Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times ran a review of the 2008 class last week in his blog and I decided to chime in with my own comments on this highly rated class. 12 players ended up using a year of eligibility and that is a shameful waste of the future when you finish with an 0-12 record.
One of the nasty legacies of the Willingham era will be the fact that he panicked and threw way too many of these kids into the fire or under the bus too soon. One area that is going to hurt is on the defensive line who were way out of their league last season against older and stronger competition. It cost them a year of eligibility but most importantly banged them up enough so their future development could become stunted.
It reminds me of Greyson Gunheim, Erik Lobos, and Ceasar Rayford who also played too soon as frosh under Keith Gilbertson and were ominously missing from last years lineup because they only were on campus four years.
Dominique Blackman QB Carson, Calif. (Carson HS) --- He was one of the highest rated QB's in the West until he was suspended from his HS team for team conduct violations. UW still stayed with him but he didn't qualify. Sarkisian pulled the plug on him this week choosing to go another direction. From what I have heard from the inside I think it was a wise choice.
Demitrius Bronson RB Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS) --- Bronson was the top HS RB in Washington but didn't qualify on time. Unlike Blackman he will join the squad with five years to play five in January. He will start off as a RB but many predict he will move to defense like his brother who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State.
Cody Bruns WR Prosser, Wash. (Prosser HS) --- Tyrone wasted his redshirt mid season but the young man from Prosser showed he has what it takes to play the game. He has pretty good speed and runs excellent routes not to mention a decent arm that can be used on trick plays. Too bad Ty selfishly wasted a year of his eligibility. He really reminds me of some great Husky wideouts. I am expecting big things if he can stay healthy.
Allen Carroll OL Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS) --- Carroll redshirted after undergoing knee surgery to correct a HS injury. Like most OL he has a lot of learning to do before he gains playing time.
Terrance Dailey Vacaville, Calif. (Vacaville HS) --- Dailey was another kid they should have kept on the bench but injuries gained him a spot in the starting lineup. I wouldn't say he is a great back but he has a nice wiggle and hits the hole pretty well.
Johri Fogerson Kent, Wash. (O'Dea HS) --- Fogerson could have used a year in the weight room like everyone in this group but injuries allowed him to start a few games until he himself was injured. Another tough lesson about playing freshman before they are able to be strong enough to avoid injury.
David Freeman RB Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS) --- Freeman looked great after All World recruit Chris Polk went down with an injured shoulder. Two bum ankles forced Freeman out of the lineup for most of the season after he burst onto the scene. I expect Freeman to compete for the starting job in 2009.
Justin Glenn CB Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak HS) --- Glenn had the talent to play early but the Huskies had enough depth at cornerback to allow him to take the year off to get stronger. Keep an eye on Glenn because he is actually one of the only true CB's on the roster.
Anthony Gobern CB Fair Oaks, Calif. (Del Campo HS) --- He had shoulder surgery early and decided to delay enrollment until this January. Like Glenn he is one of the only true CB's on the roster. He has excellent speed so look for him to vie for playing time in the Fall.
Mykenna Ikehara OL Mililani, Hawai'i (Kamehameha HS) --- Who was the best center last year on the Washington roster? If you said Juan Garcia you are wrong. Ikehara is going to be four year starter and the next great Washington center. Thank god he had a RS year so he can develop fully. This kid reminds me a lot of Bern Brostek who was another great Husky from Hawaii.
Jermaine Kearse WR Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes HS) --- Kearse had 20 catches and showed glimpses of being a big play guy in the future. The coaches like this kid because he is very coachable and has great tools. Keep an eye on his little brother at Lakes who just may be a better talent.
Senio Kelemete DL 6-4 290 Seattle, Wash. (Evergreen HS) --- He earned a starting job after only being on campus for two weeks. It just showed how desperate the coaches were. There was no way this kid should have played his first year. He was beaten on until an injury against Notre Dame sidelined him. Hopefully he can get strong enough to contribute more next season. Like Ceasar Rayford and Greyson Gunheim that lost year is going to hurt his future.
Luther Leonard QB Seattle, Wash. (Evergreen HS) --- Chances are Luther who is a great athlete will move to another position in the fall. In the meantime he will get a chance to show Sarkisian what he can do int he spring before Keith Price joins the team this Fall.
Adam Long CB 5-10 168 Los Angeles, Calif. (St. Bernard HS) --- The coaches expected Long who is one of the fastest players on the team to play right away. He didn't thank god and has had a year to beef up and learn the position.
Kurt Mangum LB 6-2 240 Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler HS) --- Kurt came in early but never earned playing time since MLB was a strength. With Butler and Tui coming back this fall he will have a pretty soft landing as far as earning playing time goes.
Kavario Middleton TE Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes HS) -- Middleton did fine catching passes until he was injured in the first couple of games. We never really heard from him after Gottleib came back. UW wasted his first year. IMHO he should have been used as a slot receiver because he was never going to be a blocking threat his first year.
Craig Noble DL Los Angeles, Calif. (Taft HS) --- Noble came in late due to test scores thankfully never played a down. Like the other frosh linemen he needs a year in the weight room and thank god he was one of the few who got it.
Chris Polk RB Highland, Calif. (Redlands East Valley HS) --- Polk started slow and then was injured badly enough to earn a RS season. The kid has talent but was rushed too quickly in my opinion. I expect great things out of him though over the next four years at either receiver or running back.
Jordan Polk WR Portland, Ore. (Lincoln HS) --- Jordan is actually Chris Polk's cousin and he had decent first year. I liked the way he returns punts but I think that Devin Aguilar is the punt returner of the future.
Bradly Roussel LB Baton Rouge, La. (Redemptorist HS) --- Willingham tried his best not to take him last year after reneging on his offer. He also tried to run him off the team this fall. Roussel will do better without Willingham being around because the kid is a real fighter in live scrimmaging. He will do much better under Sarkisian and his staff.
Drew Schaefer OL Sammamish, Wash. (Eastlake HS) --- Like all the other offensive linemen Drew redshirted last season but he and Ikehara were the two best OL in last years class. He has a good future ahead of him.
Alameda Ta'amu DL Kent, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS) --- He wasn't ready to play and was just pounded all season by older and stronger kids. He has a lot of talent and should be better next season after a year of conditioning.
Vince Taylor WR Issaquah, Wash. (Eastside Catholic HS) --- I think Vince is a safety but Tyrone started him off at WR which was kind of stupid when you compare depth at the two positions. We will see were Sark thinks he is better suited to play. The kid is a very good athlete and I expect good things from him over the next four years.
Terence Thomas OL Caldwell, Idaho (Caldwell HS) --- Thomas has a lot of work to do but he has the time. UW was the only Pac Ten school that really recruited him but he has decent feet and size. Like all OL it takes time to develop.
Everrette Thompson DE Renton, Wash. (Kennedy HS) --- Thompson was the most ready to play of all the defensive linemen and showed why late in the season when he started picking up some sacks. With a year in the weight room he could become a true monster.
Greg Walker DB Bellflower, Calif. (St. Bernard HS) --- Walker was a scout team warrior last season that opened the eye of the coaches. He was a HS LB that moved to safety when he got in college so he has some learning to do.