UW Defensive Recruiting 2005 - DB

Washington's secondary is a mix of good news and bad news. The good news is that the Huskies bring back a quartet of safeties with game experience. The bad news is that only one cornerback saw action in 2004. Even with help coming in the way of JC players and D1 transfers, there's no question new head coach Tyrone Willingham will need to load up on some skill players to bulk up depth concerns.

Today we look at both safety and cornerback, and what Husky fans might expect for both positions for the recruiting class of 2006.

Cornerbacks (2 or 3): Washington is expecting a transfer from Nevada (Chris Handy) and a junior college player (Qwenton Freeman) to move in and challenge for playing time right away this fall, and they have only three other scholarship players at this position. That doesn't mean players won't be moved around if the need arises, but an influx of true cornerback talent is definitely needed at this position.

Shareece Wright (5-11, 185), who plays with Bradford at Colton, California, is very high on Washington right now. He has an offer from the Dawgs and plans an unofficial visit with Bradford in early August. Wright impressed a lot of schools with his coverage abilities at the Scout combine in Los Angeles in May and has offers from across the country. Wright sports eight offers but lists UW, UCLA and Arizona as his three favorites and took an unofficial to UCLA earlier this summer. He hasn't decided on when he will make a decision, but with the Huskies' needs at corner, expect them to put the heat on when he is at Montlake. At this point his only official visit is scheduled for September 3rd to Nebraska with Devin Ross and Allen Bradford.

Ross, (5-11, 180) from Rancho Cucamonga, California, is one of the best corners in the west and the second rated one in the country by Scout.com. He has received over 13 offers and is hearing mainly from the Pac 10 schools, Tennessee, Purdue, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Recently, Michigan has entered the fray with an offer as well. Ross is strong and has an excellent break on the ball. He isn't thrown at much, so he doesn't have many chances at takeaways, but as a sophomore he led his conference in interceptions with six. He is coming up to Washington and Oregon in early August and then plans to start narrowing down his list of schools. Nebraska seems to have made an impression on Ross and he has scheduled an official with the Cornhuskers on September 3rd. The Huskies have a very good shot with this stud, but a lot will depend on the performance of the team this fall.

Vallejo (Calif.) Bethel CB Bobby Guillory (5-10, 173) was offered after camp by the Huskies and has just started to get attention from some teams on the west coast. Guillory is ultra-quick and has excellent speed. He is also excellent with the ball in his hands, making him a punt and kick return candidate for whichever school he commits to. Guillory claims offers from Washington, Oregon State, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada and impressed the USC coaches enough at their camp to get offered on the spot by the Trojans. He is trying to get to Washington for camp and also plans on camping at Oregon at the end of July. Guillory has just appeared on teams' radars and should see a lot more interest in the next few months.

A local guy who has the Huskies' eye is Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea CB Brandon Jones (5-10, 170). Jones received an offer from the Huskies early this summer and he camped with Washington in late June. He has excellent hands, good, quick feet and a very fluid backpedal and hip turn. He also has excellent speed running a 10.73 100 and a 21.95 200. He is being recruited specifically at corner right now, but he could play wideout in a pinch. He has been offered by Cal and Boise State as well as Washington and plans to make a decision sometime during the fall. So what are the chances of the Huskies reeling Jones in? Very good.

Other prospects to keep an eye on: Anthony Zackery (5-11, 185) Spokane (Wash.) Ferris.; James Smith (6-2, 195) Colton, Caif.; Marvin Johnson (5-10, 185) Compton (Calif.) Dominguez; Tyreace House (5-9, 175) Palmdale, Calif.

Outlook: Jones, Wright and Ross are the targets at this position. If UW was obtain two of these three they would be ecstatic. Wright and Ross are more physical while Jones uses his speed an hip turn to make plays on the ball. Zachary is the son of former UW CB Tony Zackery and with a good fall he will see more offers and may get one from Washington.

Safety (1 or 2): The Huskies have five very solid players at the safety position with two juniors, two sophomores and one redshirt freshman. The Dawgs had two academic casualties that took two other players from the depth chart (Chet Sanders and Keauntea Bankhead), so they are probably going to be looking for at least one player and possibly two.

In the state of Washington there are four prospects that have the Huskies' attention, starting with O'Dea HS (Seattle, WA) S Taylor Mays (6-3, 220). Mays - who was mentioned before as a wide receiver prospect – is also an excellent safety prospect. He has excellent hands, is a great athlete and smart. He would be the playmaker in the Husky defensive backfield that they need and would push for playing time right away next fall. As stated before, he is being recruited heavily by the entire country but he has narrowed his focus to four schools at this point – although that could always change – Washington, USC and Michigan. Cal, who recently signed one of Mays' teammates, linebacker Anthony Felder, and has offered Jones (one of Mays' closest friends) could be a player for his services as well. Mays continues to say he would like to decide where he's headed before the school year and that could be a blessing or a curse for the Huskies.

Mead HS (Spokane) LB/S Andy Mattingly (6-4,215) and Gig Harbor HS 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.

Yakima (Wash.) Davis QB/S Marcus Rance (6'3",190) had an excellent camp at Washington and the coaches have taken notice sending letters to the young man from central Washington. Rance has offers from Idaho, Eastern Washington and most recently Stanford. Despite a recent verbal commitment to the Cardinal, look for the Huskies to keep a close eye on Rance this fall. He plays a lot like current Husky S Darin Harris, but is bigger and can add more muscle.

Other prospects to keep an eye on: Tyler Porras (6-2, 180) Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro; Juston Freeman (5-11, 200) Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley JC; Jeffrey Solomon (6-1, 185) Seattle (Wash.) Ingraham

Outlook: Safety is not a need position, but you never turn down a playmaker in the deep patrol if you can get him. Mays is a top ten national prospect at any position and Rance could be a sleeper that earns an offer with a great senior season. Look for the team to take a wait and see on him. If the Huskies sign Mattingly or Merrill, look for them both to get a look here as well as at linebacker.

Overall, the Huskies should have somewhere in the range of 14-17 scholarships this fall. Playmakers are needed at almost every position, but defensively this team is deeper, aside from cornerback, than they have been in quite a while. No kickers will be taken with this class and several players could fill several different spots on the roster.

Never fear Husky fans. This team is recruiting hard and making their presence felt with a number of recruits and it is still very early in the game.

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