While the Seahawks are storming through the NFL, the Huskies ended their season on a down note with tight losses in the Apple Cup and Vegas Bowl. Despite the disappointing end, the outlook for the 2013 Huskies is bright. They only lose a few starters, and with improved offensive line and quarterback play, both of which I would consider likely, they should be ready to make a run at the top of the conference. Right now the Husky coaches are locked into recruiting season, and it’s looking a lot more promising than the end of the football season was.
Signing day is the first Wednesday in February, about a month away. Right now the Huskies have a class of 20 commits, and it’s an excellent group. Most recruiting rankers consider it among the top 10-15 classes in the country, for whatever that’s worth. They’re likely to take a class of about 25 players, although I would expect some turnover among the 20 current commitments. The last month of recruiting is crazy, like that November Saturday when the top four teams all lose. Kids will change their minds, and unfortunately some will be encouraged to look elsewhere by coaches, either because they haven’t progressed as much as expected or because there’s someone better to take their place.
I’m not going to go too in-depth with this post since a lot will change before signing day. The Huskies already have a quarterback in the boat. Troy Williams is supposed to start classes at UW tomorrow, taking him off the market and letting him participate in spring practices. He’s a good one, compared to a bigger and more polished Keith Price at the same point in his career (although that was a bigger compliment 4 months ago). I doubt he’d play this year due to the Huskies’ depth, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he made a run at replacing Price in 2014. S Trevor Walker is also supposed to enroll early, but probably not until spring quarter.
For now, I’m going to look at a few of the strongest and weakest position groups in the class. Remember that a lot can change before signing day, so there’s no reason to panic or get overly excited yet. Also, as I’ve said in past posts, nothing I say here is first-hand knowledge. I don’t talk to any of these players or anything, and I would recommend that you don’t either. Depending on if you are a season-ticket holder and other things, it might be against NCAA rules, plus it’s just kind of weird. Everything I know is through the people who cover recruiting, especially those at Dawgman.com.
This group is among the best in the country, or at least the best after Texas A&M, which somehow has 10 WR commits. That’s ridiculous. The headliner of the Huskies’ group is probably Demorea Stringfellow. Or maybe it’s Darrell Daniels. Or it might be John Ross, who committed Friday night. All three are from California and all could make a run at immediate playing time. Stringfellow and Daniels are both 6’3″ and in the 215 lb. range. Stringfellow is more polished as a receiver, but Daniels is considered maybe the best athlete at receiver in the west. Ross is a smaller guy, at or just below 6′, but he brings a ton of speed and quickness. A better and faster Jaydon Mickens is the comparison I’ve heard. Nobody’s a sure thing, but this is as good a threesome at receiver as I remember adding in a class.
Also committed is Sammie Long, from Lakes HS in Tacoma. He’s a big possession-type receiver who committed early. It’s thought that he might be one of those who is encouraged to look elsewhere, but nothing has happened publicly yet. He is on a lower level from the previous three, but he still has promise as well. If you want to throw local TE commit David Ajamu in here, the group looks even better. Some compare him athletically to ASJ, although he’s nowhere near as polished or advanced as ASJ was coming out of high school.
As good as the receivers are, this group might be even better. The leader is tackle Elijah Qualls, also the early leader to be the next fan favorite. He’s short but explosive, adept at rushing the passer from inside. In an all-star game this weekend, observers raved about him and he even lined up at fullback, just to show what type of athlete he is. I would expect him to make an impact next year for a somewhat shallow group. End Joe “Jo-Jo” Mathis committed on Saturday and he could also play soon. He has great size at 6’4″ and 255 lbs. and is athletic enough that he could potentially play linebacker. Fellow four-star prospect Daeshon Hall might have the most potential of the group. The 6’6″ 220 lb. DE brings a ton of speed and athleticism off the edge. He needs to add strength and polish, but he’s a potential NFL guy if he progresses like hoped. Hall is out of Texas, but he spent most of his childhood in the Seattle area.
But wait, that’s not all! Local guys Andrew Basham and Jaimie Bryant should add depth at tackle, although both are mentioned as possibly moving to the offensive line depending on how the numbers play out. Basham is considered the better prospect, but he also is rumored to have grade issues that might keep him out of school. I don’t know if that’s true, but if he’s not part of the class, I’d expect that’s the reason. Finally, and most interestingly, we have Marcus Farria from Arizona. Supposedly he has some off the field issues that are holding him back, but if not for that he might be the top defensive recruit on the west coast. I’d recommend taking that with a grain of salt, but it makes Farria’s potential apparent. Unfortunately, he also seems one of the most likely commits to not make it to UW, whether due to grades or the local schools coming after him hard. Keep your fingers crossed, because he sounds like a potentially great one.
This is the group that has most fans concerned, but personally I think that’s more a product of watching the UW line this past season. A couple of months ago, this group looked great, but a couple of decommitments have cut its numbers to two current commits. Center Dane Crane from California is a great one, among the best at his position in the country and maybe the best O-line prospect in California. Hopefully he won’t have to play in 2013, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him soon after that. Guard Andrew Kirkland from Portland is more of a project, but has good potential. That’s about all I know about him.
The Dawgs will almost surely take at least two more linemen; it’s just a matter of finding the ones they want. Chief on the list is tackle Nico Falah, one of the top prospects in California. He’s committed to USC but has UW solidly in second place and is still deciding, at least to some degree. A few other guys are already scheduled for visits, and as I said there are a couple of defensive guys who could switch. I’ll also point out that, while the line was bad in 2012, it returns a ton of guys from injury, only loses Drew Scheafer, and won’t have anyone older than a junior in 2013. The group needs to improve, but 2013 recruits aren’t going to help that, no matter how good they are.
The secondary is also low in numbers, with just S Trevor Walker and CB Kevin King. Walker is out of Texas and looks like a physical player who could provide good depth soon. King needs some time to improve, but he’s a good athlete and stands 6’3″, which is pretty rare. I’m sure the coaches would like to add another guy or two here, but it’s not dire due to good depth currently on the team. Maybe the most likely addition is Patrick Enewally, who could play either position and is said to be close to picking the Dawgs. Jermaine Kelly is another guy with strong interest, although he’s rumored to be leaning toward Boise State. Also keep in mind that the team will add CB Travelle Dixon, a transfer from Alabama, this season. He was with the team this year but sat out due to transfer rules. He’ll be a junior in 2013 and is a potentially elite guy who should help fill in for Desmond Trufant.
If you need anything else to think about, the top two guys still considering the Huskies are MLB Reuben Foster and DT Eddie Vanderdoes. Foster is from Alabama and is extremely unlikely, but he’s one of the top 5 players in the nation and is supposed to make an official visit here in the next month. Vanderdoes is one of the top 2 or 3 DTs in the country and had been committed to USC before opening things back up. He now says he’s considering five schools, with UW among them. He’s also unlikely, but would be an instant impact guy on the level of Shaq Thompson. I saw one recruiting guy say he might be the top defensive lineman out of California since Andre Carter, who was an All-American at Cal quite a while ago. I don’t expect the Huskies to land either guy, but if they do this would be their best class in a long time.
There are rumors that the Dawgs are getting a commit tomorrow, so watch out for that. We’ll try to keep you up-to-date on everything, and we always do a live blog on signing day, aka Andrew’s favorite day of the year. If you have any questions or want to know where to find more information, leave it in the comments and I’ll tell you what I know!