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Notes and Quotes: Position battles beginning to take shape on day five of spring practice

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Notes and quotes: Position battles beginning to take shape on day five of spring practice

Sophomore receiver Ja'Lynn Polk high points the ball during receiver drills during Washington's spring football practice at Husky Stadium on April 14, 2021. Polk joins Washington from Texas A&M after transferring this offseason.

Position battles are starting to heat up on both sides of the ball five practices into the Washington football team’s spring season. With the additions of high-profile transfers and rising playmakers, the battles at wide receiver and defensive back will be especially interesting this spring. 

There is uncertainty at almost every position on offense this spring, but a notable position battle lies within the wide receiver corps. With the loss of important receivers like Ty Jones and Puka Nacua to the transfer portal, as well as the addition of sophomore transfer Ja’Lynn Polk, the wide receiver room looks a lot different this year for the Huskies.

“He’s learning,” offensive coordinator John Donovan said about newcomer Polk. ”He’s made plays in college before, which is nice. He’s just got to hear the call, know the call, and do his job.”

So far senior Terrell Bynum as well as freshmen Jalen McMillian and Rome Odunze have played the most snaps with the first-string offense, but Polk has impressed with the second team and might break into the first team if he continues to play at a high level.

The Huskies recently added another high-profile wide receiver transfer in Giles Jackson, who arrives from Michigan. He will join the team in the summer.

On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive backfield has proven to be very interesting this spring. While many standouts such as juniors Kyler Gordon, Asa Turner, and Trent McDuffie return, one player who has had an impact that hasn’t played significant snaps previously is junior Dominique Hampton. 

“The light has finally clicked for him,” head coach Jimmy Lake said. “He’s really immersed himself in the playbook. That along with his size, strength, and physicality, is what we really liked at safety.”

Hampton’s progression along with the addition of senior transfer Brendan Radley-Hiles means that there is even more talent in an already loaded Washington defensive backs room. The depth and talent of Washington’s defensive backs will make it extremely difficult to know who will be starting come September.

Notes:

  • The defense shined in day five of practice, forcing three turnovers and allowing one touchdown right at the end of practice.

  • Junior running back Richard Newton missed the first week of practice due to two false-positive COVID-19 tests. Newton has returned to practice after testing negative, scoring the one and only touchdown Wednesday.

  • With Newton back, the running back roulette has taken another turn. Newton took most of his snaps with the second-team Wednesday, while seniors Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant split first-team snaps. 

  • All the QBs competing for the starting spot, sophomore Dylan Morris, senior Patrick O’Brien, and freshman Sam Huard, had sub-par outings on the fifth day of practice. Each threw an interception and none of them had a touchdown.

Reach reporter Nick Lombroia at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @lombroia

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