What does Isaiah Gilchrist, the Bellevue Blue-Chipper, do for the 2016 Washington Recruiting Class?

In perhaps the quietest commitment of a local four-star prospect ever, Bellevue do-it-all athlete Isaiah Gilchrist verbally pledged his football future to Washington shortly after the Huskies defeated Sacramento State 49-0 Saturday at Husky Stadium. Normally a ‘WOOF’ from Chris Petersen via his Twitter account means someone has joined the Husky Football family, but so soon after a comprehensive win? Some thought it was just exuberance on Pete’s part. But sure enough, about a half hour later Gilc

“I would like to thank all the programs and coaches for recruiting me thus far but after much talk with my family and friends I’ve decided to commit to the University of Washington #GO DAWGS!!”, is what Gilchrist wrote, thus ending a recruiting process that was pretty stress-free for the 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back. It was expected Gilchrist had been leaning to Washington for a while, but was also looking to take some official visits to colleges - Arizona State, Oregon and USC were the others hot on his trail - but that won’t be happening now.

What kind of player is Gilchrist?: This is what Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins had to say about Gilchrist shortly after Signing Day in February, including what kind of player he is and why he was such an important pickup for the Huskies - “Isaiah Gilchrist is a top five corner in the West region and hails from one of the nation's true heavyweight programs, Bellevue. The Huskies have been on Gilchrist longer than anyone and were his first scholarship offer, offering way back prior to his sophomore season. It was definitely a good move to get on the athlete so early in the process so you're not having to play catch up on a local player. Gilchrist plays a premium position, you can never have too many talented corners and are looking like the early team to beat right now.”

How does Gilchrist’s commitment impact cornerback depth going forward?: Below is a list of Washington’s returning cornerbacks for 2016, including the Huskies’ two verbal commits for the class - Gilchrist and Corona (Calif.) Centennial’s Kentrell Love.

Kevin King (6-3, 183, Sr.)
Sidney Jones (6-0, 178, Jr.)
Darren Gardenhire (5-11, 185, Jr.)
Brandon Lewis (5-10, 186, So.)
Jordan Miller (6-1, 163, So.)
Austin Joyner (5-10, 186, RFr.)
Kentrell Love (6-3, 175, Fr.)
Isaiah Gilchrist (5-11, 190, Fr.)

The Huskies have had a little more attrition at this spot than normal. Jermaine Kelly left in the spring and Naijiel Hale was dismissed for a violation of team rules. Those spots will be filled by Gilchrist and Love. 

Starting in 2016 you finally will see class balance with the cornerbacks, with all five classes represented and no more than two in any class. That is balance, and as long as UW doesn’t suffer any unforeseen attrition you can expect them to fill their yearly number with the same number that depart the year before.   

With 12 commitments already for 2016 and only 13 seniors departing after the 2015 season it’s unlikely the Huskies will take another cornerback in Gilchrist’s class. You could read into that the timing of the news; Gilchrist knew there was only one scholarship left for the remaining cornerback targets and he didn’t want to be left out. 

The news of Gilchrist’s commitment probably hits hardest for Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola’s Myles Bryant. The 5-foot-8 Bryant had impressed the Huskies to the point where they offered him a scholarship, but with the rides now taken he’s most likely on the outside looking in. 

For others, like Rialto (Calif.) Carter’s Marcus Strong or Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro’s Byron Murphy - two definite Washington targets - this news means less to them. Even though both could play corner at the next level, Strong is being recruited as a safety while Murphy, a top-125 player nationally rated by Scout.com, can do serious damage as a receiver. Last week he caught four passes for 253 yards and two scores. 

Can we gain any general recruiting insight into Gilchrist’s commitment?: Right now with Gilchrist’s commitment, the Washington Huskies check in at No. 38 nationally. There are only three teams in front of them that have either the same number of verbal commitments (12) or less: Texas A&M, Clemson, and Auburn. 

The Huskies were never going to have a huge class numbers-wise, so looking at the stars per player average might be a better gauge of just how well the Huskies have recruited to date. By that metric, Washington’s 3.25 stars per recruit ranks them 22nd overall, and fifth in the Pac-12 behind USC, Stanford, UCLA and Oregon. 

Obviously the other insight has to do with monitoring that state ‘fence’ and making sure other schools know they come into the Evergreen State to pick off top recruits at their own peril. Lake Stevens’ Jacob Eason remains the top in-state prize, but every other top target the Huskies coaching staff prioritized early has gone their way; Gilchrist, Tahoma’s Amandre Williams, Sehome’s Taylor Rapp, Eastside Catholic’s Brandon Wellington, and Olympia Capital punter Van Soderberg. And others, like Gonzaga Prep’s Evan Weaver, most likely could have gone the Huskies way if enough spots had been available. 

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