Washington's recruiting class may not be ranked very high but they picked up six junior college kids who will give the team some much needed instant impact in 2009.
The twelve high school recruits show promise but it is likely that they all wiil red shirt unless they blow everyone away at fall camp.One thing most of these guys have in common is they come from winning programs. Knowing how to win is a big part of changing the culture.
Steve Sarkisian comments on each player in the highlighted sections thanks to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
Sarkisian said every player signed has a chance to play next year, saying he doesn't recruit players with the thought of redshirting them. But he said there is a chance a player or two could grayshirt out of this class.
UW has 88 players heading into fall on scholarship. Two of those scholarshios were given to walk ons. chances are those guy will have to give up their scholarships if there isn't any attrition.
Speaking of attrition expect it. Even in the most ideal of circumstances attrition happens. with a coaching change expect up to ten players on the cureent roster to move on by the end of next football season.
No offense to ESPNU, or to Scout.com or Rivals or anyone who ranks these guys, but I don't remember the last time they had to put together a game plan," Sarkisian said. "We are the guys that have to put a team together and it's not just about how many stars they have. ... They're probably not very far off, but it's about putting together a class, not just how many stars you have."
David Batts and Dominique Gaisie were brought in to win starting jobs in the secondary. Batts is versatile enough to play safety, corner, or nickel back. I think Batts and Johnson are two of the best looking athletes in the class.
"He's a junior college safety and a three-for-three kid (meaning he has three years of eligibility left). (He's) a big, physical, just a good looking kid --- that's how they are supposed to look. He still has some work to get done in the classroom but I think he will have an immediate impact for us, especially on special teams.''
I saw some film of Gaisie today and you really have to like the way the little guy hits. He reminds me a bit of Nigel Burton in that regard. Gaisie is also a pretty good punt returner.
"Don't be fooled by 5-9, 165. This kid is a physical football player. He's a great return guy and we are expecting him to come in and contribute right off the bat. He's a physical kid that can come in and help on both defense and special teams.''
Dorson Boyce will likely be your starting TE this fall. He has pretty good hands, speed and he can block. UW will use up to three TE's at a time next season so Middleton and Izbicki will see plenty of playing time. When it is all about blocking expect Boyce to be in the game first.
"He's a physical tight end, not the tallest kid, 6-2 245 (pound) guy, that is a physical blocker that we need if we are going to establish ourselves as a physical football team. We need that kind of guy in our program, that can knock guys off the ball. I think he will be a nice complement to the guys we already have in the program.''
Will Mahan gives Washington something they haven't had in a awhile and that is a punter with some control. He isn't a boomer he is a placement artist. He is supposed to be very good at pinning teams inside the 20 yard line.
"He's the top junior college punter in the country and we are estatic to have Will in here. Again, if you are going to be good, you need to be good in all three areas. Special teams is huge for us and playing the field position game is big.''
Daniel Mafoe is the lone offensive lineman and getting him qualified in time for fall camp is a priority. He is a real big guy that moves well enough to be a defensive lineman. He will start immediately if he qualifies and can learn the playbook.
"He's a big physical tackle and again another JC guy that can hopefully fill a need on the offensive line.
Johnny Tivao is a massive man to say the least. The last measurement I heard was he was 5-10 349 pounds. I actually saw some film of him at FB and he didn't look all that bad. He really fills space on the defensive line. He definitely can fill two gaps. Think low pad level and center of gravity.
"He's a defensive tackle and he's a load now --- he's a load. He's a nose guard, he can handle the center really well and is a two-gap guy. He's a JC kid and is more mature and very physical. He has highlights of him at fullback and moves very well for his size. Again he's an immediate impact guy for us.'
Almost Ready for Prime Time
James Johnson is the headliner in this class. His film looks great and it should because he broke about every receiving record in San Diego. Oregon really wanted this guy. He is tough enough to play either WR or DB. His defensive film shows he is a hitter and he can cover. With all the depth and talent at WR Johnson will probably red shirt but he has the talent to play right away if needed.
"James Johnson, in my opinion, was probably the biggest get in this class. We needed a guy that could come in and play at wide receiver right now. He can do that, and he can make plays down field. He will help in the passing game, and on special teams. Again, his brother is a coach and he just gets it. It's important for us to get more football guys in the program.''
Marlion Barnett is a guy I could see playing this season if they decide they need a big receiver. He needs to beef up to have any impact at TE but he impressed me on film with his receiving ability. Chances are Marlion sits out this season to put on some muscle but he will get a shot this fall.
He's more of an H-back type of guy, a move guy. He has great hands and was a 1,500-yard receiver as a junior. We are excited about him, and had him in camp at (USC). He was an early commit here and he stuck with us, and I am really excited about him, and I think he'll have a chance to play early for us.''
Nathan Fellner's HS coach believes the safety has the speed and strength to play right away. Chances are he isn't going to have to do that unless the secondary gets wiped out by injury like they did last season. What you see from his film is a well rounded athlete who knows how to hit and clean up. He has the right blodlines being the nephew of Bo Cornell and the grandson of Jim Sweeney.
"He's a real physical kid and puts his hat on guys. He played some offense and I'm excited about Nate because not only can he do some things on defense, but he can help us on special teams. He's a very smart kid and the grandson of Jim Sweeney, he's been around football his whole life, and it's good for us to get those type of football junkies in our program.''
Semisi Tokolahi has great size and speed. Ideally you would like to redshirt all your linemen and Semisi is no exception except that with a new coach looking for play makers all he has to do is have a good fall camp to get a long look. This kid was way off the radar but the attention he recieved from Pac 10 schools shows that almost everyone wanted him once they saw film.
"This kid is great, a fun kid, and 6-3, 320. This is what they are supposed to look like when they come in. I am anxious to get this guy apart of the program because I think he just has a winner's mentality and a beautiful family.''
Keith Price is a great QB prospect and he said on the radio today that he wanted to compete with Jake Locker for the starting job this year. In Vegas they would give you 5000 to 1 odds on that happening. Bottom line is Price is a great QB prospect in the Dennis Dixon mold.
"He's a fantastic football player and when I got here one of the first guys I got on to stay with the program. He can make plays with his arm, he can make plays with his feet.''
Kimo Makaula was "Mr. Everything" for his HS football team last season. He can play QB, FB, P, DE, and TE. Washington envions him as a TE. He was a three star recruit but I think the fact he played QB and not his future position in colllege contributed to his lower ranking. I am telling you right now this kid is a steal. MAson Foster played uner the radar because of such diversity and I think this kid will compete for Pac 10 honors eventually.
"He's a fantastic athlete out of Hawaii. This kid was a quarterback on a state championship team. The first day I saw him I though he was somebody else and you guys will know who I am talking about (teammate Manti Te'o, who signed with Notre Dame), because he is such a good looking kid. He can play fullback, tight end, possibly defensive end and his upside is huge. I am very excited about him and again he's a football junky, a well equipped athlete that can do a lot of different things. I love the fact he was a quarterback on a championship caliber team and he brings a lot of leadership, and a winning mentality to our program.''
Andru Pulu can play MLB, DE, or fullback. He most likely will develop into a DE at Washington. This kid has a nose for the ball and was one of the most impressive seniors in Washington last season.
"He's a local kid and I am anxious to watch him develop. He may develop into a defensive lineman, I don't know, but right now he's a big physical inside linebacker who can put his hat on guys. I think he can have an immediate impact on special teams.''
Will Shamburger is a good looking prospect who played with Keith Price in HS. West coast scouts feel that he can be the equal of any HS safety recruited in the West this year? Why the low rating? He played on a losing team his junior year and the film didn't get out there till his senior year.
"He's a fantastic athlete, a safety, receiver, outside linebacker. Where exactly he ends up I don't know. Again, he's another special teams guy and we will give him his opportunity at safety, but he could fill out into a linebacker, or lengthen out into a receiver. But, we need guys like him that can play a lot of position and do a lot of things for us.''
Desmond Trufant is the little brother of Marcus Trufant. He was a WSU legacy but decided to stay closer to home. He has good potential but needs a year to put on some weight and get stronger.
"He was a big get and when I hired Nick Holt the first thing we did was visit Desmond. He's a big get, keeping the local (talent) in Washington. Obviously we all know about the lineage of the family and I think he will have huge upside in the program and start to change the scope of who we are.''
Tim Tucker is described as a MLB who has the ability to also play FB. Tucker is a thumper and hisfilm shows that. Sarkisian is really enthused about his abilty to make an impact
"He's a linebacker and possible fullback. He's a big, physical, thumper-type of guy, which if we want to become the physical football team we want to be, we need to get more guys like this in our program.''
Chris Robinson reminds me of Larry Tripplett. They both came in at around the same size with something to prove to UCLA and USC. He is a project player with a lot of upside.
"He's another kid that we had to hold onto late because guys were coming after this kid hard. Nick Holt did a great job fighting people off and keeping him. I think this guys going to have a big impact. He's a big, physical, and explosive kid that can really come off the football. He reminds us a lot of Cedrick Ellis back at SC, he has the same kind of build and explosiveness.''
Steve Sarkisian thinks Talia Chrichton has the abiltiy to be a great rush type DE. Expect him to redshirt but I really think UW picked up another Mason Foster type talent in this kid.
"He's a fantastic pass rusher. This guy's a split end pass rusher, a leo in our system, that can really rush. In this conference if you are going to be successful, especially on third down, you better be able to get after the quarterback and this guy can do that for us. I am really excited about this guy and was able to hold onto him in the end. There was a lot of pressure from other schools in the conference, and we held onto him which is big for us.''
Rivals.com analyst Rick Kimbrel isn't convinced that this class is bereft of quality players.
"Rankings aren't gospel," Kimbrel said. "God himself didn't come down here and tell us how many stars were assigned to players. Rankings are a compass, and Sarkisian has a class that could make a lot of us recruiting people look awfully foolish. He has a class that has a lot of potential and really could prove the rankings wrong once those kids are coached-up."
Steve Sarkisian summed up his class with these comments.
"We were average. We should be better," he said. "We need to be better. I think we lost a couple kids today I think we should've gotten, and I'll take that on me. Who we are as a coaching staff, and what we believe in, I don't think there's a kid in the country we can't get," Sarkisian said. "We're not going to settle and we didn't settle on this year's class."