Neuheisel Recruit Comments

Tuesday the Huskies received national letters of intent from 24 high school student athletes to enroll and play football for the Huskies. Head Coach Rick Neuheisel addressed the media and gave his impressions of each of his 24 high schoolers and 2 junior college transfers.

Wilson Afoa (DL): Wilson was the player of the year in Hawaii. I have a good friend at Tulane who practiced at St. Louis High School during their bowl game there. Wilson was not on our radar screen in a high way throughout the fall. My buddy came in and said ‘there's a kid out at St. Louis who is an unbelievable player, you need to find a way to get in on this guy.' We have Joe Lobendahn here from that high school. We got him to come on a visit and fortunately earned the right to be his school of choice. He's an exciting player, a high intensity player and tremendous upside in terms of size development. He's long, he's lean right now, and he's a great athlete on the basketball court. We think he's going to be a tremendous athlete to our defensive line. To land a guy of this caliber at the time we got him was a big boost to our class.

Erik Berglund (OL): We've got a great relationship with the High School coach there, Austin Riley. He's a little bit of a sleeper. He wasn't on all the lists when recruiting began, but we got a lot of high school tape in from that state and we were evaluating it and you can certainly see that he's got the size. 6-6, 290 pounds right now. He committed on his trip and we're excited that he did. He was under the radar then he committed and there were a lot of people after the fact but he held true to his commitment. I think he has tremendous upside when it comes to playing offensive line here.

Tahj Bomar (LB): This guy is really exciting to me. He's been in our camp each of the last two years. He runs well. He has great instincts to play, his team has won the state championship the last two years and he's been a real catalyst in each of those runs. He personifies linebacker play because he makes plays sideline to sideline. He's got that kind of motor. He's got a chance to play and play early. I don't see any reason why he won't be another in the long line of great Husky linebackers. I just really think he's special.

Derrick Bradley (CB): Another kid we were fortunate to have in camp. We watched him run as a sophomore and a junior in camp. It was easy to see that this is a guy we all wanted. We offered him a scholarship out of camp last summer. You can see that he has legitimate track times there. We're recruiting legitimate speed from instate. That is crucial when you're trying to stay up with the Jones' in our conference. He's listed as a cornerback, but it is not outside of the realm of possibility that he would be given a shot at tailback also.

Michael Braunstein (K): We've got two kickers in this class which is a little bit unusual, one kicker and one punter. In scouring the country for kickers, it is tough to find good information. He was here on our campus. I walked out there, and I guess I'm not the most intimidating presence but at least he's kicking for the head coach. I started calling him names to see if I could get him rattled a little bit, but he just kept popping it through from about 45 yards. I told him to turn around, there's a major wind coming this way. There wasn't a major wind, but I was trying to get in his head. He just kept popping them through. I told him that I would block the next one and ran by him. But it was an amazing day. All I could do was make him laugh. I never scared him. That was my evaluation of Mike Braunstein, that he wouldn't rattle. He can certainly kick the ball long enough.

Craig Chambers (WR): I think he's a gifted athlete. His brother played here and I think his mother was very excited to have a legacy join the program. He's really, really skilled. We went to watch him play basketball and he scored 36 points the night they went. Our wide receiver depth has been depleted. We're going to have to have some young players step up and play and that is why there are a lot of wide receivers in this class. Craig Chambers will have an excellent chance to play in the fall.

Quintin Daniels (WR): Another wide receiver. Quintin's father has a great business relationship with Warren Moon which began his interest in Washington. The kid kinda grew up liking the Huskies. He's a very talented athlete. I'm not sure he was healthy his senior year. This is a very, very skilled player. He came up on a visit with his father and because he was so interested his mother decided to come up the campus on her own. It was just raining cats and dogs the day she came, of all days, but she loved it. So she went home and Quintin decided within the next day or so that this is where he's be coming. He's also an excellent safety.

Sean Douglas (P): It's great to get a kid out of Nebraska. There was some coaching turnover at Nebraska about the time of his visit. The coach that was recruiting Sean was interested in whether we were going to offer him. They were prepared to pull the trigger to offer Sean but then the guy was relieved of his duties or retired, I'm not sure which, so we were able to hold on to him. We know that Sean should be an excellent punter here at the University of Washington.

Cody Ellis (CB): Another speedster from instate. I've always believed that you've got to take the players in the state. He has something which you can't teach which is speed. He's going to try to come in a play defense for us to start. I think he's going to be another in the great line of Puyallup players that were involved in this program.

Juan Garcia (OL): The Big-9 offensive lineman of the year. Juan plays offense and defense and plays til he just runs out of gas. He's a hard charging player. This is a hard working, get it done, type of kid. I'm very confident that Juan is going to be a front line player here.

Chris Hemphill (S): He's about 6-5, 6-6 safety that runs around like a gazelle. He's a very talented basketball player. He's a great rangy looking player with tremendous upside. We have him as a safety which is where he played in high school, but you can certainly see him moving closer to the line of scrimmage with his great size.

Robert Lewis (LB): He was coveted by the Trojans. They asked him to greyshirt. Rather than do that he wanted to check out his other options. He could've gone to Stanford, but he loved his trip here. He's another 6-5 guy who's rangy. So with him and Hemphill we've got two big fast guys who both want to play defense.

Jon Lyon (TE): We looked at our depth chart and determined that there was a little hole. We went around the country and landed on two guys. Jon was the one we decided to set our sites on and we were fortunate to get him. Jon will get all kinds of time in the spring. I think he'll be a tremendous force.

Chad Macklin (OL): Chad was kind of under the radar and wasn't on a lot of the lists. But he really played well his senior year and came onto the scene. He's 6-8, 280 pounds working his tail off. Chuck Heater went to watch him play basketball and was elated with his movement. With his size he gives a great tackle presence.

Mike Mapu (DE): He had chances to go to a lot of places in our conference and also had to communicate to his parents in American Samoa. As you can see he's 6-3, 280 pounds. He gives you a great end to inside player with a body type to deal with the big guys and the speed to get around and create some havoc in the backfield. There's a chance that he could redshirt. You look at junior college guys and you want them to quick fix, but I wanna make sure that he's strong enough to be the type of player we want him to be. If he's not then maybe we have that luxury with our depth at defensive line to have him develop a year. We'll wait and see if that is the case.

Durrell Moss (ATH): He was one of our first commits from out of state. He came on an in-season visit and is a jack of all trades for his high school. Coaches rave about him because he's a great athlete, but also because he's willing to do whatever they need from him. I'm not sure what were going to use him as. I think safety to begin with, but I don't want to pigeon hole him there. This guy will do everything but sell programs. He's closer to 190, and 6-1.

Louis Rankin (RB): One of the late commitments to our class. There weren't a lot of big name guys up and down the coast. When you look at Louis Rankin you look at a guy who's a legitimate athlete. He's about 205 pounds. He says he doesn't lift many weight because every time he does he goes up to 215, which gives you an idea that there is no body fat. He averages over 20 points on the basketball team. This is a gifted kid. In my mind he was under-recruited.

Anthony Russo (ATH): Anthony came to our camp last summer and impressed us with the way he competed. Even though the games were meaningless and we were in shorts, you liked the way he competed. We liked the way he ran on tape. He's a very elusive runner. Not a blazer but he understands pad level and has great vision. He'll probably get his first shot at tailback, but he's also skilled enough to catch the ball and play receiver and tough enough to play corner. We don't know exactly where he'll land, but he told me that if you give me the ball you'll never, ever change my position. I like his confidence.

Sonny Shackleford (WR): He's got one of those attitudes that nothing will ever be too big for Sonny. He's a product of Beverly Hills High which means all the rest of our players will have a place to go for spring break. He's committed. Right after seeing the place he said ‘this is where I want to go, when do I get started for Ohio State.' I've got a feeling about this guy that he's going to be special.

Clarence "Dre" Simpson (CB): This may be one of the better players in the class just by the eye test. He's 6-3, around 190. He's got tremendous corner skills. That's an unusual size for someone to play corner. To match up with the bigger wide receivers in our conference you want a taller corner. He's got all those things that you look for when you're looking at a corner. He was a coveted kid, but we were fortunate to get him.

Charles Smith (WR): Sometimes when you're at a school where another player is getting a lot of attention you get overlooked. I think Charles was kind of overshadowed, but I think this guy can play. I think he's really tough. You don't want him hitting your son, because he's that aggressive. He's just got great instincts for the ball. He committed before Christmas and didn't waver even though there were many chances to.

Kyle Trew (LB): Another strong and silent type. He played much of his senior season with an injury but fought through it. He doesn't boast, he just plays. It's not inconceivable that he'd play safety. He's a got a nose for the ball. Another instate guy that could've gone to a number of schools in the conference, but choose to stay home.

Casey Tyler (TE): Kyle's teammate. He's a big, big guy. 6-6, about 270. He averages around 12 points on the basketball team. We've got him listed as a tight end and he'll get a chance there. There's also the possibility that he'll become an offensive lineman. We want to see if he can be the tight end that we all want to see with those dimensions.

C.J. Wallace (S): People are going to ooh and aah when they watch C.J. Wallace play safety. He will hit you. This guy will bring it and we've been really looking for a tackler at that position since we had Hakim and Curtis. He choose us over Oregon, Fresno was all over him, Cal was all over him, but the bottom line was that he came up with his family and decided that this is where he wants to go. I have instincts that this players is going to be great at the University of Washington.

Bobby Whithorne (WR): The word that came back to me was that he'd be the next Todd Elstrom. He's not as tall as Todd, but he's the same type of high effort guy. There were a number of schools that tried to get him to decommit because he committed last spring. He and his dad both came up for our camp and we loved him in our camp and there was no reason to do anything but hold on to him.

Corey Williams (WR): Another early commit. He has unusual speed. Sometimes he just hits that gear. He knows how to get away. He was on ESPN for the best high school catch of the year. He was an exceptional find. I'm very proud of the way he held off all his suitors because there were certainly a lot of people who wanted to change his mind.

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