Andrew did a nice job recapping the defenders in the Huskies 2014 recruiting yesterday. I’ll be honest: he got the more interesting of the two groups. Between Budda, Kaleb McGary and all those defensive backs, there’s a lot of talent and potential on the defensive side of the class.
The offense has plenty of intrigue as well, though. It’s short on elite recruits, but there are plenty of guys who should contribute and could really blossom. Under-the-radar recruits are and will be a theme of Petersen’s recruiting. That’s true for everywhere outside of USC and Alabama, but Petersen provides more confidence these sleepers will turn into contributors, given his track record at Boise State. We’ll have to wait and see if he has the same success at UW, but this coaching staff turned a lot of lightly regarded recruits into very good players at BSU.
I’ll keep the same format as Andrew, with a quick blurb and the likelihood they’ll play as true freshman. Barring massive injuries, I expect fewer offensive players to play early. There just aren’t many major impact guys, and the offensive depth is as good as it’s been in years. Let’s do this!
QB K.J. Carta-Samuels – It didn’t appear Sarkisian was planning to take a QB in this class, but Petersen wasted no time finding one. His first target, Jaylen Greene, was committed to UW for less than a week before Sarkisian stole him away to USC. It ended up working to UW’s advantage when KJCS became available after Vanderbilt, to whom he had committed long ago, underwent a coaching change of it’s own. QBs usually commit early, with most of the top guys committed before they ever start their senior seasons. Getting a four-star, extremely talented guy like KJCS this late was huge and lucky.
Carta-Samuels is a big guy with a big arm. He’s a bit of a project, as his high school didn’t run an advanced offensive system, but he should have plenty of time to improve before he might be needed. He’s the fourth 4* QB on the roster, and while competition will be tight over the next few years, he could easily be the starter down the road. Should Cyler Miles find himself suspended or off the team after his recent legal troubles, or if someone else transfers, this signing could end up being huge in 2015 or ’16. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 2% (barring injury, there’s nearly no chance he plays)
RB Jomon Dotson – Running back might be the place where the coaching change hurt the most. Sark was in on a couple of the top guys in the country in Joe Mixon and Demario Richard, but Pete was left scrambling a bit. Dotson isn’t a bad pick-up, but he’s not likely to challenge for time right away. He’s listed as 6′ 165 lb., so he’ll obviously need to bulk up significantly if that weight is accurate. What he does bring is true breakaway speed, a dimension the current Husky backs lack. Even with Sankey’s early departure, the Dawgs have a lot of backs, so don’t expect to see Dotson for a year or two, unless they want his speed on special teams. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 20%
WR Dante Pettis – Pettis might be the most likely to surprise right away. He’s the cousin of former BSU star Austin, and a lot of people consider him one of the more underrated recruits in the west. He’s not huge at 6′, but he’s big enough to play outside and is an excellent all-around athlete. He could play defense if needed, but there’re thin numbers at receiver too, especially if Stringfellow finds himself off the team. Pettis could fill a roll similar to what Kevin Smith had last year, and he could do it quickly. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 70%
WR/TE Brayden Lenius – Lenius is one of those guys who gives reason to think he could become a star, but given the distance he must go to get there, it’s more likely he won’t. In his case, the positives start with the fact that he’s 6′ 5″. Add in good hands and solid speed, and his limited football experience, and the hope is that he can become a major threat on the outside, or at TE should he bulk up significantly. I wouldn’t bet on it, because Pac-12 football is hard, but he’s worth watching for, and if everything comes together, he could become one of the better receivers in the conference. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 35%
TE Drew Sample – Sample is a local guy, from Newport High, who had been committed to BSU but flipped almost immediately upon receiving an offer from Petersen at UW. He’s a fairly traditional tight end, known more for his blocking than receiving, but he has good size and solid athleticism. I don’t know how the new offense will use the TE, so it’s hard to say a ton more. Sample does fill a bit of a hole as a blocking-oriented TE, so it’s possible he could see the field early, but more likely he will redshirt to gain some muscle. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 40%
OT Matt James – As long as McGary stays on defense, James appears to be the gem of this offensive line class. He has good size, and the athleticism and footwork to potentially stay at tackle, where the Dawgs will need bodies soon. James, from Coeur d’Alene, was one of three UW commits Sark had from Idaho. Strangely, once UW hired a coach from Idaho, that number dropped to one, with Sark taking one to USC and the other eventually switching to BSU. In my opinion, the Huskies kept the right one in James, given their needs and James’ upside. People who know much more about the offensive line than I do think he could be a star. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 5%
OL John Turner – Turner isn’t highly rated (the same could be said of the next two guys, as well), but that doesn’t always mean a lot on the line. It’s a hard position to scout and project. Turner’s recruitment seemed to pick up late in the cycle, and Cal, among others, was on him toward signing day. Some people seem to like him a lot. I honestly can’t say. Sark and Petersen both wanted him, so that’s enough for me at the moment. He could potentially play RT or guard. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 1% (these next three will all be 1%, but they’re essentially guaranteed to redshirt. A new staff presents enough questions that I’m not confident enough to claim any absolutes.)
OL Jesse Sosebee – I feel a little bad, but I have almost nothing to say about Jesse. It’s nothing personal, Jesse! If you somehow read this and want to do an interview, I’d love to hear more. He’s just a guy that didn’t get a ton of coverage, he’s not highly ranked, and the O line doesn’t lend itself to highlight reels. Most I’ve seen think he’ll be a guard. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 1%
OL Devin Burleson – Devin’s a really big boy, at 6’7″ (or more) and at least 260 lbs. He’s another who’s new to football in the last couple of years, and he’s been more of a basketball player before this year. That has some excited, as the basketball footwork is a good sign for an offensive lineman. He’s like Lenius as a bit of a physical freak with a long way to go to be a star. As I said before, usually these kind of guys never quite hit their potential, but sometimes they do. Burleson is certainly worth taking a shot on, and I personally won’t be at all surprised if he’s starting at tackle in a few years. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 1%
K/P/Boss Tristan Vizcaino – Vizcaino seems to be capable of doing pretty much anything related to kicking the football. He has a shot to be Travis Coons 2.0, as he could take over at punter, kicker or kick-offs, or some combination thereof. He even spurned the Cougars to be a Dawg. Way to go! The UW specialist spots are really up for grabs, post-Coons. K Cameron Van Winkle just underwent back surgery, and there’s a chance he might not make it back. P Korey Durkee struggled for a few games as a true freshman in 2012, and hasn’t seen the field since. Hopefully, they return to health/kicking proficiency, but Vizcaino could be a huge signing, and a busy man come fall. Chance he plays as a true freshman: 95%
So there it is. Recruiting for 2015 is already rolling along, by the way, but we’ll wait a while before we get into that. As always, leave any thoughts or comments below. We’d love to hear from you. Go Dawgs!