A week ago today, Washington grabbed their seventh commitment for the 2017 class when Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wa.) TE Devin Culp decided to become a Husky while on an unofficial visit during Junior Day. Here's a look at how he fits into the program and his impact on the rest of the class...
What to like
Culp's raw athleticism has had coaches and scouts drooling since he started as a sophomore for the Bullpups. At 6'5" and weighing in at close to 240 pounds, the moment he steps on the field, he's a mismatch for defenses. Put a linebacker on him, Culp has the speed and quickness to run away from them. Put a defensive back on him and he can use his size and leaping ability to be an impossible matchup. Word is he's a great locker room guy and a hard-worker, so the sky is the limit for him.
What needs work
As great as his potential is, right now, that's all it is. In Gonzaga Prep's run-heavy, Wing-T offense, he doesn't get a lot of chances to catch the ball and their route-tree is very simplistic. Up until last year, Culp considered himself a basketball player, so he's still pretty new to the game of football. While he's a blank slate as far as football goes, he's got a long way to go before he sees the field as a college football player.
While Culp has been asked to block in his prep system, he more of a lean and push rather than someone who uses good technique and strength. Once he gets to Washington, expect the coaches to work a lot on his blocking skills and for him to improve immensely in that area.
How he fits
Because he's mainly played as a wide receiver, Culp will likely start out his career as a "move" tight end in Washington's scheme, a position that allows him to go in motion and split out wide on many occasions. The Huskies took Hunter Bryant from Eastside Catholic in the 2017 class and he fits that mold as well, but Jacob Kizer, who signed in 2016, but didn't enroll until January of this year and 2017 signee Cade Otton both appear to be in the more traditional tight end role with their hands in the ground on the end of the line.
Expect Culp to be used early on as a redzone target and to be split out most of the time he's on the field.
He'll have to battle with Bryant and Michael Neal for playing time at the "move" tight end spot, but the bet here is that the Husky coaches will do their best to get Bryant and Culp on the field at the same time with both being matchup nightmares for defensive coordinators.
How he impacts the 2018 class
For a while, it looked like Washington wouldn't even take a tight end in the class, but when an athlete like Culp comes along, you have to make room for him, especially when he resides within the borders of the state.
The expectation here is that the Huskies are done with receiver and tight end recruiting with the additions of Culp at tight end and Marquis Spiker, Trey Lowe and Austin Osborne all on board.
The Bottom Line
Chris Petersen and his staff have done a good job of recruiting long athletes with tremendous upside and Culp is just a continuation of that trend.
It's never a bad thing when you have a talented athlete like Culp say he wants to be part of your program, but fans need to be patient with him as he continues to develop under the tutelage of tight ends coach Jordan Paopao.
That patience should pay off in spades as he becomes a bigger and bigger part of the offense and when it's all said and done, Culp has the capability of posting double-digit touchdowns as he matures into his role with the Dawgs.