Crunching the Numbers: 2/2/2015

Now that the Washington Huskies have won eight games for the first time ever under a first-year head coach, it's time to look forward to 2015 and see exactly what Head Coach Chris Petersen has to work with heading into year two. From a talent standpoint, there's no question Steve Sarkisian left Washington in a much better place than how he found it, and athletes are found at nearly every position.

How does it all break down? Here's how we see it.

Monday will mark 48 hours to Signing Day. It is possible Petersen could continue to recruit after that day to ensure he picks up the balance and quality of class he wants? Of course, but that kind of quality is typically not around after the first day of the signing period. It's been at least an 18-month recruiting siege for the student-athletes involved - and in many cases longer than that! - and they are more eager to sign than the coaches.

But as of today, this is how the class should break down, and I put 'should' in italics because if there was a way to put it in pencil I would. Things in recruiting at this stage of the process change by the hour, and even though I don’t expect a ton of surprises, take all of the information provided before as simply a snapshot of things as they stand. Tomorrow is a different day.
Scholarship Breakdown - Offense (projected # of 2015 signees in parenthesis):
QB - 4 (1)
RB - 4 (2)
TE - 4 (1)
WR - 4 (3)
OL - 12 (4)
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Total - 28 (11)

Quarterback (4):
10 Cyler Miles - Jr.
5 Jeff Lindquist - Jr.
11 K.J. Carta-Samuels - RFr.


Departing Players: 1 (Troy Williams)

Projected # of Signees: 1 (Committed: Jake Browning)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Jake Browning (9/27)

Synopsis: Washington already has their quarterback of the future in Jake Browning. He's already set California state high school records for career touchdowns and is honing in on the national mark of 219, set in 2011 by Maty Mauk, now at Missouri. Browning signed a financial aid agreement, and is expected to enroll at UW in winter to take advantage of spring practice.
Running Back (4):
32 Deontae Cooper - Sr.
12 Dwayne Washington - Jr.
22 Lavon Coleman - So.
40 Ralph Kinne - So. walk-on
34 Jomon Dotson - RFr.
30 Gavin McDaniel - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 2 (Jesse Callier, Ryan McDaniel)

Projected # of Signees: 2 (Committed: Myles Gaskin)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Cameron Scarlett (9/19), Myles Gaskin (1/23), Chris Warren (1/30)

Synopsis: This is the one position where they could be significant movement on Signing Day. Chris Warren, son of the same name who played for the Seattle Seahawks, is choosing Wednesday between Washington, Texas, and Texas Tech. The momentum seems to be in Texas’ favor, as he lives there - but the Huskies have made a big push and got the last official visit in. As it stands, UW already has a local running back ready to sign - Myles Gaskin - and his signature is nothing to scoff at. Gaskin is a very good back and could fit in right away with the current crop of Huskies this fall.
Receiver (4):
4 Jaydon Mickens - Sr.
16 Marvin Hall - Sr.
87 Dante Pettis - So.
81 Brayden Lenius - So.
86 Taelon Parson - So. walk-on
83 Neel Salukhe - So. walk-on
80 Max Richmond - RFr. walk-on
89 John Gardner - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 4 (Kasen Williams, DiAndre Campbell, Damore'ea Stringfellow, Kendyl Taylor)

Projected # of Signees: 3 (Committed: Isaiah Renfro, Andre Baccellia, Chico McClatcher)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Isaiah Renfro (9/26), Jaylinn Hawkins (11/07), Octavius Spencer (12/05), Chico McClatcher (12/12), Andre Baccellia (1/16)

Synopsis: The number of signees was, at least until Kendyl Taylor’s decision to transfer to Northern Arizona, going to match the number of outgoing players - so like for like. There is an outside chance Jaylinn Hawkins ends up with the Huskies, but not predicting that at this time. And of course we don’t know how involved John Ross is going to be in Jonathan Smith’s plans, so the more Ross is involved that could help pick up the slack somewhat. Expect UW to go hard after receivers in 2016, getting at least three more.
Tight End (4):
82 Joshua Perkins - Sr.
15 Darrell Daniels - Jr.
85 David Ajamu - So.
88 Drew Sample - RFr.


Departing Players: 2 (Michael Hartvigson, Derrick Brown)

Projected # of Signees: 1 (Committed: Mike Neal)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Mike Neal (12/12)

Synopsis: The tight end position is situated exactly as you’d like to see a position. You have players for every class, so when Mike Neal comes in the fall there will be complete balance in class and in numbers. So in the future all Jordan Paopao has to do is find the ideal guy to fit Smith’s system and recruit him; doesn’t get much easier than to target one guy, land him, and then rest easy. That should be the plan going forward.
Offensive Line (12):
76 Dexter Charles - Sr.
65 Siosifa Tufunga - Sr.
60 Shane Brostek - Jr.
52 Jake Eldrenkamp - Jr.
69 Cory Fuavai - Jr.
67 Michael Kneip - Jr. walk-on
79 Coleman Shelton - So.
55 Dane Crane - So.
73 Andrew Kirkland - So.
58 Kaleb McGary - RFr.
75 Jesse Sosebee - RFr.
74 John Turner - RFr.
71 Matt James - RFr.
68 Morgan Richey - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 7 (Micah Hatchie, Colin Tanigawa, Mike Criste, Ben Riva, James Atoe, Taylor Hindy, Ross Dolbec)

Projected # of Signees: 4 (Committed: Devin Burleson, Trey Adams, Henry Roberts, Jared Hilbers)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): James Empey (10/24), Jared Hilbers (12/06), Trey Adams (1/16), Henry Roberts (1/30)

Synopsis: There’s massive attrition here due to graduation; the ‘Cascade Front’ is completely gone now - so it’s time to rebuild the numbers somewhat. They don’t have to go big on numbers in one class like they did in 2010, but would not be shocked to see the Huskies go with at least four OL the next few years to gradually build back the overall number. Ironically, the class balance is still pretty good; after this coming senior class there’s at least three offensive linemen in at the other lower classes moving forward - so that part of the roster management is just how Chris Strausser would like it.
Scholarship Breakdown - Defense/Specialists (projected # of 2015 signees in parenthesis):
DL - 10 (4)
LB - 9 (6)
CB - 6 (2)
Safety - 6 (2)
P/K/Specialists - 4 (1)
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Total - 35 (15)

Defensive Line (10):
95 Jarett Finau - Sr.
90 Taniela Tupou - Sr.
66 Damion Turpin - Jr.
5 Joe Mathis - Jr.
11 Elijah Qualls - So.
98 Will Dissly - So.
50 Vita Vea - RFr.
96 Shane Bowman - RFr.
99 Greg Gaines - RFr.
92 Jaylen Johnson - RFr.


Departing Players: 8 (Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson, Evan Hudson, Josh Shirley, Lawrence Lagafuaina, Marcus Farria, Jaimie Bryant Drew Schultz)

Projected # of Signees: 4 (Committed: Jason Scrempos, Myles Rice, Ricky McCoy, Bryce Sterk)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Jason Scrempos (9/12), Myles Rice (9/26), Rex Manu (12/05, DeVante Wilson (12/10), Anthony Fotu 12/12), Ricky McCoy (1/16), Mika Tafua (1/16), Bryce Sterk (1/23), John Clark (1/30)

Synopsis: Defensive Line is the other spot where there was massive attrition due to graduation; Pete Kwiatkowski and Jeff Choate have recruited accordingly. It may not look like it with eight gone being replaced by four, but some of that has to do with Benning Potoae being listed as a BUCK linebacker, and some of it could also reflect the fact that UW may run more 3-4 in the future. And the number could get even lower if Myles Rice greyshirts; he suffered a season-ending knee injury and may take the year rehabbing so he could come in winter quarter 2016 fully healthy and raring to go. If you go with the premise that the Huskies would want to sign at least one defensive tackle and a couple of ends in every class, they’ve done that this year. McCoy will clog up the middle, while Sterk and Scrempos will anchor the ends. Scrempos should fit that Evan Hudson role where he could rotate at end but also could be ideally suited as a rangy 3 technique when they do line up in an even front. And don’t forget about Potoae’s potential impact with this group, so there’s some versatility with this signing class as well.

Also a note on Tafua; there is a chance on Signing Day that the Hawaiian DL will sign with the Huskies, but his LOI won't impact the numbers this year or next because Tafua is on record saying he plans on serving an LDS mission right after high school and wouldn't enroll for two years.
Linebacker (9):
41 Travis Feeney - Sr.
42 Cory Littleton - Sr.
47 Scott Lawyer - Sr.
28 Psalm Wooching - Jr.
25 Keishawn Bierria - So.
34 Sean Constantine - So.
29 Connor O'Brien - So.
36 Azeem Victor - So.
16 Drew Lewis - RFr.
53 Jake Wambaugh - RFr. walk-on
54 Matt Preston - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 3 (Hauoli Kikaha, John Timu, Shaq Thompson)

Projected # of Signees: 6 (Committed: Kyler Manu, D.J. Beavers, Ben Burr-Kirven, Jusstis Warren, Tevis Bartlett, Benning Potoae)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Dedrick Young (9/12), DJ Beavers (9/19), Anthony Camargo (10/24), Jusstis Warren (12/05), Tevis Bartlett (12/05), Kyler Manu (12/12), Ben Burr-Kirven (1/16), Benning Potoae (1/16)

Synopsis: This is the one group on the team where there’s some serious lack of class balance, and part of that will be addressed this year, as will the anticipated shift to more 3-4 in the fall. There are no juniors heading into the 2015 season, so while there are three solid seniors expected to run the show next year, the class gets fairly young after that. Going JC could be an option for maybe one player in 2016, but in the meantime Bob Gregory has gone big on the 2015 class. Having Kyler Manu come in early means he may just be ready to go for the 2015 season. That could help in the adjustment of numbers, as I’m sure the UW coaches would ideally love to redshirt the rest of the players in this group. The development of walk-ons Preston and Wambaugh also looms large here. If one or both have really shown something in the spring, that would help last year’s recruiting class immediately and would address class balance issues right away. Going forward, I’d expect UW to recruit at least a couple linebacker for each class, but won’t have to go as heavy as they have for 2015.
Cornerback (6):
1 John Ross - Jr.
6 Jermaine Kelly - So.
26 Sidney Jones - So.
31 Naijiel Hale - So.
3 Darren Gardenhire - So.
19 Brandon Lewis - RFr.
40 Aaron Chapman - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 3 (Travell Dixon, Marcus Peters, Patrick Enewally)

Projected # of Signees: 2 (Committed: Jordan Miller, Austin Joyner)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Austin Joyner (12/05), Jordan Miller (1/23)

Synopsis: With only one upperclassman in the room, class balance won’t be achieved with the cornerbacks for at least two years. And the fact that UW played three true freshmen in 2014 will also impact future balance. Like Kendyl Taylor a couple years ago, the coaches may be able to persuade one of the true frosh that played in 2014 to redshirt due to lack of playing opportunities. Not sure the overall numbers will provide the competition needed for that to happen, but you never know. The Huskies will sign two corners in 2015 to keep that aspect of the balance going, but may need to find a JC corner next year to help or keep playing younger players as they continue to find that proper mix.
Safety (6):
35 Brian Clay - Sr.
9 Brandon Beaver - Jr.
27 Trevor Walker - Jr.
20 Kevin King - Jr.
32 Budda Baker - So.
14 Jojo McIntosh - RFr.
23 Drew Before - RFr. walk-on


Departing Players: 0

Projected # of Signees: 2 (Committed: Quinten Pounds, Ezekiel Turner)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): Quinten Pounds (9/19), Ezekiel Turner (12/05)

Synopsis: Speaking of a possible JC move at cornerback down the road, that’s exactly what UW did for 2015 at safety. Ezekiel Turner will come in right away and should factor immediately as at least a nickel DB and maybe more, as his size and experience puts him right in the battle for a spot in the two-deeps. The best part of Turner is that he will be a true sophomore, essentially joining Budda Baker in that class. A Baker-Turner partnership definitely sounds great on paper. Class balance is a little short for the last couple classes, simply because freshmen have had to play every single year - so I’d expect UW to sign at least two safeties per class from here on out, maybe one more depending on quality.
Punter (1):
45 Korey Durkee - Sr.


Departing Players: 0

Projected # of Signees: 0

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): None
Kicker (2):
48 Cameron Van Winkle - Jr.
43 Tristan Vizcaino - So.


Departing Players: 0

Projected # of Signees: 0

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): None
Specialists (1):
46 Ryan Masel - Sr.


Departing Players: 0

Projected # of Signees: 1 (Committed: A.J. Carty)

Prospects Officially Visiting (Visit Date in Parentheses): AJ Carty (1/23)

Synopsis: The Huskies are brimming with scholarship specialists. They’ll have to look for a punter to replace Durkee after the 2015 season, but after that they are in decent shape the next couple years with Vizcaino holding down the fort when Van Winkle graduates in 2016. But with Ryan Masel set to leave after the 2015 season, grooming a scholarship long snapper was crucial for this class - and UW address that need with Carty. By getting Carty now, they won’t have to address this need in either depth or numbers until four years from now. That’s how you want it.
Overall Analysis:
Getting to 85: Right now Washington has 63 current scholarship players, and are expected to sign a raw number of 26 players for 2015. But that raw number includes four players that have either enrolled early or could be moved back to the 2014 recruiting class - Jake Browning, Ezekiel Turner, Devin Burleson and Kyler Manu. Since the Huskies signed 21 from the 2014 signing class when you take away Burleson’s letter and Lavon Washington, who washed out, that means all of them could be moved back to create four more spots. To remain within NCAA spec, they’ll have to move at least one of them back to make sure they can get to the 25 number - but with players like Warren and Hawkins still out there they have some wiggle room to keep brining in quality. But they don’t have a ton of room.

Position Switches Can Impact Balance: This is always one of the big issues when trying to produce an analysis without a full understanding of how the coaches plan on using the signees. And some of it just comes down to technicalities; Benning Potoae could be listed as either a linebacker or defensive end, because he’s going to be really doing a little bit of both. The BUCK position will always create a certain amount of havoc when dealing with a paper analysis, so that’s to be expected. And the way Washington uses their tight ends and how they recruit tight ends now, they may find themselves doing as much as a receiver. That’s just how the tight end position has evolved in the shotgun era.

And as much as position switches can impact balance, full philosophical switches can have an even greater effect, especially on defense. Pac-12 defenses have to be multiple as a matter of survival; any time you face Oregon one week and Stanford the next you have to adapt to deal with what’s in front of you - and in the Pac-12 we’ve already seen how offenses run the gamut from power to spread and back and everything in-between within a matter of a few games.


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