By Monica Lee
GoHuskies.com contributing writer
SEATTLE - Being back at home in Southern California just may have been the ticket to Demore’ea Stringfellow’s breakout game as a Husky.
Stringfellow, a true freshman from Perris, Calif., led all receivers at The Rose Bowl on Nov. 15 against the No. 13 UCLA Bruins (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12). The wide receiver totaled one touchdown and 147 yards on eight receptions making him the clear standout pass catcher in Pasadena, Calif., that night. UCLA’s Devin Lucien was a distant second with a touchdown and two receptions for 54 yards.
“It was definitely a unique experience,” Stringfellow said. “I was ready for my shot to shine and what better than to go back home and do it in front of your family?”
Working hard every day at practice, Stringfellow’s coaches and teammates encouraged him that eventually his game would come.
“I think it was just my time,” the freshman said. “The coaches know I’ve been grinding since camp so I guess they felt like I was ready to go.”
His teammates told “String,” “Your time is coming, man. Just be patient.”
When that time came, anyone watching could have seen the connection between Stringfellow and redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles, who was plunged into a tough game after Keith Price was taken out due to an injury.
Miles found Stringfellow’s hands play after play including a 14-yard touchdown reception making for an exciting show despite the 31-41 loss to the Bruins.
“I knew that (Miles) can get it done,” Stringfellow said. “Camp time he was with the twos and I was with the twos, so when we got in there it was basically pitch and catch.”
Since training camp in August, Stringfellow has recorded 167 yards in seven games and improved his football IQ.
“I’ve learned a lot. Actually a lot of techniques within routes,” he said. “I thought it was just running routes, but it’s a lot of techniques – releases and a lot of stuff like that.”
His rate of improvement was not quite what he would have liked though.
“(I was) developing slowly,” Stringfellow said. “I wish I could have developed a little more faster, but hey, I developed so I can’t really complain about that.”
The Southern California native plans to develop academically in communications or sociology.
Coach Steve Sarkisian deems Saturday's match up against Oregon State (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12) in Corvallis, Ore., another good game for the freshman. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm PST and will air nationally on ESPN2.
“He had a great practice today, I’ll tell you what,” Sarkisian said two days before the game. "He’s been good all week, but he was really good today. Coming out of the Cal game he really started turning it on and working and then he had some success.
“I’m excited for him. I think he’s going to play great on Saturday.”
Stringfellow is coy when commenting on the upcoming game at Reser Stadium.
“I mean we’re preparing well,” he said three days before the OSU game. “Obviously we’ve been watching film and preparing well so we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Maybe Stringfellow can keep performing like he did at UCLA to beat an OSU team that will be competing with a chip on their shoulder. The Huskies ended the then-No. 7 Beavers’ perfect record with a 20-17 upset at CenturyLink Field in 2012.
But in the meantime, what will Stringfellow be doing?
“Just not get too comfortable with where I’m at,” he said.
“Just keep grinding and get better.”