Sometimes in life the stars all align at the same time and tremendous things begin to happen.
Last Friday was one of those days for the University of Washington football program as eight highly ranked recruits (includes one player from the 2014 class) decided to announce their intentions to become Huskies all at the same time.
I have been following recruiting closely since the late 1960's and I can tell you with certainty that days like this come at a clip of maybe once in a generation.
The only day I can remember that compares was probably in the fall of 1976 when local stars Joe Steele and Bruce Harrell decided to stay home rather than head to Stanford. Those commitments effectively put a fence around the state during a huge in state talent year.
That class was the foundation of many future Rose Bowl victories and what ended up being a hall of fame coaching career that netted two national championships for Husky legend Don James.
Last Friday was one of those days that goes a long ways toward defining the future of a football program. Washington picked up some serious talent and also sent a resounding message up and down the west coast (and even nationally).
That message clearly is that Washington is once again a major player for some of the best talent in the region and they are seriously going to start competing for championships in the short term.
How did Washington pull it off?
I expected a few verbals during camp and had heard a few rumors we could be headed for a big day but nobody and I mean nobody could have predicted this...and according to Elijah (Ringleader) Qualls another five guys were ready to pop but wanted to talk to their parents first before committing.
Greg Biggins of Scout gives us the complete rundown:
For starters, there was nothing illegal about it. It was off campus during a lunch break and there wasn't a single Husky representative anywhere near the Ram, the local restaurant where the players made their announcements.
"I'm going to commit and I'm going to get some guys to do it with me," Qualls said in early June. I know there are a lot of players that want to go to Washington, we've already been talking. I think it would be really special if we all could do this together."
DL - Elijah Qualls, 6-2, 280. Petaluma (Casa Grande), CA.
Qualls was the glue that helped put this gigantic day all together. Elijah is a real smart and charismatic kid who just happens to be one of the better defensive line recruits in the west. I have watched whatever film I could find on him this weekend and came away pretty impressed. Right now he can play outside or inside plus carry the ball on offense as a monster fullback. Qualls has a great frame and where he eventually plays depends on how he fills that frame out. Right now I am thinking more three technique. The one thing that stands out in his film is how athletic he is a for a big guy. He also plays the game with a lot of spirit and aggression which translates into having a big motor which is always a key for success. Think of him as a more athletic, more motivated, and perhaps better conditioned Jonnie Kirton.
DE - Daeshon Hall, 6-6, 240. Lancaster HS, TX
We don't steal recruits from the University of Texas very often. Hall is actually a native of Seattle who attended Garfield HS before moving to Texas with his family. He is the nephew of Husky great Greg Lewis and I'm sure that the opportunity to play in front of Uncle Greg and other family members was part of the motivation to switch his allegiance to UW.
Hall is a monster and playing a couple of years in Texas as opposed to playing at a school with limited resources like Garfield is a big factor in his development. His film is fantastic...he really gets after it and beats people up. I can see him developing into a very special player during his five years at Washington.
RB - Lavon Coleman, 5-11, 205. Lompoc HS, CA
The last running back we recruited from Lompoc ended up being a pretty good player. Coleman - while quite a bit different from Napoleon Kauffman - may end up being the big thunder type back that Sark has been searching for the past four classes. Lavon runs well between the tackles and can hammer a defense. He is listed as running a 4.6 which isn't blazing speed for a RB but he instinctively runs well with a nice balance of quickness and power.
OL/DL - Andrew Basham, 6-4, 275. Lynwood HS, WA
AB is a big time player who can play on either side of the line if he is able to qualify. Obviously the coaches and admissions people believe he can get that done or they wouldn't have offered him. He moves really well for a big guy but like the majority of linemen coming out of high school he could use a couple of years in the weight and conditioning program. Hopefully he qualifies because he has the type of nasty streak you like to see on either side of the ball.
WR - Demorea Stringfellow, 6-3, 210. Moreno Valley (Rancho Verde), CA
How many times has Washington secured verbals from the two best wide receivers in California? (How many times has USC been limited to only 15 scholarships?) Why you are pondering that question let me tell you that the stable of receivers Sark is building compares very favorably with USC during its recent glory years....yep there will be that much talent at WR roster by 2013. Demorea has great size, quickness, and a good set of hands to go along with a good football IQ.
OL - Poasi Moala, 6-5, 265. Moreno Valley (Rancho Verde), CA
If you like Colin Tanigawa you are just going to love Poasi Moala. He isn't the biggest name or guy on the recruiting list but he plays with a lot of fire in his belly which is a trait we all saw in Colin coming in. The only knock on him is his overall weight. If he was 20 pounds heavier he would be a 4-5 star player but I don't think he will have much problem adding that additional weight to his 6'5" frame. Pick up five kids like him every year for the offensive line and you can compete for national championships.
LB - Caleb Tucker, 6-2, 225, Monroe (Quachita Parish), LA
Caleb showed a lot of explosiveness and ran a 4.55 40 during the Rising Stars Camp last week. Think of him as a bigger version of Josh Shirley because that is where Washington is recruiting him to play. He says he still may take a trip or two later this fall but was very solid to Washington. He doesn't have any SEC offers yet but that could change pretty quickly now that Washington has offered. I saw a few pics of him at the Ram and he looks seriously buffed.
WR - Rahshead Johnson, Long Beach (Jordan), CA (2014)
The Huskies have a nice pipeline built in Long Beach and Johnson is the latest athlete to commit to UW from the area. We don't have any exact measurable's on him in the Scout database but he is described as a speed guy with good size which is pretty much Sark's current modus operandi when it comes to recruiting WR's.