Then Mickens arrived at Washington where the Huskies' hearty playbook was dropped into his arms, leaving him wide-eyed.
"It looked like Chinese writing," Mickens said.
While Mickens was processing that, he headed to practice and often lined up across from cornerback Desmond Trufant, who is among the best corners in the country. Like most freshmen, Mickens quickly learned that what he did through convenience in high school wasn't going to cut it in college.
"Just more details in college," Mickens said. "In high school I could just run past people or drift routes. You can't do that. You'll get embarrassed."
Mickens has the second-most catches on the team among wide receivers, with limited totals of 16 catches for 113 yards.
But, he may be known more for a big catch he made against Portland State that was called back because of a holding penalty or the pass he dropped last week against Cal. Mickens was behind two Cal defenders and a long pass from Keith Price hit him in both hands and in stride, but Mickens dropped it. Had he pulled it in, Mickens would have been on his way to a 68-yard touchdown.
"I tried to catch the ball and run at the same time because I saw the safety coming at me," Mickens said.
Still, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian believes Mickens, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, will become a dynamic player for the Huskies.
"He's got a lot to learn. He's just a puppy. Just a puppy running around," Sarkisian said. "He's going to be a really good player for us. When it clicks in for him, look out."
Coons gets his kicks
Travis Coons didn't start kicking heavily until midway through his sophomore year at Mt. San Antonio College in the Los Angeles suburbs. A year later, he's handling all kicking duties for the Huskies.
"Didn't really expect it, (but) it's what I wanted to do coming in from my JC," Coons said. "For me to get the opportunity to do it, it's awesome."
Coons, a junior, was splitting duty earlier in the season with Korey Durkee before taking control of kickoffs, punts and field goal attempts.
Coons played soccer throughout his life, then began to play football in high school as a safety and wide receiver. He shifted into kicking more at junior college. He's a solid 6-of-8 on fields goals, averages 39 yards per punt and 59.6 yards per kickoff. He's even completed a pass.
Kicking was an issue earlier in the season for the Huskies, but Coons has improved it. He'll be important this week against dynamic Utah returner Reggie Dunn who has three 100-yard kick returns for touchdowns in the past two weeks.
The Apple Cup will be nationally televised on Fox Nov. 23 at 12:30 p.m. Prior to Wednesday, it was undetermined if the game would be on Fox or FX. ... Austin Seferian-Jenkins was named the John Mackey tight end of the week after catching eight passes for 154 yards against Cal.
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