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Wednesday Answer: One of Sprightliness

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Yesterday, I asked readers which player who is currently redshirting would have the biggest impact next season. Read their answers in the comment section of that link. Read my answer below.

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As with most Tuesday questions, I try to ask something that will get a wide variety of responses. Questions that have an obvious answer are generally pretty boring, particularly since one of the Tuesday Question's goals is to make people think a little bit about stuff they may not generally ponder.

So yesterday, when I posted what I perceived to be a well thought out question with a multitude of possible answers, I felt smug, like always. Then I got a text message that simply read, "Stringfellow."

"Shit," I thought. "This is going to be really obvious, and there will probably only be a few responses."

An hour later, I looked at the responses and was elated. Damore'ea Stringfellow (from here on out, we'll just call him Stringfellow, because... seriously) was the eighth player listed. The EIGHTH! There were players named who aren't even redshirting!

Background

So I'm taking this time to remind you of Stringfellow. He'2 6'3", weighing 230 pounds. As a recruit out of California, he was the #8 wide receiver in the country and #75 player regardless of position. He was, to put it mildly, a big deal.

Stringfellow signed with the Washington Huskies, playing in 12 of 13 games as a true freshman. In the Huskies game against UCLA, Washington's primary receiver was out with an injury, so they gave Stringfellow the start. He answered the call with eight catches for 147 yards and a touchdown (with another 60 yard touchdown called back because of a phantom holding call.) Here's a clip of his touchdown. It's just an incredible play where he wills himself into the end zone. Here's a clip of a pass Stringfellow could have taken into the end zone had he been led right. Instead, he uses his body to force his way back to the ball for a 44 yard reception.

Stringfellow had legal issues that have been covered before. He got into a fight and did not return to the team. In July, I got some thoughts from a Washington blogger, and I'll recycle the quote here.

What is probably least well know about the sequence of events is why Stringfellow decided to transfer. There would have been a multiple game suspension had he stayed, and there was some blowback from UW fans who weren't happy with him, but those things didn't seem to be enough to make him leave. The real factor was that because the incidents were on campus and involving fellow UW students the University itself was going to take some punitive measures against him, in the form of suspending him for the fall quarter and perhaps longer. That would have meant that had Stringfellow wanted to remain a Husky he'd have had to basically take a year off of football, which is an awful idea for a guy still growing into the college game.

So it isn't the case that he was "kicked off" the team as was regularly reported. It is in fact the case that he had options, but his option, because of school rules, would have involved him not being a student for a semester, something that would obviously derail his football career.

The Future

All through August, reports out of practice went something like this.

"The receivers, outside of Laquon Treadwell, aren't good enough. The coaches obviously have to wish that Stringfellow was eligible this season, since he abuses everyone."

It turned out that the Ole Miss receivers were fine. The secondary was just other-worldly. But the point is that Stringfellow was a standout in an otherwise middling group. I'm incredibly excited to see what he can do as the second (or third I guess) receiver. He has potential to take a large chunk of pressure off of Laquon Treadwell since corners will have trouble dealing with him once he has the ball in his hands.

He also has the size required to lay solid blocks. I have no idea whether he actually can block, but the physical traits required are certainly there. He could, potentially, make the Treadwell screen lethal again.

Overall

I do think there are a number of other players who are redshirting this season that will ultimately make an impact next season. I would be shocked, however, if Stringfellow doesn't make the biggest. There's little way he stays off the field, assuming no injury or legal issue. He's a freak.