Examining Washington's Recruiting Class (So Far...)

Otto Greule Jr

With one more weekend of official visits and a little over a week until Signing Day for 2014, we take a look at the current state of Washington's recruiting class and known targets Coach Petersen's staff is still pursuing.

Going in to the 2013 season the general thinking was that the 2014 recruiting class would be on the smaller side with only 12 players exhausting their eligibility.  Fast forward a few months and things are very different - with two players leaving early for the NFL draft (Bishop Sankey, Austin Seferian-Jenkins), four academic seniors choosing to end their careers despite possessing another year of eligibility (DiAndre Campbell, Andrew Hudson, Jamaal Kearse, Taz Stevenson), a transfer out (Cleveland Wallace) and a retirement (Connor Cree), there is now a lot more room in the 2014 class, and more attrition is possible.  See the scholarship chart Chris put together a couple weeks ago for more info.

It's safe to assume that Petersen will take at least 20 players, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him take up to the full 25 in anticipation of more turnover; as a last resort, Petersen could always ask a player or two in this class to delay enrollment (aka "greyshirt") to make the numbers work.

With the defection of Chase Blakely from this class, it is currently sitting at 16 new commits plus 2013 greyshirt Jaimie Bryant.  Let's take a closer look at the breakdown of the class and targets still in play and take a guess at what the final tally might look like:

QB - Commit: K.J. Carta-Samuels; remaining targets:  none

Petersen has his QB for this class, though you might see the staff pursue some local targets as preferred walk-ons.

RB - Commit: Jomon Dotson; remaining targets: Tre Watson, Rashaad Penney

While there isn't a huge need here, it's always a good idea to get 1-2 commits per class to keep a steady flow.  This is also a position where can see some position flexibility - Dotson is the lone RB commit currently, but he also projects as a DB, and so it's not surprising that the staff was also pushing hard to land Watson and Demario Richard.  Richard appears solid with ASU, but Watson visited last weekend and hasn't yet publicly reaffirmed a prior commitment to Cal.  It remains to be seen if Penney is still a target, though he is still listed by Scout.com as a visitor for this coming weekend.

WR - Commit: Dante Pettis; remaining targets: Don'Yeh Patterson, Brayden Lenius, Jamire Jordan

Washington has a good one in the fold in Pettis, but they could probably use one more to keep the numbers looking right down the road.  Patterson and Lenius are reportedly slated to visit this coming weekend, and Jordan was in town this past weekend (though he left without an offer).  My guess is Petersen would like to land another WR, but could stand pat if he lands better players at other positions.  Lenius is an intriguing sleeper - a taller kid (6'5") originally from British Columbia that is a relative newcomer to football.  WSU is pushing hard to get him.

TE - Commit: Drew Sample; remaining targets: none

While Blakely was a surprise decommit, it was a bit of a luxury to have two TE commits in this class.  Sample will probably end up the only TE commit in the class, though Will Dissly could potentially see time here.

OL - Commits: Matt James, Jesse Sosebee, John Turner; remaining targets: Kaleb McGary, Miguel Machado

Petersen has a good core of an OL class here with three commits already, but he'd love to add McGary to the list and he also appears to be pushing for a visit from JC transfer (and WSU commit) Machado.  I also wouldn't be completely surprised to see the staff circle back around to Kammy Delp at the last minute - Sark & co. did the same thing with Patrick Enewally last year.

DL - Commits: Shane Bowman, Jaimie Bryant, Will Dissly, Greg Gaines; remaining targets: Jaylen Johnson, Kalani Vakameilalu

With only two DT's and four DE's targeted to be on the team after the 2014 season, this was an area of need.  Petersen has four on board already and is hot after at least two more; it's been thought for a while that Johnson is likely to commit, but as of yet he still hasn't pulled the trigger.  Edit - Just 10 minutes after this was published, Greg Biggins reported that Johnson has committed to Washington. Vakameilalu visited the same weekend as Johnson, and the Oregon State commit is still reportedly mulling his decision.  This is another position where you could see some guys move around - McGary could end up here if he commits; Bryant could possibly move to the OL; Dissly could potentially move to TE or oven OL; so landing more bodies here would give Petersen more options.

LB - Commits: none; remaining targets: Kalen Ballage, Drew Lewis, Kaleb Hill

Washington loaded up on LB's last year with four, so this isn't a position of great need; still, it seems likely that Petersen will try to land at least one prospect here.  Lewis was a long-time commit, but when Sark & co. left for USC he decided to open things up.  The read is that he's waiting on an offer from USC, and if he gets it he'll take it, with Washington as a fall-back.  That plan might backfire on him though - Petersen might decide to give him a take-it-or-leave-it deadline, and there are rumors he's trying to get Hill - a target of his while at Boise State - to visit this coming weekend.  Edit: I meant to include Ballage here; he projects to either RB or LB, but I have a feeling Petersen is looking at him for defense.  He's not much for talking to the media, so it's hard to know how solid he is to ASU.

CB - Commits: Sidney Jones, Brandon Lewis; remaining targets: Naijiel Hale

It will be interesting to see where all the DB's line up in Spring practices under the new staff; currently there are only three returning CB's as defined by the old staff, but you could see guys like Brandon Beaver and Patrick Enewally moved over.  With two current commits, Petersen could be done, but he's still making a run at Arizona commit Hale, and the latest word is he's strongly considering it.  You might also see a last-minute run at a JC transfer, potentially even someone signing in the Spring depending on how the numbers shake out.

S - Commits: Darren Gardenhire, JoJo McIntosh, Lavon Washington; remaining targets: Budda Baker, Khalil Oliver

With the top three players in the depth here graduating, this is a position where an incoming frosh could make a real impact.  As noted above, it will be interesting to see where Jimmy Lake lines up his DB's, as it appears the numbers are tilted towards safeties right now if Kendyl Taylor remains here rather than moving back to WR or RB.  Petersen has three commits in the fold, but will absolutely make room for Baker, the prize target in-state this year and someone that could also see time at RB, WR and CB.  I think he'd also make room for Oliver - who might end up as an OLB after a couple of years - but the current feeling is he's leaning towards honoring his commitment to Boise State.

Specialists - Commit: Tristan Vizcaino; remaining targets: none

Cameron Van Winkle is a question mark due to ongoing issues with his back, and Korey Durkee wasn't able to win the trust of the prior staff, so replacing Travis Coons was of high importance.  Petersen appears to have his man in Vizcaino who rates highly both as a placekicker and punter.  Expect to see the staff also go hard after a preferred walk-on or two here to flesh out the competition.

Conclusion: As you can see, there are potentially a lot of moving parts to resolve before Signing Day; I could easily see another 7 commits added to the list, and Petersen will likely have some late decisions to make about which kids to take commitments from and who to let loose.

As currently constructed, this is a decent class and fairly well balanced.  There's star power out there in the remaining targets, and if this staff could land some guys from among Baker, McGary, Johnson, Hale, Watson and Oliver, this could end up looking pretty good come Signing Day.  Even without those guys, this is a much better looking transition class than we've seen at Washington since at least 1999.

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