Washington Recruiting: Where Things Stand

It's less than 24 hours before prospects can start to send in their letters-of-intent. Here's a look at where Washington stands with several of the top recruits left on their board including the top recruit in the region, Bellevue (Wa.) DB Budda Baker...

Bellevue (Wa.) DB Budda Baker - Baker surprised pretty much everyone when he committed to Oregon and then reneged on that decision less than a month later. The Ducks' loss appears to be Washington's gain as there are plenty of rumors floating around that Baker is headed to Washington. Word is that family and life after football are a big reason why the Dawgs are the heavy favorite to get his commitment and signature early tomorrow (7 a.m. announcement) but UCLA still has a slight chance of reeling him in. Both of the top West Coast recruiting analysts, Greg Biggins and Brandon Huffman, both switched their predictions from UCLA to Washington and there is quite a bit of confidence that good news is coming for Dawgfans. We'll just have to wait and see.

Rocky Mountain (Meridian, Id.) S Khalil Oliver - The Huskies made a heavy push on Oliver over the past couple of weeks, but it appears that Oliver is likely headed to Oregon and may even be a silent verbal there.

Highland (Palmdale, Ca.) OT Devin Burleson - The former basketball prospect's recruiting has picked up over the past couple of months and he committed early on to San Diego. However, word started to leak out over the weekend that he has committed to the Huskies although nothing has been confirmed publicly. If he does commit to Washington, Burleson's raw abilities and relative youth as far as the game is concerned (he's only played football for two years) make him one of the more intriguing prospects in the class. We will know soon enough if the rumors were correct.

Chaminade College Prep (West Hills, Ca.) WR/TE Brayden Lenius - We are pretty confident that Lenius will add his name to the Husky commit list tomorrow. He's a big wideout who could grow into a tight end like Josh Perkins. He'll be a nice redzone threat for the Dawgs when he sees the field.

Falcon (Co.) ATH Kalen Ballage - A prospect with a freakish size/speed ratio, Ballage popped onto the scene in early January and committed to Arizona State shortly after visiting Tempe. Ballage visited Washington two weeks ago and went underground, so no one knows what he is thinking, but those close to him believe the Dawgs are still in it and could wind up surprising people by stealing him from the Sun Devils.

The Huskies currently have 20 commitments already and, with the three above, if they do indeed add their names to the list, that will make 23 additions to the program.

Heading into the 2014 recruiting cycle, we assumed the class would be on the small side, 16 - 18, however things changed when Steve Sarkisian and the rest of his staff, save Jordan Pao Pao, departed and several players opted not to return for their senior seasons (although one or two might change their mind with Chris Petersen in the fold) and a couple more decided to either focus on academics (Connor Cree) or leave to find playing time at another school (Cleveland Wallace).

Also worth noting is the fact that two areas that were of big concern to Husky fans when Sarkisian was here -- offensive line and local recruiting -- have been addressed in spades by Petersen.

Washington currently sports three commits who are projected to play along the offensive line (John Turner, Matt James and Jesse Sosebee) and one more could wind up there (Kaleb McGary). If Burleson does indeed commit to UW, that would make five players who could wind up along the offensive line.

As far as local recruiting, if Baker commits as expected, that would mean the top two in-staters - McGary and Baker - along with three more solid prospects (TE Drew Sample, DE Shane Bowman and LB Drew Lewis). That makes five local recruits from the state in a down year. That can only bode well for the future, especially in 2015, where it appears the state is loaded with top prospects at several positions, especially along the offensive line and in the offensive backfield.

Also, the secondary which needed an influx, not just of bodies, but of talent as well, got a major focus from the coaches as they were able to snatch up seven prospects and possibly eight if Baker commits.

Lastly, Petersen and his staff appear to have either purposely or inadvertently showed the rest of the conference and region that they will be a force to be reckoned with as they flipped 11 players from schools in the west and one from a commitment to an SEC school.

S Darren Gardenhire and K Tristan Vizcaino (Washington State), S Jojo McIntosh (UCLA), RB Jomon Dotson (Colorado), CB Sidney Jones (Utah), CB Naijiel Hale (Arizona), QB K.J. Carta-Samuels (Vanderbilt), Bowman (Oregon State), Sosebee, Sample, DT Greg Gaines, CB Brandon Lewis and Jaylen Johnson (Boise State) all were players committed to other programs that decided to join the Huskies. If they get Baker, who was committed to Oregon and Ballage who remains a commitment to Arizona State, the Dawgs could wind up flipping a solid majority of the class from other schools.

That is "announcing (your) presence with authority" to quote Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh from Bull Durham.

Overall, this class is balanced and features a handful of four-star prospects that no one thought the Huskies had a shot with when the coaching change happened back in December.

The future is bright Husky fans, enjoy the final few hours before "Recruiting Christmas" and then hold on for a pretty crazy run this spring and summer as the 2015 recruiting cycle really hits its stride.

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