The first recruiting weekend of the season has come and gone and the Huskies picked up four new verbals and will probably pick up a couple more during in home visits this week. It's not a bad start and it puts Washington about half way there as far as recruiting goals are concerned.
Steve Sarkisian said that he wanted to bring in a full class of 25 players this year but I still don't see it happening. I think in the end they end up with 18-22 players to work with. One area of concern is the offensive line. As you have probably noticed the Huskies haven't received a verbal yet from an offensive lineman. A rule of thumb is that you would like to have four in each class to create balance.
What Washington is doing is going after a lot of defensive lineman types because for some reason there are more left on the boards at this time than usual. I think this Spring you will see two to three current defensive linemen on the roster make the switch to offense to balance things out. Tyrone Duncan, Craig Noble, and Nick Wood come to mind as possible candidates.
UW probably won't bring in a running back this season. It doesn't mean that they aren't trying to get in on a few guys but it frankly isn't a huge need because Willingham stockpiled some talent at the position. One thing he didn't get while he was here was a big bruiser and I don't see any obvious choices left out there for the Huskies to pursue this year.
Speaking of Willingham one thing he didn't like to do was go head to head with teams like USC and UCLA for the best players on the board. Sarkisian on the other hand has had no problem doing this early. He brought in two UCLA commits for visits this past weekend and is working on QB/DE James Boyd who is a USC commit. UW may not be successful in all cases when it comes to changing a kids mind this late in the game but you have to like aggressiveness this staff is showing this late in the game.
What this does is bode very well for 2010. While Washington assembles the 2009 class they are also going full bore on recruiting the 2010 class. Jake Heaps was on campus this weekend on an unofficial visit for three full hours reviewing tapes with Sark and Nussmeier. It look like Jake wants to make an early decision and give whatever team he verbals to a a big momentum boost this Summer.
The early favorites for Heaps are Washington, UCLA, and BYU. He has over twenty offers right now and is going to prune them down to a top ten to concentrate on. Heaps can go to any school in the country he wants. He will likely be named the number one high school QB in the country by the scouting services later this year. I think in the end the allure of playing at home and leading the Huskies back to the Rose Bowl will be the deciding factor.
So exactly what are we going to end up with this recruiting season? The Huskies are currently ranked 77th in the nation by Scout with 13 verbals on the books. I imagine the last 7-10 recruits will be enough to boost UW inside the top 50 which isn't bad for starting late. How the class performs of course over time is the real measuring stick. there are plenty of 2-3 star guys out there that end up being pretty good football players at places like Oregon State and Boise. The key is identifying these diamonds in the rough and coaching them up when they get here.
UW Basketball team gets ready for LA invasion
If you are a Husky basketball fan you have to be excited over the Willamette Sweep tha thappened this past weekend. I know that the Oregon schools are destined to finish near the bottom of the conference but winning two on the road is never easy. Washington simply dominated both these squads and after a tough triple OT loss to Cal it was nice to see them bounce back in such good form.
Things get very serious this week as the Los Angeles schools are visiting Hec Edmundson Pavillion. UCLA is the conference favorite as usual but they picked up their first loss in conference play this past weekend and are tied atop the league with UW and California. The Bruins suffered a rare home court loss to Arizona State. It was the first win for ASU under Herb Sendek over the Bruins. The key to this win was a zone defense that kept UCLA out of the paint most of the night.
USC is 3-2 to start the conference season. They beat Arizona by one point on Saturday and had no problem with ASU on Thursday night. Taj Gibson is leading the Trojans in scoring and rebounding.
The story at Washington so far has been the improved play of the back court and the solid rebounding inside that continues to lead the country in rebounding margin. This team has really jelled over the early part of the season and is getting solid production from Brockman, Thomas, Dentmon, Pondexter, and Bryant-Amaning who is still coming off the bench.
Player like Gant, Overton, and Holiday may not be big time scorers yet but there presence has been felt on defense and getting the ball to the designated scorers. All in all it has been a splendid example in overall team effort this season.
This is a big weekend for Washington. If they can sweep the LA schools they are likely to be alone at the top of the Pac Ten standings with only the Arizona series left to play in the seasons first half. Win these two games and the Huskies may have assured themselves a spot in the big dance come March.