Willingham talks about 2007 class

It's been a long and grueling road to signing the 2007 recruiting class. In some cases, players had been recruited for the better part of three years and with the roller-coaster ride for Husky fans they can finally breathe a sigh of relief as 27 players faxed in their letters this morning to Montlake.

"We have a class here that is deep and talented and it fills needs within our program" head coach Tyrone Willingham told the media today at his press conference. "It offers us a lot of good football players and in some cases, and probably a lot of cases, there should be opportunities for those guys to make contributions soon and in some cases they will have to rely on their growth potential to grow and develop and help our team down the road."

The class in heavy in prospects from California with 14 inking their names to play for the Huskies. The state of Washington was represented by six players, two were from Colorado and Hawaii, Texas, Utah, Oregon and Nevada all featured one player each.

Below are Willingham (TW) and linebacker's coach Chris Tormey's (CT) thoughts on the prospects that signed today:

QB Ronnie Fouch – (TW) "When you recruit a quarterback you are looking for toughness because he needs to be the toughest player on the field in terms of mentally and then the physical abuse that he takes. With Ronnie, what we loved about him went back to his junior year where he injured his shoulder late in the season and he was expected to miss time and he came back the next week and led his team to a win. He was the one quarterback we wanted and we are real happy to have him along."

RB Nate Williams – (TW) "When you talk about Nate Williams you are talking about a player who is tough, productive and a great leader. Makes good cuts and players smart. He's a local product and he's been a productive player for four years in high school."

RB Willie Griffin – (TW) "He's a player that comes from a school that regularly produces top talent and his coach will say that he's one of the best players they've had."

RB Curtis Shaw – (TW) "He's one of those guys that when you sit around and you ask him ‘Curtis, how many runs of 50 yards did you have in your career?' and I think the number he gave me was 30. That is huge. That's the explosive back that we're looking for."

RB Brandon Johnson – (TW) "When you talk about Brandon Johnson you're talking about a guy whose team was doing OK in the single-wing and all of the sudden the coaches decide to put the time in the I (formation) and now you've got a player who's getting you five touchdowns a game and putting numbers up like you wouldn't believe."

RB Brandon Yakaboski – (TW) "When you look at Brandon you see another local product that we asked to see something more out of and all he did was put his team on his back and carry them. That's the type of player you love to have in your program. Someone who will make teams better."

TE Chris Izbicki – (TW) "He's one of those players that will be a complete tight end for us. He has the ability to block, run, catch and lead our team and be a positive influence in that huddle for us. He brings everything to the table that you're looking for."

WR Devin Aguilar – (TW) "We love the fact that he's a two-sport athlete. We always encourage that. That was part of the recruiting process. We extended that to him and will allow him to pursue that aspect as well. If he's able to do both that excites us because that's an athlete that possesses rare skills."

WR Anthony Boyles – (TW) "When you talk about Anthony you talk about a player with confidence who is extremely hungry to be successful. When coach (Eric) Yarber left our program we had already gotten the basis of Anthony's recruitment set up to be the University of Washington so he already had a great foundation with our program. Some things might have seemed tenuous on the outside, but we knew where we stood with him all along."

WR Alvin Logan – (TW) "Alvin brought toughness and desire on the defensive side of the ball and we felt like he could put those attributes to good use at wide receiver. That's why we like him over there."

OL Scott Shugert – (TW) "We love linemen that are accomplished wrestlers because of the toughness it takes to be successful at that sport. When you're out on the mat it's just you. You can't point to anyone and say they didn't do their job and you have to be supremely tough to play there. That's what really stuck out to us about him."

OL Skyler Fancher – (TW) "He's a player that we loved when we saw his film. He was a player that some schools didn't know about, but we liked him from the beginning and we're glad to have him in the fold. He's very athletic and strong for a big man."

OL Mark Armelin – (TW) "Mark was a player who we knew about early on and we watched how he progressed throughout the season and he's very quick and a very good athlete. He will fit right in our depth for us along the line."

DE Kalani Aldrich – (CT) "I think you're really going to like Kalani's athletic ability and his size. He's 6-7 and he's over 250 pounds and he can really move and change directions and he has a really good chance to be an outstanding edge-rusher for us pretty quickly."

CB Byron Davenport – (CT) "He'll be a little behind, but he'll be able to make that up this summer and then be here for fall camp and he's already played in the Pac 10 before so he'll know what to expect."

LB Mason Foster – (CT) "They're (Foster and Donald Butler) the same time of athlete. They both played running back and were outstanding linebackers. Mason really looks the part as a linebacker. I like his aggressiveness and his movement and I think he's physical and has a lot of promise as a linebacker.

S Victor Aiyewa – (CT) "Victor hasn't played a lot of football. He played his senior year and his tape was very impressive. His size was good, he's very physical and he fits the bill of what we're looking for at the strong safety position."

CB Vonzell McDowell – (CT) "Vonzell has great change of direction and outstanding short-distance quickness and good top-end speed and we really liked his coverage-skills that he showed at the Stanford combine last year when he went up against some of the best receivers in California and just got after them. That sold us on his abilities to play at this level."

S Quinton Richardson – (CT) "J.D. Williams wants him as a safety and he's shown a great ability already to play that position with his speed and his size and he could be an outstanding safety. If he grows and gets to 230 I'd love to have him at linebacker, but we need him more at safety so that's where he's going to start right now."

DL Emeka Iweka – (TW) "He's going to start out on defense for us and you can see what a great athlete he is by his ability to play football and basketball equally well. We love his athleticism and his quickness and think he'll be an asset along the defensive line."

DL Nick Wood – (TW) "When you talk about Nick you're talking about another accomplished wrestler and a very strong player already. He's got that intensity and fire you like in a defensive lineman and he brings it on almost every play. That's the attitude you need out there to be successful on a regular basis in there."

(CT) "Nick is probably the strongest guy in our class. He's an accomplished heavyweight wrestler and he understands leverage and toughness and explosion that will help him be successful at the next level."

LB Cort Dennison - (TW) "He came on a little late for us but he was a player that brought the leadership and toughness to be a very good player for us down the road. He likes to get after the quarterback that's obvious, but we think he's got the physical abilities to be a complete linebacker."

LB Austin Sylvester – (CT) "I like Austin. I like his physical play and his toughness and his size and that he's going to be here this spring."

P Jared Ballman – (TW) "Considering what he is currently going through – it's never easy to lose a parent and then to lose his father the way he can be just devastating but he's persevered and we liked seeing him step up to help take care of his family in this tough time. As far as football is concerned, he'll come in and be our punter and that is an area that needs to be filled and we're expecting him to do that for us and there is always the possibility he could end up doing some kicking for us as well."

Players that we did not get comments on were CB Maquis Persley, DL Tyrone Duncan and K Eric Folk.

Now the coaching staff will focus on the class of 2008 and they already have a number of offers out to players who could make some early decisions.

Stay tuned to Dawgman as we review the 2007 class and look forward to next year.

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