Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Sarkisian's latest haul is close to being the best signed by the Huskies in recent memory.
Scant skeptics aside, there is no denying that the class the Huskies signed this year should be deemed a success for the time being. Ranked in the Top 15 of any class in the country by Scout and generally regarded as being, at worst, the fourth-best class signed by a Pac-12 school, Sarkisian and his staff may not have hit a grand slam with the Class of 2013, but they definitely got a multi-base hit.
While the class didn't quite stack up to the epic class that UCLA signed, or the small, top-heavy one signed by USC, it is certainly the best class the Huskies have signed in the last few years. But if you go back to 2010, you can find a class the Huskies signed that was even more highly regarded, so it wasn't unprecedented.
With that said, how does the class stack up in regard to other recent classes signed by the Huskies?
Since recruiting rankings are only really stored going back to 2002, you can't compare it to the classes of the glory days, but where does it rank in the recent history of classes signed by Washington?
- 2010 - #11 nationally, 3rd in the Pac-10, 3.13 star average, Stars (4*DT Sione Potoa'e, 4*G Erik Kohler, 4*S Sean Parker)
Sarkisian and his staff capitalized off the momentum from his first season at Washington when he led the Huskies to a five-game turnaround and had a monumental upset of USC. The buzz for Sarkisian and the Huskies was as high and talented players out of California started becoming interested in the Huskies again. Nick Montana didn't pan out as a Pac-12 quarterback, but he was a big name when he signed and got the Huskies a ton of good publicity. The class was huge and very balanced, with a diverse collection of players at a number of positions signing up. The signing of Potoa'e was seen as a big step forward in getting elite players to stay in Washington and getting Kohler along with Bothell's Colin Porter and Micah Hatchie out of Hawai'i headlined a rare strong offensive line class for the Dawgs.
- 2013 - #14 nationally, 2nd in the Pac-12, 3.26 star average, Stars (4*DT Elijah Qualls, 4*WR Damore'ea Stringfellow, 4*QB Troy Williams)
If the Huskies had been able to hang onto Daeshon Hall and grab someone like Nico Falah, this would have overtaken 2010, but it falls just a touch short. Nonetheless, it was a huge success for Sarkisian and his staff as they loaded up on 4-star talents, especially at receiver and along the defensive line. This might be the best crop that the Huskies have ever harvested out of California and would have clearly been the best defensive line class they have ever signed if they could have hung onto Hall.
- 2008 - #14 nationally, 3rd in the Pac-10, 3.13 star average, Stars (5*TE Kavario Middleton, 4*RB Chris Polk, 4*G Alameda Ta'amu)
This is the only top-25 class that Tyrone Willingham was able to sign during his time in Seattle, primarily because he was able to keep a very loaded in-state crop at home. Middleton led the way as one of the few 5-star recruits ever signed by the Huskies and was joined by five 4-star prospects from the state of Washington who signed with Willingham, including Middleton's teammate Jermaine Kearse. Willingham's biggest coup might have actually been in California, though, as he was able to get Polk to switch from USC to Washington back when players flipped their commitments with far less frequency than today.
- 2003 - #18 nationally, 2nd in the Pac-10, 2.86 star average, Stars (5*JC TE Jon Lyon, 4*LB Tahj Bomar, 4*WR Craig Chambers)
Rick Neuheisel's reputation as an ace recruiter was starting to be questioned, but he was still able to pull in a Top 20 class in his final recruiting season at Washington. Lyon was probably overrated, but generated a lot of excitement along with fellow JC signee defensive end Mike Mapolosega who was originally from Samoa. The rest of the class was filled with 3-star talents other than the in-state Bomar and Chambers. This was also the infamous six-receiver class that many point to when talking about unbalanced Husky classes that aren't heavy enough on offensive linemen, as they only took three OL who were all 2-star projects.
- 2011 - #22 nationally, 4th in the Pac-12, 3.08 star average, Stars (5*TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 5*WR Kasen Williams, 4*RB Bishop Sankey)
Probably the best in-state class ever signed by the Huskies led by keeping the rare talents of Seferian-Jenkins and Williams at home along with Sankey who they pried away from his longtime commitment to the Cougs. The Huskies signed nine guys from the state of Washington, including heralded defensive linemen Danny Shelton and Taniela Tupou and peppered in some solid prospects from California to fill it out.
- 2012 - #22 nationally, 5th in Pac-12, 2.96 star average, Stars (5*S Shaq Thompson, 4*QB Jeff Lindquist, 4*QB Cyler Miles)
It was probably the wildest recruiting season in the history of Husky football, as Sarkisian poached Tosh Lupoi from Cal and grabbed Thompson who is probably the most highly-regarded player to ever sign with the Huskies. Thompson was joined by two elite quarterbacks in Lindquist and Miles and a bevy of solid 3-star prospects.
- 2004 - #22 nationally, 3rd in Pac-10, 2.73 star average, Stars (4*QB Matt Tuiasosopo, 4*S Keauntea Bankhead, 4*JC S Dashon Goldson)
Keith Gilberston's only class was actually pretty well received at the time and seen as a sign that he was going to be able to turn the program around from the mediocre rut it found itself in Neuheisel's last couple of seasons. Gilbertson put a big emphasis on linemen and tough defensive players and many thought that he was going to change the mentality of the program, led by Tuiasosopo who was crowned as the savior prior to Jake Locker. Unfortunately the two most highly-rated signees never suited up for the Huskies as Tuiasosopo got an offer from the Mariners that he couldn't refuse and Bankhead failed to qualify.
- 2002 - #23 nationally, 3rd in the Pac-10, 3.05 star average, Stars (5*DE Donny Mateaki, 4*T Nathan Rhodes, 4*LB Scott White)
Neuheisel and the Huskies still had high stock when they landed this class, but it was actually a little bit of a drop off from their previous haul after winning the Rose Bowl in 2000. Mateaki and fellow Hawaiian defensive end Brandon Ala combined with San Diego's Stanley Daniels had fans really excited about the future of the Husky defensive line and pulling Nathan Rhodes out of California was a major coup.
- 2007 - #29 nationally, 4th in the Pac-10, 2.81 star average, stars (4*TE Chris Izbicki, 4*WR Anthony Boyles, 4*CB Vonzell McDowell)
This was one of the worst in-state crops in the history of the state with Izbicki the only guy who really got national attention and even his stock plummeted as the recruiting season went on. Unlike Sarkisian and Neuheisel, Willingham wasn't able to stock the shelves with talented guys from California, so this class was kind of filled out with under-the-radar guys who they competed with lower-level schools to sign.
- 2006 - #35 nationally, 6th in the Pac-10, 2.77 star average, stars (4*QB Jake Locker, 4*DT Cameron Elisara, 4*JC WR Marcel Reece)
This class was building up steam early with the commitments of Locker and Elisara, but fell apart after the Huskies double whiffed on Steve Schilling and Taylor Mays.
- 2005 - #55 nationally, 10th in the Pac-10, 2.62 star average, stars (4*RB J.R. Hasty, 4*LB E.J. Savannah, 3*T Ben Ossai)
This was the first panic button class in modern Husky football history after Gilbertson went 1-11 and then Willingham was brought in after the season. Reeling in Hasty and Savannah salvaged this from being one of the worst classes in the country bar none, but it couldn't prevent it from being the worst class in the Pac-10. Also, if you were to document the trend of the state of Washington's top high school football talent fleeing the state, this would be the first chapter as the top three in-state prospects in Jonathan Stewart, Anthony Felder and Leon Jackson all went out of state.
- 2009 - #66 nationally, 10th in the Pac-10, 2.58 star average, stars (3*QB Keith Price, 3*CB Desmond Trufant, 3*WR James Johnson)
Sarkisian kind of gets a pass on this one as it was his first class ever and he had to salvage something after Willingham's cataclysmic 0-12 season. Unfortunately, the first time head coach couldn't do much and his best recruit, Price actually committed to Willingham. Many of the Huskies' struggles and depth issues at the moment can be attributed to this poor class.