If there’s something Washington and Washington State share when it comes to receivers, it would be depth.
Huskies quarterback Jake Browning and Cougars passer Luke Falk have no problem spreading the ball around to different players within their respective offenses.
WSU’s receivers, by nature of the scheme they play in, have been the busier of the two groups. But that’s not to say UW’s receivers haven’t been able to hold their own during a rocky season.
With The Apple Cup only a few days away, the News Tribune continues to preview what the Cougars and Huskies have at each position group.
MAKING A CASE FOR THE HUSKIES
Senior receiver Dante Pettis is easily one of the Pac-12’s biggest names. A punt return dynamo, he’s proven to be one of the better receivers in the conference. He leads UW with 60 catches for 706 yards and seven touchdowns.
After Pettis is where it gets a bit challenging. Injuries have slowed any moment UW has tried to achieve when it comes to maintaining a receiving corps. Junior Chico McClatcher and sophomore Quinten Pounds are out with season-ending injuries. The Huskies are also without star freshman tight end Hunter Bryant, who is still second in receiving yards, despite not playing since late October.
Browning has used his running backs along with senior tight end Will Dissly to soften the blow. As of late, the Huskies have seen growth from Andre Baccellia and Aaron Fuller.
MAKING A CASE FOR THE COUGARS
Cougars junior Tavares Martin Jr. is a do-everything threat who can make what should be a short gain into a long one. He has 65 receptions for 769 yards and nine touchdowns.
Go beyond Martin and what you’ll find is a deep group that posses several qualities. It starts with sophomore Isaiah Johnson-Mack. UW has struggled to stop bigger receivers and Johnson-Mack could be next given he stands at 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. The former South Florida high school star has 57 catches, 530 yards and five touchdowns.
Junior Kyle Sweet continues to see his role within the offense grow. He has a career-best 46 catches and 460 yards. Meanwhile, freshman Renard Bell is third on the team with 504 yards.
AND THE WINNER IS...
It has to go to WSU for a few reasons. The Cougars have proven players in Martin and Sweet. Johnson-Mack has done well but could still break out while Bell gives this group four trusted targets. If Bryant, McClatcher and Pounds were all healthy, this would be a tougher category to assess.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark