Rising Stars - Impact Report

Usually we focus our Impact Reports on how a certain prospect, who has committed to UW, impacts the class as well as the roster once he arrives at Montlake. However, with so many talented kids on campus for the Rising Stars Camp over the weekend, we wanted to take a stab at how the workouts will help Washington in the long run as well as how it could affect future recruiting classes…

The Camp

The camp itself hosted nearly 100 prospects with D-1 offers. Included on that list were players like Belleuve (Wa.) S Budda Baker, Lompoc (Ca.) DT Ainuu Taua, Ouachita Parish (Monroe, La.) WR Cameron Sims, Hamilton (Chandler, Az.) DE Qualen Cunningham, Cabrillo (Long Beach, Ca.) WR Rahshead Johnson, Corona (Ca.) Centennial CB John Plattenburg, Summit (Fontana, Ca.) WR Erik Brown, Coeur D'Alene (Id.) TE Chase Blakley, Centennial (Peoria, Az.) OT Layth Friekh and Clovis North (Fresno, Ca.) DT Jacob Daniel, a top 2015 prospect, who all made the trip to Montlake to see the campus, meet with the coaches and work out for the staff in person.

This is the second year in a row the Huskies have really focused on getting some of the top players from the current class as well as future classes on their campus and this has helped to start a buzz about the program that should continue into the future.

Lots of offers went out to underclassmen during the camp and even a few 2014 prospects saw offers extended.

I spoke to Long Beach (Ca.) Poly DE Joseph Wicker following his commitment to Washington and he said that "everyone down where I am from wants to go to Washington." The recruiting momentum for the Huskies is at an all-time high with a young, energetic staff, top-end recruiters like Tosh Lupoi, Keith Heyward, Peter Sirmon and Johnny Nansen, new facilities and the best team they have put on the field, at least talent-wise, since the 2000 season.

This camp continues that trend and only adds to the mystique that has players wanting to see what's going on at Montlake.

The Commits

Washington added three defensive players to their 2014 class, doubling the size of their commit list from three to six.

The first to commit to the Dawgs on Saturday was Eastlake (Sammamish, Wa. ) LB Drew Lewis who had been waiting for an offer from Washington for a while. He jumped at the chance to commit and will play linebacker for the Huskies. He is the first linebacker to add his name to the list for 2014 and will likely be one of only two that Washington will take.

The Huskies will lose at least two linebackers following the 2013 football season – Thomas Tutogi and Princeton Fuimaono – and they signed four linebackers back in February – Connor O'Brien, Keishawn Bierria, Azeem Victor and Sean Constantine.

Expect Lewis to redshirt and spend at least a year if not two in the weight room and at the training table, trying to add bulk and strength to his nearly 6'3", 195-pound frame.

The secondary got the other two commitments that will sign next February when both Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Ca.) CB Jonathan Lockett and McClymonds (Oakland, Ca.) S/CB Lavon Washington committed in the early afternoon on Saturday.

Lockett is outstanding in coverage and chose the Huskies over his other two favorites – Oregon and UCLA. He adds his name to an impressive list of corners that includes Marcus Peters and Travell Dixon who should both be returning starters as well as highly thought-of prospects Cleveland Wallace, Jermaine Kelly and Kevin King.

He is one of two corners the Huskies are likely to take in this class and the other one they are heavily in the mix for is Plattenburg who could be making his decision later this week at The Opening.

Washington could wind up being a "swing" player for the Huskies, able to cover slot receives as well as play safety and make plays in the running game. His recruitment will not affect the decisions of Washington's top two safety targets – Budda Baker and Juju Smith. The Huskies need at least two and probably three safeties to add to the mix of Brandon Beaver, Trevor Walker and Patrick Enewally after they lose Will Shamburger, Sean Parker and Taz Stevenson to graduation following the season.

Because the Huskies will only take 17 or 18 prospects in the 2014 class, they need to be choosy and that means that all three of these commits are definitely players they want, otherwise they wouldn't have made them offers and accepted their commitments.

The 2015 class added its first two names when Wicker committed on Saturday and then, barely more than 24 hours later, Wenatchee (Wa.) OT Trey Adams also decided he wanted to commit after earning an offer.

Washington could take a full class of 25 prospects and these two are definitely players the Huskies need and want.

Wicker, according to Scout's Greg Biggins, is likely going to be a top 100 prospect and should have many more offers. He flies off the edge and will be a player to keep an eye on this fall since he wasn't a starter as sophomore. This year he'll get plenty of reps for the Jackrabbits and you could see his recruitment really explode next spring.

You can expect the Huskies to take four defensive lineman, likely two outside players and two interior prospects and Wicker appears to be on that will play on the outside, although at just over 6'3" and weighing 255 pounds, he might grow into an inside guy.

Adams is a legacy recruit who the Huskies offered after they got a look at him for two days. He's still very raw, but you can see his athleticism and the length he brings to the table.

He told Dawgman.com he is being recruited by the Huskies as a tackle prospect and with the likelihood that he will continue to grow over the next year or two, I see him staying outside.

The Huskies will take at least four and probably five offensive linemen in the 2015 class with three being tackles. Could Newport's Calvin Throckmorton and Bellevue's Henry Roberts, both of whom also have offers, join him to complete the tackle-trifecta? Don't be surprised if that happens.

The Program

As noted above, there is a buzz about the Washington program right now among recruits.

Lots of recruits are talking about the new facilities as well as the prospect that the Huskies have their best team since the turn of the century. Stanford appears to be strong and while Oregon is still loaded with talent, their head coach is unproven and some think the Ducks my fall back closer to the pack, giving the Huskies the chance to overtake them.

A big determinant on how this season's recruiting class winds up will be how the Huskies perform on the field. Get off to a fast start with a big win over Boise State to start the season and then continue that on to a 9 or 10 win season and the Huskies could finish with a top 10 recruiting class and huge momentum going into the 2014 season.

If the Huskies lay an egg to start the season and stumble their way to yet another 7-5 regular season finish, things could come unraveled.

The coaches and players know they have their fates in their own hands. Now it's time to get off to a fast start and not let up on the gas until after their bowl game has been completed.

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