Tag Archives: Elijah Qualls

Your 2014 UW Huskies Defensive Preview

Defense wins championships, I’ve heard. I’m not sure that’s always true, but should the Huskies win a championship, the defense will likely be the main reason why. This is the most loaded UW has been on this side of the ball in a long time. It does have some issues on the back end I’ll discuss below, but if they can sort those out, points could be few for UW opponents. Offense was covered here, if you missed it.

Defensive Line

With the coaching change, it’s hard to be sure what the defensive alignment is going to look like. Players and positions are being moved around a bit, but it’s unclear how that will actually look onfield. For my purposes, I’m considering players where they played last year. For example, and as a good place to start, Hauoli Kikaha was a defensive end last year, but they’re listing him at linebacker now. I imagine his new role will be similar to Wilcox’s Rush End, where he can be moved around some and plays in space and coverage a bit more. Whatever the specifics, Kikaha will be rushing the passer, and if last year was a starting point and not a peak, he will cause massive amounts of havoc. Kikaha overcame knee issues and lots of time off to turn in one of the better pass rushing seasons in UW history. He had the most sacks of any returning player in the nation, and if he builds on 2013 at all, he could be an All-American and 1st round pick.

While Kikaha gets more credit, big Danny Shelton is the true key to the defense. The massive tackle blossomed last year, eating up blockers for other guys to get into the backfield. At his best, Shelton occupies two or three blockers, clogging the inside of the line and preventing running plays from going whichever direction was planned. Shelton was extremely effective last year, but if he can find a bit more burst and get into the backfield with regularity, he’ll be in the discussion for the best D tackles in college football. It’ll be important to keep Shelton on the field, because the depth behind him is quite young. RS frosh Elijah Qualls has loads of potential, so it was surprising to see less heralded true freshman Greg Gaines listed above him on this week’s depth chart. That may be as much about Gaines having a bigger body as anything to do with their performance. Both have good to great potential, but there will be a noticeable drop-off when Shelton leaves the field.

Completing the line are the Hudson brothers (not really brothers) Evan and Andrew. Both are cool stories. Evan was a walk-on from Bothell who started out at TE. Last year they moved him to the line, and he started most of the year as a big end/smallish tackle. I kind of think of him as playing a similar role to what Red Bryant did for the Seahawks, where he did more to hold the edge or occupy guys than make plays in the backfield. That said, I have no idea what his role will be this year, or what kind of upside he still has in him. He could become a star or lose his job to a younger guy and I wouldn’t be surprised. Andrew Hudson was a starter early in his career before rarely seeing the field last year, leading the old staff to decide it was time for him to move on. Peterson had other thoughts and invited him back, and now he’s slated to start. He never showed a huge amount of explosiveness, but he used to be a serviceable starter. No idea what he’ll do this year. LIke at tackle, the depth here is talented but young. I’d feel better about guys like Jojo Mathis, Jarrett Finau and Psalm Wooching seeing the field, though. They’ve at least gotten their feet wet, and there are some interesting skills there.

Linebacker

This could be as good as any backer group in the conference. John Timu is finally a senior and has developed into a dependable leader in the middle. He’s not an elite athlete, but he makes up for it with great instincts and a nose for the ball. Shaq Thompson has not quite delivered on his talent and athleticism, which isn’t to say he hasn’t been excellent. He has. He just has so much potential, that anything short of a dominant year would be a bit of a disappointment. Maybe that’s not fair, but he’s capable. The third spot is a bit undecided, but it’s not for a lack of good options. At times, Travis Feeney has looked like the best backer on the roster. He’s listed as a co-starter with RS freshman Keishawn Bierria. Both are lighter guys who can cover ground and be effective in pass protection. Bierria’s fellow RS freshmen Azeem Victor and Sean Constantine are in the depth and should see time. Victor in particular is developing a rep as a big hitter and could become a fan favorite before long. Scott Lawyer is the long experienced reserve besides Cory Littleton, who’s become a bit of a forgotten man with some minor injuries in camp. I don’t know if he’ll serve as more a linebacker or a rusher, but he should make his presence felt at some point.

Secondary

If there’s one area that could hold the team back (other than QB), it could be the secondary. UW is replacing 3 of 4 starters along with some key reserves, and all of the contenders for those spots are young. Luckily, the one returning starter is CB Marcus Peters, and he’s one of the best in the country. Peters is the latest and maybe the best in the Dawgs’ recent run of excellent corners. If he has the season everyone expects, he’ll likely go pro and be picked in the top round or two. Opposite him, RSFr. Jermaine Kelly looks to be the guy. He’s a tremendous athlete who’s received nothing but raves since he showed up on the recruiting radar. He’ll likely have some growing pains at times, but I expect him to look like the Huskies’ next star corner by the end of the year. Depth will come from senior Travell Dixon, who seems to have responded well to the coaching change, and some true freshman. Naijiel Hale and Sidney Jones are first up, and both have the talent to excel. Whether they can do so this year is the question.

Safety is replacing both spots, but it has a bit more returning talent. Of course, the guy turning heads is true freshman Budda Baker from Bellevue. He brings a small body but elite speed and football instincts. He’s slated to start opening night, and he should be the most exciting Husky freshman since Shaq. Opposite him at strong safety is Brandon Beaver. He was a touted recruit who didn’t play much last season, but he’s still only a sophomore. Behind him are two sophomores who saw lots of time as true freshman last year, Kevin King and Trevor Walker. Both played well at time last year. Expect to see all four of these guys on the field in different coverages and as the coaches try to find the right combinations.

Special Teams

UW lost do-everything kicker Travis Coons, so these spots are a little unsettled. Cameron Van Winkle has recovered from back issues to take the lead for field goal duty, and he and Tristan Vizcaino will handle kick-offs. Kory Durkee gets first crack at punter. He has a huge leg but has struggled previously with consistency and getting his kicks off.

John Ross returns as the kick returner, where he’s a threat to break one every time. Budda backs him up and has similar potential. Jaydon Mickens gets the call to return punts. UW hasn’t received much production there, but Mickens and others have the skills to be effective.

Go Dawgs!

-Matthew

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Looking at the Dawgs – Defense

A few days ago, I wrote about the probable starters and depth on the Huskies offense.  Today, we move over to the defense.

This picture is too pretty to leave out of this post.

This picture is too pretty to leave out of this post.

Defensive Overview: Heading into 2012, expectations weren’t exactly high for the defense.  They had just come off one of the worst seasons in school history (statistically) and even a decent jump in performance wouldn’t put them at average.  The change of the defensive coaching staff was sure to be an upgrade but how much was hard to predict.

The season started, and the offense sputtered.  Thankfully, Wilcox, and staff, performed a minor miracle and transformed the Husky defense to slightly above-average and in the top half of Pac-12 defenses.  They led the team to wins against San Diego State, Stanford and Oregon State.  The defense was led by a lockdown corner in Desmond Trufant and a slew of young linebackers in Travis Feeney, Shaq Thompson, and John Timu.

Heading into 2013, it’s still a little strange to think of the defense as a strength but it appears to be just that.  I don’t know if the unit as a whole will be way ahead of the offense but they should at least be equals to the other side of the ball.  While the offenses switch to a hurry-up offense was to benefit themselves, I do think the defense will reap benefits, as well. The defense has struggled against fast-paced spread teams for the last 10 years.  Practicing against the fast-paced can not hurt.  Also, the coaching staff has recruited a different type of athlete that’s leaning towards a longer, faster player (just look at the linebackers).

There are certainly questions on this side of the ball, but for now the positives outweigh them.  The D is young, fast, and physical and I’m excited to see what they could do this season.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the best defense Washington has had in over a decade.

On to the positions.

Defensive Line:
Starters – DE Andrew Hudson (RJr.), DT Danny Shelton (Jr.), DE Evan Hudson (RJr.), RE Josh Shirley (RJr.)/Corey Littleton (So.)/Hau’oli Kikaha (RJr.)
Andrew Hudson and Shelton have been mainstays on the line for the last few years and have performed admirably.  Andrew is more of your typical D. end in that he’s a little longer, isn’t quite as heavy and excels in rushing the passer.  Shelton probably has the most potential of any guy on the line (especially if you don’t consider the true freshmen).  He was solid last season in his starting spot but has had the breakout that fans and coaches have hoped for.  He should be a force in the middle and his penetration will be a key in stop the run game.  Evan Hudson is a converted tight end who looks like he’s set to start next to Shelton.   The position is listed as a defensive end because the team runs a bit of a 3-4 defense but really Hudson is almost like a defensive tackle as well.  He’s another tall guy who weighs in at 280.  Maybe the defensive line was in such bad shape that they need Evan to start or maybe he truly is that talented on this side of the ball.  I’m guessing it’s a mix of both but I do feel a bit uneasy about him coming in and starting right away.  The rush end spot is up for grabs with Josh Shirley, Corey Littleton, and Hau’oli Kikaha (formerly Hau’oli Jamora) all battling for the starting spot.  Shirley has been a very one-dimensional player in the past in always just trying to speed rush right past the tackle.  With that being said, he is probably the best pass rusher the Huskies have and could challenge for double-digit sacks this year.  Littleton saw a few games last season as a true freshman and played about how you’d expect a freshman on the line to play.  He’s said to be much improved in practice and may have been playing in front of Shirley at times during the camp.  Hau’oli has suffered 2 straight ACL tears in the last 2 seasons and has battled back to have an impressive Fall Camp.  Before the tears, he was one of the Huskies best defensive players.  If he can get to that level, the Huskies pass rush will definitely be a much stronger force.  The rush end position is one of the more intriguing spots on the team with three talented guys at one position.  I will be excited to watch it play out over the season
The Depth – DE Joe Mathis (Fr.), DT Sione Potoa’e (Sr.), Lawrence Lagafuaina (RJr.), DT Josh Banks (Sr.), DT Drew Schultz (RJr.), DE Connor Cree (RSo.), DE Jarrett Finau (RSo.), DT Elijah Qualls (Fr.), Damion Turpin (RFr.), DT Taniela Tupou (RSo.), DE Marcus Farria (Fr.)
The depth on the D-line is slowly improving during Sark’s tenure.  This group of players could look really good in a year or two but for now there are a few decent guys and then question marks.  Joe Mathis, a freshman, is challenging for a starting spot and will probably play this year.  If he doesn’t redshirt, which is highly unlikely, expect to see him on the field quite a bit.  Potoa’e, Banks, and Schultz have all played enough defensive tackle to feel okay about.  Potoa’e was a very impressive recruit but has never reached his, thought to be, potential.  Lagafuaina tore his ACL last year and is still getting up to speed, but when he’s in the game he takes up a lot of space in the middle.  Cree and Finau saw limited action last year and provide decent depth.  Qualls may or may not redshirt but he was a heralded recruit.  The other guys might get some action in the game but have figured in to the rotation as prominently as the guys I have listed above them.  Farria will probably redshirt.

Linebackers:
Starters – OLB Shaq Thompson (So.), MLB John Timu (Jr.), OLB Travis Feeney (RSo.)
On paper, this is easily the best position group on the team.  They are quick, young and physical.  They close fast to the ball and could be the best position group the team has had in years.  In my last post, I said ASJ was the best player the Huskies have had in at least a decade.  By the end of Thompson’s career here, he could hold that title.  Shaq is incredibly talented, bringing a mix of speed and size that you don’t see often.  He could be an All-American by the end of the season.  Timu continues to grow and improve.  He was very impressive in a few games last year draws rave reviews from the coaching staff for his intelligence.  Timu did struggle against power teams last year and I wonder if that has improved this season. As good as the other two were last year, Feeney may have been the best linebacker on the team.  He also has great speed and loves to hit people.  All of these guys were safeties in high school and you can see that athleticism in their linebacking.  The only concern is against the power teams of the world.
The Depth:  Princeton Fuimaono (Sr.), Thomas Tutogi (Sr.), Jamaal Kearse (RJr.), Scott Lawyer (RSo.), Connor O’Brien (Fr.), Azeem Victor (Fr.), Keishawn Bierria (Fr.), Sean Constantine (Fr.)
The depth helps make this position the best on the team.  Fuimaono has been challenging Feeney for his starting spot and will be the first guy off the bench as a linebacker.  Princeton can probably play both outside linebacker positions.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a package where the three starting linebackers are on the field with Fuimaono.  This coaching staff is pretty good at getting their best players on the field.  Tutogi proved to be a valuable piece of the puzzle last year at middle linebacker.  He played quite a bit against the power teams and was a very physical force.  I’m curious to see if he’ll play in Timu’s spot against power teams on running downs.  I expect to see a lot of Tutogi and Fuimaono on the field plenty this year. Kearse has had an interesting career and is a very capable backup.  He’s started a few games in his career and come up with some big plays.  Lawyer has impressed people in camp and will start to see a lot of time come next year.  He’ll play on special teams quite a bit this year.  I’m hoping all of the freshmen get to redshirt but some may have to be used on special teams.  They’re an impressive group with a lot of size.   Continue reading

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Live Signing Day Thread

A Class Review By Positions –  No real news coming out of the press conference.  Here is the number of players at each position.  I may sign off for the day after this, so thanks for sticking around.  As always, if something happens we’ll let you know.
QB – 1, RB -1, WR – 3, TE – 1, OL – 3, DL – 4, LB – 4, DB – 4, K – 1, Total – 22

Notes From Sark – One of the points of emphasis was that this class is about quality over quantity in the press conference.  This is probably the first time in Sark’s tenure that he could say that.
Lavon Coleman (RB) is now 220 lbs. fitting the bill of a bigger running back.
Length was a point of emphasis for the class, as it has been for the last year or two.  The staff likes tall players.
Cameron Van Winkle (K) will enroll early and will participate in Spring practice.
Sark says that he would like to red-shirt more players this year.
Sark says, “We have room to expand” in talking about the class.

We’re Back – I’m awake from my nap and am ready to roll now.  Sean Constantine did get his papers in.  Jack went to UCLA.  Falah signed with USC, in a bit of surprising news.  The Huskies weren’t able to swing him but he had been committed to the Trojans all along.  The press conference starts soon so I’ll pass along anything that’s really interesting.  I’ll leave most of that to the professional writers though.  Also, if there’s any more commits I’ll pass that along as well.

Break Time – With that, I’m going to take a bit of a break.  If anything significant happens one of us will update the blog but I don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.  Constantine will go to U-Dub and Jack will probably go to UCLA.  After Constantine, that should put the Huskies at 22 for the day.  The press conference is at 2, if you’re wondering.

Kelly’s Officially A Dawg – Jermaine Kelly just sent in his LOI and is now officially a Dawg.  I wrote a little snippet about him below so check that out.  A good pickup for the Dawgs.

Kelly Announcing Soon – We should hear on Jermaine Kelly any minute and it’s all but confirmed that he’s going to be a Dawg.  From what I’ve read, USC had been talking to Kelly for about the last month and offered him a scholarship yesterday.  This is big for the Dawgs to hold on to him.  He’s a 4-star corner out of California.

11 A.M. Update – Sorry, I had to make Matthew breakfast.  He’s so lazy.  Anyway, nothing has really happened as of late.  Here are a few bits of information.  Jamie Bryant will grayshirt next season.  It’s unclear if he’ll sign today.  Joe Sanders will not be signing with UW, he is signing with a junior college.  It sounds like academics played a part.  The Bellevue guys (Jack and Constantine) will announce at 1 P.M. but don’t expect any surprises.  Jermaine Kelly will announce in about half an hour.  I may take a break after Kelly announces and then come back for the press conference.  The rest of the announcements will come later this afternoon or early evening.  I’ll keep you updated until Kelly announces though.  Thanks for following along!

Keyshawn Bierria Is In – Bierria signs with the Huskies, which, again, isn’t a huge surprise.  Bierria had Oregon State as his favorite before coming to U-Dub on a visit last weekend.  He’s a linebacker from California.

Oops – As Matthew pointed out, Kelly is still expected to sign with the Huskies.  I forgot him down below his comment, so three verbals to go plus Bierria.  That would put the Huskies at 23 commits if all four of those guys sign.

More on Enewally – Matthew here for a second. Enewally has supposedly secretly committed to UW and UCLA numerous times, and had offers pulled at several schools because of how he handled his recruiting.  That said, he’s a talented guy.  He’s expected to play safety, so it shouldn’t say anything about Jermaine Kelly.  Everyone expects Kelly to UW still, just taking a while.

Two Verbal Commits To Go – Unless I’m missing something, the Huskies only have 2 verbal commitments who haven’t signed their letters of intent.  Those two are Sean Constantine (LB) and Jamie Bryant (DT).  Constantine is from Bellevue and I’m fairly sure they do some sort of Signing Day celebration.  I’m not sure what the hold up is for Bryant but I haven’t heard anything about him not getting in.  Of course, it sounded like Bierria will be a Husky.  Aside from those three, I don’t really know who to really expect.

Lavon Coleman signs – The Huskies get their running back as Lavon Coleman signs from Lompoc, California.  Coleman is 6’0, 210 lbs. and I’ve heard him described as a poor man’s Chris Polk.  Coleman is the only running back who verbally committed to U-Dub, so the Dawgs are probably done at that spot.

18 and Counting… The Dawgs are up to 18 signed players counting Williams and Walker.  I’d guess there’s about 7 more to go.  I’ve been saying 22-25 today, but at this point I’m thinking it will be 25.

More Surprises to come? – It sounds as if that won’t be the only surprise today.  It looks like the Dawgs may be trying to fill the spots they left open for the Robinson twins and Hall.

Patrick Enewally is the surprise – Enewally had a very strange recruitment but has decided to sign with the Huskies.  I hope this doesn’t mean anything bad on the Jermaine Kelly status.  Enewally is a corner from California who is 6’1 and played safety in high school.  He’s ranked as a 3-star recruit by Scout.

Connor O’Brien Is In – O’Brien is from the same school as Crane so no surprise that these came at the same time.  This also isn’t the ‘surprise’.  Connor is a linebacker who is 6’3, 205 lbs.  He did play safety in high school but it looks like he’ll be a linebacker.  Scout ranks him as a 3-star recruit.  UPDATE:  The school website lists O’Brien as 230 lbs.  That’s a big discrepancy between Scout and the school so we’ll see.  He could be a rush end type player at that weight.

Dane Crane Signs – This isn’t the surprise.  Dane Crane was ranked the number 3 center in the country by Scout.  He’s from California and is a very good pickup.  Crane might be the best of the offensive linemen the Huskies have so far.  He is the highest rated, at least.  Crane has been fun to follow throughout the process as he seems very excited to be a Husky.

“A Surprise Is Coming In a Few” – The Husky chat just said these words.  I don’t know what this means and it might not be anything different from what we’ve already said.  But, stay tuned.

Kevin King Pushes It To 15 – We have our first defensive back of the day (if you don’t count Trevor Walker).  Kevin King has signed with the Huskies.  He’s a cornerback out of Oakland, California.  He is 6’2 and was ranked as a 3-star by Scout.

Notre Dame Saying “That Was A Mistake” – So, I guess Vanderdoes isn’t supposed to be on that list.  Either that’s a rule infraction or he has sent in his papers to Notre Dame and they accidentally let it slip before his conference at 5 P.M.

Vanderdoes to Notre Dame? – It sounds as if Notre Dame just released that Vanderdoes has sent in papers to them.  That takes out some of the intrigue if it’s true.  Not many thought he would sign with the Huskies so this isn’t really a loss or anything and it’s nice that he didn’t sign inside the conference in that case.

We’re Up To 14 – If you include Troy Williams and Trevor Walker, who are enrolled, the Huskies are up to 14 guys who are in.  The Dawgs won’t take more than 25 (unless all the big names decide to pick him) and probably won’t take less than 22.

Oregon Up, USC Down – Oregon has picked up some good prospects today and it seems like USC is losing a guy about every hour or so.  Oregon could be ranked pretty closely to U-Dub at the end of the day but that was somewhat expected.

Kevin Shelton to Idaho – Kevin Shelton, who is a tight end from Auburn, was thought to be a preferred walk-on for the Huskies but it looks like he took a scholarship at Idaho.  It’s hard to blame a guy for taking a scholarship, so good for him.

Andrew Basham signs – The Dawgs break the dry spell with a big boy from Lynnwood.  Basham is a defensive tackle who is 6’4, 305 lbs.  Apparently he’s really good at shot-put, as well.  Basham is ranked as a 3-star recruit by Scout.  It’s possible that he will be switched to the offensive line.

Slowing Down – For whatever reason, things seem to be slowing down.  The Huskies have about 10 guys left to sign and they will trickle through here at some point.  We’ve gone about 20 minutes without a new letter in though.

UW’s Overall Class – I think it’s easy to get caught up with the ceremony and decisions on Signing Day and forget about the overall class.  So, while losing Daeshon Hall is bad, the overall class still looks very good.  It’s a top-15 class and top-3 in the conference.  Most of the verbal commits will sign with the Huskies.  So, don’t get caught up if a guy has a Husky hat on the table but picks up a different one.  Most of the groundwork for this class was laid a long time ago.

What We’re Missing – The Huskies are waiting on about 12 more guys to sign.  None of the DB’s have signed.  Jermaine Kelly was offered by USC last night, so that’s a guy to keep an eye on (although he seems pretty firm to U-Dub).  The Dawgs are also missing 3 linebackers and 3 defensive linemen.  So, most of the offense is filled up (missing C Dane Crane and RB Lavon Coleman) but the defense still has quite a few guys to add.

Bob Condotta on KJR – Condotta is on KJR right now if you’re by a radio.

UW’s Gained and Lost – So, the Huskies have lost out on some big fish so far.  The Robinson didn’t switch and stayed at Oregon.  Daeshon Hall chose A&M.  The Huskies do appear to be picking up Keishawn Bierria and Joe Sanders though.  Those aren’t quite as big of names but are still solid pickups.

Damore’ea Stringfellow signs – The Huskies appear to have all of their wide receivers locked up for the day.  Stringfellow is probably my favorite wide receiver of the group, but they all are ranked highly.  Stringfellow is 6’3, 215 so another big, outside guy.  11 guys have signed.

10 Letters In – As of 8:08 A.M. there are 10 Letters of Intent in.  So, we probably have 12 to 15 to go.

Joe Mathis signs – Joe Mathis is a defensive end out of California.  He’s 6’4, 255 and is ranked a 4-star recruit by Scout.  Mathis is a really good player and also helps soften the blow of Hall.

More on Bierria – I’m guessing that Bierria took the scholarship that they were holding for Myles Jack as Jack sounds like he’ll be going to UCLA.  I doubt there’s much chance that Jack is going elsewhere, although he hasn’t signed as of 8:05.

Coleman Shelton signs – OL Coleman Shelton, who committed this weekend has now signed with the Huskies as we’re about an hour into the day.  Shelton is the second offensive linemen in the fold, and we’re only waiting for Dane Crane now.  Of course, the Dawgs could add another guy later, hopefully Falah.

Hall to A&M – Daeshon Hall just announced that he is going to Texas A&M.  That’s the first real bad news of the day.  This will hurt the Dawgs in the recruiting standings but if Bierria and Sanders sign (as well as Falah) then it will soften the blow.  Nonetheless, bad news for the Dawgs.

Keishawn Bierria to U-Dub – The Huskies pick up a commitment from California linebacker Keishawn Bierria.  This isn’t really a surprise but he had yet to commit.  His LOI isn’t in yet but it sounds like it’s only a matter of time.

Van Winkle Stats – The Husky website is reporting that K Cameron Van Winkle made at least 6 kicks from 42 yards or farther.  His long is 49 yards.

Spring Practice Update – The Go Huskies chat says that the Huskies will announce the spring practice dates in the next week or so.  They don’t know where the spring game will be yet but will soon.

8 Players Have Signed – Victor, Qualls, Kirkland, Daniels, Farria, Ross, Ajamu, and Van Winkle have signed.  So, not counting Walker and Williams the Dawgs have 8 in.

Cameron Van Winkle Signs – The Huskies have their kicker as Mt. Si’s Cameron Van Winkle signs with the Dawgs.  He is a good kicking recruit and has range to about 55 yards from what I have read.  I had heard that he’d be enrolling early but I’m guessing that this won’t happen.

More on Daniels – Via the school’s live chat, Daniels is 6-4 and ran a 10.74 100 meter.  No real news there but that’s the time and sizes the coaches have on him.

David Ajamu signs – Ajamu is a TE from Washington who had been committed to Oregon State before flipping a few months ago.  He gives the Huskies some depth at TE and will probably red-shirt this year.  Ajamu is 6-4, 255.

Hall to Texas A&M – Lots of rumors out there that Daeshon Hall is headed to Texas A&M.  This would obviously be a big loss but we’ll wait and see.  Official news should come any minute.

Darrell Daniels is in – Daniels is another 4-star receiver.  This is a class that should keep the U-Dub receiver group strong for the next 4 years.  Daniels is a bigger guy than Ross and is more likely to play on the outside while Ross is more of a slot guy.

Andrew Kirkland signs – The first offensive lineman of the day signs.  Kirkland is out of Portland, Oregon.  He is listed as an offensive tackle by the school so that may or may not be telling.  He is a 3-star commit.

John Ross Signs – John Ross, one of the 3 4-star wide receiver commits, has sent in his LOI.  John Ross is supposedly the fastest of the receivers and is a little smaller than Daniels or Stringfellow.

A Surprise? – Rumors are swirling that Joe Sanders, who visited when Reuben Foster, is going to sign with Washington.  This is a big surprise if it does happen.  I don’t know if this bodes well for Hall signing but you take all the good players you can get.  Sanders is a 3-star defensive end from Georgia.  Here’s his Scout profile.  If he is signing with U-Dub, a tornado drill is holding up the process.  That’s a new one.

Robinson Twins Going To Oregon – I can’t say I’m really surprised, but the Tyrell and Tyree Robinson showed up to their signing wearing all Oregon gear so it looks like they’re headed there.  It’s too bad but it’s not really a loss since the Huskies never had them.

Azeem Victor Is In – Azeem Victor, a linebacker from California, has signed his letter and is in the fold.  Lots of letters starting to come in now.

Elijah Qualls Signs – The big 6’4, 280 DT/FB is the second guy to get his fax in.  He is one of my favorite players in the class.  He hits people really hard and is athletic for his size.  He is a 4-star recruit and a very solid new player for the Dawgs.

Robinson Twins Going To Oregon? – There was a tweet just sent out that makes it sound as if the Robinson’s are headed to Oregon.  Nothing official but I’m guessing that it’s correct.

Hall Announcing at 7:30 – It sounds as if Hall will announce at 7:30 so we should know soon on him.

More Farria – Farria is ranked as a 3-star commit by both big recruiting services.  He may have gone up in those rankings but didn’t attend many summer camps.  He seems to have some upside.  Here is his scout profile.

7:05 A.M. – Now seems like an appropriate time to remember that S Trevor Walker and QB Troy Williams have already enrolled in school.  They still have to send in papers today, but their isn’t much drama there.

7:00 A.M. – And we’re off as Marcus Farria is the first to get his letter in.  Farria is a defensive end out of Arizona.  One of those long, lean guys that the Huskies have recruited in recent years.  He’s about 6’4, 220 and will look to add weight when he comes into school.  He’s a part of a very strong defensive line class.

6:54 A.M. – I just realized this is my 300th post at the blog.  It’s fitting that it comes today on one of my favorite events to cover.  Thanks for everyone who has followed along over the last few years!

6:40 A.M. – Good morning, Dawg fans.  We’re up and running now at just past 6:30 for one of the more interesting sports days of the year.  Today, the Huskies, and about 120 other teams will add around 25 players to their roster.  In no other sport does that happen and that’s why this day is interesting.  Sure, people over-hype players but it’s somewhat ignorant to say that it doesn’t matter where these kids sign.  These ‘kids’ will be a teams core in 4 years and, while coaching is probably the most important aspect of college football, you can’t teach a player true talent.

Anyway, throughout the day I’ll be posting updates here about the NLI’s that come in.  They should start rolling in here any minute.  The Robinson twins are supposed to announce anytime although they just sent out a tweet that said, “Would that b crazy if I don’t sign today.  That’s how I’m feeling.”  So, who knows what will happen there.  Daeshon Hall is supposed to announce at 8:30.  Eddie Vanderdoes is announcing at 5 P.M. today so we’ll have to wait a while for that one, although it doesn’t sound like the Dawgs will get the big man.  Others will decide throughout the day, although I don’t think the Huskies will get more than 1 or 2 surprises.  We’ll keep you updated here and hopefully everyone will decide early so that way I can take a nap.

There’s plenty of other places to catch the information today.  Bob Condotta always does a great job covering whatever comes his way.  The school website has some cool formats and information on the new players.  UW Dawgpound has some player profiles that are well done.  I’ll pass along more links throughout the day.  So, here we go!

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Signing Week Thread

Update 2/5 10:30 a.m.

In the previous update, Matthew asked me (Andrew) the question, ” who’s your favorite player or position group in this class?”  Normally I have a hard time with this question.  How can you pick out a favorite player in the class when you have only seen highlight films?  With that being said, Elijah Qualls is easily my favorite player in this class.

Qualls is a defensive tackle out of California.  He’s 6’2″ and 280 and ranked the number 11 DT in the nation by Scout.  People really like his athleticism, as he also lined up at running back and fullback in high school.  If he doesn’t redshirt next year, I would expect to see him in on some goal-line formations on offense.  He’s got a great motor and as he adds some weight, I think he’ll be a difference maker.  I imagine he’ll play in the tackle spot that’s opposite of Danny Shelton (so, a little farther away from nose tackle than a defensive tackle usually is).  As well as being a high ranked recruit, Qualls has been a recruiter in this process.  He was one of the ring leaders in getting seven players to commit to the Huskies one day last summer.  Judging by his Tweets, he’s very excited to move up to Seattle and put on the purple and gold.

My favorite position group of this class is between wide-receiver and defensive line.  I tend to get a little more excited about the wide-receivers as a group because I think they’re easier to project.  As Matthew wrote a few weeks ago, it’s hard to know which of the incoming freshmen will be the best.  Demorea Stringfellow, Darrell Daniels, and John Ross should have the Dawgs loaded at receiver for the next few years.  After watching last year, I think that’s not something we should take for granted.  Stringfellow and Daniels are both big guys that are athletic but Ross is the burner.  Stringfellow is probably my favorite out of the group but I can’t say without hesitation that he’s any better than the other three.  These guys are all 4-star recruits.

As we move closer to the big day, here’s another question to bounce around (mainly for Matthew to answer but if you have an answer or a question, leave it in the comments), who is a commit that you like that is flying under the radar a little bit?

There’s a lot to choose from in that question.  For some reason, Troy Williams (a highly-ranked quarterback who has already enrolled) hasn’t gotten a lot of hype even though he’s one of the best QB’s on the West Coast.  A true under the radar guy I like is Coleman Shelton.  He’s the offensive tackle that committed this weekend.  While offering a kid this late in the season may point to him being a back-up plan, Shelton has a very impressive highlight tape and is a big guy.  He also seems to be an actual offensive tackle, which differs from past years where the Dawgs have recruited offensive linemen and then put them where they saw best.  Sure, he may end up at guard but Coleman seems to have the body for tackle.  What do you say, Matthew?

Update 2/4 7:30

I’m sitting watching Twitter, waiting for MLB Reuben Foster to pick a school.  Such is the life of recruiting-watchers.  Foster, if you remember, is one of the top few players in the country and made the surprising trek from Alabama to visit Washington twice in the last year.  The Huskies are reportedly in his top three, with Alabama and Auburn.  I expect there is next to no chance he becomes a Husky, but we’ll see.  He should announce before I finish writing this, so keep reading!

The week of signing day is crazy, but this year the Huskies’ craziness is mostly behind the coaches doors.  Rumors leak out if you follow this stuff, but there’s not a lot of solid news.  Really, there’s no solid news, other than the commit Andrew talks about below and an offer going out to LB Keishawn Bierria while he was on campus this weekend.

Last year, things were much more exciting right now.  Shaq Thompson had just committed, rumors were all over about a number of guys, Jordan Payton still had five schools to commit too, and the Huskies still had holes to fill in their class.  This year, they are still in on a lot of guys, but it’s not a whirlwind like last year.  There are a couple of reasons.  Last year, the Huskies had a mediocre class until they hired half of a new staff.  Once Lupoi, Wilcox and the rest came aboard, everything picked up, and the Dawgs ended with a solid class.  This year, the class has been excellent for a long time and keeps getting better.  They currently have 22 commits, with DE Daeshon Hall looking like the only one who they could possibly lose.  More on him later.  The class doesn’t have major holes.  It could use another offensive lineman and a safety, but if they signed the exact class that is currently publicly committed, it would be one of the best in the country and probably the best for UW since Neuheisel signed Reggie Williams, Charles Frederick and friends.

That’s not to say they’re not in on some major players.  The most likely appear to be twins and current Oregon recruits Tyrell and Tyree Robinson.  They were on campus this weekend and are reportedly torn between the two schools.  Both are phenomenal athletes.  One would likely play LB, the other receiver or in the secondary, and both would also play basketball, where they legitimate prospects.  Rumors are that one of them favors UW, and one Oregon, so we’ll see.  OL Nico Falah still has a chance to be a Dawg.  He’s announcing Wednesday.  Same for DT Eddie Vanderdoes, maybe the best player in the west.  There are some others, and there might be surprises, but there’s not a lot to say right now.  We just have to wait and see.

By the way, Reuben Foster just picked Alabama.  Oh well.

Before I sign off, I’ll throw a question to Andrew, the other Good Guys, or anyone who wants to comment.  We’ll start with an easy one: who’s your favorite player or position group in this class?

I like a lot of these players, which is what makes this class excellent.  It’s loaded with potential playmakers and elite athletes.  If I’m picking a single player, it might be CB Jermaine Kelly.  I think he might have the best chance of being a star.  He’s tall, fast, with instincts and athleticism to make him one of the top receivers in the west, as well.  What I really like about this class, however, is the defensive line, especially the defensive ends.  They need to keep Hall, but that looks likely.  He’s a 6’6″ edge rusher with potential to be the best pass-rusher UW has had in years.  Jo-Jo Mathis is bigger, with potential to shift inside at times.  He’s big, mean, athletic and talented.  Marcus Farria has great size and supposedly would be one of the top few defensive players in the west if not for some off the field issues.  It sounds like those are getting cleared up, leaving only the academics as a barrier between him and Husky Stadium sacks.  Mathis has some grade issues as well, so keep your fingers crossed.

Most years, the Huskies would be happy to have any one of these three.  This year they have all of them, hopefully.  A pass rush might finally be on its way.  Who’s your pick, Andrew?

-Matthew

If you have been a follower of the Good Guys for a while you know that Signing Day for college football is one of our favorite times of year.  I will be doing my annual ‘Live-Blogging Extravaganza’ on Wednesday starting around 6:30 AM.  I’ll be cooking up some chorizo in Maple Valley and then sitting at my laptop for around 8 straight hours, trying to stay awake.  If that sounds appealing to anyone, you’re welcome to join me.  I’m looking into doing a live chat sort of things so then we can get all of the Good Guys involved, but we’ll see.

For now, we’ll have this thread.  The 2 days leading up to Signing Day can bring a good amount of excitement so Matthew and I will be on this thread updating whatever comes our way.  There are a few big fish left that the Huskies have been trying to catch and news could break before signing day about who’s going where.  I’ll leave you with some bullet points for now, but we’ll update this thread over the next 2 days.  Stay tuned!

  • We might as well start with the real news, instead of the mass rumors.  The real news is that the Huskies picked up a commitment from OL Coleman Shelton.  He’s rated a 3-star recruit by Rivals and is a nice pickup for the Dawgs, who were short on lineman.  Shelton comes from the same school as Sean Parker, Troy Williams, Dashon Goldson and a few other former Dawgs.  Shelton is termed as a late-bloomer (think along the lines of James Atoe) but offensive linemen are so hard to project that if the Husky coaches think he’s worth a scholarship than they are probably right.  He’s said to have an offer to Colorado, Nevada and a few other lower-conference schools.  This is a really down year for West-Coast offensive linemen but it looks like the Huskies have picked up 3 decent ones, thus far.
  • Nico Falah is another offensive lineman that the Huskies are recruiting.  He’ll announce where he’s going on Signing Day but things seem to be looking up for the Dawgs.  Falah is highly touted and had verbally committed to USC before opening his recruitment again.  This would be a great pickup for the Dawgs.
  • There are a few other higher profile recruits who the Dawgs have offered but they are far less likely to get them than Falah.  These include Myles Jack, Reuben Foster, the Robinson twins and Eddie Vanderdoes.  Out of those five, I’d Foster is the only one who the Huskies don’t really have a shot at.  The Robinson twins visited this weekend and rumors are that one could go to Oregon and the other to U-Dub.  Vanderdoes is probably the most likely at this point.  I’ll leave you with some predictions of where a few players that the Huskies are recruiting will end up.  I don’t really have any inside information, I just read a lot so take that into account.  I will try to get Matthew to add his in later.  I’ll probably get all of these wrong but here it goes:
  • Reuben Foster LB (announcing tonight):  Auburn
    Myles Jack 
    LB:  UCLA
    Eddie Vanderdoes 
    DT:  USC
    Nico Falah OT:  Washington
    Tyrell Robinson
     Ath:  Oregon
    Tyree Robinson
     Ath:  Oregon
    Keishawn Bierra LB:  Washington

That’s all for now, folks.  We’ll keep you updated as much as possible!  Go Dawgs!

Andrew

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Husky Recruiting Chit-Chat

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. Continue reading

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A Recruiting Explosion!

I hope everyone enjoyed your holiday, ate lots of food and shot off some fireworks.  Speaking of fireworks, the Dawgs have had an explosion in the football recruiting world.  Since last Friday, the Huskies have picked up 8 verbal commitments.

Seven of those commits came last Friday during Washington’s Rising Stars camp.  Many recruiting experts expected the Huskies to pick up at least a few commits but no one thought the Dawgs would pick up 7.  Since the news broke, there hasn’t been a ton of information written about these new commits so I’ll review each of the guys with as much information as I can find (it won’t be a ton).  I used Scout for their rankings, although those rankings may be updated sometime soon as they enter the football season.

RB Lavon Coleman (Lompoc, CA) – 5-11, 210

Coleman is a 4-star recruit and ranked number 26 in the country at the position.  As a junior, Coleman ran for 2,038 yards and 28 touchdowns.  I don’t know if you put any stock in this but his team went undefeated and won the state championship.  Coleman is obviously well thought of, being ranked that high.  He had offers from almost all of the Pac-12 as well as Boise State.  From his video, he doesn’t seem to be afraid of contact and bounces off tacklers.

WR Demorea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, CA) – 6-3, 195

Stringfellow is also a 4-star recruit and ranked number 11 overall at his position.  With this commit, the Huskies have wrapped up two of the biggest wide receivers on the west coast (the other being Darrell Daniels).  Demorea pulled in some offers from big name schools like Florida, Nebraska, USC, Michigan and most of the rest of the Pac-12.  He’s another tall receiver that is the kind we expect Sark to go after.

OG Andrew Kirkland (Portland, OR) – 6-5, 290

Kirkland didn’t commit with the rest of these guys but he did give his verbal 4 days later.  He’s rated as a 3-star recruit and number 43 overall at the offensive guard position.  He plays tackle in high school but the recruiting services see him moving inside because he moves well for his size.  Kirkland had a few offers out there and it was nice to take him away from the Oregon schools.

OT Poasi Moala (Moreno Valley, CA) – 6-5, 265

Moala is from the same school as Stringfellow.  He’s a 3-star commit and ranked 50th overall as an offensive tackle.  He has received an offer from about half of the Pac-12.  Moala doesn’t have the weight some of these guys do but he moves well and held his own against some big defensive linemen during the camp.

DT Andrew Basham (Lynnwood, WA) – 6-4, 305

Basham is listed as both an offensive and defensive tackle but it sounds like he was recruited on the defensive side.  He’s a big guy and is rated as a 3-star recruit and number 72 overall at his position.  Basham had received offers from Oregon State and Arizona State and I wouldn’t be surprised if more were to come.

DT Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, CA) – 6-2, 279

Qualls was a guy many had hoped would commit last week and, sure enough, he did!  He’s rated as a 4-star recruit and 16th overall at the defensive tackle position.  He seems to be a little raw but has all the physical gifts you could want.  He plays running back in high school so that lets you know how athletic he is.  Qualls seems like he could go play just about anywhere he wants, as his offer list is quite impressive.

DE Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, TX) – 6-6, 220

Hall was committed to Texas before deciding to look around.  Anytime you pull a guy away from Texas, you’re doing something right.  Hall did go to school in Seattle until a few years ago and may be moving back here for his senior year of high school.  He’s a 4-star recruit and ranked 18th overall at the defensive end position.  Hall is extremely athletic and profiles to be in the ‘rush end’ position (like Josh Shirley now.

OLB Caleb Tucker (Monroe, LA) – 6-2, 225

Tucker was the biggest surprise out of this group and is still kind of unheard of.  We don’t know much about him, as he comes from Louisiana.  I’d like to see how many Husky players have come from Louisiana.  Anyway, he’s a 2-star recruit (for now) and ranked 137th at the outside linebacker position.

Previously, the Huskies have received commitments from 8 other guys, including a 4-star quarterback and a 4-star wide receiver.  The team has 16 known verbal commits.  They will probably not keep all of those players committed, which is just the way it goes in this day and age.  They are off to a good start though and are in on some big names.  They’ll probably take about 25 guys in this recruiting class.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

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