We're lucky enough at SBN to have a large network of sites covering every angle of college football, including the Pac-12 centric blog Pacific Takes. Jamie Uyeyama - a former college football player himself as well as a coach and son of a long time coach - is the recruiting editor for Pacific Takes, as well as a recruiting writer for SBN's Notre Dame site One Foot Down. He also maintains his own blog Son Of A Coach where he profiles recruits. He's a busy guy, but he was gracious enough to take some time to answer some questions regarding the 2015 Husky recruiting class:
UWDP: After a bit of a lull as the Huskies wrapped up the regular season, recruiting has picked up in a big way with 4 commitments in the last few days. What are your quick thoughts on Chico McClatcher, Ezekiel Turner, Ricky McCoy and Jusstis Warren?
Jamie Uyeyama: I really like the additions of McClatcher and Turner. Landing an important local recruit is nice, but I think McClatcher has dynamic potential because of his speed and lateral agility. He's obviously not the biggest guy, but it's not like they are bringing him in to throw jump balls to him in the red zone.
Turner is a huge get in terms of who they beat out for his services and even more huge in terms of him being able to make an immediate impact. He should compete right away for playing time and him having three years of eligibility is big too. It's kind of crazy how a player like that can slip through the cracks with little interest out of high school, but you can see how the year in junior college has made him more physically mature and it shows on the field. He's a big, physical player with outstanding closing speed.
Ricky McCoy is more of a long term project than the other two. He's mislabeled by most recruiting sites as a tight end, but the Huskies have it right that his future is much brighter at defensive line. He's going to grow into a defensive tackle, but has some work to do when it comes to reshaping his body. He also is very raw in terms of technique. His pad level is way too high and he does not know how to use his hands effectively. I would be shocked if he didn't end up redshirting.
The good news is that you can tell he is a guy who enjoys the violence of the game when you watch his film. Maybe I'm just an old school guy, but I think you need that kind of mentality to play as an interior defensive lineman. I'm definitely going to be interested in watching how he progresses over the next few years.
On Warren, I really like his potential as an edge rusher and what I see from him in coverage. His ceiling is really high in my opinion.
UWDP: Washington still appears to be in the hunt for some big names such as Chris Warren, Benning Potoa'e, Austin Joyner, Jaylinn Hawkins and a host of 3-star guys like Tevis Bartlett [Ed. note - Bartlett committed to Washington this morning], Nathan Meadors and Gabe Reid (to name some of them). How excited should Husky fans be if Coach Petersen is able to sign any of those prospects? Is there any particular recruit in that group that Husky fans should hope for above the others?
JU: Husky fans should be thrilled if they are able to sign even two or three of those prospects. I think just about all of them have the potential to grow into a very good player at the next level so it's incredibly tough to pick, so I'm going to cheat and talk about two of them.
I think a lot of fans would be extremely excited to sign Joyner because it would mean taking him away from Wazzu and also because he's a phenomenal athlete. Warren would be a great compliment as a power back and is different from the other skill guys that are already committed.
But I'm going with Potoa'e. He flashes explosive quickness and very good hand violence. He has the athleticism to be a good pass rusher and could possibly grow into a player that kicks inside to tackle. He also can be stout at the point of attack. It's just extremely hard to find blue chip defensive lineman anywhere outside of the southeast so keeping Potoa'e home is massively important in my opinion.
As a bonus I'm going to also throw in Gabe Reid as the 3 star that Husky fans should be ecstatic about if they signed him. He has awesome potential as an edge rusher.
UWDP: There were some questions as to whether Petersen and his staff would be able to recruit at a high level in the Pac-12 after moving up from the Mountain West - would you say those questions have been largely answered at this point?
JU: I think they have and I've never really understood those questions. Not just about Petersen, but about any coach who is jumping up a level in terms of the recruits he targets. So much of recruiting is about the work ethic of the coaching staff and their ability to identify talent that can develop. Unless people thought Petersen and the staff he was bringing in were recruiters who didn't work hard at it, then it didn't really make any sense to me. And it's not like Petersen was making the jump from Division III. He has found good players for a very long time and had to work harder to do so by being in Boise. He also had experience coaching in the conference before so it's not like the level was completely foreign to him.
To me, that's a narrative that good coaches that make the jump to bigger schools debunk pretty quickly as long as they work hard at it.
UWDP: You've been on record at Pacific Takes as being very impressed by a number of recruits in this class for the Huskies. Who are the key guys in your opinion in this class so far, and are there any remaining holes in the class in your view?
JU: The biggest key for me is getting Jake Browning. Without him, the rest of the guys committed mean a lot less. Like most coaches, Petersen is the most successful when he has a good quarterback and I think Browning can eventually be a great one at Washington. There are more gifted athletes at the position in this recruiting cycle, but his poise, accuracy, and consistency with his mechanics make him so good.
The two other guys that are so important are the two offensive tackles, Trey Adams and Henry Roberts. I think Adams is severely underrated and Roberts deserves the accolades he has received. They aren't plug and play players (offensive linemen rarely are), but I wouldn't surprised to see both of them be high level starters in the Pac-12 for multiple seasons.
The biggest hole remaining in this class is at defensive line. That's another reason why I think Potoa'e is such an important recruit for the Huskies. He's a must get.
UWDP: The 'OKG' term Chris Petersen favors has gotten a lot of attention from Husky fans, perhaps too much. When you look at the class he assembled at Washington last year and the commits so far this year, do you see any kind of over-arching theme or similarity to these players? How similar do these players look to the quality of recruits he and his staff was able to land at Boise State?
JU: Just about every coach that runs a college football program has a term they refer to with recruits similar to 'OKG'. When Brian Kelly came to Notre Dame he said he was looking for 'RKGs': the right kind of guys. I think it's the kind of thing that sounds great to fans and media in the introductory press conference, but everyone should probably ignore after that day.
That's not to say that Petersen isn't looking for a set of criteria for the players he recruits. I'm sure there is a list of things that he and his staff want to have checked off before bringing a player into the program and some of that has to do with intangibles. In terms of size and skill, I don't know if the sample size is big enough to get a true read on an over-arching theme or similarity for the players who have committed to UW during his short tenure.
As for the similarities with the quality of recruits that he signed with Boise State and the ones at Washington so far, the short answer is that Huskies are able to sign more talent than he ever did at Boise State and it's really not that close. If the Washington finished in the fifties in the overall class rankings, that would be seen as a really bad class at Washington. At Boise State, that's a great year.
UWDP: It's still more than a month away until Signing Day and there are a lot of recruits still on the board, but do you have a rough sense of where this class is lining up in comparison to the rest of the Pac-12?
JU: Right now there are three programs that are recruiting at a higher level than the rest of the conference in USC, UCLA, and Oregon. They have the most blue chip players committed and are in line to land even more down the stretch.
I would put Washington slightly above ASU in the next tier. They are essentially upper middle class when it comes to recruiting in the conference. Honestly, right now it's a toss up with Washington having a deeper class in my opinion and the Sun Devils having the chance to land some elite recruits to finish out there class that could give them the edge.
The thing about the Huskies is that even if everything falls right and they land players like Warren, Potoa'e, Hawkins, and Joyner, they'll still be at a tier lower than those top three when it comes to recruiting. That's just how it's going to fall this year.
But would any Husky fan not be excited to finish that strong by signing day? That would make for a heck of a first full class for Chris Petersen.