The verbal commitment of Waialua OL Micah Hatchie served notice that the Huskies are going to do everything they can to be right in the mix for all the top players from the Aloha State.
And Hatchie, in our opinion, was that guy for the class of 2010. Last year it was Punahou's Manti Te'o - who ended up at Notre Dame. Next year? It could be Word of Life's Paualy Asiata. Or it could be Kahuku's Ben Mamea. Or maybe Farrington's Justin Vele. Either way, expect Washington's name to come up when talking about them, because their influence in the islands is growing.
Washington already has a strong legacy of Hawaiian players, all the way back to
Bob Richardson in the 60's. In the 70's it was Duane Akina and Willy Galoia; the 80's brought Bern Brostek, Ricky Andrews, Albert Tufono and the Lutu brothers - Frank and Leroy - to Montlake.
The 90's were especially kind to the Huskies, with the Kesi brothers, Petrocelli and Patrick, Siupeli Malamala (who came to UW in 1988), Ikaika Malloy, Ink Aleaga, Paxton Tailele, Ken Walker and Olin Kreutz all packing their bags and heading east to UW. During this decade it's been top prospects like Joe Lobendahn, Donny Mateaki, Wilson Afoa, Brandon Ala and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim that decided to call Washington their school of choice.
Sark has decided to start this new decade off with a bang, picking up three coveted island prospects in Hatchie, Mililani's Taz Stevenson and 'Aiea's Lawrence Lagafuaina. The Huskies are right in the thick of battles for some of the other top Hawaiian players, like Sealii Epenesa from 'Iolani, and Kahuku defensive end Hauoli Jamora.
But in our opinion, Hatchie was the linchpin. If they could have had gotten the signature of only one Hawaiian prospect for the 2010 class, it would have been the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Waialua native. He was that important to their future plans, and especially when it came to building up the offensive line the way it needs to be in order for Washington's offense to run effectively and efficiently.
Hatchie, even at 285 pounds, isn't the kind of physical prospect that has to 'reshape' their bodies to handle the rigor of Pac-10 play. That isn't to say he's ready to go the minute he steps on campus; rather it means the UW coaches will be able to get him started right away on a plan to build him up from the jump. That's always a plus.
From a playing standpoint, he's the kind of player that could play either guard or tackle, although with the pieces they've already picked up through verbal commitments, it sure looks like the right tackle spot is tailor-made for him.
In fact, all the spots look to be very well-thought out and seem pretty straightforward: Erik Kohler at left tackle; Colin Porter at left guard; Colin Tanigawa at center; Ben Riva at right guard and Hatchie at right tackle. That's a group that could easily grow together and play together for four years. And if that were to actually happen, the Huskies would have a very formidable front, arguably as good as any they've had.
But that's jumping way ahead. A lot has to happen in order for that to become a reality.
The most immediate question is; what does the impact of Hatchie's commitment do for any other offensive linemen that are looking at Washington? That question clearly needs to be asked, if for no other reason than to determine the future of Michael Criste, the offensive lineman from Mission Viejo, Calif. that has verbally committed to Washington. There have been reports linking the two for weeks now, but does it make sense for the Huskies to take a sixth lineman in this class?
It could for a number of reasons. Obviously it's never a bad thing to have a run of great offensive linemen in a class. And Criste fits the bill of a great physical specimen who needs to polish up his game and get his body up to the physical challenges of playing week-in and week-out in the Pac-10. And let's face it; the odds of all five of these linemen playing together for every single game is a long shot. Injuries happen, even if they only keep a player out for a game.
In this sense, it's smart policy to give yourself a back-up plan, and it certainly appears as if Criste is that back-up plan for the Huskies. He gives them a big body and raw athleticism that can be taught. What needs to happen now if for the Huskies to accept his commitment. We'll see if that happens.
Wade Yandall, Niu Sale, Nick Rowland, Kody Innes and Ryan Clanton were linemen that have already taken official visits to Washington, and have either committed to other programs, or are still looking around. Our best guess is that unless Yandall - who plans on enrolling early - has a big change of heart and picks the Huskies soon, or UW finds a late JC prospect that could come in as a mid-year prospect, Criste will be the last one they look at to finish up this offensive line class.
Commitment Impact: Micah Hatchie
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