In yesterday's article we took a look at the scholarship situation as the Huskies look toward the 2016 season. While the class will still be on the smaller side, there appears to be a bit more room than originally projected, and with the Huskies still in pursuit of some prized recruits, those potential extra rides could come in very handy.
In this article we'll take a look at the recruiting on the offensive side of the ball by looking at the recruits at each position and which prospects are still being pursued by the staff.
Committed: Daniel Bridge-Gadd (6'2", 185 lbs) Paradise Valley H.S. (Phoenix, AZ)
Comments: With Jacob Eason reconfirming his commitment to Georgia and signing his financial aid agreement already, the quarterback position is settled for the Huskies - for now. Bridge-Gadd was a late-bloomer in recruiting circles. Originally a commit to New Mexico State, he quickly flipped when Washington offered him back in October. His commitment wasn't widely heralded at the time, as the Huskies had offered Eason, Matt Fink (USC), Dillon Sterling-Cole (ASU), and Max Gilliam (Cal) ahead of DBG. However, as his season progressed and he put up monster numbers on the way to taking his team to the Arizona D3 championship game - and earned Gatorade Player-of-the-Year honors for the state of Arizona (over N'Keal Harry, Byron Murphy, Chase Lucas, and others) along the way - it became apparent that the Huskies had landed a pretty good prospect. Check out his Junior season highlights:
The Huskies are not after any other quarterbacks as of right now. While they currently have four returning scholarship players at the position, many wonder whether K.J. Carta-Samuels will be tempted to transfer given that he shares the same graduating class with starter Jake Browning. If he does transfer that still leaves Browning, Jeff Lindquist and Tony Rodriguez with DBG arriving early for Spring football. However, if Lindquist opts to leave too, you might see the staff combing the JC ranks again similar to last year.
Committed: Sean McGrew (5'8", 175 lbs) St. John Bosco H.S. (Bellflower, CA)
Comments: McGrew is an electric playmaker at RB, showing terrific speed, explosiveness, patience, and balance. While he's obviously a smaller back, he runs with a lot of toughness. His size likely kept him from being an elite recruit in terms of offers, but that didn't stop him from picking up a wealth of accolades this season including being named the Gatorade Player-of-the-Year for California. When you consider the huge number of high-level prospects every year from the Golden State, that's an impressive accomplishment. He was widely viewed early in the recruiting process as a UCLA lean, but Washington did a great job recruiting him. When the Bruins appeared to waver a bit in their efforts with him, that put the Huskies out front and he committed back in May. Here are his Junior season highlights:
While the Huskies don't appear to be pursuing any other running backs in this class at this point, they could opt to give OLB commit Brandon Wellington a look on offense. The returning runners on the roster are on the smaller side (with the exception of Lavon Coleman) so there's an opportunity there for someone to claim a role as a thumper for short-yardage situations. They may also be selling LB prospect Mique Juarez on the possibility of seeing some time on offense as well.
Committed: Aaron Fuller (5'11", 175 lbs), Lovejoy H.S. (Allen, TX)
Targets: Javon McKinley, Chris Taylor-Yamanoha, Dylan Crawford, Tyler Vaughns, Zach Farrar, Jordan Chin
Comments: This is obviously a position where a recruit could make an immediate impact, and Washington has been pursuing nearly all of the high-level west coast receivers in this class. Among those early offers was one to a 3-star prospect out of Lucas, TX (near Dallas) in Fuller, and he didn't waste much time as he committed back in July. A smaller receiver with good quickness and soft hands, he's put up big numbers the past two years with 66 catches for 1,389 yards and 22 TDs as a Junior and 86 catches for 1,178 yards and 14 TDs as a Senior. With offers from Wisconsin, Iowa, Boston College, and a pass-heavy team like Houston, he's not exactly a sleeper. Check out his Junior season highights:
Washington is definitely in the market for another receiver - particularly a bigger-bodied guy - and they appear to have the best shots with McKinley and Taylor-Yamanoha. McKinley visited back in September, and the Centennial standout (and repeat Pac-5 champion) is planning on making his announcement at the Army All-American Game on January 9th. Notre Dame is considered a slight favorite at this point and Oregon may still be in the mix, but Washington is doing very well for him. Taylor-Yamanoha committed to Louisville way back in May, but has maintained interest in the Huskies and is scheduled to take a visit the weekend of January 15th. Farrar visited in December, but most figure he'll stay closer to home at Oklahoma State or Texas Tech. Vaughns was a USC fan growing up, and while he was impressed with the Huskies last spring, it was not a surprise when he pulled the trigger with the Trojans in August. However, he's still taking visits and is considering a trip to Seattle, so keep an eye on that. Crawford has been rather quiet on the recruiting front, but he did recently post a top-6 that included Washington. Oregon is considered the favorite. Lastly, Chin has been scheduled for a visit on the last recruiting weekend (January 30th) and doesn't currently have an offer, which suggests he's being looked at as a backup plan.
There was understandable angst among Husky fans as targets such as Vaughns (USC), Taylor-Yamanoha (Louisville), and Simi Fehoko (Stanford) all gave the Huskies a look but then committed elsewhere, but they still have a shot at closing out strong by landing McKinley or flipping CTY to join with Fuller.
Committed: Jacob Kizer (6'5", 235 lbs), West H.S. (Salem, OR)
Targets: Devin Asiasi
Comments: The Huskies have done a good job of keeping this position balanced both in numbers across classes as well as in the types of tight ends they have. With Darrell Daniels returning and Mike Neal coming off his redshirt they have a pair of bigger-bodied WR types, and in David Ajamu and Drew Sample they have a couple of bigger bodies better suited for in-line blocking. Add in a promising walk-on in ex-Gonzaga hoopster Connor Griffin and the position is nicely stocked. The staff clearly wants to keep bringing in a player each class at this spot and had early offers out to Asiasi, Chase Claypool (Notre Dame), and Cam McCormick (Oregon). When McCormick and then Claypool committed elsewhere, another early offer in Kizer quickly pulled the trigger with Washington over offers from Oregon State and WSU, among others. Kizer has good size but was often split out wide, so evaluating his blocking at this point is difficult. Here are his 2014 highlights:
While the Huskies don't need another TE in this class, they are still doing well with Asiasi and continue to pursue him. He's a bigger TE at 6'5", 260 lbs and has the ability to move out to DE or even grow into an OT, but he prefers to stay at TE. He's good enough that the Huskies would almost certainly bring him in if he wanted to commit. He's scheduled to visit on the January 15th weekend along with teammate and good friend Boss Tagaloa. USC is considered the favorite at this point, with UCLA and Alabama also in the mix along with Washington.
Committed: Luke Wattenberg (6'5", 275 lbs) JSerra Catholic H.S. (San Juan Capistrano, CA); Nick Harris (6'1", 272 lbs) JSerra Catholic H.S. (Gardena, CA)
Targets: Nate Herbig
Comments: Washington appeared to be after only two OL for this class, though if the right guy were available they would take three. With an early commitment from Army All-American Luke Wattenberg back in April the Huskies hoped to wrap things up with another top prospect in Michael Eletise, but he surprised everyone by committing to Arizona. Soon after, Washington offered Wattenberg's teammate Harris and he quickly committed in July. Wattenberg is a terrific-looking OT prospect who fit the "Built For Life" mold perfectly: despite offers from local powerhouses USC and UCLA, he focused on Duke and their academics before deciding to pull the trigger with the Huskies. Harris was much more under the radar at the time of his commitment, though recent evaluations have resulted in a bump in his rating as folks got a chance to see him play inside (where he'll play at the college level) rather than at RT. From our scholarship chart yesterday you can see the Huskies could use a young center prospect to mold for the future, and Harris could be that guy. Here are Senior season highlights for Wattenberg:
Here are Junior season highlights for Harris:
While it appeared the Huskies were done with OL recruiting after the commitment of Harris, things may have changed recently. Herbig - a long-time commit to Stanford - recently opened things up and now is reportedly looking at Washington, WSU, and Cal. With word that there may be coming attrition from the OL, that may open up a spot for him. He's a mauler at 6'4", 320 lbs. Stanford was recruiting him as an OT while many other schools liked him at OG. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks to see if he schedules an official visit to Seattle.
Tomorrow we'll wrap up this series with a look at the Husky defensive commitments and targets.