Spring standouts: Washington players you should know about
Some were good last year. Some didn't play much last year. Some weren't on the team last year.
A wise man once told me that when covering a single game — be it football, baseball, basketball or otherwise — it’s best to approach the story as if you were writing a letter to a person who is intensely interested in the outcome, but was not able to watch and does not know anything about what happened.
The whole college-football-on-television revolution may have rendered that approach somewhat archaic, but not entirely. It’s still helpful to ask yourself: What’s the first thing I’m going to tell this person about this game? What do they need to know? What would I most want to know?
It is in that spirit that I present a list of players who I’d tell you about first, if it were my task to recap Washington’s spring practices by naming individual standouts. And since I am my own boss these days, I have indeed assigned myself this task.
Let’s get to it.
WR Rome Odunze
I’m not sure I’d have believed Odunze would (or could) look noticeably better this spring than he did last season, which he finished as the Pac-12’s leading receiver and a fringe All-America candidate. But the all-conference wideout actually did look like a different guy over the past month-plus, dominating practices in a way I’m not sure we’ve seen from an offensive player at UW in quite a while. It’s not as if he was alone in making progress. Jalen McMillan appears to have taken another step after turning in a 1,000-yard season in 2022, and receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard said Ja’Lynn Polk continues to “push the envelope,” too.
Odunze, though, has bulked up to somewhere between 215-217 pounds, and at 6-foot-3, he cuts a unique figure, even within a receiver group that might be among the Huskies’ best ever. He says he’s carrying the extra weight “with my same speed, my same agility.”
As he put it Saturday: “I haven’t felt it, really, too much, except people bouncing off me a little bit more, so that’s fun. I’m able to deliver hits better on blocks and stuff like that, and hopefully use my strength to my advantage.”