Enormously talented and a leg up on his fellow incoming freshman would seem to indicate that Gig Harbor's Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be in for a impactful season at tight end for the University of Washington.
As UW coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned early in his press conference Monday before the outset of 2011 fall camp: We’ve operated for two years now essentially without a tight end – (or) at least last year."
Hear that, true freshman?
It was obvious Seferian-Jenkins did because he enrolled early enough for spring camp late last March.
What did Seferian-Jenkins show the UW staff? Soft hands - and arguably the most dependable ones during spring ball - and an athletic target in the passing game.
"He's as talented physically as anybody I've ever had at that position," Sarkisian said. "He's 6-foot-6, 250-something pounds, whatever he is. The hand-eye coordination he possesses is extremely unique. He's got extremely soft hands and he has the ability to keep his feet underneath him and he has the ability to release using his hands yet using wiggle. You can't teach that kind of stuff."
Of course, tight ends block. And that is where the long gains in the offseason, and fall camp have to come for Seferian-Jenkins.
Sarkisian said in the teenager's case, it is more about executing fundamentals in the blocking game than anything. Strength is not a big issue.
"The strength factor of it is ... him more understnding his own strength - he is a really strong kid," Sarkisian said. "But it is getting in the right, fundamental position to utilize that strength."
The opportunity certainly presents itself for Seferian-Jenkins in this offense. While Michael Hartvigson has a year on him in experience at tight end, the Bothell product is coming off a significant shoulder injury.
And at fullback, Zach Fogerson is done good. While former walkon Jonathan Amosa, a junior, impressed folks during the spring, he is no sure thing. Sarkisian said he will audition a couple of defensive players at that position throughout August.
Based on need - based on lack of depth at those bulky, blocking/pass catching positions - and perhaps determined ultimately by his superior talent, Seferian-Jenkins opens fall camp as an eye-opening performer.
"He wants to be great," Sarkisian said, "and he works at it that way."