Recruiting: Time To Dream (Part 2)

Now that part 1 is complete, we can move on to a spot Husky fans are dying to address - the defense. Washington came alive the last three weeks of the season to show that, when properly inspired, they could step up and stop people. With 3 REBs, a SAM and an inside linebacker graduating, it's clear that linebacker is the place that needs immediate attention. But do they stick to the high school ranks, or do they continue to scour the JC ranks for more quick fixes?

This article focuses on the top talent available and how the rest of the recruiting class shakes down for the Dawgs. Yesterday, I used up a bunch of rides on guys that could play either side (Corey Williams, Durrell Moss, Derrick Bradley, Cody Ellis, Aaron Johnson, Jason Goodman), and this article will feature more of the same. So don't try to get too caught up on the projected numbers. We'll leave that to the experts.

Brandon Mebane Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw (6-1/260/4.8) - A player that has really moved up the charts this past season and is now Greg Biggins' number two DT behind Chino's Sed Ellis. Reminds many of a young Larry Tripplett, and that's never a bad thing.

Mathew Malele Carson, California (6-1/300/5.0) - While Mebane moved on up the charts, Malele had a mediocre season, not living up to the hype coming out of his junior campaign. But Matt is a space-eater and a big physical presence in the middle. He's a tireless worker and projects to be a major talent at the D1 level.

Tolifili Liufau Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis (6-3/290/5.0) - Tolifili is a bit of a mystery. He was the defensive POY in Hawaii last year as a junior, beating out such players as Jonathan Mapu, Donny Mateaki and Brandon Ala. But grades appear to be an issue with Liufau, and nobody has been able to reach him.

Kevin Brown Long Beach (Calif.) Poly (6-2/280/4.9) - A true two-way star, Brown does it all for the Jackrabbits. Schools are recruiting him on both sides and has a sizeable list of offers to choose from.

Anthony Amos Pasadena (Calif.) Muir (6-4/270/5.0) - A new name to the list, Amos is taking a trip to Seattle in January to visit UW officially. A fallback prospect?

Chad Sutter Lacey (Wash.) River Ridge (6-3/265/5.0) - Sutter is getting looks from South Carolina, but UW is the school he wants to go to, and will almost certainly hold out while they determine what scholarships are available. Works out with Steve Emtman.

Donyell Booker Reedley (Calif.) College (6-1.5/295/5.0) - Washington is getting in late on Booker, but it looks like they have a better chance with him than with his teammate, Doug Langenfeld. Next week, two UW defensive coaches head to Reedley to give Donyell the full inspection. We should know more about the Husky coaches' interest in Booker soon.

PREDICTION: Mebane would be a HUGE get for the Dawgs, but don't forget that UW already has Jordan Reffett coming in. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict Mebane to Washington, with Malele an intriguing second option.

Dwight Stephenson Boca Raton (Calif.) Pope John Paul II (6-3/220/4.6) - The son of NFL legend Dwight Stephenson, Dwight Jr. was all set to go to Florida before re-opening his recruitment. Part of that was setting up an official visit with UW. With their past success with Pope players (John Anderson, Rich Alexis, Charles Frederick), there's always a chance Stephenson could fall in love with UW.

Junior Lemau'u Long Beach (Calif.) Poly (6-4/235/4.75) - A dominating DE, Junior is a big reason why Poly is romping toward another CIF crown. Tough and smart off the edge, whoever lands Lemau'u will get a player with some 'tude and the game to back it up.

Rob Lewis Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair School (6-5/215/4.7) - A former USC commit, Lewis has re-opened his commitment, apparently to see if he can get into Stanford. There's a very good chance UW will get a visit from Rob. He's a rangy player on the edge that can get up to bat balls down or go around tackles to smother the QB.

Jeff Dicks Bellevue, Washington (6-3/240/5.0) - Brother to current Husky G Dan Dicks, Jeff has switched between the line and linebacker the last two years, but one thing remains the same - he just makes plays. Jeff has a nose for the ball and will not stop until he gets through, goes around or over the top of whoever is in his way.

William Snead Oakland (Calif.) Skyline (6-4/215/4.6) - Snead is undersized for his position, and looks more like the kind of rush end Washington State uses (think: Isaac Brown). But William has the frame to get bigger and if he keeps his speed could be a real force collapsing pockets.

Joey Henley Kent (Wash.) Kentridge (6-4/215/4.7) - Joey is very athletic, high jumping 6-6 as a junior. He's got a motor that doesn't quit and also plays hoops. The question remains - can he gain weight? And can he keep it on the right way and still keep his speed? The answers to those questions will determine how hard UW goes after him.

Cody Feakin Scappoose, Oregon (6-5/250/5.0) - A bit of a sleeper from the same school that produced current OSU QB Derek Anderson, Feakin is already getting looks from nearly all the northwest Pac-10 schools. Can he jump from 2A to the Pac-10? Anderson did, but he was a special talent.

Mike Mapu Mesa (Ariz.) Community College (6-4/250/4.65) - He just cancelled a visit to Temple to check out what UW has to offer. Originally from American Samoa, players coming from there have better odds of making the NFL than any state in the union. Mapu can rove the line and do his damage from a number of places.

Doug Langenfeld Reedley (Calif.) College (6-3/247/4.43) - Don't blink. That 40 time is legit. Originally from South Carolina, Doug may be looking to go back south but he's not saying that publically. UW will battle Auburn and Clemson for the last official visit he can take. He'll need to finish up his AA in the spring before moving on.

PREDICTION: Stephenson seems like a little bit of a pipe dream, but the Pope connection has been strong. I predict that Mike Mapu comes to Montlake, as does William Snead, with an outside look to local stud Joey Henley for a walk-on look.
LINEBACKERS - need = 3

Tahj Bomar Kent (Wash.) Kentwood (6-2/210/4.55) - Already committed to Washington, Bomar makes his last stand as a high school player tonight in the Class 4A finals against Capital. If Kentwood wins, it'll be back-to-back titles for the Conks, and Tahj is a huge reason for that happening. He roves the middle with a superior nose for the ball and doesn't budge an inch. He's always moving forward on runs, even on sweeps and options.

Blake Wong Honolulu (Hawaii) Iolani School (6-1/190/4.5) - Blake could be a great SAM, as he's incredibly quick and active, forcing a lot of fumbles and making plays in general. Also could move back and play a punishing strong safety.

Kyle Trew Edmonds (Wash.) Edmonds-Woodway (6-2/215/4.6) - Is he a Husky or not? His teammate Casey Tyler is hedging his bets just a touch, and so is Trew. But expect him to commit on his official visit to UW next weekend.

Mark Washington Long Beach (Calif.) Poly (6-2/240/4.6) - A big, MIKE-style back, Washington has incredible speed and the pedigree you like to see in your leading tackler. Washington will move from sideline to sideline and rarely gets beat.

John Nichols Bellflower, California (6-3/215/4.7) - John fits the mold of a WIL 'backer, tough and strong, not afraid to stick his nose in a play to finish it off. He had over 100 tackles as a junior.

Jerome Johnson Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey (6-0/245/4.8) - Another big, MIKE-type linebacker, like Mark Washington. Racked up 112 tackles as a junior. Knows how to get upfield in a hurry, if need be.

Lee Driftmier Bellevue, Washington (6-2/225/4.8) - A tenacious defender, Driftmier will not sit out. His durability is unquestioned, as he played with his right hand taped and his left in a cast in Bellevue's 28-3 win over Lynden in the Washington Class 3A championships last night.

Jon Conlin Vancouver (BC) Vancouver College Prep (6-2/220/4.7) - Conlin looks to be a fall-back prospect for UW. He normally plays DE/OLB for VC and is another player who is a tireless worker. His speed might be the only thing holding him back from an offer, and he's been using a speed coach to take care of that issue.

James Griffin Pasadena (Calif.) College (6-2/200/4.5) - Speed is not a problem for Griffin. In fact, there isn't much not to like about the former Tennessee prepster. He's an absolute monster coming off the edge and just gives quarterbacks fits. A perfect SAM candidate.

PREDICTION: Trew is basically in the bag, so with Bomar in too that leaves just one spot that needs to be filled. As I said earlier, Andy Darkins could be a MIKE in the making, as well as a punishing FB. They've been on John Nichols for a while and offered him early, so he's my choice to round out this class. Walk-on looks go to Driftmier, but the Ivy League is calling him bigtime.
CORNERBACKS - need = 2

Leon Hall Vista, California (5-11/175/4.3) - Leon is one of the top corners in the country, and while he's taking visits and going through the process, he's Michigan's to lose. And no wonder. His combination of size and speed is tough to beat.

Chad Green Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham (6-1/175/4.4) - There's a trend for bigger corners, and Green fits the bill. An early UW target, Chad has offers from schools up and down the west coast. Will he leave California?

Damon Jenkins Concord (Calif.) De La Salle (5-10/175/4.5) - Two years ago, UW tapped the DLS mine and grabbed OL Rob Meadow. Is Jenkins the next Spartan to wear purple and gold? One thing about Jenkins is a slam dunk - he's a winner.

Eric Wright San Francisco (Calif.) Riordan (5-11/165/4.4) - Wright has the right mentality for a cover-corner. He likes to 'man up'. He won't back down from anybody and works incredibly hard on the field.

Desmond Reed Temple City, California (5-9/175/4.4) - Desmond is a playmaker. On defense as a junior, he picked off nine passes and returned 3 of them for scores. Not the biggest corner, but looks to have the same physical stats as Nate Robinson. Is he the next Nate-Rob?

Rudy Burgess Edwards (Calif.) Desert (5-11/175/4.5) - Here's another one of those two-way players that can do damage as either a receiver or defensive back. I like him on D because of his size and feel for the game.

CJ Wallace Sacramento (Calif.) Grant (6-0/195/4.5) - CJ's uncle, Ken Conley, is a former Husky. That should help the Dawgs recruit Wallace from Onterrio Smith's alma mater. Wallace is an accomplished RB, but doesn't care where he plays.

Brandon Johnson Orange (Texas) West Orange-Stark (5-9/150/4.3) - Derrick Johnson's younger brother, Brandon is all about speed. Lots of speed. His best 100 time is 10.41, and that kind of speed is something you want to have on the field at all times. Does he want to roam in the secondary with his bro?

Drew Pearson Pasadena (Calif.) Muir (6-0/160/4.5) - Drew, hailing from the same school that produced Anthony Kelley, is a shut-down corner that has the size colleges are looking for. He's a big thin right now, but Derrick Johnson was 160 soaking wet when he got to Montlake as a true freshman.

Daymeion Hughes Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw (5-10/175/4.5) - Yet another 'athlete' that does double damage for his team. Hughes runs like mad, but may have the gift as a corner. Much like Anthony Russo, Daymeion could be a tailback, receiver, corner or safety in college.

Noah Smith Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft (5-10/160/4.4) - Smith could rival Brandon Johnson for fastest recruit. His PR in the 100 is 10.54. Could also be the home-run threat the Huskies crave at receiver if corner doesn't work out.

Milvon James Los Angeles (Calif.) Fremont (5-11.5/185/4.5) - An athlete who could be a tailback or shut-down corner. Has the quicks and feet to stay with the west's best. James and Bradford a package deal?

Chijoke Onyenegecha City College of San Francisco (6-3/205/4.3) - You don't see too many people 6-3 that have run 10.28 100 meter times, but Chijoke has. That, in and of itself, makes him one of the elite prospects in the country.

PREDICTION: This is going to be a really tough one to figure out, with so many flat-out studs coming on official visits. My heart says Chad Green and Eric Wright, but my head says Daymeion Hughes and CJ Wallace are going to be in the mix somewhere. So my prediction is a little of both - Green and Hughes.
SAFETIES - need = 2

Terrell Thomas Rancho Cucamonga, California (6-2/175/4.4) - A two-time all-league selection, Thomas has the vision, quicks and instinct to be a natural free safety. Defintely one of the best athletes in the west.

Clarence Simpson Sylmar, California (6-1/175/4.5) - Simpson is a new name on the radar, but so is his teammate, Louis Solis. Simpson could also be a big, physical corner that could go up against the taller receivers in the Pac (Mike Williams, for one).

Devin Stearns Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra (6-2/175/4.5) - A dominating two-way performer, Stearns has a knack for getting to the quarterback quickly. He had 5 sacks as a junior from his safety spot. Also an incredible basketball player.

Joe Cowan Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (6-4/186/4.43) - Joe's Father is none other than former Husky QB Tim Cowan. Joe isn't a signal caller like his old man, but he sure knows how to make plays. At the beginning of the year all people would talk about was Cowan's abilities as a receiver. Well, he showed that his game on the other side of the ball is just as good, if not better.

Garren Strong Cupertino (Calif.) Homestead (6-3/190/4.5) - Like Stearns, Strong is a receiver that also has the ability to change the face of a game. With his size, hands and nose for the ball, I think defense would be a good fit for Garren. He's already shown he has what it takes on offense.

Zack Bowman Anchorage (Alaska) Bartlett (6-1/175/4.5) - Zack is a winner, plain and simple. A team player, Bowman will play offense, defense, special teams - whatever it takes. And he was Bartlett's renaissance man this year as they won State.

Jeff Wells Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes (6-3/200/4.5) - Wells was already known for his abilities in the secondary last year, but since being used as a quarterback this year he's been going both ways for the Lancers. A phenomenal athlete, Jeff can keep up with Akeem Anthony and Anthony Russo, and that's saying something.

James Day Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View (6-0/200/4.43) - Day is holding out hope that UW makes a decision in his favor, but if not he's received the blessings of his local congressman to attend Air Force. Day, like Dicks and Driftmier, is a true blue-collar guy. He just brings his lunchpail to work when his hits the gridiron and will play anywhere to get the 'W'.

Brig Walker Vancouver (Wash.) Evergreen (6-0/180/4.5) - Brig is all about intensity. Whether it's as a receiver or in the secondary, all he wants is a chance to impress. Had a sweet Oregon NIKE camp, where he established himself as one of the top pure athletes in the northwest.

Eric Wright Glendale (Ariz.) College (6-2/175/4.45) - Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Wright is a player that can handle run and pass responsibilities equally. His speed gives him a decided edge. He needs his AA and will be available in the fall of 2003 with 3 to play 2.

PREDICTION: Cowan is very intriguing as a big safety, but he might also project as a SAM at the next level too. I think Jeff Wells gets offered and I think he grabs it quicker than a thief in the park. The other spot? The new name to the list - Clarence Simpson.

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