2011 Recruiting Rundown

Now that Signing Day is done, Dawgman has taken the time to sort through the rubble to see where how Washington Huskies finished out the recruiting process. Did they finish out the way they wanted to? Did they address all their needs? Did they get a solid mix of stars and team players? Was their haul effectively balanced between offense and defense?

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Current condition: B-minus (15)
Ideally you'd like at least 14 offensive linemen in your pipeline that are ready to compete for the 8-9 positions in the rotation, and then you'd like another 2-4 projects that you can groom for the depth and for when they are upper classmen. In 2011 the Huskies will return the following:

Starting experience (4): WT Senio Kelemete, C Drew Schaefer, OG Colin Porter, OT Erik Koehler.
Depth (9): OT Skyler Fancher, C Mykenna Ikehara, OG Dan Kanczugowski, OT James Atoe, OT Micah Hatchie, C Mike Criste, OG Ben Riva, OG Colin Tanigawa, OG Nick Wood.
Incoming (2): OG Siosifa Tufunga, OG Dexter Charles.

The numbers add up to 15, which very nearly hits the low end of the target. Losing Paulay Asiata hurt in terms of numbers, as an additional lineman would provide further cushion against attrition or injury, but if the Huskies can bring in atleast four in next year's class, the number issue goes away. Kelemete will be the only senior starter on the line next year.

QUARTERBACK: Current condition: B-minus (3)
Four should be the goal here, and Washington has been playing with fire for too long in this regard. Because Jake Locker was nearly a four-year starter, the depth behind him is mostly untested, thus the "minus". In 2011 Washington returns two scholarship quarterbacks:

Compete for starting role (2): QB Keith Price, QB Nick Montana.
Incoming: QB Derrick Brown.

Washington could've used one more quarterback, but in bringing in Antavius Sims, they have a possible option if they choose to use him in the wildcat. However I think Sims and his 4.4 speed will be used on defense. Price, Montana, and Brown make a good mix of talent. And all will return in 2012 when Washington will bring in at least one more quarterback, probably an in-state guy.

TAILBACK: Current condition: A (5)
Four tailbacks should be the goal and Washington is in great shape here. The mix of depth here is versatile, experienced, and talented.

Starter: Chris Polk. Back to back 1,000+ yard seasons make Polk one of the top returning backs in the conference.
Depth (3): Jesse Callier, Deontae Cooper, Johri Fogerson. Callier brings quickness on the fly sweep and a potential option type of back, Cooper is the speedster in waiting, assuming his rehab is going as planned, and Fogerson has the hands to be a weapon as a receiver.
Incoming: Bishop Sankey.

The Huskies are stocked nearly perfectly at the position. If Cooper is ready to go and has regained his speed after surgery, this position is as strong as it's been since the 1990s. Sankey can redshirt and learn while Polk goes through his final season as a Husky.

FULLBACK: Current condition: B (3)
Washington doesn't use the fullback often, but spending a scholarship on one in 2011 tells me that Sarkisian is interested in a bigger role for his fullback.

Returning (2): Zach Fogerson, Kimo Makaula.
Incoming: Dezden Petty.

Petty is not being brought in to sit on the bench. He is a big back that can run and open things up as a receiving threat. He is in the mold of fullbacks the way Sark had at USC. Fogerson is 240 pounds and will be the thumper, but Petty has quickness to be more of a threat with the ball in his hands.

TIGHT END: Current condition: B-minus (4)
Ideally you'd like four of these on your roster and Washington has been woefully down at this position. They addressed it well in 2011 by bringing in two talented ones, but the roster was a mess to begin with, so I can't grade it much higher.

Returning: Michael Hartvigson (redshirted last year), Marlion Barnett.
Incoming (2): Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jarett Finau.

Hartvigson is 250 and mean, but has no experience. Barnett is more of a slot/WR type of hybrid and I don't really consider him a tight end. Sark addressed the dearth of bodies by adding one of the top tight ends in the country in Seferian-Jenkins, and Finau is a versatile guy that can catch the ball and plays some punishing linebacker, so hitting is not something he shies away from. Washington needs one more tight end to move their grade up. Walk-on Evan Hudson might move into the depth as well. Still, Washington needs at least one more tight end.

RECEIVER: Current condition: A (10)
You need about eight legit receivers to challenge for three-to-four positions and Washington will be in terrific shape come fall when camp begins.

Returning (6): Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, James Johnson, Kevin Smith, Cody Bruns, DiAndre Campbell.
Incoming (4): Marvin Hall, Jamaal Jones, Josh Perkins, Kasen Williams.

With the departures of Kearse, Aguilar, and Bruns next year, Washington needed to address this in 2011 and they did so in grand fashion. Williams is one of the best in the country, Hall is a speedster, and Jones and Perkins both are big targets that are extremely athletic. This position is in great shape.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Current condition: A-minus (14)
You'd like 12 guys to challenge for four spots to feel good about your depth, and then have 3-4 developing. Washington is at that number now, and if Semisi Tokolahi returns from his leg injury, this position upgrades to an A rather quickly.

Returning (11): DT Alameda Ta'amu, DT Semisi Tokolahi, DT Sione Potoa'e, DT Chris Robinson, DT Lawrence Lagafuaina, DE Everrette Thompson, DE Hauoli Jamora, DE Kalani Aldrich, DE Talia Crichton, DE Andrew Hudson, DE Josh Shirley.
Incoming (3): DT Danny Shelton, DT Taniela Tupou, DE Connor Cree.

With Ta'amu leaving after 2011 and Tokolahi coming off of a serious leg rehab, Shelton and Tupou were spot-on signees who will help this deep group remain that way.

LINEBACKER: Current condition: B (13)
Depending on the scheme you are going to run, you need probably 12-15 linebackers. These guys are the most versatile in terms of being able to be great special teams players, in addition to being the middle of your defense. Washington brings some good talent to the equation. The only reason I don't rate them higher is that I'm not sure there is another Mason Foster on the roster. Yet.

Returning (8): OLB Cort Dennison, OLB Garret Gilliland, ILB Victor Burnett, OLB Princeton Fuimaono, ILB Jamaal Kearse, OLB Cooper Pelluer, ILB Tim Tucker, OLB Jordan Wallace.
Incoming (5): Scott Lawyer, Matt Lyons, John Timu, Thomas Tutogi, Corey Waller.

If the Huskies plan on running some 3-4 schemes, they need a couple more linebackers. Also, defensive backs like Nate Fellner could move up and play in the linebacking corps. Tutogi and Waller may play right away.

SAFETIES: Current condition: A (8)
You would like to have at least six safeties challenging for the two spots, with four of them having experience and two of them young players that can run. And perhaps one raw safety that can run and play special teams while they develop. Washington is in good shape here.

Starters (2): FS Nate Fellner, SS Sean Parker.
Depth (5): FS Justin Glenn, SS Will Shamburger, FS Taz Stevenson, FS Marquis Persley, SS Greg Walker.
Incoming (2): SS Evan Zeger, FS James Sample, S Travis Feeney.

Washington has not been in this good of shape at the safety position in years. They have experience and speed. If Fellner and or Zeger wind up moving into linebacking positions, the youth should be able to pick up the slack. Sample is big time and Taz Stevenson looks ready to make his mark. Glenn didn't seem to regain his quickness following leg surgery. Hopefully he can contribute more in 2011.

CORNERBACK: Current condition: A (7)

Six cornerbacks is ideal and Washington is set up about as well as you can be here when you look at their roster and who will be coming in this fall.
Starters (2): Quinton Richardson, Desmond Trufant.
Depth (3): Greg Ducre, Adam Long, Anthony Gobern.
Incoming (2): Marcus Peters, Antavius Sims.

Richardson is poised for a big senior year, and Trufant will want to bounce back from last year's injury-riddled season. Both have a ton of Pac-10 experience. Ducre and Long add good depth and both have experience now. Marcus Peters has the chance to play early and he was one of the top corners on Sarkisian's list. Sims is a 4.4 athlete that stands 6-2 and played defensive back in high school. He could be another Dana Hall in the making.

Final summary: The 2011 recruiting class was hurt by the defections of OL Paulay Asiata and Stephan Nembot in terms of numbers along the offensive line, but that can be addressed in 2012 if they can keep Josh Garnett and Zach Banner home, plus add two more big bodies to that mix. The seven OL from the class of 2010 gave Sark some wiggle room both in terms of numbers and in talent. All seven OL are panning out quite well thus far. Porter and Koehler were good enough to see the field already and two of the five redshirts (Hatchie and Tanigawa) are poised to make a run at the two-deeps in 2011. Thus the loss is felt, but somewhat mitigated.

The loss of CB Kameron Jackson didn't hurt in numbers, but he is undoubtedly one of the top corners on the west coast so it hurts from a talent standpoint. Depending on how Sims and Peters develop, it could be mitigated. But there is no denying Cal got a great corner in Jackson.

Still, in terms of numbers the class achieved very positive results. You would like your scholarship balance, after you bring in your latest class, to be about as follows:

Offensive line: 16-18
Quarterbacks: 4
Running backs: 6-7
Tight ends: 4
Receivers: 8-10
Defensive linemen: 12-14
Linebackers: 12-15
Cornerbacks: 6-7
Safeties: 6-7
Kicker: 1
Punter: 1
Total must not exceed 85

The three areas where Washington needs to get their numbers up are on the offensive line, quarterback, and tight end. They are not far off so there is no need to panic, unless wholesale injuries strike the roster.

For this reason, I give the class a "B" in terms of addressing balance.

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