Commitment Impact - D.J. Beavers

On Sunday, Washington received their 14th public commitment when Crespi LB D.J. Beavers announced via his Twitter account that he would be attending Washington for the 2015 season. What are the Huskies getting with the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Beavers? With commitments to Kyler Manu and Ben Burr-Kirven, how many more linebackers will Washington take?

What is UW Getting in D.J. Beavers? - HERE is an early 2014 season highlight reel for Beavers. And this is what Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins had to say when asked about Beavers, his style of play, and where he should end up playing for the Huskies.

"Beavers is a prototype weakside linebacker who relies on his speed and instincts to make a ton of plays," Biggins said. "He doesn't have great size but plays big because of his toughness and physicality. He's very good in run support and shows the ability to quickly diagnose a play and fly to the football.

"He's strong in pass coverage and will be able to cover the flat and muscle up with most tight ends. He's only about 6-1, 205 pounds right now so matching up with some of the bigger tight ends could present some issues. He'll need to add some size and strength but his worth ethic is unmatched and he's a natural leader and his teammates will love playing with him."
What Does This Do For Washington’s Numbers Going Forward? - As we laid it out late last week with Ben Burr-Kirven's commitment to Washington a basic count of the scholarships on Washington’s current roster leaves them with 82 on scholarship. In a maximum-case scenario - if Deontae Cooper was included, as well as juniors Shaq Thompson and Marcus Peters because of their NFL interest - that could bump the departures up to 19 players total after the 2014 season is over. Add in the three they are already short to get to the 85-scholarship limit, and you can see not much attrition will be required for the Huskies to get to 85 by signing a full class for 2015.

So in short, Beavers' commitment - the 14th known public verbal commitment for the 2015 recruiting class - is still well within the margins for the expected class numbers the Huskies should sign.
What Does This Do For Linebacker Class Balance Going Forward? - The Huskies will lose likely three linebackers for this year (Hauoli Kikaha, John Timu, and Shaq Thompson), and four in 2015 (Travis Feeney, Jarett Finau, Scott Lawyer, and Cory Littleton). Losing seven guys at a position group in two years is a hit, and outside of the redshirt frosh class they don’t have much else. UW brought on a couple walk-on linebackers in Matt Preston and Jake Wambaugh, and you always hope you can find a success story in one of those players earning his keep, but Linebackers Coach Bob Gregory won’t count on that happening.

There's no question Gregory has been given the green light to go hard on a number of prospects, and Beavers' commitment means he now has three linebackers slated to sign for 2015 (Beavers, Burr-Kirven, and Kyler Manu), and could certainly add at least one more. Dedrick Young (who just officially visited UW), Eddie Rudinski, Anthony Camargo, and Jeremiah Ieremia are all in the mix and we expect Washington to get a commitment from one of those players before signing day.
Does this provide any more insight into Petersen's ability to recruit top talent to Washington? - Washington is 33rd currently in the overall Scout.com recruiting rankings, 30th right now in stars per player at 3.21. That's slightly below Stanford and better than Arizona State, good enough for sixth in the Pac-12. With at least 10 more commits to go, it's possible they could move up the rankings, but three teams ahead of them (Oregon, Washington State, Stanford) have less public commitments at this point in time.

I think it might be beneficial to at least see where Pete's second class (first full class through the recruiting cycle) is side-by-side with Steve Sarkisian's 2010 class (his first full class through the recruiting cycle). The player is named, along with the BSC scholarship offers he had at the time of his signing:

2010
Chris Young - UW
Darius Waters - UW, Cal
Ben Riva - UW, WSU
Jamaal Kearse - UW, WSU, Vanderbilt
Zach Fogerson - UW, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee
Nick Montana - UW, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford
Colin Porter - UW, Stanford, WSU
Michael Hartvigson - UW, OSU, WSU
DiAndre Campbell - UW, Utah
Princeton Fuimaono - UW
John Timu - UW, UO
Brent Williams - UW
Erik Kohler - UW, UA, ASU, Cal, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC
Deontae Cooper - UW, UA, ASU, CU, Nebraska, Stanford
Jesse Callier - UW, UO
Taz Stevenson - UW, CU, OSU, Utah, WSU
Colin Tanigawa - UW, ASU, Iowa State, Nebraska, WSU
Andrew Hudson - UW, UA, OSU, Utah
Victor Burnett - UW, UA, ASU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, OSU, West Virginia
Kevin Smith - UW, UA, CU
Micah Hatchie - UW, Cal, CU, UO
Sione Potoae - UW, ASU, Cal, UO, UCLA, USC, WSU
Greg Ducre - UW, ASU, CU
Hauoli Kikaha - UW, UA, OSU
Garret Gilliland - UW, CU, Duke, WSU
Mike Criste - UW, ASU, Notre Dame, OSU
Cooper Pelluer - UW
Lawrence Lagafuaina - UW, Cal, UCLA
James Atoe - UW
Sean Parker - UW, ASU, Cal, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, USC
Josh Shirley - UW, UA, Cal, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Tennessee, UCLA, USC
And here is where Petersen's 2015 Recruiting Class is right now, using the same metric:

2015
Trey Adams - UW, ASU, UO, USC, UCLA, WSU
Myles Gaskin - UW, ASU, WSU
Jake Browning - UW, Alabama, Cal, CU, Utah, WSU
Mike Neal - UW
Isaiah Renfro - UW, Utah, WSU
A.J. Carty - UW
Jared Hilbers - UW, OSU, WSU
Jordan Miller - UW, Cal, OSU, Utah, WSU
Andre Baccellia - UW, CU, WSU
Kyler Manu - UW, Utah, Wisconsin
Henry Roberts - UW, UA, ASU, Cal, CU, UO, OSU, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, WSU, Wisconsin
Jason Scrempos - UW, UA, Cal, OSU, WSU
Ben Burr-Kirven - UW, UA, ASU, Utah
D.J. Beavers - UW, Cal, Miami (FL), Nebraska, WSU, Wisconsin

If anything, looking back at Washington's 2010 class and having the advantage of hindsight, it's easy to tell that the players who had 'major' offers - meaning from the top 2-3 teams of the BCS conferences - weren't necessarily slam-dunks. You could argue that only one prospect with big, big offers, Sean Parker, panned out. Josh Shirley had one big year - but other than that it's hard to see what the stars have gotten UW from this class. Fogerson, Kohler, Montana, Burnett, Potoae - there's not a ton of success from that group, given their offer sheets.

In short, while Sarkisian was able to lure some top targets to Montlake, he didn't get as much out of them given their potential. That comes down to development, and ultimately when you compare that to Petersen - that's the rub. When it comes to player evaluation and development once you get them, Petersen has as good a reputation in those areas as any coach in the country.

So in a sense I'm arguing it really doesn't matter what the services do in terms of their ratings and rankings of players targeted by Petersen and his staff. The same could be said of any coach worth their recruiting reputations, to be honest.

But in the end, the commitment of D.J. Beavers can be chalked up to the Washington coaches identifying Beavers as a top target early, offering him early, staying on him hard through the junior days and May evaluation period, and developing a bond with the player. They did that with top local stars like Myles Gaskin and Henry Roberts, and there's no doubt they'll land some other top west coast prospects too before signing day. They have a process that was effectively used to close the deal with players like Budda Baker and Kaleb McGary last year, and there's really no reason to think they can't close just as well for the 2015 class.

The fact that top programs in other conferences offered Beavers will come as good news for UW recruiting fans as a source of bragging rights - but that's about it. Because, as we all know, it's what you do with the player once you get them. And in that regard, UW fans should hold a lot of faith in Petersen to get the most out of a player like D.J. Beavers.


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