Washington Huskies

Report: Two Huskies land pre-draft interviews with San Francisco 49ers

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USA Today Images

Report: Two Huskies land pre-draft interviews with San Francisco 49ers

Oregon’s Justin Herbert isn’t the only draft prospect from the Pacific Northwest on teams’ radars ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.  

Per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, the San Francisco 49ers recently spoke with University of Washington tight end Hunter Bryant and running back Salvon Ahmed via Facetime. 

As a junior, Bryant caught 52 passes for 825 receiving yards and had three touchdowns in 12 games. He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors and was named All-America First Team by The Athletic, All-America Third Team by Phil Steele and a finalist for the John Mackey Award.

The Washington native is currently expected to be a high second-round pick. 

[RELATED: NFL Combine profile: Washington TE Hunter Bryant]

 Ahmed had 188 carries for 1,020 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns in 2019 and garnered All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention for the second time in his Husky career. He is believed to be day two or day selection come April. 

[RELATED: NFL Combine profile: Washington running back Salvon Ahmed]

Bryant and Ahmed join quarterback Jacob Eason and offensive tackle Trey Adams as Dawgs hoping to hear their name called on draft day.

Despite coronavirus concerns, the NFL Draft is expected to go on as scheduled from April 23-25. 

UW fans deliver encouraging messages to medical community on Husky Stadium Board

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@uwathletics

UW fans deliver encouraging messages to medical community on Husky Stadium Board

UW Football fans finally got a chance to get their names on the Husky Stadium video board on Friday, and their heartwarming messages were something else. 

While some Dawgs chose to wish their friends a happy birthday or shout out their favorite Huskies fan, a vast number of messages poured in supporting doctors and nurses, firefighters, and grocery workers, who are all working hard during the coronavirus pandemic in Washington State. 

The messages on the photoshopped video board were inspiring.  

Hall of Famer Walter Jones also responded to the thread with an insightful tweet of his own.  

“Seattle, we need you to do one thing,” Jones said. “Block your need to go outside the same way I blocked people coming at [Matt] @Hasselbeck. Together, we can make #COVID19 retire early. #WeGotThisSeattle.”

Jones spent his entire career, 1997-2008, as a member of the Seahawks, protecting nine different quarterbacks, including Hasselbeck and Warren Moon. If anyone knows anything about blocking, it’s Jones. 

Stay inside, Seattle, and keep delivering well-wishes to those who can't!

Matisse Thybulle befriends pet vacuum while self quarantining

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@itsmatisse

Matisse Thybulle befriends pet vacuum while self quarantining

Picture Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the movie Step Brothers.

Ferrell (Brennan): “Did we just become best friends?”

Reilly (Dale): Yep!

Now, picture Matisse Thybulle and a Roomba. Yes, that just happened. 

The former UW basketball star, and Philadelphia 76ers first-round pick in 2019, recently shared a video to his TikTok account of his new best friend: a Roomba.  

With his No.4 Huskies jersey hanging in the background, Thybulle walks his iRobot vacuum, teaches it to come when called, and feeds it Tostitos scoops while relaxing on the couch.

This is true friendship. 

While the NBA season remains suspended during the coronavirus outbreak, Thybulle is trying to make the most of his situation, including finding new friends to keep him busy while stuck in quarantine.

The rookie is averaging 4.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists through 57 games with the 76ers this season. 

NFL Combine profile: Washington RB Salvon Ahmed

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USA Today Images

NFL Combine profile: Washington RB Salvon Ahmed

Salvon Ahmed

Position: Running back
Year: Junior
Hometown: Kirkland, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 5’10 7/8" 

Weight: 197

Hand: 8 6/8"

Arm: 29 2/8

Wingspan: 71 5/8

Overview

The junior out of Juanita High School served as a backup to Myles Gaskin before taking over as starter in 2019. Ahmed finished the year with 1,000 yards rushing at 5.5 yards per carry and nine touchdowns, as well as 14 catches for 58 yards receiving.

His biggest outing for the Huskies came against USC in September, when the 5-11 tailback had a 89-yard touchdown just moments after Elijah Molden had an end zone interception for Washington. It was the fifth longest touchdown run in Husky history.

Ahmed capped off his senior season with two rushing touchdowns in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. Boise State. He added six rushes for 20 yards and two receptions for 26 yards in his team’s 38-7 win. He was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention for the second time in his career.

Draft projections

Many believe Ahmed is a Day 2 player, but it’s possible he could slip to a team on Day 3.

Strengths

- Speed and acceleration
- Footwork 
- Special teams value

Weaknesses

- Size
- Lack of experience
- Inability to churn out yards in tight space

Social media workouts

Ahmed shared a post to his Twitter of a workout with Tracy Ford of Ford Sports Performance. Ford has worked with some of the NFL's top talent, including Seahawks linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright. 

NFL Combine profile: Washington TE Hunter Bryant

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NFL Combine profile: Washington TE Hunter Bryant

Hunter Bryant

Position: Tight end
Year: Junior
Hometown: Issaquah, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6’2 2/8" 

Weight: 248

Hand: 10 right hand (pinky deformation), 10 3/8 left hand

Arm: 32

Wingspan: 76 4/8

3-cone time: 7.08

40-yard dash: 4.74

20-yard shuttle: 4.46

Broad jump: 115.0

Vertical jump: 32.5

Bench press: 23 reps

Overview

Before joining the Huskies, Bryant was a four-star recruit out of Eastside Catholic in Bellevue, WA. He was heavily recruited by schools like Auburn and Oklahoma before setting his sights on Washington. 

In three years, Bryant has emerged as one to top-100 players in the nation. His connection with transfer quarterback Jacob Eason was on display in 2019. The two connected for 52 receptions, 825 yards and three touchdowns. His receptions were second-most in UW single-season history by a tight end.

For his stellar season, Bryant garnered first-team All-Pac-12 honors and was named All-America First Team by The Athletic, All-America Third Team by Phil Steele and a finalist for the John Mackey Award.

Draft projections

Hunter is expected to be a high second-round pick.

NFL.com has given Bryant a 6.20 prospect grade, which means he’s a good backup with the potential of becoming a starter.

NFL comparison:

Jonnu Smith

Strengths

- Quickness
- Run after catch skills
- Versatility

Weaknesses

- Undersized TE
- Needs more physicality at top of routes
- In-line work

Social media workouts

Bryant, like his teammate Salvon Ahmed, has been working out with Tracy Ford of Ford Sports Performance. Ford works with some of the NFL's elite talent. 

Bryant also shared a hype video earlier this month with the message: "Ready for the next chapter."

NFL Combine profile: Washington QB Jacob Eason

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USA Today Images

NFL Combine profile: Washington QB Jacob Eason

Jacob Eason

Position: Quarterback
Year: Junior
Hometown: Lake Stevens, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6’5 7/8" 

Weight: 231

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 7/8

Wingspan: 79

40-yard dash: 4.89 

Vertical jump: 27.5

Broad jump: 110

Overview

After just one year starting at UW, Eason declared for the 2020 NFL Draft and decided to forgo his final year of eligibility.

Eason transferred from Georgia and sat out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules, before starting 13 games for the Huskies in 2019. He completed 260-of-405 passes for 3,132 yards, the fourth-highest total in UW single-season history.

Draft projections

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper ranked Eason his No. 4 quarterback behind Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and LSU’s Joe Burrow.

He could go as early as the first round come April, but is likely an early-to-mid second round selection.

NFL comparison:

Ryan Mallet

Strengths

- Arm accuracy
- Good poise under duress
- Ability to extend the play with his legs

Weaknesses
- Progressions
- Efficiency on third downs
- Modest pocket ability

Social media workouts

On Jan. 31, Eason shared this photo to social media. He's been working out in Irvine, California to prepare for the NFL Draft in April. 

View this post on Instagram

Trust the journey & enjoy the process

A post shared by Jacob Eason (@skinnyqb10) on

Washington Huskies RB Salvon Ahmed will enter 2020 NFL Draft, forgo senior season

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USATI

Washington Huskies RB Salvon Ahmed will enter 2020 NFL Draft, forgo senior season

The Huskies will not have much offensive continuity next season.

Running back Salvon Ahmed will forgo his senior season at Washington and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

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Go Dawgs 🖤

A post shared by Salvon Ahmed (@time2takeiteassyy) on

The junior became the ninth Husky to run for over 1,000 yards in a season after finishing the year with 1,020 rushing yards,  and 11 touchdowns on 188 carries. 

New head coach Jimmy Lake thanked Ahmed for his contributions to the program.

I want to thank Salvon for all of the hard work he has put in, both on and off the field. He was a great example of what Husky Football is all about, and I'm sure that he'll have plenty of success in the future.

Ahmed will join his quarterback, Jacob Eason, in declaring for the NFL Draft leaving the Huskies needing to replace both key positions this offseason in addition to an offensive coordinator and three offensive linemen. 

At running back the Huskies have seniors Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant, sophomore Richard Newton, redshirt freshman Cameron Davis and true freshmen Sam Adams II and Jay'Veon Sunday.

 

 

Go ahead and celebrate top recruiting in Pac-12, but does it really matter?

Go ahead and celebrate top recruiting in Pac-12, but does it really matter?

Of course, all the rabid college football fans are tuned in and jacked up today for the early signing of national letters of intent.

And Oregon and Washington fans, especially, are pumped.

The Huskies and Ducks are ranked at the top of the Pac-12 in the caliber of recruiting classes they’re bringing onto their campuses for next season. Which is great for them, I guess, but I’ve never really seen the rankings of the top recruits as anything but a guessing game with bias.

A lot of the people out there ranking players, either by watching them in person, at camps or games, or on video, may not be the most skilled talent evaluators around. If they were, they’d probably be employed by a college, rather than a website.

I’ve always felt, too, there is a bias in regard to ranking the players, which tends to lean in favor of the traditional powers. You know, if Alabama or Clemson is recruiting a quarterback, then he must be pretty good, so we’ll give him five stars. I’ve watched that thing go on for years.

But at the same time, I think other factors need to be considered when projecting these youngsters into a college program. Will they fit the system? Will the coaches who recruited them be able to coach them? Will these players be happy with their teammates, coaches, colleges, living situations and even the weather after they’re on campus for a while? And will the highly rated ones improve at the same rate as some of the “others.”

And as far as having the best recruiting class in the Pac-12, I’d not get too excited over that, either.

If you really think that all this recruiting fuss matters, you’d have to be worried because neither Oregon nor Washington has even cracked the top 10 nationally in recruiting ranking this year. Ahead of them are all the same schools that have been dominating the national scene for years. And, of course, most of them have been stacking top-ranked recruiting classes on top of top-ranked recruiting classes for many seasons in a row.

You might know them, because they will be representing their conferences in the four-team national playoff that you'll be sitting at home watching.

So, go ahead and celebrate, Pac-12 fans – you’ve probably signed some pretty good players.

But my guess is, the teams ahead of you on the national scene have likely signed even better ones, at least by the reckoning of those recruiting gurus.

If that even matters.

Will Chris Petersen coach again? The door isn't shut, but not right away

Will Chris Petersen coach again? The door isn't shut, but not right away

On Monday morning, then-Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen shocked the college football world by resigning as head coach following their bowl game next month. 

Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake was named as his successor. Immediately following the announcement, speculation ran rampant of what Petersen would do next. Was he USC-bound? What about the NFL? Would he be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys?

Official word is that Petersen will transition into an advisory role with the Huskies, at least, in the immediate future. 

At his press conference today, Petersen discussed if he’s done coaching when asked. 

I’m not falling into that trick question...my whole plan is to get rested, to get recharged, and get redirected. Like the one thing I know is that I’m not ready to do nothing. I just gotta figure out where all this energy and this passion and inspiration goes. I don’t want it to be on the football field.

It sounds like Petersen doesn’t want to return to coaching football anytime soon. He's burned out, which is understandable considering how heavy and constant the workload is when running a program the size of Washington's. That position demands around the clock work hours between recruiting, game-planning, running practice, watching film, and oh, the actual games themselves.

Petersen said he likes being around people who strive for excellence, he loves people who are great at their jobs.  

The now former Huskies head coach becomes another in a recent trend of major programs having their coaches step down during their 50s. Other recent examples include Bob Stoops at Oklahoma (56) and Urban Meyer at Ohio State (54). In both cases, one of the coordinators was promoted in their place. And in both cases, they eventually returned to coaching.  

New Huskies coach Jimmy Lake wants an 'aggressive' program

New Huskies coach Jimmy Lake wants an 'aggressive' program

On Monday morning, Chris Petersen shocked college football by resigning as head coach of the Washington Huskies after six seasons in Seattle. His replacement is former defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, who according to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, has turned down multiple offers waiting for this opportunity. 

At his introductory press conference, Lake said he will follow a similar formula as how Petersen ran the program, but he had the following to say about what he’ll do differently as head coach of the Huskies.

We’re going to have a different style on offense. We’re going to have a different style on our special teams. We’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to attack, and this place is ready to roll.

Earlier in the press conference, he highlighted his love for X’s and O’s and football strategy will also separate his program from Petersen’s.  

Also, recruiting for the Huskies should increase as Lake, who has been the Huskies ace recruiter for years, will now be running the entire show. He’ll be able to be more aggressive in recruiting than when Petersen was at the helm.

Looking for proof of that? Not a single Huskies commit has decommitted more than 24 hours after the shocking head coaching change announcement, which is nearly unheard of whenever in a situation like this one. For example, when Willie Taggart abruptly left Eugene a handful of the Ducks’ commits immediately decommitted. To not have any recruiting collateral damage is quite impressive.  

It’s unclear how Lake will handle running an entire program since this will be his first head coaching gig; however, he’s set up as well as anyone could hope.