three on the tight end depth chart have also registered catches. Sophomore Kavario Middleton is the fifth leading receiver on the team with 23 catches for 215 yards, punching it in the end zone three times for the season.

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The other frequently used tight end, sophomore Chris Izbicki, has also contributed two catches for eight yards and a touchdown.
This is a talented, but young, group of pass catchers for Washington that gives much hope for the future. With Steve Sarkisian’s offense being one that seems to prefer the pass, it is important to have a quality group of wide receivers. Even with all the young talent, UW is still bringing in more options in the 2010 class.

Here is a look at who has verbally committed to the Dawgs thus far.

The headliner for the incoming group will be the highly regarded local recruit Jamaal Kearse, brother of current Husky WR Jermaine Kearse, who is a four-star wide receiver recruit from Lakes, Washington.

While he is listed as a three-star athlete by the Rivals.com recruiting service, he is expected to play receiver for the Huskies. He has good size at 6'2" and good hands, and he looks to make an immediate impact on the team next year.

A second receiver recruit for the 2010 class is Taz Stevenson of Mililani, Hawaii. He is a regarded as a three-star recruit by Scout.com. Like Kearse, he provides decent size at 6'2". He is listed as a defensive back recruit for Rivals.com, so it will be interesting to see which side of the ball he ends up on. He should make an impact no matter where he ends up.

The third recruit to look at is John Timu from Long Beach, California. Timu is a three-star athlete by both recruiting services. He has decent size at 6'0" and speed at a 4.5 40-yard dash. He is an exceptional athlete, playing quarterback and safety at his high school, but projects as a wide receiver for the Huskies.

The last wide receiver recruit for the 2010 class is DiAndre Campbell from Oakland, California. Another 6'2" wide receiver with 4.5 speed, Campbell looks to add depth and talent to Washington’s already talented group of receivers.

Washington also has a verbal commitment from one tight end, three-star Michael Hartvigson. Hartvigson is from Bothell, Washington. At 6'6", 235, he has good size and athletic ability.

The Huskies look to build off a solid effort in 2009 for their young stable of pass catchers. Adding more talent in depth in the 2010 recruiting class, Washington looks to be well stocked for the immediate future at this position.

With an increased focus on the passing game, it is going to be important to have a deep stable of receivers to go to. Especially when you consider the uncertainty of Jake Locker returning for his senior season, the new starter would benefit from the experience this young group gained this year. This unit looks to have an exceptional year in 2010.

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