Back in 2001 you had a line led by Larry Triplett, Jerome Stevens, Marcus Roberson, Kai Ellis. It may have been the last good line at Washington. Things have slipped considerable since Triplett moved on to the NFL.
I think under Willingham it has been the talent coming in over the first three years coupled with the 2004 Gilby disaster which robbed him of seniors in 2008, and the 2003 stinker class that Neuhesiel put together.
The one constant at Washington through the last four head coaches has been Randy Hart coaching the defensive line. Is the problem Randy Hart or is it the lack of talent.
2001 Recruiting Class (Neuheisel)
Wow this was a nice class on paper. Tui played right away then he ended up becoming an enormous fat tub of goo. Hopoi had an OK career but never developed as well as he should have his senior year. Conwell quit to focus on track. Ellis was great when healthy. He just wasn't healthy all the time.
- Tui Alaeilefailula (Blue Chip)
- Manase Hopoi
- Will Conwell (Blue Chip)
- Kai Ellis (JC Blue Chip)
2003 Recruiting Class (Neuhesiel)
Another great class on paper but it never developed under three different head coaches. Mateaki and Ala never developed in to all league players. Milsten's career ended with a nasty leg injury. Reffert finished up last season and finished strong. I think he gray shirted. I wouldn't exactly label it a bust, but it didn't come close to living up to expectations.
- Donny Mateaki (Blue Chip)
- Brandon Ala (Blue Chip)
- Dan Milsten
- Jordan Reffert
2003 Recruiting Class (Neuhesiel)
This was the turning point.
This class wasn't good on paper, and you can consider it a bust. Tyler quit after one promising year. Mapuolasega came in out shape and red shirted. Rob Lewis was a tweener. Wilson Afoa who was a throw in at the end became a decent player.
You want to pick a class where it headed in the complete wrong direction this was it. Neuhesiel lost out on Brandon Mebane, Leon Drummer and Matthew Malele to California. It wasn't long till California was beating Washington in the homes, and on the field.
- Wilson Afoa
- Mike Mapuolasega (JC)
- Casey Tyler
- Rob Lewis
2004 Recruiting Class (Gilbertson)
A fantastic class on paper and JWF looked like the next coming of Emtman till he got injured. That injury cost him two years. Now he is finishing up on the OL. Lobos played right away and turned in four very average years in the depth.
Goodrum was your Kai Ellis. Goodrum never showed up and headed to USC which was a major disaster because it forced Gilby to play Rayford and Gunheim early.
The story of this class is it was wasted by playing all four of these guys their freshman years. Imagine a 2008 Husky defensive line featuring JWF, Lobos, Gunheim, and Rayford. You think we might just be doing better?
- Erick Lobos
- Jordan White Frisbee
- Dwight Goodrum (JC Blue Chip)
- Ceasar Rayford
- Greyson Gunheim
2005 Recruiting Class (Willingham)
Teo Neshiem is a good one who has to labor through double teams each week because he is the only threat on the 2008 line. Tyrone Davis never made it in. Willingham needed to pick up a couple of tackles and it is killing him in 2008.
- Daniel Teo Nesheim
- Tyrone Davis
2006 Recruiting Class (Willingham)
Willingham brings in a tackle but where is your pass rushing defensive end? I think they went to Cal, Oregon, USC, and UCLA.
Elisara and Matthews haven't developed quickly. Elisara starts but is often over matched. Matthews is in the depth at DE. Kosub quit after a year. These kids have three more years to play so it is too early to judge them.
- DeShon Matthews (Blue Chip)
- Cameron Elisara (Blue Chip)
- Derek Kosub
2007 Recruiting Class (Willingham)
Duncan and Wood are destined to be depth guys because the younger kids have already passed them up. Aldrich has a future if he can put on some more weight. Not a great class on paper, and no surprises.
- Tyrone Duncan
- Nick Wood
- Kalani Aldrich
2008 Recruiting Class (Willingham)
This is the best defensive line class on paper since the days of Don James. Klmente is starting and getting his as kicked every week. Ta'amu is playing a lot and going throught he same thing. Thompson is trying to find his way around at DE. Noble would be playing if he hadn't have qualified late. these guys are the future of the program and it is too bad they had to play right away.
I smell the desperation of 2004 repeating itself again after Ty announced that he wasn't sure that Noble would redhirt after missing the first seven weeks.
- Craig Noble (Blue Chip)
- Senio Kelmente (Blue Chip)
- Alameda Ta'amu (Blue Chip)
- Everette Thompson (Blue Chip)