Recruiting Blog: 8/24

In today's recruiting blog we'll look at the offensive backfield recruiting the Huskies focused on this year and who they still have their eye on as we head into the football season. Washington already has several commits who could end up either under center or carrying the ball, but they're versatile enough to play several positions depending on the team's needs.


First off, let's look at the quarterback position. It's the most important part of the offense and the Huskies have been thin depth-wise in recent years. With the graduation of Carl Bonnell following the season, the Huskies are in the market for at least two signal-callers, but they could take three if the right situation presents itself.

What is the "right situation"?

Well, Carson QB Dominique Blackman is player already in the fold for the Huskies. He committed in late July and he's going to be a player that the coaches can mold into a versatile playmaker. He's different than Jake Locker in that he isn't that quick and he won't really be much of a threat to use in the running game, but he's big (6-5, 245) and he's got a huge arm and he's very polished as a quarterback.

Blackman is a natural leader who is very extroverted and will bring at least one or two top prospects from the Los Angeles area with him. Some of those players may already be committed to other schools, but Blackman is already working on guys down there to, at the very least, take a look at what the Huskies have going on this year.

With Blackman committed, the other quarterback the Huskies have been pursuing is Crespi's Kevin Prince.

As noted in last week's blog, Prince is a player that, because of his LDS faith, will not show up in 2008 for the school that he commits to. Prince turns 19 shortly after the start of the 2008 school year and therefore, he plans to take his two-year mission before he enrolls at a school.

Prince is a young man who feels his word is his bond and wherever he commits to is where he'll end up. Because he won't be enrolling in 2008 he becomes a recruitable athlete once he returns.

UCLA is the other major player for Prince's services, but even though he grew up a Bruins fan, Washington has made their way into his heart and if they start the season well, he'll likely end up committing to the Dawgs.

If that's the case, Washington will be in the market for a third quarterback in this class.

Keep an eye on Evergreen QB Luther Leonard, Lakes QB Calvin Schmidtke, Central Catholic (Portland) QB Nick Green and Chaminade (West Hills, Ca.) QB Ryan Griffin as players who will be on Washington's radar this fall.

Leonard has the speed, size and athleticism to be a playmaker at the next level. His footwork and accuracy have been a concern, but he's greatly improved his skills and did very well at the Husky camp this summer. If he can lead his team to the playoffs, Leonard is a player who could easily see a scholarship offer come his way.

Because Schmidtke played at Class A Life Christian until this year, he's been a player that many were unsure of. His height is also working against him because there are very few successful quarterback under six feet tall. The problem is, Schmidtke has everything else you could want in a quarterback. He's got a big arm, he's smart and he's a leader.

If he leads Lakes on a deep playoff run in the AAA class, it will be hard for the Huskies to not look at him seriously as a candidate for an offer.

Green is a player that fits exactly what the Huskies are looking for in their offense. He's big (6-2, 195), he's tough, he runs well and he's played at a high level since he was a freshman. Green's issues stem from the fact that schools want to see where the health of his knee is after he blew out his ACL in 2006 and missed his entire junior year.

Green's mechanics are excellent and he's been to Washington several times for camps and to visit practice. He's very interested in the Huskies and he's probably the top candidate to garner an offer from the Dawgs if he shows his knee is healthy and he can lead his team to a championship.

Griffin has been on Washington's radar for a while. He's not the greatest athlete of the bunch, actually he's probably the most limited of the four they will be looking at this fall, but he's got the intangibles that you love in a quarterback and he's also got the frame to develop into a solid pocket-passer who can read defenses and use his excellent arm strength to hurt defenses.

Washington will probably end up taking three if Prince commits (he won't count against this class) and they will definitely take two if he doesn't. This position will be one to watch as the fall progresses.

Running Backs

Behind the quarterbacks, the Huskies have really focused on bringing in athletes who can play running back, defensive back or linebacker.

The Dawgs have commits from several backs including the top ball-carrier in the state – Kentwood's Demitrius Bronson – as well as some solid players from the Golden State including David Freeman and Terrance Dailey.

Anthony Gobern is listed as a running back, but he's most likely destined for the defensive backfield somewhere so we'll talk about him in another blog.

Dailey looks like an ideal fullback type who can carry the ball. He runs with excellent balance and shows a good burst in the open field. What is even more impressive is his decisive running. A lot of high school backs can get away with stopping and starting, but Dailey doesn't do that at all. He doesn't look like a true halfback so a move to fullback or to the defensive side of the ball seems likely.

Freeman is an impressive athlete with outstanding quickness. His head coach Charles Mincy, the former Husky cornerback, told me that he was their "go-to guy" last year and he's only going to get better in 2007 with an improved offensive line. So many times Freeman was asked to create something on his own because of his o-line's struggles, but this year Mincy said they should be better up front.

Bronson is a big back who has good vision, but he seems to play faster on the defensive side of the ball. For most of the past year, I've said I thought that Bronson would end up on defense – most likely linebacker – and I still think that, but the Husky coaches have told Bronson he can have his first shot at running back. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses this year.

The top two backs on Washington's board who are still uncommitted are Brophy Prep (Phoenix) RB Ray Polk and Flint Southwestern Academy RB/ATH Mark Ingram.

Polk looks like the grind-it-out runner the Huskies will utilize a lot in their offensive system. He runs a lot like, and reminds me a lot of, Brandon Johnson, Washington's freshman phenom who will be in the two-deeps this year.

Both run really hard and have that burst through the hole you love to see in a back.

Polk has a lot of offers and, after speaking with him, the Huskies appear to be out of the mix, but you never know what can happen with most of these kids.

Ingram is a speed merchant (runs a legit 4.4) who could end up at corner, receiver (where his father played in the NFL) or at running back. Judging by his first game this year, where he put up 319 yards and four touchdowns, I'd expect him to stay at running back wherever he ends up.

Ingram's speed is outstanding and he cuts on a dime. Wisconsin, Michigan State and Washington would have to be considered the top contenders to get his verbal.

The fact that his father played for current Husky receivers coach Charlie Baggett can only help Washington's cause. Ingram, along with his teammate WR Tyrone Ward, will likely visit for the USC game in October.

Because Michigan State is where his father graduated, I expect them to be the school to beat, but if Washington gets off to a good start and he sees the dynamic offense we've all been promised, there's no reason to think they can't get him to head out west.

DeLeon Eskridge and Jack Sula are two more backs with offers, but it's unclear whether they will have them should another back or two commit.

Eskridge is from northern California and he's well thought of in recruiting circles.

Sula is a fullback in the making. He's got a great frame and he loves to play the game. He may even end up on defense or at fullback…it's tough to say at this point.

Some other players to keep an eye on that don't have offers, but who could end up with one if they have a big senior year are Eisenhower (Yakima) RB Raymond Jones, Lakes RB Dominick Davis and Meridian (Idaho) FB Austin Deck.

Next week we'll focus on the tight ends and wide receivers Top Stories