Washington recruiting - 10 Questions

We asked Allen Wallace, National Recruiting Analyst for SuperPrep and TheInsiders.com, to answer the top ten questions regarding Washington's recruiting efforts this year. Here are his answers.

1. How would you rank UW's overall line recruiting compared to the rest of the country?

Allen Wallace: Obviously, UW can't get much better until the Huskies fix a weak OL. With Casey Bulyca leading a group of five already committed, Gilbertson has made a nice start. It's impossible to compare to efforts throughout the rest of the country yet because too many big-timers remain uncommitted, and landing just one great OL can change the entire complexion of your group.

2. Is Matt Tuiasosopo your top QB on the west coast and how does he rank nationally in your opinion?

AW: I rated Matt #2 in the country in the pre-season. He'll drop slightly from that spot in my post season rankings because I think he needs to work more on his passing game before he can justify such an elite spot.

3. In your opinion, is Washington suffering in recruiting because Rick Neuheisel is gone?

AW: In some ways yes, in some ways no. Rick Neuheisel was a great one-on-one recruiter. Just about as good as they come. Very appealing to individual recruits. But his recruiting efforts as a whole lacked balance I think. That has not become apparent until recently, at least to me. This is how SuperPrep ranked UW's class for the last five years (18, 15, 4, 21, 42). That's not bad, except for the '99 effort, Rick's first class--when he signed 18 kids which included Paul Arnold and Cody Pickett. Generally, if you consistently recruit top 20 classes, you are in the running for BCS bowls in my opinion. Don't judge Keith Gilbertson too quickly in this area. He needs a chance to build some momentum and to recruit for a full year.

4. Also, how would you rank their entire class? Who would be your diamonds in the rough of UW's recruiting class this year?

AW: I'd rank the Huskies in the top half of the Pac-10 and couldn't begin to guess where UW will fall into place nationally. This will go down as the Matt Tuiasosopo class--a lot of pressure on this kid to prove he can make it happen. As far as diamonds in the rough go, watch for DB Darin Harris, OL Jovon O'Connor and DE Walter Winter. As three-star athletes, both Harris and Winter are pretty well-known, but they could still turn out even better, especially Winter, who looked sharp in the U.S. Army All-Star game.

5. Is Aaron Klovas as big of an in-state loss as all the experts are saying?

AW: Yes. He's viewed as the top dog (no pun intended) and UW needs OLs very badly. There's one loss you can pin on the Neuheisel debacle. The Huskies were Klovas' childhood fave. He's the type of huge, qualified OL who could go wherever he wanted. Once you fired Neuheisel, you had no shot at this guy, so don't worry about it. The recruits you need to worry about aren't your losses so much as the recruits you sign who don't turn out good enough to really help. That's where the real damage is done with any school.

6. Who are the best players in California that the Huskies are still on, and who from that state do you think will sign with UW in February?

AW: The Huskies still have a shot at Californians WR Lavelle Hawkins, LB Alan Darlin, CB Willie Glasper, LB/SS Terrence Kelly, RB Terrell Jackson and LB/FB Worrell Williams. I can't tell you who you will sign from this group. They all have excellent options and it could be a real fight to the finish for some of them.

7. Who is UW's biggest recruiting competition of late - WSU and UO or USC and UCLA?

AW: Tough question. I would say WSU is your biggest worry. USC and UCLA can get what they want in Calif without stopping the Huskies from doing the same, if you know what I mean. And neither of the L.A. schools rely on Washington talent to any large degree year in and year out. ORE's a tough recruiting opponent for everybody, not just the Huskies in particular

8. Why hasn't Washington made more of a national impact in recruiting? They've had success with players from Texas and Florida in the past, but it seems like they don't try very hard to recruit outside the west coast and Hawaii.

AW: Geographic emphasis is strictly a coaching decision and the national perception is that UW recruits in the west basically. Occasional success in Florida or Texas doesn't really change that the Huskies don't really need to be successful east of Nevada, unless their coaches want to. Generally, you go where good prospects are who want you. It makes no sense to go after a bunch of hot shots far away, if 98% are going to say no. So you go long distance when you have a reason to believe the kid wants to come your way. Don't worry about the geographic composition of your class. Another factor that contributes to a program's decision to recruit nationally is the existence of contacts into an area that an assistant has. If UW isn't working hard in an area, you can bet it's because they don't feel confident about using their recruiting time and efforts in that manner.

9. Have you gotten a sense, based on who Washington has received commitments from so far, how Keith Gilbertson is going to be as a recruiter for the Huskies?

AW: Gilbertson is doing a very good job I think, especially in view if the fact he didn't have a bowl team this season. He'll never be as dynamic is Neuheisel. But as his plan unfolds for the future of UW, he'll be in a much better position to command the prospect audience he wants. He came into the program at a chaotic and confusing time and deserves a lot of credit for beating all the northwest teams this season. He landed Matt T and is working on fixing OL problems, establishing a running game and bringing in highly regarded jucos to help quickly.

10. Will the Huskies close strong, or have they already peaked with the commitments of Matt Tuiasosopo and their JUCO players?

AW: Can't answer that. One of the most intriguing aspects of recruiting is what happens in the final month. It's like a horse race. It's not all about what you do. It's about what your opponents put together as well. And recruits react to other recruits. Let the chips fall where they may. But I hope UW hasn't peaked already. You have some very good players on your board that you don't want to be playing against in the future.

You can ask Allen or any of TheInsiders.com recruiting analyst a question by clicking here

Allen Wallace is the nationally respected publisher of SuperPrep magazine and this year became. In print since 1985, it represents the absolute finest in recruiting information.

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