UW Defensive Recruiting 2005 - LB

Linebackers are the playmakers in defensive coordinator Kent Baer's scheme and they are the keys to strong coverage units on special teams. One problem Washington has had of late is they have had to burn several redshirts so players could be used on special teams. The Dawgs have two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and three incoming freshmen covering the current linebacker positions, so they are likely to take at least two players for next year.

Linebacker (2): Colton, Calif. LB Allen Bradford (6-0, 222) is arguably the best defensive player on the west coast. He's the number one rated linebacker in the country according to Scout. Bradford plays angry, is a force against the run and pass and he's an excellent athlete. At last count he had 17 offers with still more on their way. He lists Washington, USC, UCLA, Cal and Oklahoma as his favorites, but Oregon, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Ohio State, LSU, Nebraska and Notre Dame are all schools he likes as well. All have offered and it will be a while before Bradford decides anything. He can play anywhere at linebacker, but he would be an ideal weakside linebacker in the Husky system. He is going to be at Montlake in late July or early August for an unofficial visit and UW will probably get an official visit as well. With linebackers coach Chris Tormey working him hard, the Huskies have just as good a chance as anyone to obtain Bradford's letter of intent. He has set up an official visit to Nebraska on September 3rd.

Little Rock, Calif. LB Bobby Epps (6-1, 213) is one to keep an eye on. He recently transferred to Little Rock from Dorsey HS in Los Angeles and teams have had trouble getting in touch with him, but he is an excellent prospect. Last year at Dorsey, as a junior, he broke the school record for quarterback pressures with 26, while recording 11 sacks and 25 tackles for loss. He is aggressive and seems to have a nose for the ball. He is someone who will get a lot of attention this fall and it seems that multiple offers are on the way. He would be an excellent weakside linebacker, allowing his athleticism to show in pursuit. Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, Georgia Tech and Colorado have made his list of teams he is interested in. Watch out for Epps this fall.

In the state of Washington there are two prospects that have the Huskies' eyes. Spokane (Wash.) Mead's LB/S Andy Mattingly (6-4,215) and Gig Harbor, Wash. LB/S Jake Merrill (6-3,205) have both camped at UW and both are receiving plenty of interest from other schools in the area. Mattingly sports offers from Oregon State, Washington State, Boise State and Idaho. Merrill also has an offer from Oregon State. Both are listed at safety, but both have the build and speed ready for the linebacker position. Mattingly has been seen as a WSU lock for a while, but if UW shows him some interest he may take some time to look at how both schools do this fall.

Mattingly's teammate, Paul Senescall (6-1, 215) is another player to keep an eye on for a late offer. Paul is a player that could play linebacker or fullback and is a tough-as-nails player with upside.

There are some players on the islands that could continue the LB pipeline started over twenty years ago and continued with players like Ink Aleaga and through today (Joe Lobendahn). Honolulu (Hawaii) Radford's Russell Wantowski (6-0, 205) is a quick LB/DE hybrid that could bulk up and be an ideal rush end for a team like UW that plays in a 4-3 style. Honolulu (Hawaii) Kamehameha's Mana Lolotai, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis' Jared Silva and Honolulu (Hawaii) Moanalua's Quinton Tang were three other linebacker prospects that impressed during the Scout.com PIAA combine and could definitely end up on the mainland for their college experience.

Other prospects to keep an eye on: Mekonnen Anebo (6-0, 214) Olympia (Wash.) Capital; George Vea (6-0, 205) Alamo (Nev.) Pahranagat Valley; Niko Wacker (6-1, 200) Bothell, Wash.; Donald Butler (6-1, 215) Fair Oaks (Calif.) Del Campo; Marcus Yarbrough (6-0, 245) Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake; Brian Dean (6-2, 220) Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton; J.J. Kulusich (6-2, 232) San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian; Anthony Atkins (6-3, 250) Compton (Calif.) JC

Outlook: Bradford would be a huge get if the Huskies were able to reel him in. Two of his closest friends (cornerbacks Devin Ross and Shareece Wright) are also very high on Washington and that could lead to a trifecta for the Dawgs. Epps is a stud and Merrill really likes Washington. With a solid senior season look for Merrill and Mattingly to get big consideration for offers. Anebo may not get an offer, but could be a walk-on prospect if he doesn't like any of his other offers. At the least, the Dawgs will take two players at this spot and Bradford is their main target.

Dawgman.com Top Stories