Commitment Impact - Sione Potoae

When Sione Potoae went into Dave Miller's office at Lakes and told him he was done with the recruiting process, hearts all over the state of Washington began to beat again. And for good reason; the 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive tackle flirted briefly with USC, but in the end his own heart was with the in-state school all along.

When it comes to impact, Potoae's commitment provides big punch for the Huskies on many, many levels.

First of all, even though the UW coaches would love to have kept Potoae under wraps until Signing Day, the fact that he came back from a 48-hour visit to USC with the red carpet rolled out in front of him and still decided it wasn't as good as what the Huskies have to offer is proof positive that Washington is moving in the right direction with the big, national prospects. And that describes Potoae to a 't'.

Potoae was recently re-ranked by, and is now considered the No. 5 DT in the country. Since 2002, Washington has only signed three players that were ranked in the top-5 nationally in their respective position groups (2002 - #4 DE Donny Mateaki; 2007 - #4 TE Chris Izbicki; 2008 - #3 TE Kavario Middleton), yet they are on track to sign at least two already for 2010 - #3 FB Zach Fogerson and Potoae - and maybe more.

And as much as players, coaches and fans boo-hoo the rating and ranking system, it's something they'll all point to as a source of pride (and/or propaganda, depending on your point of view) if it's pointed in their favor. And right now with a national team ranking of 7 (and only two points from sixth place) it's definitely pointing in the Huskies' direction.

Secondly - whether it was a David DeCastro or a Taylor Mays or a Steve Schilling - keeping the top kids home has never been a slam dunk for UW. Guys like Brock Huard, Paul Arnold, Reggie Williams and Jake Locker staying at Montlake have become less and less the norm. Jake Heaps aside (and that's a big aside), you can definitely argue that this staff got all the in-state targets they wanted, and Potoae was as big as any of them - literally and figuratively.

If Steve Sarkisian and the UW staff can keep guys like Kasen Williams home next year, 2010 won't be considered a fluke.

Obviously the biggest impact Potoae will make is on the field. With Potoae's big game comes big expectations that he'll be the kind of DT that will attract double-teams, allowing the other linemen plenty of one-on-one opportunities. He will get an opportunity to play right away, but with Cameron Elisara, Alameda Ta'amu, Tyrone Duncan, De'Shon Matthews, Semisi Tokolahi and Chris Robinson available in the middle, Potoae won't have to be pushed too hard or too quickly into the rotation.

When it comes to the players in the trenches, it's always smart policy to redshirt. It allows the young kids to grow up in the weight room and equip themselves properly for the physical toll that lay ahead. Potoae is one of those prospects that's just 'country strong', meaning they just have the physicality and strength and core to do damage from a young age. If he can continue to build on that natural 'country strength' and supplement it with quick-twitch training for the kind of explosion the great DT's need coming off the ball, he'll emerge from his redshirt year bigger, faster and stronger and fully ready to play the college game.

As far as Potoae's commitment impacting Washington's numbers, his decision shouldn't really change much, simply because they had him counting toward their final numbers for some time. The quick romance with USC was apparently just that; a quick flirtation but nothing more.

He is their only true DT fully committed; 'Aiea's Lawrence Lagafuaina is also committed to Washington, but still plans on taking an official visit to Hawai'i before finalizing his decision. If we assume Lagafuaina will do exactly that, that gives the Huskies two big run-stuffers in the middle.

If they decide to go for one more, expect that prospect to come from this list - Kirifi Taula, Sealii Epenesa, Sani Fuimaono, Fred Thompson or Ricky Heimuli. Spots are getting tight, but they should have enough room for at least one more DT and DE. Top Stories