Washington Recruiting: Offensive Line

Ask any coach and he'll tell you, offensive production begins and ends with the line. The Huskies lose two starters to graduation, but they return three players who played nearly every snap available during the season. The Dawgs are encouraged by some of their young lineman who will be redshirt freshman and sophomores and the hope is they will benefit from another year in the same system.

Stanley Daniels and Clay Walker were expected to be the anchors to the line this season and they did an adequate job of holding things together. From a pass-protection standpoint, the Huskies did pretty well only allowing 19 sacks (good for 5th in the conference and only 8 behind the leader).

Considering the line was as young as it was (three players starting for the first time in their careers) and the fact that they had little to no running-game in the second-half of the season, that is an impressive stat.

Now, a lot of that success could be attributed to the athleticism and better feel for the rush that Isaiah Stanback showed during his seven starts, but they also did very well protecting Bonnell when he dropped back to pass.

Here is a look at the returning players along Washington's offensive line and who they are looking to bring in with their 2007 recruiting class.

Offensive LineJuan Garcia (Sr.); Chad Macklin (Sr.); Erik Berglund (Sr.); Casey Bulyca (Jr.); Ryan Bush (Jr.); Jordan White-Frisbee (Jr.); Aaron Mason (Jr.); Ben Ossai (So.); Morgan Rosborough (So.); Matt Sedillo (RS-Fr.); Ryan Tolar (RS-Fr.); Cody Habben (RS-Fr.)
Commits – Rainier Beach OL Emeka Iweka (Seattle); Oregon City Scott Shugert (Or.)
Targeted Prospects – Nevada City OL Taylor Dever (Grass Valley, Ca.); Bishop Gorman OL Po'u Palelei (Las Vegas); Oaks Christian OL Cory Yriarte (Westlake Village, Ca.); Sehome OL Steve Ayers (Bellingham, Wa.); Servite OL Garrett Pendergast (Anaheim, Ca.); Grant Union OL Devan Cunningham (Sacramento); Oak Harbor OL Will Hunter (Wa.); Palo Alto OL Fred Koloto (Ca.)
Will take – Minimum of five, six or seven if they find a JC lineman they like

Garcia, Macklin and Ossai were first-year starters last year and they return to anchor the line in 2007 with much-needed experience.

Ossai has solid athleticism, but was beaten too many times by speed-rushers. The hope is that he will learn from his experiences and toward the end of the season he did seem to make some strides.

Garcia finally was able to stay healthy for a whole season and he was adequate in the pivot, but the team will expect more out of him now that he's got 12 starts under his belt.

Macklin has his limitations, but he's got a huge wingspan and he's a decent athlete. He'll get after defenders and offensive line coach Mike Denbrock thinks he could end up being a solid player on the outside.

Berglund can back up either tackle spot, but he's better suited at right tackle. He left the team under Keith Gilbertson, but rejoined the team for spring practices and has added solid depth behind the starters.

As far as the two guard positions are concerned, it's a battle between Rosborough, Bulyca, Tolar and Bush.

Tolar impressed with his physical play during camp and Rosborough and Bulyca are huge men. The team love's Rosborough's athleticism for a man that weighs roughly 375 pounds, but he needs to improve his conditioning. If he does that, he has all-conference talent.

Bush backed up Garcia all season, but the team might move him to guard and let Sedillo be the understudy at center. Should Garcia get dinged, Bush could then move to center in a pinch.

White-Frisbee, Mason, Habben and Sedillo all add talented, if inexperienced, depth behind the top eight linemen.

Iweka is an outstanding athlete who needs to work on his technique and his grades. He's a raw prospect that Denbrock can mold into an excellent tackle in a few years.

Schugert is likely headed inside and it is said he mauls people in the running game. He isn't the athlete the Iweka is, but he's got heart and desire and he's also a good wrestler as well.

Washington needs at least three more players to fill out their lineman class and they could take a fourth if they find someone they like – either at the JC level or a top high school prospect.

Right now, the top two players on their list are Palelei, who would fit inside at guard, and Dever who is built like a right tackle already.

Palelei will visit Washington, most likely on December 8th, and if the Huskies get White (Palelei's teammate) to commit, there's a very good chance Palelei could commit as well. He could challenge for time right away with his skill and athleticism. The top competition for Palelei's commitment is Arizona State, but it's rumored he's favoring Washington right now.

Dever is a player the Huskies had the inside track with because his father is Marques Tuiasosopo's godfather. Now it appears Dever could get an offer from his childhood favorite Notre Dame and if that happens he's likely headed to South Bend, Indiana. He's also being courted by Miami, Nebraska and Oregon, so the Huskies have their work cut out for them even if he doesn't choose the Irish.

Koloto is a player that is listed at defensive tackle, but he's being recruited by the Huskies to play guard. He's a strong player with good athleticism and he really likes offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, the coach leading the recruiting effort, and head coach Tyrone Willingham. Washington is competing with San Jose State and Fresno State for his services and now Nebraska has gotten involved as well.

Yriarte (pronounced WHY-are-tee) could turn out to be a solid center-prospect for the Huskies, but they haven't offered yet. He says they contact him on a regular basis, but at this point, no offer has been forthcoming. He'll be taking visits to Boise State and San Diego State and make his decision shortly thereafter, but if the Huskies offer they would jump into the lead.

Ayers, Cunningham, Hunter and Pendergast don't have offers at this point, but all have been shown interest by the Huskies during the season. Cunningham is huge and projects to tackle, while Hunter and Pendergast would be candidates to play inside at guard.

Hunter, along with Ayers, are the two local guys left on the list for the Huskies, with Ayers the better prospect. Both attended Washington's camp this past summer and have been on the Huskies' radar for a while.

Ayers has an offer from Washington State and could end up with an offer from the Dawgs if they miss on some of the bigger prospects on their list. Hunter doesn't have any offers at this point, but that could change very quickly as visits begin to happen.

As for lineman in the junior college ranks, the Huskies haven't made many contacts at this point and it would be a surprise to see them sign anyone during the early signing period in December.

Check back on Friday for the start of our defensive projection and have a Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday.

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