Rising Stars Notebook, Day One

SEATTLE - Day One of the Washington Rising Stars camp was more a friendly introduction to the four-day camp than anything else, a way for the UW coaching staff to give those in attendance an idea of what to expect the rest of the way. It was mostly dominated by the youngsters, as most of the top attendees won't be participating until Friday.

Qualen Cunningham, Matt Dickerson, Bobby Okereke, Michael Lazarus, Jamal Scott, Rahshead Johnson, and Don Hill were all spotted watching the camp, waiting for tomorrow's camp to make their presence felt. We are expecting others like Layth Friekh, Jonathan Lockett, Andrew Mike, Payton Hendrix, J.T. Gray, Joe Mixon, John Plattenburg, Chico McClatcher, Austin Joyner and Chase Blakley to attend during the next three days.

The focus of Thursday's observations was on the offensive line, as there were a few 2015 prospects that really stood out from the rest.

The biggest - literally - was 6-foot-8 behemoth Branden Bowen from Juan Diego High in Draper, Utah. Bowen moved surprising well for a player his size, working as a left tackle. Newport's Calvin Throckmorton worked out at the other tackle position and showed out well. He is definitely one of the top three in-state OL for 2015, along with Bellevue's Henry Roberts and Wenatchee's Trey Adams. Speaking of Adams, the 6-foot-6 tackle from Wenatchee who was just offered by Washington State, definitely showed up in front of Steve Sarkisian and Dan Cozzetto. Don't be surprised if Adams is offered by the Huskies sooner, rather than later.

There were some 2014 names too that caught our attention. There were a number of players that came all the way over from the Big Island to participate, specifically from Psalm Wooching's high school - Kealakehe - and the biggest and best one was Tavita 'Asotui' Eli. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Eli unfortunately suffered a slight leg injury early in camp, and although he did himself credit by gutting the rest of the day out he was certainly stifled a bit in his performance. Travis Bakken from Edmonds-Woodway was someone we hadn't paid too much attention to before Thursday, but now he's a name to watch. The 6-foot-6 Bakken has a frame with room to grow and was a starter all of last year along the offensive line for E-W. Markus Boyer came all the way from Huntington Beach, Calif. with his brother-in-law, former UW linebacker Joshua Gage, and he might be one of the prospects Thursday with the most to gain. He played tight end last year for Edison High, but has since moved to center and looked very solid on the day. He's less than 6-foot-2, but with a strong senior year might be another name to watch.

Along the defensive line, there weren't too many standouts, but the ones that did both came from the Plateau. 2014 defensive end Josh Wright from Skyline is a smaller, quicker end but has enough strength to hold off bigger tackles. But mostly it's his pure speed getting around the end that's his main calling card. 2015 Defensive lineman Cody Baker is 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds and will only get bigger as he goes. He was a handful for anyone he went up against, mixing in bull rushes with other moves that provided an effective repertoire.

For skill players, there were a number of quarterbacks that stood out. It's becoming clearer and clearer that Washington is not really focused on taking a quarterback for the 2014 class, but Kilton Anderson (Skyline), Jake Luton (Marysville-Pilchuck) and Quincy Carter (Kent-Meridian) were the ones that seemed to make the biggest impression. Anderson committed to participate in the camp before pledging to South Alabama.

But the majority of the Washington coaches' attention was focused on two future signal-callers - 2015 QB Danny Hong from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and 2016 riser Harley Kirsch, another Eastside Catholic player. Hong, a righty, and Kirsch, a southpaw, are both very polished for their age but aren't the biggest kids. Hong is 6-foot-2 and Hirsch roughly the same height. But both have time to get bigger, faster and stronger.

And for those that are really looking ahead, 8th grader Jacob Sirmon, the son of David Sirmon - Peter Sirmon's brother - is in the Bothell system and should be the next great Cougar signal-caller. He's already over 6 feet tall.

There weren't too many other skill players to talk about, but a few that drew the attention of the UW coaching staff included Eastside Catholic 2015 running back Brad Wellington, 2014 TE Davis Koppenhaver from Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., and 2015 receiver Austin Aaron from Napa, Calif.

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