Louis Rankin ended his Husky career with one of the best seasons a Husky RB has had in a decade. Louis was a legit thousand yard RB last season, and he started, and finished the season strong. Louis is going to be missed in 2008. He truly has legit breakaway speed, and once he stopped dancing became one of the best RB's in the West last season. His success may have been one of the reason ex UW RB coach Trent Miles was able to get a head coaching job at his alma mater Indiana State in the off season.
This year UW will start completely over with a new RB coach yet to be named, and a corp of RB's that is talented, deep, and for the most part fairly inexperienced. Brandon Johnson who had a 100 yard rushing game when Rankin went down during the season seems to be the one headed into the Spring who is the odds on leader to get the starting job. Johnson is a kid who matured quickly over the season and except for a couple of games where he had trouble hanging on to the ball acquitted himself well at the position. He doesn't have the speed Rankin had, but he does run the ball on the inside well.
JR Hasty quit the squad for a week this season but returned after thinking it over. Hasty is in danger of being passed up in the depth chart by younger, and speedier players. This will be the most important Spring of his football playing life. It is make or break time for JR. Curtis Shaw was moved to WR, but he and Chris Polk could also see some time carrying the ball if needed this year. Willie Griffin who sat out as a RS last season impressed the coaches on the scout team last year, and he is the favorite to win the back up position behind Johnson. Brandon Yakaboski was on a track for early playing time but a head injury set him back before the start of the season, UW decided to RS him at that point. The coaches are high on this kid and he will be one to watch this Spring.
Washington loaded up on RB's again this recruiting season. Many of these kids are going to be switched to the defensive side of the ball in the fall. Demetrius Bronson, David Freeman, and Terrance Dailey, and perhaps Johri Fogerson will start on the offensive side of the ball. Bronson and Fogerson were the top in state kids last year, and I could see both of them matriculating to safety if needed, particularly Fogerson who is a viscous hitter. Dailey seems to be more of the FB type, while Freeman reminds a lot of us of Rodgers from Oregon State.
UW will miss Rankin in 2008, it is tough to replace senior 100o yard backs with great attitudes. Brandon Johnson however should mature into the role running behind a rapidly improving offensive line. I like the way Johnson runs the ball, and I wish Ty had given more carries last season. The kid has a nose for the end zone and I think he will be among the all time rushing leaders before he leaves UW. Behind him are plenty of players who haven't had their chances yet. Lappano has just about every type of running back you could want in his arsenal going into 2008. Keep an eye on David Freeman, this kid could be very good.
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