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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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Your 2014 UW Husky Offensive Preview

Hey readers, long time no write! New content here has been next to non-existent for a while, but college football season always inspires The Good Guys. I can’t promise the inspiration will last, but we’ll at least get the season started right.

With Seahawk fever now a permanent Seattle epidemic, the Huskies aren’t getting a lot of attention yet.  I don’t know whether that will change at all, but they deserve some buzz. This team has the potential to be the best Husky squad since the Tui-led Rose Bowl team. That’s not saying a ton, and this team has questions, but there’s the chance of something special on Montlake.

I debated what type of preview to write, but I think I’m going with a good old position-by-position write-up. While a lot of these players have been around, some of the focus is shifting from the departed offensive stars to lesser-known guys. I’ll start with the offense tonight. Here we go!

Quarterback

Most fans would say this position is the key to the Huskies season, and it’s hard to disagree. I don’t know that the Dawgs need elite QB play this year, but they need an unproved guy to be dependable and reasonably mistake-free. Who the QB will be is still somewhat in doubt. Jeff Lindquist gets the opening start in Hawaii. He’s big and athletic with a good arm but next to no experience. There’s no reason he can’t be effective, but game action is the only true determiner. Lindquist narrowly beat out freshman Troy Williams, who has maybe the biggest arm and most potential of the group, but the least experience. Should Lindquist struggle, Williams could see some time. Hopefully more likely, he’ll see mop-up duty in Hawaii.

Lurking behind these two is Cyler Miles, suspended for the opener for his off-season shenanigans. The common assumption is Miles will take over week two, but I don’t consider that a fait accompli. Miles brings a bit more experience and excellent running ability, but he’s generally considered to have the weakest arm on the roster and missed all of spring practice. Should Lindquist impress at Hawaii, it’s no given he’ll lose the spot just because Miles is available.

Running Back

Replacing Bishop Sankey is impossible, but the Dawgs have the talent to maintain an elite running game. Dwayne Washington will get the first carries. He’s taller for a back and fast, but runs with a good amount of power and violence. Fumbling issues held him down early last year, but he recovered to log the most yards of any back besides Sankey. His time as a receiver should theoretically be of benefit in the passing game. RS freshman Lavon Coleman has garnered raves since arriving in Seattle. He’s a big back with star potential.

Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier are still around and should see plenty of carries. I’ve never been a huge Callier fan, but he’s a dependable change of pace from the bigger Washington and Coleman. It’s hard not to continue to hope for Cooper to regain everything he was rumored to have before his injuries. If he were to do so, he could easily take over the starting job and be one of the best in the conference. More likely, he’ll get a decent share of carries but not quite have the burst to be a star. No matter what, he’s one of the great stories of perseverance the Huskies will ever have.

Shaq Thompson looms in the shadows, awaiting the day the Dawgsignal summons him to the offensive backfield to deliver justice and retribution to Ducks and Bruins alike. 

Receivers

This is a talented and fairly deep group, but how dominant they are could depend on how effectively Kasen Williams returns from last year’s injury. He’s not yet at full strength, but he’s close enough to play this week. Kasen’s size and experience is needed as a counterpoint to the speed of Jaydon Mickens, John Ross and friends.  Mickens matured into a go-to receiver last year, and he could be a monster in 2014 if he can diversify his game a bit. Ross is the most electric player on the roster and could make a huge jump himself. There are capable bodies behind the three, but a breakout or two would be welcome.

Tight end is a little hard to figure, due to Austin Seferian-Jenkins departure and questions as to how a new staff will use the position. Josh Perkins showed himself capable of making big catches a year ago. Michael Hartvigson has never had the impact many expected, but he’s valuable as a blocker and might catch a few more passes this year. Darrell Daniels is easily the most talented guy here and one of the better athletes on the team. Hopefully he can translate all that into football skills. If he can catch the ball, he could be huge as a bigger threat to complement Kasen. 

Offensive Line

For the first time in a long time, UW is deep, talented and experienced on the O Line. Six guys have extensive starting experience, and there’s some young talent behind them. Tackles Micah Hatchie and Ben Riva are dependable if unspectacular. LG Dexter Charles, the lone junior starter, has been considered an awards candidate in waiting since his freshman year. Colin Tanigawa supplanted Mike Criste at C this fall, potentially a good sign since Criste was a solid starter all of last year. That move could be largely about getting mammoth James Atoe into the line-up at RG. This line might not be as dominant as some of the great lines of Husky days past, but they should be better than anything the Dawgs have had lately. Count me as one who believes the coaching change could have a huge effect here too, both in performance and recruiting. Dan Cozetto’s lines never seemed to reach their expected level, and new guy Chris Strausser is renowned as a teacher.

That’s enough for tonight. Defense is next in a day or two. Go Dawgs!

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A Few Thoughts on a Perfect Husky Win

HSThe Huskies christened the new Husky Stadium on Saturday with their best win in years.  They’ve had wins against better teams, like the upsets of USC and Stanford, but it’s been a long time since they dominated a good team so thoroughly.  I’m not sure how good Boise State will be this year, but they looked like a solid team and were still outclassed in every way by the Huskies.  I’m not going to give a full recap, but here are a few thoughts:

  • First, the stadium.  Simply put, it is everything fans could have asked for.  It’s not glitzy and opulent, but it’s classy and open and perfectly designed for the fans.  And it is so close.  The proximity to the field without the track is what grabbed me immediately.  It’s such a sizable difference, there’s no real way to describe it.  You really have to walk through the stands and see it for yourself.  If you weren’t there Saturday, I’d make every effort to see a game this season.  You won’t be disappointed.  There are also a full day’s worth of high school games there this Saturday, including some big-time local match-ups and quite a few Husky recruits. I can’t imagine a better place to watch a college football game.  The location has always been perfect.  Now there’s a building that not only doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall down, but is also up-to-date and beautiful and possessing all the amenities anyone could want.

    From Our East End Zone Seats

    From Our East End Zone Seats

  • Sean Parker may have saved the season.  The air had gone out of the stadium a bit after Price’s interception and BSU’s first few plays going for easy yardage.  Who knows what would have happened had BSU gone for a touchdown to start the game.  Luckily, Parker saved them with a beautiful interception that reignited the crowd.  The offense went straight down the field for a TD, and there was no looking back from there.
  • Speaking of Parker, the whole secondary looked excellent.  The two new starters, Greg Ducre and Will Shamburger, were solid, particularly Shamburger, who was everywhere.  Marcus Peters made multiple plays and showed a physicality unseen in a UW corner for a while. This group had questions before the year, but for one game, they looked fast, physical and good.
  • The defense was excellent and had a ton of guys make plays, but Danny Shelton really stood out to me.  BSU ran the ball decently, but that was to be expected.  It was quite noticeable when Shelton left the field.  He did a solid job all day moving the middle of the line.  By the third and fourth quarter, he had completely worn down his opposition and was getting pressure right in Joe Southwick’s face.  Shelton is the key to the defense, and the signs are very impressive after one game.
  • One last thing on the defense.  They gave up yards, but they came up huge when they had too.  Peters’ pass break-up in the back of the end zone  at the beginning of the third was huge.  So was the fourth down stop toward the end of the third.  My favorite play was the third down stop in the first before the blocked field goal.  Kikaha (great for his first game back) broke into the backfield to get the first hit, and then the Dawgs swarmed Ajayi.  He ended up going down in a pile of about eight Huskies.
  • I wrote on Friday that a key would be finding a receiver or two to contribute.  The Huskies did better than that.  Jaydon Mickens and John Ross were revelations.  The Broncos had no answers for them when they caught a screen or quick pass to the edge.  The Huskies had significantly better playmakers all day, and it feels like that might not change for much of the season.  Kevin Smith also had a solid day, and while the back-up tight ends didn’t do a lot in the receiving game, they blocked well and did get a touchdown on a beautiful play by a scrambling Price to Joshua Perkins.  I don’t think there was a Husky skill player getting regular minutes who didn’t do something impressive.
  • Keith Price and his offensive line were excellent as well.  Price shook off the interception to be nearly perfect.  He looked loose and confident, and he got more creative and exciting as the game progressed.  The quick throws are a good fit for him.  It helped to not be on his back every play.  The line did an excellent job in both pass and run blocking.  They need to clean up a few penalties, but they made a good case Saturday that they are night and day better than last year.  I’ll be curious to watch them improve as the season goes. It’s still a young group.  Also interesting will be seeing if the Huskies will start to throw deep more and how ASJ’s return will influence defenses.  In case you forgot, the Huskies were playing without an All-American.

There was nothing to dislike about this game.  The Huskies gave up yards, but they didn’t give up a play of more than 18 yards or a touchdown.  I wasn’t excited about the Husky pass rush while I was at the game, but it looks better rewatching it on TV.  Mostly, the Huskies looked like a team taking the next step.  They executed crisply, didn’t make mistakes, and didn’t let up at any point.  They were athletic and skilled.  This is what we’ve been waiting to see, and if the Dawgs keep playing like this, they’re going to win a lot of games.

-Matthew

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Keys to a Breakout

Steve Sarkisian has done a solid job of transforming the Huskies from a winless and destitute program into a perfectly average squad.  They’ve won seven games for three straight years, marking 2013 as the time to step past average.  Realizing that it’s time for this to happen is easy, but actually accomplishing it is not.

While it’s not easy for bad teams to get back to mediocre or average, it’s also not terribly difficult.  When a team is terrible, especially as bad as the 2008 Huskies were, there are so many areas for improvement.  If every area of the team is bad, each area improved brings the team up.  The players brought in don’t have to be amazing, they just have to be better than the bad ones they’re replacing.  Often, just the change in coaching or attitude summons improvement from the holdovers.  Improving from terrible is not that hard.

Improving from average to good or great is hard.  Becoming good and then great requires good and great players, and unsurprisingly, those players are a lot harder to find.  Sometimes, coaching can elevate average players, and sometimes offensive or defensive schemes can neutralize talent disparities.  Most often, a team just needs to find better talent and better athletes.  Talent often underachieves, but poor talent rarely beats elite talent.  It’s just the way it is. Continue reading

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Looking At The Dawgs – Offense

In past years, I’ve tried to do position previews before Husky football season kicked off.  Usually these previews fizzled out somewhere between the linebackers and the secondary.  In an attempt to end this, I have simplified the previews this year.  I will be previewing the offense in one post and the defense in the next.  I will do a general overview of each side of the ball first and then break down the position groups (although I’m not going to make those all that in-depth).  I don’t plan on listing all 90-plus guys on the roster over these but I will try to give an idea of what I think about the starters and the depth at each position.  With these things in mind, let’s get started with the offense!130318123323-keith-price-top-single-image-cut

Offensive Overview:

Heading in to 2012, the Husky offense was thought to be a strong point of the team.  They had lost their top receivers and one of the great Husky running backs of all time but they had a stud tight-end, a few exciting prospects at running back, a returning offensive line, a decent receiving group, and a Heisman contender at quarterback.  Things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Before the season began, the Huskies were already down a few offensive linemen.  That continued throughout the season and caused the offense to fall apart.  The tight-end was great.  A star was found at running back.  But, the offensive line couldn’t pass block, a second, third and fourth receiving option was never found, and Keith Price went from a Heisman dark horse to a guy that some people wanted benched.  The offense was a disappointment, but it was one that people could make excuses for.

In the spring, the Huskies started to implement a no-huddle offense.  This has continued and will be used this season.  Apparently, the playbook is close to the same.  While they may have simplified it some, Sark has not moved to a spread offense.  I will talk about how this affects the defense in the next post but it has yet to be seen how it will affect the offense.  If the playbook really hasn’t changed much, I think the offense has a chance to special.  Sark has always been good at taking advantage of match-ups on the offensive side and as long as this is the focus of the offense and not just ‘going fast’ I feel confident in what the team can do.  The offensive line returns almost everyone and the depth of the whole offense could make running the no-huddle effective.

Position Previews –

Quarterback:
Starter – Keith Price (RSr.)
Keith Price was extremely efficient and productive in his first year as a starter in 2011.  Last year, he was a shadow of himself.  Price couldn’t move around very well, was constantly pressured, and made questionable decisions.  His efficiency in the red-zone, which was what made him great in 2011, slipped dramatically.  Price seemed to want to be too perfect at times and played scared at other times.  I’m hopeful that playing in the no-huddle offense will limit his thinking and get him back to just playing ‘Keith Price’ football.  He is only a few touchdown passes short of breaking the UW career record.  He’s had an amazing career, regardless of the last two games of 2012.  Here’s hoping he gets back to his improvising, accurate ways.  I’m glad he’s our quarterback.
The Depth – Cyler Miles (RFr.), Jeff Lindquist (RFr.), Troy Williams (Fr.)
It seems like what is listed above is the pecking order.  Miles has separated himself as the backup.  He is a good athlete and a play-maker.  His weakness seems to be his arm strength.  Lindquist came in with Miles and, while he may have fallen behind him now, appears to be in the running for the starting job next year.  Jeff is from Mercer Island and has a stronger arm but maybe not the big play ability of Miles.  Williams is a true freshman and was highly recruited around the country.  He is mobile and said to throw the best ball out of all of the quarterbacks (maybe not the most accurate, but the strongest and best spiral).  Expect Williams to redshirt unless everything falls apart.  Unlike last year, the quarterback depth appears to be in solid shape and they seem to be capable backups.   Continue reading

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A Few Quick Notes About The Washington Husky Football Team, Also Anagrams!

The Huskies have started Fall Camp!  Thank goodness because I can’t take any more talk of what ASJ’s suspension should be.  July is slowly becoming my least favorite sports month.  July is Mariners impending doom and endless speculation about dumb things.  Let me start over.

The Huskies have started Fall Camp!  On Monday, Steve Sarkisian had his annual ‘opening of the season’ press conference.  That was followed by, what has been, two practices.  There are no two-a-days this year, but the Huskies will practice every day aside from Sunday for the next few weeks.

There hasn’t been a ton of news, as the team isn’t even in full pads yet, but I’m going to try to recap the noteworthy information using bullet holes and then write some anagrams about the team after the jump.  Bullet holes!

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins may or may not be suspended for the first game.  Same with Kasen Williams.  We won’t know until the first game and there is nothing wrong with that, at all.  I don’t know why so many people care about punishing college kids.
  • There were a few position changes announced yesterday.  Evan Hudson, who was a backup tight-end, is being tried out on the defensive line.  He’s a big and long guy, so there is a feeling that this might work.  Hudson played defensive end at Bothell and is being tried out at that position.  While he’s working as an end, from what I’ve read, he is on the inside of the rush end.  So, it’s almost a variation of defensive end and tackle. Derrick Brown is being switched from quarterback to H-back.  Many quarterback have gone through this change and come out successful so this seems to be worth a try.  He was blocked at the quarterback position.
  • There was also a position change along the offensive line, although we don’t know if it will stick.  Ben Riva and Micah Hatchie have flipped tackle positions.  Riva is now at left tackle and Hatchie at right.  The coaches have raved about Riva this off-season, so it would make sense to try him out at the most important line position.
  • John Ross, a freshman wideout, has been the guy who has raised the most eyebrows over the last few days.  He is a smaller guy but may have the best speed on the team.
  • Erik Kohler is the only guy that has been missing from practice and Sark said he has a foot injury.  He has had an injury plagued career and it’s hard not to wonder if this is the end.  I hope not.  Shane Brostek, another offensive lineman, was in a walking boot today after practicing all day yesterday.  We don’t know the severity of the injury.  Otherwise, injuries have been quiet thus far.  After the terrible injury bug last year, let’s hope we aren’t bitten again.
  • As a closing thought for the first two days, it really seems like this team has an attitude about it.  There isn’t much joking around in the interviews, Sark seems to have an attitude, and the goal is a championship.  The whole team is united and seems to be taking on their coach’s persona in the first two days.  They are tired of thinking of the terrible losses that closed out last year.  If they embody this edge and attitude they will be a team to watch this year.  The problem is they haven’t consistently done that yet.  Here’s to hoping that they do.

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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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