Running Backs Flash on Day Five of Spring Camp

Inclement weather shifted the Huskies inside the Dempsey Indoor facility Friday morning for the fifth day of spring camp.

By happenstance or not it led to a rather productive practice for the running backs.

Both transfers, Dillon Johnson and Daniyel Ngata, showed why offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and the rest of the staff wanted them at Washington.

Johnson, a 6-foot, 216-pound junior who spent the previous three seasons at Mississippi State, broke off a 15-plus yard run during an 11-on-11 period. Ngata, a 5-foot-9, 187-pound junior from Arizona State, slide through the defense and ran away for a 35-yard touchdown later in practice.

UW returns four players – Cameron Davis, Richard Newton, Will Nixon and Sam Adams II – at the position who played in nine or more games last season.

Davis has started twice in his career – at Colorado in 2021; vs Oregon State in 2022) totaling 23 carries for 84 yards to go along with 11 catches for 85 yards. Newton is the only other returning player to have started at running back, doing so in the first three games of the 2021 season.

Johnson started six games alone last season, including at Arizona in week two, in addition to

He also had the longest run of the season for the Bulldogs – a 40-yard scamper against Bowling Green week four. Johnson is sixth in Mississippi State history with 149 career receptions, as a natural running back, one of the primary reasons why he chose UW over Auburn.

Ngata, the youngest brother of former UW linebacker Ariel Ngata, drew praise for his versatility as both a down-hill runner and pass catcher.

“Daniyel is very much … he’s not Ronnie Rivers, the kid we had at Fresno (State). A really versatile kid, kind of scat-back,” Grubb said. “Because he’s a little bit bigger than Ronnie. But he is very much a change of direction, beating guys one-on-one in the open. But he’s still very willing to be aggressive and down-hill.”

However, what impressed Grubb the most was his worth ethic through word of mouth.

“Heard a ton of people talk about the kid’s worth ethic. Jamar Cain is a good friend of mine. D-line coach at LSU. Was at ASU and recruited Daniyel. And so, when he (Ngata) was in the portal I called Jamar – Jamar’s from Sacramento. Knew him well. Knew his family well. Couldn’t say enough good stuff about him. Just loved the kid.

“I thought his film really spoke for itself. We thought he was a really good back. Definitely really different than any other back we have.”

Muhammad Getting Initiated

Oklahoma State cornerback transfer Jabbar Muhammad took the field this week after being held out the first three practices of camp in early March.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior showed well during Friday’s practice before being fully initiated towards the end of practice.

Michael Penix Jr. connected with Rome Odunze for a 50-yard touchdown towards the far side of the end zone inside Dempsey with Muhammad in coverage. Even though he got beat on the play his presence has already made a tremendous impact on the rest of the cornerback room.

“A lot of experience,” sophomore Jaivion Green said when asked about what Muhammad has brought to the room.

“Mentally, he’s above because started 13 games at Oklahoma State. Physically, he teaches me a lot of things. For example, off-man. He teaches me how to play because he’s been playing in the Big 12 and he goes against some guys over there. So I always go to him for tips because he’s an older guy.”

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