LAS VEGAS Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is 6-foot-6, 266 pounds strong enough to make cameos at defensive end and athletic enough to play a meaningful, part-time role on the Huskies Pac-12 championship mens basketball team last winter.
Hes taller than any defensive player on the Boise State football team.
And nearly 30 pounds heavier than any player likely to defend him on a pass route.
That makes him a matchup nightmare in Saturdays MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (1:35 p.m. MST, ESPN) and one without a clear solution.
I have no idea no one else has (one) either, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said of how to defend a player like Seferian-Jenkins. Thats what it is in the NFL. Those are the guys everybodys trying to get. No one has the answer there.
The two teams that beat Boise State this season Michigan State and San Diego State featured similar players in their offenses. Dion Sims (6-5, 285) led the Spartans with seven catches for 65 yards against the Broncos; Gavin Escobar (6-6, 255) led the Aztecs with five catches for 58 yards.
Nevadas Zach Sudfeld (6-7, 255) also made a big splash against Boise State, with three catches for a team-high 67 yards.
Seferian-Jenkins is more decorated than any of them and perhaps the best in the history of Huskies football. He was one of three finalists this season for the Mackey Award, which goes to the nations top tight end, as a true sophomore.
Austins an extremely talented young man, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian told Seattle-area reporters earlier this month. Hes got a high football IQ. So he allows us to move him and put him in a lot of different spots on the field and not be so one-dimensional. We can create matchups with him. His willingness to do that and to accept that and excel in those different spots on the field is what makes him dangerous.
Seferian-Jenkins already has broken the Washington single-season and career records for receptions by a tight end. He has 63 catches for a team-high 789 yards and six touchdowns this season and 104 career catches.
The previous receptions records were held by Jerramy Stevens (48 in a season) and Mark Bruener (95 in a career).
Another top Washington tight end, Rod Jones (1984-86), works as an academic adviser for the Huskies athletic department. He recently told Seferian-Jenkins he will be the best Huskies tight end ever, according to The Seattle Times.
Thats hard for me to say, Jones told the Times. But hes earned that. I never thought that of Jerramy or anyone else.
Those are important words to Seferian-Jenkins, who was considered the No. 2 tight end recruit in the nation in 2011 despite playing wide receiver at Gig Harbor High in Washington.
Texas even considered playing him at left tackle or defensive end.
Seferian-Jenkins, who never had lined up in a blockers three-point stance, wanted to play tight end.
I wanted to definitely be one of those tight ends that at the end of my career, whenever that is, to be up there and be the best there ever was here, he told the Times earlier this season. And thats my goal since I got here. I dont pay attention to stats or anything like that. I just pay attention to how I play and the intensity that I play with.
He has tried to take that same attitude to the defense, where he could see some snaps in the MAACO Bowl. And he was a valuable addition to the basketball team, contributing as a rebounder and defender in 17 games. He hasnt decided whether he will play hoops again this winter.
Senior wide receiver Cody Bruns said Seferian-Jenkins has paired a strong work ethic with his talent.
He deserves (the success), Bruns said. Hes young still and he has room to grow, which is amazing because hes so talented right now. Im looking forward to watching him.
The Broncos probably arent. They get to deal with him Saturday and again in the 2013 season opener in Seattle.
The plan? Harass him.
You cant let him body you out, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. You have to be physical at the line of scrimmage, and when the balls up in the air you have to compete for the ball. Knowing hes a lot taller than most of our guys youre going to have to go up and battle.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat