Coming off a banner year that saw the Washington Huskies win the PAC-12 Championship and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, expectations are still high in Seattle. Even after losing five players taken in the 2017 NFL Draft (including 4 of the top 43 picks), there is still a lot of talent returning for Chris Petersen’s squad.
That fact is evident by six Washington players being included recently in Sports Illustrated’s list of the Top 100 college football players for 2017. Washington’s six selections are tied with USC for the most in the PAC-12 conference, and nationally, only Alabama (8) and Florida State (7) have more players on the list.
The Huskies’ contingent is led by play-making linebacker Azeem Victor, who finished third on the team in tackles last season despite breaking his leg in November. Here’s what SI wrote about Washington’s defensive leader:
Victor was the leading tackler on the Huskies’ star-studded defense until he suffered a broken leg in mid-November (he still ended up finishing third on the team). With a handful of those stars making the jump to the NFL, Victor enters 2017 as the backbone of the unit. With nose tackle Vita Vea in the trenches in front of Victor and safety Taylor Rapp patrolling the secondary behind him, Washington is loaded up the middle once again.
Victor is followed on the list by defensive tackle Vita Vea (No. 24), running back Myles Gaskin (No. 36), safety Taylor Rapp (No. 39), QB Jake Browning (No. 45) and wideout Dante Pettis (No. 90). The Huskies have more players in the Top 45 than any other school in the country.