If you did not read my first fanpost about the offense it can be found here http://www.uwdawgpound.com/2014/1/5/5278954/needs-in-recruiting . What I will be looking at this time is the defense and special teams. Once again I will not be assuming any position changes, although there are certain to be some and I acknowledge the possibility. Also, when I say "recruits needed" it is what I believe the minimum amount of recruits are needed for that position. It does not mean that there will not be more recruits at that position or that they are wasting scholarships if more than that number of recruits commit to that position. When I am stating what year the player is it will be what they are next season and not this season because it is more important when thinking about recruiting and future depth. Even though our defense was a 3-4 defense I will be treating at it more as a 4-3. The 4th LB or "Rush end" is viewed in this article as a defensive end. Likewise the interior defensive end (Evan Hudson) will be treated more as your traditional 3-technique (lined up between the guard and tackle) DT. The reason I am doing this is simply because it is easier to talk about those positions in that manner. Okay, let’s get started.
DE: This year we saw great production from Kikaha. He will be entering his senior season next year and if he improves off this year he will go very high in the draft. On the other side we have Cory Littleton who will be entering his junior year. He was not a flashy player, but was solid against the run and could get pressure at times. Behind them we will have two sophomore studs in Mathis and Farria. I really wished one of the two would have redshirted, because beyond them the depth gets a little iffy. From my understanding, and I could be wrong, I believe that both Connor Cree and Jarret Finau played mainly behind Evan Hudson in the interior and were not on the outside as much. Both of those players could probably move to the edge if need be. Because we have Farria and Mathis for a couple of years I am not too concerned with this position, but it will definitely need to be addressed next recruiting cycle.
DE recruits needed: 1
Current commits: 0
DT/NT: Danny Shelton staying on one more year saves this defense. He is the anchor in the middle and he would not have been replaceable had he left. He will be entering his final season next year and someone will have to fill the void 2 seasons from now. Lawrence Lagafuaina will also be entering his senior season for the team and has not been more than a backup in his career. Behind them we have Elijah Qualls who is a freak of an athlete. He played defensive tackle and running back in high school. Yeah, you read that correctly. He will be a freshman next year and will hopefully be that next great NT/DT at UW. At the 3-tech DT spot we have Evan Hudson who will be a senior next season. Behind him there are unproven players, but plenty of depth. The backups are Connor Cree, Jarett Finau, Damien Turpin and Taniela Tupou. Not the flashiest group of players on the team, but at the very least they are serviceable and there is depth. This position is not as big of a concern for this class not to mention that as Mathis matures he might grow into this position. I would put much more effort in this recruiting class towards the big body NT type.
NT/DT recruits needed: 1
Current commits: 0
LB: Here we have a position that is loaded with depth and talent. All of the starters will be returning next year. Shaq and Feeney will both be juniors next year (my how the time flies) and unless they both step up their games a little bit, they will be back for their senior seasons. They are both very talented and show flashes of big time playmaking ability, but I felt all year that there was just something missing in both their games. If they can figure it out they are both athletically gifted enough to play on Sundays. Scott Lawyer was a backup to Shaq this season and will be entering his junior season. Behind them we have a ton of young talent. Of note Sean Constantine, Keishawn Bierria, Connor O’brien and Azeem Victor all redshirted this year and will be freshmen next season. That is a lot of talent and depth for many years. If there was one position you could take a risk at not having any recruits this would be the one. Having said that, I would still prefer to get at least one recruit on board because you never know about injuries or players leaving early.
LB recruits needed: 1
Current commits: 1 (Drew Lewis. Lewis is listed on ESPN as a RB, on Rivals and Scouts as a safety but I believe the last regime wanted him to bulk up and play LB. I will keep him at LB because we have three safety commits already.)
S: The two starters this season Sean Parker and Will Shamburger will be gone next season. Also departing is Tre Watson who spent time at both safety and corner. This will make for a lot of new young faces next season. Trevor Walker and Kevin King spent time at the SS position backing up Parker and will both be sophomores next season. In the FS position we have Brandon Beaver who will be a sophomore. I believe it was Kirk who stated on one of the comment threads that Kendal Taylor redshirted this year and may possibly switching to the Safety position. Whether this will happen or not, I do not know. But if it does then that is another sophomore body at safety. Although there is plenty of youth at this position, none of these players have proven to be quality starters. Petersen will need recruits at this position in case one or two of these players do not pan out.
S recruits needed: 2
Recruits committed: 3 (Lavon Washington, Darren Gardenhire, Jojo McIntosh)
CB: The Huskies are losing two players at this position. Gregory Ducre is graduating and Cleveland Wallace is transferring. On one side we will have Marcus Peters who will be a junior. If I were Petersen I would have to make the assumption that next year will be his last year as a Husky. On the other side I would bet that Jermaine Kelly, a freshman, will be the guy. He was a very highly touted recruit and it was very smart to redshirt him this season. If he is not the guy Travell Dixon a senior may play or Patrick Enewally freshman could see time. Also because Wilcox wanted safeties that could cover spread style offenses so Kevin King or Brandon Beaver could potentially move if need be. This position does not have much depth after next season, similar to the WR position. This position has to be addressed so that Petersen is not forced to start a true freshman at CB in 2 years.
CB recruits needed: 2
Current commits: 1 (Brandon Lewis)
K/P: We all know that Coons was the Jack of all trades for special teams. He was more valuable to this team then many realized. Just imagine how bad the special teams would have been had he gotten injured. Next year we will not be able to rely on him as he has graduated. Cameron Van Winkle will be the guy we look at to kick field goals next season. Unfortunately, he did not redshirt this season even though he only kicked the ball a couple of times. Also there are rumors floating that he has an injury that could jeopardize his future. I don’t know whether or not that is true, but it if is we are in trouble. We would have no one else on the team to kick field goals. Not to mention that he was a stud in high school and he has a huge leg. For punting we have Korey Durkee who will be a junior. He has not really punted much because apparently he is inconsistent and his technique issues. The only reason he didn’t redshirt is because he was the holder on PATs and field goals. If these positions are not addressed somehow then next season could be frustrating in a different way for ST. We may have better coverage but might not be able to kick the ball well.
K/P recruits needed: 1
Recruits Committed: 0
If we look at the numbers for the amount of recruits needed it is 7 on offense, 7 on defense and 1 for special teams. That would make a grand total of 15 recruits that are necessary to make this class a potential success. Now I tend to believe that Petersen will probably bring in about 18 recruits give or take. This class was going to be smaller, but we have had one player transfer in Cleveland Wallace. Four players have left early in Taz Stevenson, Jamaal Kearse, Andrew Hudson and Diandre Campbell. More players could potentially opt to transfer so the number of scholarships available may go up. One thing Sark did do for us is leave the program in pretty good shape. There is definitely talent and depth on this team, and we probably won’t have to rely on too many of the incoming freshmen to play this upcoming season. I hope you all enjoyed ready this post. If there are any mistakes or disagreements feel free to discuss them. We have only a few weeks left in this recruiting season so it’s time to get excited for the next group of guys to represent UW. Go Dawgs.