Recruiting Part One: The Skill Positions

Washington took a little different approach to recruiting this year. It remains to be seen if it will be effective or not, but coaches have never been big fans of the early commit. So instead of getting a bunch of early verbals as they did in his first two seasons at Washington, the Husky staff is taking their time.

They made precious few offers in the early period and held their cards very close to the vest so they would get more chances to get to know the prospective student athletes. This strategy afforded them the opportunity of meeting the kids and their families BEFORE any decisions have been made. The coaches can see the athletes during both in-home visits and on campus. A lot can be gleaned by both the athlete and the coaches in this environment, which is very positive for both sides.

UW coaches also had the luxury of watching more senior year games this year to see who is blossoming in their final season in high school. It is a pace that college football coaches are much more comfortable with, as opposed to the "Penn State" theory of signing an entire class by the time football season begins.

Early offers and verbal acceptances happened in the cases of in-state talents DL Dan Milsten and DL/TE Jordan Reffett as well as California kids CB Matt Fountaine and DL Maurice Murray, and the Huskies appear to be leading big time for former verbal DL Chris Solomona, El Camino JC's star lineman who has told us repeatedly that Washington leads. "Call me a soft commit", were his exact words at the time, because he still was looking at taking a couple of visits, with Washington being his final visit. Anyway you slice it, it looks very good for the Huskies with Solomona, a 6-5 285 pounder that can really run.

With more evaluation and visitation time, coaches have a much greater appreciation for a student athlete's attitude, talent level, and academic situation. Therefore this recruiting class should have far fewer risks associated with it when it comes to quality of evaluation and 'the number crunch' problem that can happen. The reigns are much looser now. Washington has a lot of open slots and will have much more flexibility as they head into the big visit weekends in December.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to speculate on the class that Washington could wind up with. Here are my best guesses at the skill positions:

Isaiah Stanback 6-3 200 4.4 Garfield HS, Seattle – The top recruit in the state, it's very important that Washington keeps him home. I think they'll do that. Stanback was a frequent visitor to Husky football games and was in attendance at the UW vs. UNLV hoops game having a great time. He is in town visiting officially as you read this article.

Prediction: I think UW will sign one quarterback and it will be Stanback.
RUNNING BACKS - need = 2

Marcus O'Keith 5-11 175 4.4 Narbonne HS, CA – O'Keith is a burner and had a monster junior season despite splitting time. He visits on December 7th and I think Washington will get a verbal from him then if the visit goes well. He is big time, not the media darling that some of the others are, but he would be a solid signee for any school that gets him. He's definitely a top tier running back and would be a great fit at Washington. The offer is on the table.

Hershel Dennis 5-11 190 4.4 Poly HS, CA – Dennis is considered one of the best running backs in the country along with Lorenzo Booker. Washington is in his top three right now and he'll visit Washington in December, most likely on the same weekend as Booker. Could be an interesting trip. Dennis' Poly teammate DL Maurice Murray is very high on Washington, enough so that he committed without a trip.

Lorenzo Booker 5-11 175 4.4 St. Bonaventure HS, CA – Booker stole the show at the SoCal Nike Camp and is considered the #1 prospect in the country by many recruiting services. Booker is considered a "can't miss" and has a great attitude about everything. Florida State has his eye but he'll visit Washington on December 14th. He'll also look very VERY hard at USC.

Ryan Cole 6-0 207 4.4 South Kitsap HS, WA – Cole is an amazing physical specimen, but more importantly, he's one great kid that will be an asset to any school he signs with. He could play multiple positions because of his quickness and explosiveness, but is being recruited by the Huskies as a tailback. This is a kid I'd really love to see in Purple and Gold. He reminds me of a faster version of Kent Meridian's Robin Miller, who signed with Nebraska three recruiting seasons ago. With a 10.78 100 meters time, his speed is very legit. Cole was recently named the Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year.

Kenny James 5-11 205 4.5 Dos Palos, CA – James scored 91 touchdowns over the past two seasons and put up back-to-back 2400-yard rushing years. He's due to be in Seattle the same weekend as Booker and Dennis.

John Ford 6-2 220 Foothill HS, NV – A bigger tailback in the Rich Alexis mode, could be a real thumper between the tackles. Committed to UNLV early but will now take other visits. He will visit Seattle in December and is looking hard at Nebraska and Oregon.

Shelton Sampson 5-10 175 4.3 Clover Park HS, WA – Sampson has verballed to UCLA but will take a visit to Washington, probably in December. He was at the Apple Cup and looked very chummy with Husky coaches in the team meeting room after the game. He's a speedster that could carry the rock or catch it as a receiver in college. His speed makes him a very attractive recruit and Washington will do their best to change his mind about the Bruins.

Randy Hill 6-2 190 4.4 McClintock HS, AZ – After dispelling rumors that he had committed to ASU, Hill has set up an official visit to Tempe on December 14th and will visit Washington and Colorado State as well. When our staff was in town to cover the ASU game, they went to see Hill and came away very impressed. He's a keeper.

Frederick Collins 6-0 185 La Quinta HS, CA – Collins is looking at Texas A&M, Washington, Arizona State and Michigan State. He's not considered to have as much pure speed as some of the others on the board but his talent is undeniable, and he doesn't get caught from behind, so he's obviously fast enough.

PREDICTION: UW gets O'Keith and Cole, and maybe one more, but if they get those two, they'll be very happy.

Blake Mackey 6-3 185 4.4 Bakersfield, CA – Mackey is the top guy on the board. He's got speed, size, and hands. That combination makes you one of the most sought after receivers on the west coast and that describes Mackey perfectly. A recent UW in-home visit may have helped a bit, but Washington may be behind in this race. He has 49 receptions for 801 yards and 10 scores this year. Hasn't set up a visit to Seattle yet but he plans on doing that.

Rhema McKnight - 6-3 180 4.4 Kennedy HS, CA – rates Rhema #1 at the WR position. McKnight is getting attention from all the biggies, including Florida, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Oregon and UCLA will be the prime Pac-10 competition for the Dawgs in this one.

Terry Richardson - 6-1 190 Centennial HS, CA – Richardson made 55 grabs for nearly 1000 this season and found the end zone 13 times. Washington is fighting to get a visit from him, as are Oregon, USC, ASU, Arizona, Colorado, and UNLV. Bobby Hauck had a good in-home visit with Richardson and he's got a full ride on the table from the Huskies.

Quinton McCoy 5-11 175 4.4 Chandler, AZ – McCoy was having a great year before suffering an injury that shelved him temporarily. He'll heal 100% no problem, which is why the Huskies have no worries when they offered a scholarship and sent RB Coach Tony Alford in for a home visit with the McCoys. Quinton and his parents will visit Seattle on January 4th.

Quentin Rogers 6-2 170 Nogales HS, CA – Rogers doesn't have an offer yet but if they do offer him, Rogers told Chris Fetters that he would commit. Arizona State is the primary competition for Rogers, who could play defense as well in college. Tony Alford is recruiting him for Washington.

PREDICTION: Washington gets the "R" brothers, Richardson and Rogers.
NEXT UP: Part II - The Big Men. Top Stories