Recruiting Blog: 9/19

With Washington getting off to a 0-3 start, I've been asked by several people, via email or in person, "how has our record so far screwed up our recruiting?" While the poor start has put a damper on the recruiting momentum the Huskies had heading into the season, players are patiently waiting to see what happens over the next couple months.

Washington commits like Keith Price, Deandre Coleman and Kenneth Pinkard are all still solid in their commitments to the Dawgs.

Coleman, who I went and saw last weekend when Garfield took on Inglemoor at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell, said he thinks Washington has what it takes to get back in the race to win the Pac 10.

"U-Dub has talent, they are just young," Coleman said last weekend. "It's one of the reasons I want to go there, because they are so young and I can help them build things back up."

Price, who has been on fire early this season with big stats in one of the toughest conferences in California, said he was encouraged by the way the Huskies battled against BYU.

"I think (Washington) will be fine," Price said. "They've played three great teams (Oregon, Oklahoma and BYU) and those teams are all in the top 25, so you can't really be too hard on them.

"They have a game next week (September 27th) against Stanford and I think they will do a lot better because I think they are more talented than Stanford. I'm not down on U-Dub at all."

Price incidentally, has led St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Ca.) to a 2-0 record, with wins over Hawaiian powerhouse Kamehameha (Honolulu) as well as local rival Damien High School by passing for over 450 yards and four touchdowns while tossing only one interception, while also totaling 150 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

"I'm definitely feeling much more comfortable and I think we're going to continue to succeed," Price said. "We have some talented guys on our team, so we just have to keep playing and improving. We have some tough games on our schedule though, so it won't be easy for us."

Pinkard said the Huskies are still where he wants to end up, even though they have struggled.

"How can you be down on them too much?", Pinkard asked. "I mean, they played BYU tough and Oregon and Oklahoma are great teams. I think Washington is going to rebound. I'm still planning to come up on an official visit, but it might not be until the end of our season, we'll see how it plays out."

Pinkard said schools like TCU, Baylor, Houston and SMU have been in contact with him since the start of the season, but he's still a firm Washington commit.

On the horizon, Washington is still making headway with players in California and, this being a bye week, the coaches will all be at games over the weekend, most of them, out of state.

Bellarmine Prep LB Michael Clay and OL Kevin Danser are both still looking closely at Washington, but both need to see some wins in order for them to take things seriously.

"Honestly, I really like U-Dub a lot and I really like the coaches, but they've had a tough go early on this season," Danser said. "I want to take some visits so they aren't out of it, but I want to make sure I'm making the right decision on where I end up."

Clay has helped to lead the Bells to a 2-0 record so far this season and he said he's not ready to eliminate any of his favorites.

"I'm still looking at all of the schools who are recruiting me," Clay said recently. "I talk to coach (Tim) Lappano and coach (Tyrone) Willingham all the time and they told me they know they need to get some wins. I'm really high on them, but I definitely want to see how things play out this year."

Interest in both Danser and Clay has remained constant. Danser still has his three offers – Washington, Arizona and Harvard – while he's been hearing quite a bit from schools like UCLA, Colorado, California, Oregon State, Washington State and San Diego State.

Clay is a hot commodity and has plenty of offers to choose from. Oregon and Cal appear to be his leaders, but Washington's openings at linebacker, especially strongside linebacker, mean the Huskies definitely have a shot at him.

Santiago (Corona, Ca.) TE Marlion Barnett is still very high on Washington, even though he's seen two of their three losses.

"Yeah, I've seen the Oregon and Oklahoma games and they didn't look like they played very well, but those teams are really good so maybe it was that they made (Washington) look bad," Barnett said. "I want to play for a winner, but more than that, I want to play for a school I think can be a winner once I get there and I think Washington has some really good players.

"I mean, you have guys like Jake Locker, Brandon Johnson, Chris Polk, Kavario (Middleton) and some of those other guys up there. They will be good eventually."

With the prospect of Willingham and his staff being on the proverbial "hot seat" does that dampen Barnett's interest in Washington?

"Not really," Barnett said matter-of-factly. "I mean, of course I'd like to play for the coaching staff that is recruiting me, but I'm not going to decide for a while and if a new staff came in, I would definitely keep an open mind when I'm being recruited.

"I've always felt I was committing to the school and the program more than anything. I hope they win, so coach Willingham and coach (Mike) Denbrock are able to stay, but if not, I'm sure they will get someone good in there to take their place."

With all that being said, never fear Washington fans, this staff is still hard at work on the recruiting trail and it seems that if a change is eventually in the offing, some of the top players they are recruiting are keeping an open mind in regards to their interest in the Huskies.

Tonight I will be at the Federal Way/Kentridge game to watch UW commit Andru Pulu and WSU commit Andre Barrington as well as Kentridge junior stud Devin Topps. Chris Fetters is headed to Portland to take in two games in the Rose City.

Until next time Dawg fans, as AANDY likes to say, keep the faith…

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