Tag Archives: Josh Banks

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

Notes From the Press Conference:

  • The only early player who will be here for spring ball is linebacker (who could play running back) Ryan McDaniel.
  • Kalei Auelua may greyshirt so all of the bloggers and writers can have an extra year to learn how to spell his name.  Actually he might greyshirt because of a knee injury.  (A greyshirt means that he would sit out this season and enroll for winter quarter next year).  Everyone else will enroll in the summer.
  • Sark discussed fans contacting recruits via social media.  In a nutshell, he said that he was against it.  That’s not very surprising and I think most coaches would take that stance.  The sad thing is that not everyone takes that stance.

Sark broke down every player that committed and it was very interesting.  You can rewatch it at GoHuskies.com or read about it on Condotta’s blog (although he hasn’t added much from the press conference yet, he will soon).  For now, I’m going to call it quits on here and take a nap.  I’ve heard sitting on a laptop from 6:30 AM – 3:30 PM isn’t exactly healthy!  Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll get to them soon.  If there’s anymore news I’ll get to it.  Thanks for following along!  It’s been fun.  Go Dawgs!

More On Beaver – Beaver is 6-0, 176 lbs.  He’ll play cornerback for the huskies.  What an amazing last 48 hours it’s been for the future of the U-Dub secondary.  Here’s some video.

Brandon Beaver Commits! – Sorry I was out to lunch… I should have known better.  Anyway, Sark announced at his press conference that Brandon Beaver is a Dawg.  Another great get by Sark and company.  I know we lost Payton, but this was a great day for the Huskies.  It seems to be all over now and Sark more or less confirmed that in his press conference.  I’ll have a few notes from his press conference in a bit.

Miles Video – Here’s a video of Miles.  Glad he’s a Dawg!

Cyler is a Husky – Right as I pushed update, Miles announced that he is still going to attend and play at the university of Washington.  So, the Huskies keep both of their 4-star quarterbacks and only lose one player today, Jordan Payton.  Overall, a great day.  I think there will be another two or three commits before it’s all said and done.

Still Waiting On Cyler – As of 1:26, we’re still waiting on a Cyler Miles decision.  No one seems to know what’s going on right now.  People are speculating that USC is close to running out of room in their class but I don’t think it’s an issue.  We should know any minute what his decision is.  Also, there’s a rumor that the Huskies might be in play for cornerback Alphonso Marsh.

Shaq Thompson On KJR at 12:20 – Tune into Softy’s show at 12:20 to hear the bright, new star for the Huskies.

Announcement Times – Cyler Miles will announce around 1.  Goforth will announce around 2.  Brandon Beaver will announce around 3:15.  Stay tuned for those.

That Could Be It – It’s possible the Huskies will receive more letters (the most likely are Cyler Miles, Goforth and Beaver) but that might be it. It’s been a pretty successful day and the Huskies have gained more than they’ve lost.  If Miles goes elsewhere, we may have to reevaluate that but as of now, it was a good day!  Things might slow down here for a little bit.  If any news breaks, we’ll let you know.

Jaydon Mickens’ Letter Arrives – There’s only so many ways to say a letter of intent has come.  Anyway, Mickens is a receiver who committed last night.  He’s 5-11, 175 lbs. and is known for his speed.  Here’s video.

Kalei Auelua Officially In – Auelua is a defensive end who’s 6-1, 233 lbs.  The Dawgman guys were just talking about him and said he has great speed for a defensive end.  Here’s the video.

Breakdown by Position – Over the weekend I’ll go in depth on the prospects at the positions.  For now, here’s the numbers (of course, there’s a few more guys that will probably join soon).

QB – 1 or 2 (Depending on Miles)

RB – 2 (including fullback, Wooching)

WR – 3 (including Mickens)

TE – 0

OL – 5 (6 if you include preffered walk-on)

DT – 2

DE – 2

LB – 3

DB – 2 (3 if we get Beaver)

S – 1

P/K – 2

Breakdown by State – Here’s the breakdown of players who have signed by state

California – 13 (Jaydon Mickens would be the 14th)

Washington – 5

Hawaii – 2 (But another one should be coming anytime with Aeulua bringing the total to 3)

Arizona – 1

Cyler Miles is from Colorado if he picks UW over USC.

Another Blog to Follow – Ted Miller’s ESPN Pac-12 blog is a great blog to follow if you want to know what’s going on around the conference.  You can find it here.

Brandon Beaver- Beaver is also one to watch, as he’s thought to be a UW lean.  Although he seems to not have any idea based on his twitter account.

Three Guys Left – With the announcement that Jordan Payton is going to UCLA, there are 3 guys on UW’s commit list who haven’t got their letters in yet.  They are Cyler Miles, Jaydon Mickens and Kalei Auelua.  Of course, there are rumors going on with Miles.  I don’t know what the deal is with Mickens but I haven’t heard any rumors of him going elsewhere.  Auelua lives in Hawaii and should be in shortly.

Softy on KJR – Softy is on KJR now with some recruiting experts and Dick Baird.  They have a lot more information than what was happening earlier on that radio station so listen along if you can.

Payton officially to UCLA – In one of the stranger things I’ve seen, Jordan Payton committed to U-Dub on national TV yesterday but has now changed his mind and is going to UCLA according to his high school AD.  This is a bummer, and the kid clearly doesn’t know what he wants.

Psalm Wooching, Best Name Nominee – This is my favorite name in the class.  Psalm Wooching is a 6-3, 217 pound fullback.  He’s a Hawaiian.  GoHuskies reports that he can also Fire Dance.  And here’s some real video.

Who’s All In?  If you’re just catching up, this is a list of guys who have got their letters in:

Kendyl Taylor
Darien Washington
Pio Vatuvei
Shaq Thompson
Nathan Dean
Taylor Hindy
Blake Rodgers
Dwayne Washington
Erich Wilson
Jake Eldrenkamp
Damion Turpin
Jeff Lindquist
Cory English
Ryan McDaniel
Cory Littleton
Korey Durkee
Shane Brostek

And add Cleveland Wallace to that, so it brings the number to 20.  I have video of most of the guys posted below, so feel free to scroll through.

Cleveland Wallace is Official! – Surprise number 3!  A DB from California, Wallace comes to UW because of the hiring of Keith Heyward.  He’s 5-11, 165 lbs.  Great pickup for the Dawgs.  Here’s some video.

Slowing Down a Bit – It seems that the letters are slowing down some.  There are a few rumors flying around that we have covered (Miles, Payton, and Wallace) but nothing new on those.  It’s been about 2 hours since the letters started getting reported.

Brostek Video –  I didn’t post this earlier with his name so here is some video of Shane Brostek.

Rumor:  Cleveland Wallace to UW – Oregon State verbal commit, Cleveland Wallace, sounds as if he’s decided on UW.  There hasn’t been a letter received but several sources say that’s where he’s headed.

Cozens to Arizona – One of the last guys the Huskies were in on, Dylan Cozens, has committed to Arizona.  This isn’t a big surprise but it would have been nice to get the defensive end.

Shane Brostek Is In –  Shane is the 19th guy who has a letter in.  I’m excited about this guy.  He’s a 6-3, 300 lb offensive lineman from Hawaii.  His dad was a Husky and he kept his recruiting quiet.  It’s thought he would be ranked higher by scouts if he had attended more camps.

Cyler Miles Will Decide at 1 P.M. – Multiple sources have confirmed that Cyler Miles will announce whether he’s going to UW or USC today at 1 P.M.

Josh Banks – Josh Banks is a defensive tackle from California.  He’s 6-3, 274 lbs. He was at a JC in California for 2 years.

Korey Durkee Punts His LOI In – Durkee is a punter from Gig Harbor and no, he didn’t punt his letter in.  Wouldn’t that be cool though?  He’s a big guy, 6-3, 215 lbs.  We’ve got some big special teams guys!

Jordan Payton Is Wavering – Sounds like UCLA might steal the coveted receiver away from the Huskies.  That’s 2 4-star commits that we’ll have to keep an eye on as the day continues.  Things are getting pretty interesting.

Cory Littleton Is In – With the 16th letter, Littleton comes to UW as a linebacker from California.  He’s 6-4, 218 lbs.

The Class is Shaping Up –  Just from writing this, I’ve become amazed at how solid this class is all of a sudden.  It’s happened in the last 3 days, but the class has really come together with linemen and play-makers.  If we can add some DB’s (mostly just Brandon Beaver) I’ll feel great about this.  Good  depth just about everywhere that it was needed.

Ryan McDaniel – With the 15th letter, McDaniel is a linebacker out of California.  He’s 6-0, 225 lbs.  Here’s his video.  McDaniel is one of my favorite under the radar guys in this class.

Adding Some English to the Kick! – And now the headlines are going down hill.  Cory English is now in as the 14th letter.  He’s a 6-3, 284 lbs. offensive lineman from Auburn.  I don’t see many video on English unfortunately.

Kicking Has Arrived! – Travis Coons, who was ranked as the top JC kicker by several services, now has his letter in. He’s big for a kicker, 6-2, 205 lbs.  I don’t think you want to watch video of a kicker.  If you do, you’re really cool or really lame.  I haven’t decided which yet.

Where We’re At – It’s a few minutes after 9 AM and the Huskies have 12 letters in, with more rolling in every minute.  12 is probably close to half the amount the Huskies will end up with.  We’ve had 2 surprised in Pio and Lindy.  Pio is one to be really excited about and Lindy seems to be a backup plan to Banner.

Jeff Lindquist With Number 12 – Lindquist, the big name quarterback from Washington has his letter in now.  He’s one to be excited about.  He’s 6-3, 215 lbs. and has a cannon.  Here’s some video.

Damion Turpin is In- That rhymed!  Turpin is a defensive tackle from California.  He’s 6-5, 265 lbs. so clearly he has a bit of weight to gain.  Welcome to the Dawgpack Damion!  Here’s some video.

Jake Eldrenkamp – The offensive lineman from Bellevue is in as number 10 and the third offensive lineman.  He’s 6-5 and 295 lbs.  Here’s some video.  Love the big guy.

Erich Wilson is In, Number 9 – Erich Wilson is 6-1, 190 lbs.  He will either play running back or linebacker and we’ll probably find that out during Sark’s conference.  He came from the same high school as Tom Brady and Barry Bonds.  If he plays like a mix of those two then he’ll be on steroids and really annoying.  I think I’ll like him a lot more than those two though. 

Here’s Some extra Info on Lindy – The relatively unknown Lindy, is definitely a sleeper.  I don’t mean he likes to sleep (although he might), I mean the coaches are rolling the dice on him.

Dwayne Washington In The Fold – This brings the number of letters to 8 and the number of players named Washington to 2.  He’s a 6-2, 210 lbs and a receiver out of California.  Here’s his video.

Cyler Miles Uncertainty – Sounds as if no one knows what Cyler is doing.  Hopefully we’ll know something soon.

Blake Rodgers, #7 – Blake Rodgers, 6-2, 215 lbs., a middle linebacker from California is in.  Here’s his tape.

Letter #6, Taylor Hindy! Surprise? – This seems to be a surprise? I don’t know much about him but he’s an added offensive line commit. He’s a big boy, 6-5 and 295 lbs.  Here’s his tape and I’ll try to add some information about him as we go.  He will bring the number of offensive linemen to 5 (6 if you count the walk-on).  Good news there.

Nathan Dean Is In – Nathan Dean, an offensive lineman from Juanita High School in Kirkland, is now in.  He’s 6-7, 274 lbs. and here’s some video.

Virtual Highlights- GoHuskies.com has some weird virtual highlight thing going on in their website.  It’s a bit strange but kind of cool too.  Check it out there if you’d like to.

Shaq Thompson Officially In – We’re up to number 4 now and it’s Shaq Thompson, which is awesome.  Here’s some video of Shaq, who clearly has some good film.

Jeff Lindquist on KJR – The Husky quarterback commit from Mercer Island is on KJR with Mitch right now.

Surprise! Pio Vatuvei! – The first surprise of the day is Pio Vatuvei.  He has committed to U-Dub after formerly being committed to USC.  He’s a defensive end out of California who is 6-3, 272 lbs.  Great get and way to start, here’s his video.

Cyler Miles may be Rethinking- The highly rated quarterback commit for the University of Washington may be rethinking his commitment to the Huskies.  Obviously, that’s not great news but we’ll see what happens.

Pretty Awesome Video – Here’s a pretty cool video of Darien Washington laying out some guy.

Darien Washington Next – Darien Washington (6-1), a receiver out of California, is now officially a Husky.  He’s listed as a CB by scout but it looks like GoHuskies may have him a receiver, which would come from Sark.

Kendryl Taylor is the First One in – Washington has just announced that Kendryl Taylor (5-10, 196 lbs.), a receiver from Arizona, has got his letter in.  Here’s some video on him.

Shaq Thompson’s LOI is Signed – According to Joe Davidson on twitter, Shaq Thompson has signed his LOI and it will arrive a U-Dub shortly.  That is good news because we won’t have to worry about him flipping to Oregon or anything like that.  This is at 7:58 AM.

Press Conference at 2 – Sark’s press conference is at 2 P.M. today.  I don’t think I passed that along until now.  I’m not sure where it will be streamed but I would guess GoHuskies will have it.

From the GoHuskies Live Chat –  “Folks, still waiting to hear official confirmation on the LOIs. Just need to make sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.”

Dumb Debates – One of the best parts of signing day ending will be the end of all the dumb debates about whether schools should stop talking to a recruit after they verbally commit.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s not going to happen unless there is an early signing period and only the NCAA will allow it to happen if they want it to happen.  ‘Stealing’ recruits has been happening for longer than any of know.

Also, KJR needs to stop comparing Shaq Thompson to Terrance Jones.  Completely different situation and there is not really a comparison in the way they changed their minds.

Michael Rector to Stanford – Rector had been a UW commit has decided to sign with Stanford.  He was thought to be leaning that way after getting accepted earlier this week.  This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, and due to the slew of wide receiver commits in the last 2 days, it seems as if the Husky coaches may have known.  It’s a loss, but not a huge one.

Where UW Ranks – As of right now (7:38) the Huskies rank 4th in the Pac-12 and 21st in the nation with their recruiting class on Scout.  Of course, these rankings don’t exactly matter but, you’d rather have a highly rated class than not.

Pac-12 Top Classes – Scout and ESPN have Oregon as the number one ranked class in the Pac-12, as Oregon has made an early push this morning.  Rivals has USC as number one in the Pac-12.

Number One Ranked Classes –  For those who are curious, Alabama is ranked as having the number one class by ESPN and Rivals.  Scout Recruiting has Texas as number one in the nation.

Live Chat – At gohuskies they have a live chat going on.  As far as I can tell that will be the first way to hear about a letter coming in.  As of right now, 7:27, there are no letters in.

Why Shaq picked us – Condotta linked this article a few minutes ago, and I found it pretty interesting so I will do the same.  Although, if you’re following this blog without following his I’d suggest changing that quickly.  Anyway, here is what Shaq said about why he chose UW. (Shaq Thompson is the highest rated recruit U-Dub and the number 1 ranked safety in the nation).

ESPN3 – ESPNU (which you can find on ESPN3) is also streaming live coverage of prospects announcing.  I’m not sure if any UW prospects will announce on there but it’s still fun to follow.

7:11 – It’s 7:11 and we’re waiting as far as I can tell.  7-11 and a doughnut doesn’t sound too bad.  Then again, it doesn’t sound too good either.

No Fax Cam – Unfortunately, Gohuskies.com has done away with the fax cam.  This camera strictly just was set on the fax machine at UW and showed any letters coming in.  It was quite boring.  But, it’s the end of an era and it’s all over.  Goodbye fax cam, we’ll miss you.

No recruits in different time zones – Letters can be signed at 7 AM by players, so some schools have had letters come in already (Trey Griffey, the son of Ken Griffey Jr. has had his letter come into Arizona at 5 AM this morning) but the Huskies all have players in the pacific time zone (aside from a few in the mountain time zone) who are deciding.  So, anytime some will trickle in.

The Day Is Here – Good morning all and Happy National Signing Day!  The letters of intent are just a few minutes away from rolling into the University of Washington, and we’ll soon know who will be the incoming freshmen of 2012.  I’ll cover today by putting all new information at the top of this post as everything happens.  As we’re about to start, here’s a list of links to some of the blogs and information that’s worth following.

Here’s the Good Guys Recruiting Thread from the last couple of days, if you need to catch up.

Gohuskies has a ‘Signing Day Central’ feature on their website.

Bob Condotta’s (Seattle Times) Husky Football Blog

Ryan Divish’ (News Tribune) Husky Insider

I’m not sure if they’re doing anything specific, but UW Dawg Pound is a nice blog to follow.

The recruiting services, Dawgman and Realdawg will have information as well.

There you go, and we’re off!

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