With the College Football Season quickly approaching, it is time to give fans a guide to each conference and some players to watch from each team. It is always hard once the season starts to pay attention to each team’s top players as well as some hidden gems.
This series will include players that are eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. Some of these players will not be first round picks but will have the ability to be selected and fill needs for a team in the NFL with success.
Being a West Coast guy, I will start with the Pac 12 and finish with the ACC covering all BCS Teams in between in the next few weeks.
University of Washington Huskies
The Huskies have been in a rebuild mold since head coach Steve Sarkisian took over in 2009 with a depleted roster with minimal talent. He now has a roster full of his recruited players and an offense that is poised to put up plenty of points in this possible do or be done year for the Huskies coach.
#25 Bishop Sankey – RB
5’10” – 200 lbs. – JR
After spending his freshman year in spot duty in a full backfield and behind workhorse Chris Polk, Sankey came out in his sophomore year and hit the field running. Sankey finished the season averaging 110.7 yard per game average and showed he can carry a heavy workload with 289 carries during the season. Finishing the season on a high note with 30 carries for 205 yards with 6 receptions for 74 yards against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl, Sankey is poised for another big season for the Huskies in leading their climb to the top of the Pac 12 North.
Strengths – Sankey has great vision and runs lows and compact to the ground. Head is always up with explosion to get to the edge and turn a run into a big gain with very soft hands creating a dual threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Sankey showed durability in sophomore campaign with over 300 touches during the season.
Weaknesses – A player with a good build but needs to run more downhill at times without wanting to bounce from hole to hole which should come with more playing time at the collegiate level. Sankey will need to improve his pass blocking where he has shown the ability to understand protection assignments in a very pro-style offense but needing to refine technique.
Overall – After coming out of nowhere in the 2012 season, Sankey is a known name in the Pac 12 and country with a target solely planted on him each play. By the end of the 2013 season, Sankey will likely move into the Top 75 players in the 2013 NFL Draft and Top 5 Running Back available.
#2 – Kasen Williams – WR
6’2” – 215 lbs. – JR
One of the most celebrated recruits in Husky history, Williams has done nothing but prove he was worth the hype in his first two seasons where he finished with 77 receptions and 878 yards with 6 touchdowns last year as the main receiving threat as a sophomore. The Huskies return plenty of offensive weapons to surround Williams in the 2013 season where these numbers should improve with the space to operate inside.
Strengths – Williams is a superb athlete for his size with a 6’10” High Jump and 24’5” Long Jump as a senior in High School. Williams plays to his size with a great body and strong hands to fend off defenders from taking the ball away when thrown to him. He is able to utilize his great leaping ability and attack the ball at its highest point.
Weakness – Williams is not a speed burner that will stretch the field by any means but has enough speed to be effective. A raw route runner that needs to make more definite cuts and set up defenders better when running routes and has shown inconsistent hands at time which is an area that can be improved.
Overall – Surrounded by Sankey and Austin Seferian-Jenkins and having Keith Price throwing for one more season, expect to see Williams to explode onto the draft scene this year. He will be viewed as a possession type receiver without lack of explosive speed but is a solidified #1 receiver option in the upcoming draft.