UW Rising Stars Notebook - Day Two

SEATTLE - As with all multi-day college football camps, players come and go - so it's always a revolving door as to finding those that just showed up and realizing there are other players you wanted to see that are gone. Such is the life when you are trying to identify and scout prospects at Washington's Rising Stars camp, but patience definitely gets rewarded.


(Drew Austin/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

QB Drew Austin (2012) - Graham-Kapowsin 6-2, 180: Austin just made it back for the final day of UW's camp after G-K barely lost in the finals of UCLA's 7-7 tournament, a great showing for a Washingon-based school. By his looks, Austin resembles a smaller version of Skyline QB Max Browne ('Curly', as he is apparently known by UW Strength Coach Ivan Lewis), and they both have that great competitive streak you like to see. As he continues to grow physically and mentally, all the parts of his game should really start coming together. He's just a junior this coming fall, and if he connects as much with UW commit Jamaal Jones as I suspect he will, Austin won't have any problems garnering scholarship offers a year from now.


(Dexter Charles/Scout.com)

OL Dexter Charles - Stanwood 6-5, 270: The rapport between Charles and the UW staff continues to grow and grow. At one point UW DL Coach Johnny Nansen was woofing a bit in Charles' direction, making sure he knew that the defensive linemen were coming at him. And to Dexter's credit, he handled nearly everything thrown his way. While he still is a raw specimen when lined up and expected to pass protect, there's ample reason to see why the Huskies went after Charles early. He's a big, raw athlete that can really run and move, and you can always use players like that. I expect Dexter to be a UW fan favorite - if for no other reason than his uncle is Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan.

DE Dylan Gutierrez - Ventura (CA) 6-3, 225: Watching the defensive linemen Wednesday, he was the one that stood out for his quickness off the ball and physicality in trying to get to the quarterback. He was an effective pass rusher, but compared to a player who UW has offered - like a Jarett Finau - there's nothing truly outstanding about Gutierrez as a prospect. Solid, but not earth-shattering. At this point, I would project Gutierrez out as either a DE or TE at the 1-AA level, like the Big Sky conference.

RB Carvonte Hill - Pinole Valley (CA) 5-10, 191: Hill was one of a group of Pinole Valley players that arrived Wednesday ready to compete, and none competed harder than Hill. He's got a strong-looking lower body and is quick coming out of the backfield. His pass pro was spotty at times, but at other times he stonewalled the defender. It's doubtful that he's getting a ton of attention from top Division-1 schools this early, but I wouldn't be surprised if Hill takes off as a senior and really does a damage.

WR Terenn Houk - Enumclaw 6-5, 200: Houk is another example of a two-day camper that maybe was overshadowed during the first day but really came out to play the second day. Houk is not a physical receiver blessed with sprinter speed; he does what he has to do to get separation and then lets his leaping ability and great hands finish the play. On Wednesday he showed more physicality in beating jams, and that is what will turn him into a more desirable prospect - because he already has the athleticism to be a solid possession receiver. Houk, despite going to a lot of spring and summer camps and combines, hasn't broken through with a lot of solid looks from colleges - but I believe it's a matter of time before some schools start to respect his work ethic and determination when it comes to maximizing his potential. He wants it, and it's time others started paying attention.


(Justin Lane/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

QB Justin Lane - Lakewood 6-2, 195: Lane's stock has risen steadily this spring, and in the last week he's shown - at least in my opinion - that he needs to be named with Brett Smith as the top quarterback in the Northwest region for the class of 2011. He has plenty of arm strength, and his throws - especially the deep ball - are right on the money. In fact, Lane has turned the deep ball into his calling card, as I can't remember how many times he was able to put a 40-yard route right into the hands of the receiver. I know Washington State has definitely picked up their interest of Lane, and I suspect the Huskies will do the same after watching Justin work out all day on Wednesday. With Illinois State still the only school to offer Lane, I smell a recruiting battle brewing on the horizon; the question for UW fans remains - will the Huskies decide to get in the mix?

TE Eric Lemke (2012) - Issaquah 6-3, 220: Lemke showed up for the afternoon session, and immediately took over for the spot vacated by Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Lemke is extremely agile for a big man, and his hands are also special. As he develops, I suspect the only thing that will be critiqued heavily will be his blocking and pass pro, and obviously that's not something you can really scout at a non-padded camp. But early projections have Lemke as the top tight end prospect in the Northwest for the class of 2012 with Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic's Deion Guice.

QB Tanner Mangum (2012) - Eagle (ID) 6-2.5, 182: Mangum was one of a handful of players that came to Seattle for both days of camp, and while I didn't see a ton of Tanner on Tuesday, he really stood out on Wednesday. He's a growing kid that has ample arm strength and a vast array of throws at his disposal. He's already a prolific player at the high school level, and two of his brothers have played at BYU. Expect BYU and Boise State to be two of Mangum's top suitors, but the fact that he spent two days at UW could definitely foreshadow how his recruiting process unfolds over the next year-and-a-half.

LB Cody McCarthy - Bishop Kelly (ID) 6-1, 230: McCarthy came in with a lot of kudos for his work on the field last year at BK, as well as in recent camps like Boise State, where he won an MVP award. At a non-padded camp that obviously focuses on the pass coverage skill of linebackers, it's never going to favor the MIK. That being said, there's no denying McCarthy's competitive streak, as well as his athleticism. He's a productive player, a bulk tackler who always seems to be playing downhill. Now that he's starting to get to camps, the scholarship offers should start tumbling in.


(Richard Mullaney/Scout.com)

WR Richard Mullaney - Thousand Oaks (CA) 6-3, 185: To me, Mullaney was the surprise of the second day of camp. He probably wasn't the best player of the newcomers; that honor clearly goes to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But Mullaney, who already has seven offers - Cal-Poly, Colorado State, Oregon State, Wyoming, Air Force, New Mexico and Northern Arizona - showed that he could be a taller version of Mike Hass; again, not a player that is going to blow you away with sprinter speed or wow you with sheer physicality - Mullaney just made play after play after play. And he did it on both sides of the ball, but the reality is he looks like a very effective, dependable possession receiver. Will the Huskies offer Mullaney? They are probably in on better athletes or more explosive playmakers at receiver, but after seeing him in person I now understand what the Beavers see in him - so I believe there is a chance.

OL Conner Nolan - Centennial Secondary (BC) 6-6.5, 308: Nolan is another one of those guys that just pops up north of the border and stays hidden under the recruiting radar, but when you see him in person you can't help but wonder if he can play football as good as he looks on the hoof. Unfortunately he hurt his knee a little just days before traveling down to Seattle, so he only got significant work during the afternoon session, but there was enough there for UW to keep asking more questions as Nolan continues to go through the process.

LB Joseph Schmidt - Mater Dei (CA) 6-1, 218: Schmidt was the other middle linebacker that stood out Wednesday besides Cody McCarthy. Watching him operate, you could immediately tell that he played for a bigger, standout program, so it wasn't surprising to find out he plays for Bruce Rollinson's powerful Mater Dei program in southern California. He's a solid athlete, not outstanding, but solid. He runs well and competes like crazy, much like McCarthy. What impressed me was how he took control of situations and naturally led from the front, like he did during the 'Husky Ball' portion of the camp, organizing and leading his team. Those type of players are always valuable.


(Austin Seferian-Jenkins/Chris Grinolds Dawgman.com)

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Gig Harbor 6-7, 250: Austin is definitely a player that sticks out from a crowd. He showed up early on Wednesday and promptly ran a 4.7 40. His second time was alleged to be even faster. And he tried something different; he worked out a little bit at defensive end - opposite big Zach Banner from Lakes - and Zach still has some lessons to learn before he can overtake his elder statesman. Seferian-Jenkins' athleticism is beyond question; as impressive is how much he's able to take on challenges and overcome them with little more than moderate effort. Anything seems within his reach at this point. And Steve Sarkisian was taking notice - he worked with Seferian-Jenkins quite a bit during a couple of the tight end drills. Word is that Seferian-Jenkins wants to cut his college recruiting list down to two schools by the time he's announced as a U.S. Army All-American at his high school, which typically happens sometime in September or October. But if he's not ready, Seferian-Jenkins will not hesitate to put things on the back burner and take some official visits, if necessary.

WR Logan Sweet - Santa Margarita Catholic (CA) 6-1, 190: It was a bit of deja vu watching Logan Sweet play, because I thought I was watching the second coming of Bobby Whithorne, the SMC receiver (also around 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds) that committed to UW for the class of 2003. Whithorne probably had Sweet beat in the speed department, but not by enough to matter all that much. Other than that, the two players are eerily similar in stature and in ability. One thing Sweet might have on the former Husky is his ability to play both ways, but a torn knee hampered his recruitment as a junior. Expect Sweet to be one of those guys that comes ready to play this fall, because he could be one of those prospects that breaks out and people will be saying, 'where did that guy come from?'. I expect Washington to be paying close attention to what Sweet does in the coming months.


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