Football recruiting is still in a "dead" period post-holidays, and with the annual coaches convention set to take place starting this Sunday that means the three major national all-star games for football recruits are all happening soon, and practices for each are underway. There are a lot of Husky commits and targets taking part in each, so it's a good time to check-in and see how they're doing and pass along any news.
Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl - Friday, January 4th, Carson, CA
- Daeshon Hall - DE, West Team (UW commit): Hall has gotten rave reviews thus far for his work in the Semper Fi practices. Though he's spent the last couple of years in Texas, he's originally from Seattle and is related to former Husky great . Hall originally committed to Texas before backing off and then committed to Washington this summer along with 6 others in a highly publicized event at The Ram in between workouts at the UW's Rising Stars camp. He's been taking official visits to other schools and reportedly is giving a long look to Texas A&M & possibly LSU, but family connections to the area should be the clincher in him sending his LOI to Washington on Signing Day.
- Johnny Johnson - CB, West Team: Johnson visited Washington in September, and though he's reportedly down to UW & UCLA, the Bruins are his clear leaders, and his official visit there later this month will likely result in him committing to UCLA. Greg Biggins thought he had a great day of practice yesterday, finally living up to his billing as arguably the top corner in California.
- Darrell Daniels - WR, West Team (UW commit) - Daniels was part of the same group this summer that committed en mass to the UW, and has been solid ever since. He's slated to officially visit UCLA the weekend of 1/11, but follows that with his UW official visit the next weekend. He's been all about the Huskies, so there's little reason to worry that he'll flip. He also has impressed this week, most notably for his physicality.
- Austin Hooper - DE, West Team: While he enjoyed his visit to the UW in November, the latest word is that he's now down to Cal & Stanford, though another source (unsurprisingly) thinks Oregon is also in it.
- Thomas Duarte - TE, West Team: Though he hasn't taken any official visits yet, Duarte has decided to announce a commitment this Friday. More of a big WR than a true TE prospect, Duarte is expected to pick UCLA, though it should be noted his former lead recruiter - and the guy who would have been his coach there - is Tui.
- John Ross - WR/DB, West Team: Ross continues to build buzz with his performance, and has been described as an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands and possessing great speed. He will be announcing his commitment on Friday, with many thinking Washington is in the driver's seat, though this guy claims the decision may be more up in the air than that.
- Elijah Qualls - DL, West Team (UW commit): Qualls is doing everything he can to quickly become a favorite of Husky fans. He was the ringleader behind the mass commitment this summer at The Ram, he's been quoted as saying he wants to beat Tosh for the title of "recruiter of the year", and best of all, the kid can really play. Not only has he been having his way as a DT in practices, yesterday he took some reps at FB and impressed there as well. Every observer at the Semper Fi practices has been praising him. He's not going to wow you coming off the bus, but he's very strong, very quick and an extremely hard worker, and he's already showing early signs of being a big-time leader in this class. While he's still considering taking official visits to other schools, don't worry - the kid is all about the Huskies.
- Sean Harlow - OL, West Team (UW commit): It's been a rough road for Husky fans following Harlow's commitment status. He pledged to the Huskies back in the end of July, but then took visits elsewhere, and though he maintained he was "solid" to the Huskies, he recently admitted he's torn - his head is telling him UW, and his heart is telling him Oregon State. Biggins is now reporting he's got his decision in mind, but isn't ready to reveal it publicly. I think he's probably flipping to the Beavers.
- Dane Crane - OL, West Team (UW commit): If Qualls is the #1 favorite Husky commit right now, Crane has to be #1A. He's been nearly as active as Qualls in talking up the UW to other recruits, and he's been receiving nearly as much praise for his work at the Semper Fi practices. He's considered among the best C prospects in the country, with the potential to come in and start right away. He's 100% Husky, with no plans to visit elsewhere.
- Lowell Lotulelei - DT, West Team: Star's younger brother has avoided media exposure for the most part. When he spoke with a Scout.com reporter back in August he listed Utah as his leader, but things have been mum since. His only known official visit was the one he took to Washington back in November.
- Aaron Cochran - OL, West Team: The massive OT prospect and younger brother of Cal OL Matt Cochran has been getting a lot of recent interest from the Huskies, and they could get a visit soon. Cal & Oklahoma are two of the schools he's reportedly favoring.
- Brayden Kearsley - OL, West Team: The one-time BYU commit was effusive in his praise for Washington after his official visit last month, but the excitement has worn off a bit and Oregon State is considered firmly in the lead.
Under Armour All-American Game - Friday, January 4th, Orlando, FL
- Demorea Stringfellow - WR, Black Team (UW commit): Not much news; Brandon Huffman noted he's one of the more impressive looking players in the game. Update: Sounds like Demorea has been battling a minor lower leg injury which has slowed him a bit this week.
- Reuben Foster - ILB, White Team: Generally rated one of (if not the) top ILB in the country, he's done nothing to diminish that rep so far in practices for the UA game. While the general thinking is that Alabama, Auburn & Georgia lead (he's decommitted from both Alabama & Auburn), his only known scheduled official visit is to Washington the weekend of 1/12.
- Na'Ty Rodgers - OL, White Team: Rodgers had a good visit to the UW last month, but the Maryland native is down to his two expected finalists: South Carolina & Maryland. Update: Na'Ty will also have a UW hat in front of him when he makes his decision public on Friday; he claims all three schools are even, but I'll be surprised if he picks the Huskies.
U.S. Army All-American Bowl - Saturday, January 5th, San Antonio, TX
- Eddie Vanderdoes - DL, West Team: Considered one of the best DL prospects in the country, Vanderdoes has been tearing it up in practices this week. He made news last week when he made it official that he decommitted from USC and is looking now at 5 schools: USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Alabama & Washington. He's taking a very methodical approach to his recruitment, and did a great Q&A with Rivals.com today for fans. Talk is growing that Alabama is a major player for him. He's obviously a high priority for Tosh, and fans will be on pins & needles up until Signing Day to see where he lands.
- Joe Mathis - DL, West Team: Mathis, who committed to the UW last year as a Junior before backing off and re-opening his recruitment, will be making his announcement during the game this weekend. He's widely expected to pick the Huskies out of his listed final five of Washington, USC, UCLA, Alabama & Texas A&M. It's worth noting his only known official visits so far have been to the UW and Utah. He's seen some time at FB at practice this week in addition to DE which caught the attention of UW commit Trevor Walker.
- Michael Hutchings - LB, West Team (USC commit): Hutchings has been a USC commit for some time, but he's decided to take an official visit to the UW as he wants to be sure of his decision. The UW was #2 for him at the time he committed to USC, so him taking another look at the Huskies is encouraging.
- Myles Jack - LB, West Team (UCLA commit): Despite Jack being committed to UCLA, it's been widely expected that his final decision will be a battle between the Bruins and Washington. With his lead recruiter from UCLA now on the staff in Montlake, will that give the Huskies an edge? He also has official visits scheduled to ASU & Oregon, and will be taking his official to the UW the weekend of 1/25.
- Nico Falah - OL, West Team (USC commit): Falah had a great visit to the UW last month, but he's said since that he's still 100% committed to USC, though he has also left a bit of wiggle room. His official visit to USC will likely make or break his decision. He's gotten some praise at practices, with a West coach singling him out and calling him the best athlete at the position.
- Jalen Ramsey - DB, East Team (USC commit): Ramsey has been committed to USC for a while now, but he has taken official visits to 3 other schools including Washington, and he really enjoyed his time in Seattle. With Monte Kiffin out, whoever USC hires to replace him will have a big impact on whether he stays committed to the Trojans. He's been getting good reviews from multiple sources so far in San Antonio this week.
More recruiting notes:
- While the Huskies might appear to be struggling a bit with OL recruits (Harlow wavering, Kearsley & Falah appearing to favor other schools), there are other prospects on their radar. Riley Sorenson is a guy that has long had the UW as one of his favorites, and if they strike out on others higher on their list, they may make a push for him.
- Another OL to keep an eye on is Tyshon Mosley out of Utah; originally a commit to Utah State, he's scheduled an official visit to the UW the weekend of 1/18 and if the Huskies offer, they will probably jump into the lead for him.
- Also on the UW's radar is Maurice Swain, a big lineman out of Georgia who is reportedly visiting the weekend of 1/11. He could be another guy they're looking at as a backup plan for the OL.
- Not a lineman, but another under-the-radar guy is Fred Melifonwu who told Scout.com he plans to visit the UW, though he hasn't set a specific date. He appears to be a classic recruiting late-bloomer - a kid that didn't hit the camp circuits, but has seen his recruitment blow up at the end of his Senior season.
- Also worth a note - the Robinson twins (Tyrell & Tyree) maintain that they are still committed to Oregon, but they admit they might consider looking around if Chip leaves and the staff changes significantly.
- Kalei Auelua originally signed his LOI with Washington last year, but delayed his enrollment to recover from a late-season injury. He got word last month that his admission to the UW had been denied, so he will be looking to enroll elsewhere.
That's all for now. Keep an eye out this weekend, as there will likely be some more recruiting news. I'll also be following up later with a look at the class so far, who's left on the board and figuring out how the numbers will work.