Whether by design or by adapting their strategy on the go, the Washington coaching staff focused on game prep during the month of November and put off official visits by recruits until after the regular season. This was a strategy employed by most Husky coaching staffs until Steve Sarkisian arrived and ramped-up game week visits. The thought in favor of December and January visits being that A) visits after the season allow the coaching staff much more one on one time with recruits (and their families) and B) places the visits closer to the decision time for most recruits.
While there was just one known official visitor during the month (WR Jaylinn Hawkins), that doesn't mean the staff wasn't busy with recruiting - they were still evaluating prospects, keeping up the lines of communication, setting up visit dates and handing out new offers. Here's what we know about as we enter December:
- Lincoln H.S. (Tacoma, WA) product Jusstis Warren picked up an offer from the Huskies a week ago. He projects as an OLB/DE. Warren suffered a knee injury last year, so coaches have been evaluating him closely this year to see how well he's recovered. He's an impressive looking athlete that probably would have a bigger offer sheet had he not injured the knee. As it currently stands he also reports offers from Cal, WSU, Nevada, Colorado St among others. However he's widely viewed as a strong Husky lean, especially now that he has an offer in hand. He's scheduled to visit this weekend.
- Also slated to visit this weekend is long-time WSU commit (and former UW commit) Austin Joyner from Marysville Pilchuck H.S. (Marysville, WA). With the firing of Cougar DC Mike Breske, Joyner has "loosened up" his commitment to WSU according to Josh Liebeskind at the Seattle Times. There's been a growing feeling that the Huskies had a good chance to flip Joyner back from WSU, and the recent upheaval on the staff in Pullman only helps the cause. He's a talented kid that could also excel at RB, but he's locked in to play in the secondary. OL commit Henry Roberts was working on him via Twitter after the Apple Cup:
@Awstin_joynaaa you can always change your mind#UW— Henry Roberts (@TheHen747) November 30, 2014
- Tevis Bartlett is the top recruit out of Wyoming this year is expected to visit this weekend. The athletic LB prospect (he's also a nationally recognized wrestler) has already visited Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Iowa, and despite rumors to the contrary insists he hasn't eliminated any of those schools.
- Rounding out the known visit list for the weekend is JUCO S prospect Ezekiel Turner from L.A. Pierce CC. He just finished up a visit to Oklahoma, and after this weekend's visit is slated to check out ASU (his first visit was to Illinois). Turner is a late-bloomer who went the JC route to get noticed and has succeeded - he's a full-qualifier who will have 4 years to play 3.
- A new prospect on the radar is another JC guy, DT Anthony Fotu. The younger brother of Illinois DT Joe Fotu, he has offers from all across the country including Illinois, Miami (FL), Ole Miss, TCU and Maryland. The three that have the best shot at him are Mississippi State, Arizona and the Huskies. He's planning to visit in a couple of weekends from now and then decide shortly after when the early JC signing period starts on December 17th, so the timing looks good for the Dawgs to get him on board.
- Also scheduled to visit that week is former Stanford commit DT Rex Manu. Word is that he's very high on Oregon, though he's yet to pull the trigger.
- Another DL the Huskies are looking hard at is current Arizona commit Ricky McCoy. While McCoy is being recruited as a TE by the Wildcats, he reportedly prefers defense. He's set to visit Washington in mid-January, and knowing that RichRod typically yanks offers from commits that visit other schools, one would have to assume that his status as an Arizona commit is tenuous at best.
- I've been saying for several weeks now that 4-star RB Cameron Scarlett out of Portland's Central Catholic H.S. is a near-lock for Stanford. However the door is not yet closed for his other suitors as he claims that his final four schools of Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA and Washington are all still in it. He's had tough luck with injuries this season, playing through a nagging hamstring issue before suffering a possible ACL tear in his right knee in the playoffs. He's not planning on taking any more visits and will decide publicly December 15th, so we'll know soon where he's headed.
- Staying on the theme of DL prospects, local stud (and legacy recruit) Benning Potoa'e out of Lakes H.S. (Tacoma, WA) looks to be finalizing his top 5 for visits. He's already been to UCLA and Oregon State, and plans to check out ASU, WSU and Washington, with the Huskies potentially getting his last visit. That bodes well, and while it's far from a sure thing, the Dawgs look to be in a good place with Potoa'e.
- A new offer and a new name on the radar is WR Xavier Castille out of Rockwall H.S. (Rockwall, TX). If that sounds familiar, it's because that's the same school 4-star RB target Chris Warren hails from. He and Warren are close, but this is more than just a way to improve Washington's chances with Warren - Castille is a legit recruit. Look for him to visit with Warren.
Things are heating up again in recruiting with coaches out on the road visiting recruits, firming up existing commitments and setting up official visits. Expect the recruiting news to pick up the pace this month and we'll keep you posted on official visits and commitments as they happen.
Lastly, if you haven't done so yet, there's some great recruiting tidbits from the KJR/Dawgman radio show with special guests Brandon Huffman and Taylor Barton from this weekend: