Recruiting Blog: 9/25

One of the more pressing needs for Washington's 2008 class is the offensive line and the Dawgs are already off to a solid start with two players slated for the tackle spots and a third that could end up on either offense or defense. Read on to see what players the coaches have seemed to hone in on and who they have the best chance of landing before signing day in February.

Huskies head coach Tyrone Willingham, along with offensive line coach Mike Denbrock like to bring in players that can play any one of the five positions along the line.

They're off to a good start with Eastlake T Drew Schaefer and Caldwell (Id.) T Terence Thomas as well as Evergreen OL/DL Senio Kelemete.

Kelemete is slated to move to the defensive side of the ball, but make no mistake, he could easily be an all-conference tackle at the next level. He's got great feet, a nasty mentality and he's only getting better. Evergreen Shaun Tarantola raves about his ability to block and his intelligence. We'll take a look at Kelemete's defensive abilities in a later blog when we focus on the defensive line.

Thomas is a huge young man, going 6-8, 305 and possessing the athleticism and coordination to be a pretty good snowboarder as well as a talented offensive line prospect. Thomas played at a lower-level school until this, his senior year. All reports are he's really stepped up his game with the move to Caldwell and he's continued to work on his strength and conditioning while focusing himself on getting to Montlake in 2008.

It seemed almost a fate accompli that Schaefer would end up a Husky. He and Washington offensive coordinator Tim Lappano's son Taylor are best friends and teammates and Schaefer grew up a big Husky fan. He's another player with a nasty attitude and plays to the whistle and loves to mix it up on the inside. He's got excellent feet and he's just now started to work on his strength – he's upped his bench to 330 at last report. He could slide inside and play guard or stay outside and be an excellent left tackle candidate down the road.

Washington expects to take at least five if not six players to play along the line this year so they have at least three more spots open with the possibility they could add a fourth.

Tops on their list is McClymonds (Oakland) OL Allen Carroll. The young man from the Bay Area is just nasty and a physical presence on the interior for the Warriors. He runs well which means he could be devastating on trap blocks and he can get to the next level to take on linebackers in space. He's gotten offers from all over, but he told me recently that Washington is at the top of his list right now for schools he's considering.

He has offers from the Huskies, Nebraska, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA. California has also made overtures to him, but at this point he's probably not a priority for them since they had a big haul of outstanding lineman come in with their 2007 class.

Locally, Rainier Beach OL Alameda Ta'amu is the big fish for Washington inside. He's a physical guy who is like a stone wall when it comes to pass protection. He's also very athletic and impressed many coaches and onlookers at the Barton Showcase in May. Washington has always been his leader and the expectation is he'll likely end up as a Husky, but he's still taking his time in the decision-making process and will likely take a visit or two before he commits.

Leuzinger (Lawndale, Ca.) OL Jonathan Solomon attended the UCLA game where the Huskies suffered a tough loss in the Rose Bowl. While he was a guest of the Bruins, Solomon was rooting for the Huskies and almost got kicked out.

"Every time Washington did something good I would cheer and bark and people would throw stuff at me," Solomon said with a laugh. "It was all in fun, but they were close to kicking me out. It's not big deal though."

Solomon could play any of the three interior positions, but he knows the Huskies will lose their top two centers – Juan Garcia and Ryan Bush – following the 2008 season. He loves to play and is very physical. He said that Washington is his top school and that he hopes to make a decision in the very near future.

Something else to consider – Solomon is very close to Husky commits Dominique Blackman and Craig Noble.

Two Colorado lineman that the Huskies have focused on are Mullen (Denver) OL Alec Johnson and Overland (Aurora, Co.) OL Andrew Sampson.

Sampson has the build (6-5, 285) to play tackle or guard, but he projects inside and he's widely considered one of the best guard prospects west of the Mississippi. Right now he's a lean to Arizona State, but things change all the time in recruiting.

Johnson is a talented center prospect who is rated the top lineman in the state of Colorado. He's nasty and very smart, able to make all the line calls.

At this point, Washington has a better shot with Johnson than Sampson, but both are talking about setting up visits in the very near future.

Being realistic, here's a look at what Husky fans can expect the Dawgs to sign come early February…

OT Drew Schaefer
OG Allen Carroll
C Jonathan Solomon
OG Alameda Ta'amu
OT Terence Thomas
G/C Alec Johnson

Should one of the players with a Husky offer commit to another school one player to keep an eye on is Kentridge's Le'Roi Edwards.

He's a smart player who has improved immensely from the player I saw last year. He's got a good frame and he's got enough athleticism to be a good pass-blocker at the next level. His recruitment bears watching.

Other players to keep an eye on: Arizona Western T Joe Suder (JC)(no offer); Skyline T Tom Swanson(no offer); Kamehameha (Hi.) G Mykenna Ikehara(no offer); Gig Harbor G Matt Bernard(no offer); Hemet (Ca.) C/G Hamani Stevens(offer).

Also, there are sure to be one or two others that come out of the woodwork over the next couple months so we'll be tracking this as we get closer to the official visits and as recruiting gets closer to signing day. Top Stories