Washington shows up in the top 10

It's a rarity for a school to show up in the top 10 of anything when they were 0-12 the year before, but earlier this week the Washington Huskies came in ranked number seven in the first Scout.com Team Rankings. Here's a look at why the Dawgs are ranked so highly and what prospects will help them retain their lofty status…

The Huskies currently have eight commitments for the 2010 class and they rank behind schools like Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas and Florida and are slightly ahead of USC, although the Trojans only have seven commitments and are in on several of the top players in the country at their respective positions.

Here's the link to the rankings list: Team Rankings

The Huskies got their first commitment of the class from O'Dea (Seattle) FB Zach Fogerson last September, while Tyrone Willingham was still patrolling the sidelines. It was the earliest a player has ever committed to Washington and, even with a little wavering of late, he will likely sign with the Huskies over offers from schools like Michigan, Tennessee, Louisville, Nebraska, Boise State and several others.

He's rated the number two fullback in the country by Scout.com and he's the ninth-rated player in the entire Northwest Region.

Fogerson's older brother Johri was a freshman with the Huskies in 2008 and that was a big reason that Zach decided to become a Dawg.

"He loves it at U-Dub and I really like Washington and everything about the school," Fogerson told Dawgman.com back in September. "It is just the best thing for me."

After head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff were hired in early December, they got to work on the 2009 class and finished strong considering their late start and the 0-12 program they were selling, but they also made offers to 2010 prospects the day they were wrapping up their current class.

Jumping on board almost immediately after he got an offer was Lakes (Lakewood, Wa.) DT Sione Potoae, the seventh-rated interior defensive linemen in the country and the third best on the west coast.

The talented Potoae has started on both sides of the ball for Lakes since he was a freshman and he quietly goes about his business. Besides his impressive natural strength (he benches over 400 pounds already), Potoae is an outstanding student and because of his skills, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, California have offered and schools like USC have said they are very close to offering as well.

Joining Potoae as Husky commits will be two of his teammates – LB Darius Waters and WR Jamaal Kearse – who are both rated highly at their positions as well.

Kearse is the younger brother of Husky WR Jermaine Kearse and many close to the Lakes program think he could be better than his older sibling. Jamaal could play wideout, but his best position may end up being on the defensive side of the ball where he can roam the secondary as a standout free safety prospect much in the mold of Taylor Mays who is an All-American at USC.

Waters combines with Auburn (Wa.) LB/S Chris Young to form one of the better linebacker classes already in the country. Waters is a perfect fit at strongside linebacker while Young, who is a devastating hitter and ranked 13th in the country, will likely end up on the weakside. Both are athletic and both run very well.

O'Dea OL Ben Riva was offered by the old staff early in the process and committed to the Huskies in April shortly after he got a look at the coaches in action the first week of spring practice.

Narbonne (Harbor City, Ca.) RB Melvin Davis was the first Californian to commit to the Huskies after they extended him an offer in early March. He's a big back that is ranked 21st in the country at this point and time.

Last but certainly not least, the Huskies recently picked up a commitment from Alejandro Maldonado, a kicker with a huge leg out of Colton (Ca.). He has 65-yard range and he's received rave reviews from the kicking camps he's attended.

All of these players help fill a need and they also close the talent-gap that has existed the past few years between the Huskies and the elite programs in the conference.

The new staff is also not shying away from recruiting against the top programs in the country.

Besides the schools that they beat out for their eight commitments, they also have offered some of the top players in California, Hawaii and the rest of the western states. To get those players to commit the Huskies are going head to head against schools like USC, Tennessee, Florida, Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame among others.

Skyline (Sammamish, Wa.) QB Jake Heaps is a player the entire country is after, but when he narrowed his list down, Washington joined BYU, Cal, LSU and Tennessee in his final five. Heaps will likely make his decision sometime before the end of June and he's repeatedly said the Huskies are right there at the top.

"(Washington) is the home town school," Heaps told Dawgman.com on 950 KJR AM on April 18th. "I get to spend time with my friends and family and play in front of everybody who knows me and just have that neat experience of staying home. I really do believe in (coach Steve) Sarkisian and the coaching staff and what they're doing and I really believe they are going to get things done."

Other top players with an interest in the Huskies are Crenshaw (Los Angeles) MLB Hayes Pullard, Centennial (Peoria, Az.) OG Nick Rowland, Compton (Ca.) RB James McConico, Farrington (Honolulu) LB V.J. Fehoko, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Ca.) OT Erik Kohler, St. Francis (La Canada, Ca.) ATH Dietrich Riley, Kaiser (Fontana, Ca.) LB Josh Shirley, Oaks Christian QB Nick Montana, Corona (Ca.) RB Jordon James and Lakewood (Ca.) QB Jesse Scroggins and many others as well.

It's still very early in the 2010 recruiting cycle, but the Huskies are well on their way to one of the best classes they've had and when you look at how they finished the 2008 season, you have to give credit to the non-stop effort of the new Husky coaching staff.

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