We've been taking a look ahead in the past week at the 2016 football recruiting cycle - who are the players the Huskies are currently targeting? In Part 1 we examined the Pacific Northwest prospects, and in Part 2 we examined the targets in California. Today we look at the remaining areas where Washington currently has extended offers, including Hawai'i, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Louisiana. Up first is the Lone Star State:
Given past recruiting ties established by staffers Brent Pease and Jeff Choate, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the Huskies are becoming more active in recruiting the fertile grounds of Texas. While you certainly shouldn't expect Washington to suddenly become a recruiting force there, there is value in keeping those connections alive and seeing if the Huskies can pry away a hidden nugget or two. Washington's early offers so far in the state are mostly to well-known prospects, but they do have a few early offers that might get them some traction with kids a bit more on the down-low.
One of the more interesting prospects on the UW radar is RB Lil'Jordan Humphrey from Southlake H.S. in Carroll, TX. He's very tall for a RB at a listed 6'5"; he shows good speed and runs north-south but also has a few moves. Whether he sticks at RB or moves to WR remains to be seen. He's got offers from Texas, Ole Miss and Texas Tech among others. His teammate Obi Eboh - a CB prospect - also claims a UW offer. He has good size at a listed 6'1" and has played some safety in addition to corner. His offer sheet includes Ole Miss, Mizzou, Iowa, Texas Tech and others, and he has a strong interest in Oklahoma.
Another 4-star offensive target is WR Devin Duvernay of Sachse H.S. in Sachse, TX. A blazer with John Ross kind of speed, he has offers from basically every big-time program out there - Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, Texas, Notre Dame and Wisconsin are just a sampling. I'm not going to hold out too much hope on this one.
Among the 3-star targets is RB Brandon Stephens out of Plano Sr. H.S. in Plano, TX. Stephens is a taller RB at 6'1" with plenty of room to fill out. He shows good speed but what really stands out is his vision and patience and the burst he has when he sees the hole. He's got a very high upside as he continues to physically develop, and a number of programs have already thrown their hats in the ring, including Ohio State, Stanford and Wisconsin - a few places that know about a good running game.
With OL prospects being at a premium in the West this year, it's not surprising to see the Huskies look outside their normal recruiting radius for help, and they've offered C Clarence Henderson from Skyline H.S. in Dallas. He lacks the height you want in a tackle prospect but has good feet and good hand technique and could be a very good interior line prospect. UCLA, ASU and SMU have all reportedly offered as well.
On defense the Huskies have offered DE/OLB Michael Johnson of Hightower H.S. in Sugar Land, TX. His sophomore season was cut short by an ACL injury, but he's shown enough since then to receiver offers from Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech. He's the type of high-upside bet that makes sense for Washington. Also sporting an offer is LB Deonte Williams of Prestonwood Christian H.S. in Plano. He's an athletic defender that also plays RB and WR on offense. His most notable other offers right now are from Baylor and TCU, but he expresses a great deal of interest in Texas and admiration of Charlie Strong which bodes well for Petersen's "Built For Life" approach.
Washington only has one offer in the Bayou State, but it's a big one (literally) to 5-star DT Rashard Lawrence of Neville H.S. in Monroe, LA. He's the kind of elite DT talent that seems to proliferate in the south - a big man (6'3", 300 lbs) that has great quickness and can dominate a game from the interior. His offer list basically reads like every high level program in the country, but LSU, Alabama, USC & and possibly Oregon look to be early leaders.
Moving way out west to the islands, it's a bit surprising to see the Huskies have only one offer out currently, though typically recruiting seems to move a bit slower here - I would expect more offers to go out after the summer as kids get a chance to show their stuff at camps. RB Vavae Malepeai from Mililani H.S. in Mililani (O'ahu) has that lone offer form the Huskies. He possesses a good frame at 6'0", 195 lbs and has been timed at 4.44 in the 40 so he's got the physical skills to succeed. Washington and Colorado were the first to offer, and he's since added ones from Cal and Hawaii, with interest also coming from Stanford.
With a rapidly growing population it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Beehive State continues to pump out an increasing number of high-level recruits. Petersen spent a lot of time in the state recruiting for Boise State and has built up a lot of connections there.
The top prospect in the state (and one of the better ones in the country) is WR Simi Fehoko of Brighton H.S. in Salt Lake City. He's a very intriguing prospect - a rangy 6'4", 175 lbs, he has the genetics to get a lot bigger (his dad was similar sized at his age and picked up over 70 lbs on his LDS mission). As a WR he posted outstanding numbers this past year, hauling in over 60 catches for more than 1,600 yards. He already projects as a high-level WR, but depending on his physical development it's not out of the question he could turn into a terror at OLB or DE. He was in Seattle for Junior Day recently and was quite impressed. At this point it appears Stanford is the biggest competition for him given his focus on academics.
The other offer currently out is to DE Maxs Tupai from Murray H.S. in Murray, UT. Tupai is a somewhat raw prospect, but one with terrific tools - very fast, very physical and with a rugby background. His offer list is growing rapidly and includes ASU, BYU, Oklahoma State, Utah and Oregon State among others. He's hoping for interest from USC.
Last but definitely not least is Arizona. The Copper State is also growing quickly and is more than double the size of Utah, and is now consistently churning out a lot of top prospects. Washington currently has four offers out in the state and that is likely to grow.
Finding a stud DT is always a priority, and high on Washington's list is Garrett Rand of Hamilton H.S. in Chandler, AZ. Possessing good size already and off-the-charts strength, he's likely going to see his offer list grow exponentially. He's already got offers from Stanford, Nebraska, Arizona and Illinois but it's hometown ASU that may be the toughest to get past.
The other 4-star defender with an offer is CB Byron Murphy from Saguro H.S. in Scottsdale, AZ. Murphy is a terrific athlete with good size and play-making ability and could succeed at WR as well. His offer list is long, including (but not limited to) USC, UCLA, Stanford, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Florida State and many others.
A couple of offensive standouts from Chandler H.S. also have offers. RB Chase Lucas is one of the top prospects at his position in the west boasting great speed and hands and could project at WR and CB as well. He's a rangy kid that would need to fill out some at RB if he sticks there, but he's got game-breaking ability. His primary offers come from the hometown ASU, UCLA, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Arizona and more. His teammate WR N'Keal Harry is also getting a lot of recruiting attention. Very well-built at a listed 6'3", 210 lbs, he's quickly racking up offers including a recent one from USC joining those from ASU, Texas A&M, Nebraska and others. He's indicated an interest in coming up to Seattle for an unofficial visit before hitting the camp circuit this summer, so keep an eye on that.
That wraps up the current offers out there, but the list will expand significantly over the summer and into next fall as prospects attend the UW Rising Stars camps, results come in from other camps and the staff gets more game film.
Up next will be a look at the UW scholarship situation and a very early attempt to guess how many the Huskies will try to sign for the 2016 class.