Recruiting needs and wants - offense

The University of Washington, by my unofficial count before the season begins, has 83 scholarship players on roster going into the 2003-2004 season. That is assuming that Washington Head Coach Keith Gilbertson doesn't reward any current walk-ons with scholarships (which he may very well do). There are 13 current scholarshipped seniors, and if Reggie Williams and Terry Johnson enter the NFL draft a year early (which is expected), that will leave 15 spots open for the 2004 recruiting class.

Add in the reasonable 4-5 player attrition that occurs every year without fail, and the anticipated return of lineman Willie Kava from his Mormon mission, and you have roughly 20 scholarships available. That's the number we will work with as each position is broken down, with the number of prospects anticipated taken and who are the likely candidates for those rides.


Quarterback (1)

After Cody Pickett leaves, the void will be filled by Casey Paus, Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell. Typically, for the benefit of consistency with your signal-caller, it's ideal to recruit one per class, so I do not anticipate Washington taking more than one QB. It wouldn't be surprising if they took two, especially with the athletes they are already looking at, but it would have to be assumed that at least one or more of those players' future would most likely be at another position. Here are the likely candidates:

Matt Tuiasosopo 6-2, 210 pounds, Woodinville, Washington. Matt is Marques Tuiasosopo's brother, so it's assumed UW will get Matt's last look before he chooses a school. UCLA and Notre Dame may be the biggest opposition for the Dawgs here, but expect the Huskies to pull out all the stops in an attempt to keep the last (and arguably the most athletic) Tuiasosopo home.

Rocky Hinds 6-4, 215 pounds, Playa Del Ray (Calif.) St. Bernards. There may not be a more athletic QB in the country than Rocky Hinds, but that may also be his downfall as a QB. Hinds ran a sub-4.5 40 at the USC Nike camp and astounded those around him with his mobility. But a pure pocket passer he isn't. He could very well be another Reggie Williams at receiver if he took to a position switch.

Darin Harris 5-11, 190 pounds, Federal Way (Wash.) Decatur. Darin is another athlete who plays QB for his team but just might be even more lethal at another position in college. He's already been offered scholarships by schools such as Washington and Colorado, so his athleticism is legitimate.

Robert Johnson 6-2, 195 pounds, Reedley (Calif.) College. Considered by many to be this year's Seneca Wallace, Johnson has college coaches drooling with his athleticism. It seems a bit odd that Washington would be going after a JC quarterback, but Robert has the Dawgs in his top-5.


Running back (1)

Rich Alexis will be the senior departing here, leaving Chris Singleton, Kenny James, Shelton Sampson and newcomers Louis Rankin. This, as are all the skill positions, is a spot where UW may take 'athletes' and fit them in to the positions they naturally gravitate to. Here are the likely candidates:

Terrell Jackson 5-8.5, 183 Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Terrell is arguably the best back in the West and will be a tough nut for the Huskies to crack based on the competition alone. Ran for 2,344 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior for Centennial.

Samson Taylor 5-11, 200 pounds, The Woodlands, Texas. Anytime you can find a 200-pound running back with legitimate 4.3 speed, you offer and ask questions later. Such is the case with Samson. The Huskies recently got stud TE Kevin Ware from the Lone Star State, so even though the odds of Taylor coming to UW are small, it's not out of the realm of possibility. If they can get him to visit, things can definitely open up from there.

Patrick Fuller 6-0, 200 pounds, Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak. Fuller isn't getting that much press, but the Pac-10 coaches know all about him. He rushed for 1,006 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, showing a nice combination of size and speed. Also a good basketball player.

Johnie Kirton 6-3, 250 pounds, Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson. Kirton is this year's 'mystery man' for the greater-Seattle area, having amassed a truckload of 200-yard plus rushing games already this season. But without any D1 offers, the first question is 'why'? He ran a legit 4.62 at the Seattle Nike camp. Can you say fullback? Or maybe the next Jerome Stevens?

Aaron Dickson 6-0, 200 pounds, Portland (Ore.) Grant. Dickson claims scholarship offers from Washington and Oregon State. He's a running back that could also play in the defensive backfield in college. Definitely has quicks for his size (4.12 shuttle at the Seattle Nike camp).

Gerwin Williams 5-10, 210 pounds, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant. One-half of the Williams duo that's taking over high school ball in Sacramento, Gerwin has been offered by Washington and USC. With his brother Worrell also high on the Dawgs, this is a package deal that just might materialize.

Marshawn Lynch 5-11, 195 Oakland (Calif.) Tech. A bigger back in the mold of Louis Rankin, Lynch was right at the top when it came to running backs at the Stanford Nike camp. Marshawn had over 1,000 yards rushing and scored 19 touchdowns last season. He'll be in a package deal with cousin (and high school teammate) Virdell Larkins, and right now the Huskies aren't high on their recruiting radar. If they can get an official visit from the two, that would improve their chances quite a bit.

Sekeli Faaeteete 6-1, 215 pounds, San Leandro, California. Sekeli has been offered by Washington, but it appears the bruising running back doesn't have any intentions of leaving California. Right now, Cal, USC and UCLA top his list and expect him to attend one of those schools.


Wide receiver (2)

With Williams gone, Charles Frederick will have to pick up the slack in 2004, bolstered with a healthy Justin Robbins, Jordan Slye and whichever of the true freshmen that step up. I also expect that at least one of the receivers that hits Montlake in 2003 gets moved to a position on defense. That means roughly 5-6 pass-catchers with experience, and UW needs at least two more athletes who can get the job done. There are a lot of potential candidates here:

Lavelle Hawkins 5-11, 170 pounds, Stockton (Calif.) Edison. Stockton was nice to UW last year, as Lincoln grad Louis Rankin is now in the purple and gold. Will lightning strike twice for the Dawgs in the central valley? Probably not. Hawkins is a freak for his size (4.4 speed and 13 reps of 185 pounds at this year's Stanford Nike camp), but he's got the south on his brain. Miami, LSU and Tennessee have the edge right now.

Chancellor Young 6-2, 210 pounds, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea. The local choice, Young is the son of NFL great Charle Young. His siblings have all gone to either USC or Stanford, so they would have to be considered serious contenders but the Huskies are an intriguing option and have offered early.

Michael Bumpus 6-0, 185 pounds, Culver City, California. Bumpus, along with Hawkins, Colvin and Jones, make up the top four WR prospects in all of California. He's not the burner Colvin or Jones are, but the numbers don't lie - 75 passes for 1,081 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

Jaison Williams 6-4, 215 pounds, Culver City, California. A teammate of Bumpus', Williams is more in the mold of Reggie, but just a step slower. That combination works for 99 percent of D1 teams, so Jaison will be a coveted athlete.

Michael Willis 6-3, 190 pounds, Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln. A Washington State verbal commit, don't expect the Huskies to back off of Willis without a bit of a tussle. Willis initially picked the Cougars early amidst concerns about stability within the Washington program. Expect UW to try and get Michael to take a visit to Montlake to dispel those thoughts.

James Harris 6-1, 190 pounds, Roseville (Calif.) Oakmont. A bit of a sleeper on the west coast, all Harris did last year was rack up over 2000 all-purpose yards, 1350 of those coming via pass. He's got hops (33.4" vert) and 4.5 speed. The next Justin Robbins?

James Lewis 6-1, 200 pounds, Venice, California. Lewis has been offered by Washington, and he can play either receiver or defensive back. With legit 4.5 speed and unquestioned strength for his size (20 reps of 185 pounds), he's an athlete you get on campus and then put him in where you need him.

Carl Shaw 6-3, 190 pounds, Spokane (Wash.) Lewis and Clark. Could the Dawgs turn the tables and nab a player from the Cougars' backyard? They might if they feel Shaw is deserving of a scholarship offer. He's a big target and more of a possession-type guy. He's also a solid defensive back and could end up growing into a SAM before his collegiate career is finished.


Tight End (0)

There are currently 6 tight ends on the team (Jon Lyon, Joe Toledo, Andy Heater, Ben Bandel, Jason Benn and Dash Crutchley) and 6 scholarshipped TE's is plenty. If Jaison Williams does come to Washington, he's a guy that could also play some tight end in the mold of a Kellen Winslow.


Offensive linemen (5)

The Huskies have already lost Andre Reeves and Aaron Butler to attrition, and will lose Todd Bachert and Nick Newton to graduation in 2004. Chad Macklin and Erik Berglund arrive on the scene this fall to pick up the slack, but Garcia won't be part of the deal, at least for this season. Expect Juan to be back in 2004. He's a two-way terror and could end up as a DT before it's all over. That means the Dawgs need to replentish their supply of beef and have already gone a long ways toward doing just that. Here are the candidates (including verbal commits):

Casey Bulyca 6-7, 295 pounds, Woodinville, Washington. Casey will be Matt Tuiasosopo's personal escort for the Falcons in 2003 and is a perfect blend of size, athleticism and nasty. Already a Washington verbal commit for 2004.

Ryan Bush 6-4, 290 pounds, Puyallup (Wash.) Rogers. From the same school as current Husky Dan Milsten, Bush is an inside road-grader that really impressed the coaches at the 2003 summer Washington camp. They offered him and he has accepted.

Tyler Ashby 6-5, 300 pounds, Seattle (Wash.) Ballard. Ashby is another local, homegrown talent that jumped in the Huskies' boat literally days after he was offered. He's a mountain of a man and has the footwork and smarts to be a potential all Pac-10 performer in 3-4 years.

Nathan Flowers 6-4, 295 pounds, Chula Vista, California. Flowers plays both ways for Chula Vista, but prefers offense. Flowers was a player targeted early by OL coach Dan Cozzetto and Dan got his man when Nathan verbally committed to Washington.

Aaron Klovas 6-6, 300 pounds, Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel. Klovas would be the crown jewel to this class, a mammoth strong tackle that has already shown why he is arguably the best OL on the west coast with a stellar effort at the Seattle Nike camp.

Eric Rouser 6-8, 265 pounds, Ventura (Calif.) Saint Bonaventure. Rouser could be this year's Chad Macklin - a tall, athletic lineman that shows all the signs of being a dominant tackle at the D1 level. Washington has already offered Eric and he's on the verge of repaying the Huskies' love with a verbal commitment. But with Arizona, Oregon State hot on Rouser's trail, this one could be a real dawg fight.

Allen Smith 6-5, 310 pounds, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol. Don't expect Smith to go anywhere but his hometown school (Arizona State), as he calls Tempe his home, but the Huskies are going to do their best to lure Allen from his comfort zone. He's smart, tough and huge, a combination that's hard to resist.

Brent Russum 6-4, 275 pounds, Lewiston, Idaho. Russum proved at the Oregon Nike camp that even though he's from a smaller town, he packs a big-city punch. He stood toe-to-toe with WSU commits Andy Roof and Eddie Vickers and didn't back down one inch. In short, he belongs in the Pac-10 and is already slated for a visit to Seattle.

Cody Balogh 6-5, 300 pounds, Steilacoom, Washington. Another smaller-town big man, Balogh is the anchor to a Steilacoom line that ran roughshod over a Columbia River team with four legitimate D1 players on it. Cody lets his pads do the talking, and they speak volumes. No offers yet, but Stanford and the Dawgs are hot on his heels.




Tomorrow: a look at the defense.

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