There are few things that get fans more worked up than recruiting, and so far the 2016 recruiting class has given Husky fans plenty to cheer about - and plenty to grumble about too. Every so often we like to bring in our friend Jamie Uyeyama to lend his perspective on the state of Husky Football recruiting. Jamie is the recruiting editor at our sister sites Pacific Takes and One Foot Down (a Notre Dame fan blog), a contributor at Irish Sports Daily as well as running his own blog Son of a Coach focused on recruiting. Check out his site and give him a follow on Twitter @jamieuyeyama
Jamie was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to do a Q&A with us:
UWDP: Since we last chatted the UW has had a flurry of recruits: LB Camilo Eifler, WR Aaron Fuller, TE Jacob Kizer, OL Nick Harris & DB Kentrell Love. With nine total commitments (plus a greyshirt in DE Myles Rice) the Huskies are roughly 60% of the way done with this class as they are widely expected to take 17 total. What's your general assessment of this class at this point, and are they closing the gap with the top programs in the conference?
(Editor's note - this Q&A took place before P Van Soderberg committed)
Jamie Uyeyama: I think this is a solid class so far with a chance to become a good one. At this point, I wouldn't say they aren't closing the gap with the top programs in terms of recruiting, though. They are clearly behind USC, Oregon, UCLA, and Stanford in terms of attracting top end talent. That's just how it is right now because those schools are doing a great job with Stanford especially surprising with some blue chip kids early in the process.
I would tell all UW fans to ignore that they are ranked 9th in the composite rankings in the conference as of now. The team rankings mean nothing at this point and won't mean as much for them this year in February either with a smaller class. They are right there with Arizona and Arizona State in terms of quality of class. If they finish strong, there is a good chance they will be above them by the time it's all said and done. Unfortunately, I do think they'll be a notch below the top four this cycle no matter how they finish.
UWDP: Eifler is the high profile commitment of this recent group and we know from your scouting report you feel he's a terrific prospect. Can you give us a brief impression of the other recent Husky commits?
JU: Kentrell Love is an interesting prospect to me. I think he may actually end up at safety because I'm not sure about him as a man corner and whether he can turn and run with elite speed. He tackles well and is physical, so safety could be his ultimate destination unless they run a lot of cover two.
Honestly, Jacob Kizer didn't jump out on film to me. I'll see how he progresses as a senior, but he looks like he has a lot of developing to do physically.
I really think both Aaron Fuller and Nick Harris could end up being good players for the Huskies. Fuller is the kind of kid who I think can become really productive from the slot. He has added value in the return game as well. He reminds me of a kid who ends up in Air Raid type of offense and catches a ton of football.
After watching Harris, I was pretty surprised he didn't have any offers. Yes, he's not Michael Eletise. I do think he can become a pretty guard in the Pac-12. He has really good feet and is a good athlete with a bit of a nasty streak. There are some kids I have watched this cycle with close to double digit offers that I think Harris is going to be better than.
UWDP: Michael Eletise was widely expected to commit to Washington, so when he choose Arizona instead it caused much consternation among Husky fans. When the Huskies then extended an offer to Nick Harris - which he accepted just days later - there was even more grumbling. He's an OL prospect that had no other FBS offers prior to Washington and appears a bit undersized at a listed 6'1", 275 lbs. Michael Alves appears to be a strong lean to Oregon, but are there other west coast interior linemen you think Washington should have looked at instead of Harris?
JU: I really thought Eletise was a lock for UW as well. I saw him walking around at The Opening wearing Husky gear, just like Eifler, and figured it was a pretty good sign. Harris isn't as good of a prospect, but it doesn't mean he is a bad prospect. To me, guards are always the guys who tend to not get as much attention in recruiting in terms of rankings and offers. Not all of the good ones are national prospects like Eletise. Many slip through the cracks.
I don't know if there are necessarily other guys I would say they should have targeted instead of Harris, but I like Andru Tovi from Hawaii is a guy who could end up being a good guard at the next level if he can keep his weight under control. He's much more of a mauler type and not as agile as Harris.
I was really impressed with Frederick Mauigoa from American Samoa at The Opening. He's raw, but has a ton of upside. He practically looks slim at 290 and is going to be a big boy in a few years. If they want to go after another interior, he'd probably be my first choice.
UWDP: When evaluating a center prospect, what are the physical attributes you think are most essential? When you look at the film on Harris, what stands out to you?
JU: Good feet and initial quickness are essential. Can he move and get out to the second level? Can he bend naturally and not lean too much? Those questions are important to me when evaluating a center. I see those attributes in Harris.
He needs to get a lot stronger and do a better job of establishing body position and sustaining his blocks consistently, but the tools are there for him to develop into a good center or guard.
UWDP: Love is a tall corner with a strong offer list and appears to be a nice get for Washington, but some fans wonder if the Huskies should have held off on him to see what happens with guys like Isaiah Gilchrist, David Long, Byron Murphy and Chase Lucas. How do you think Love compares to these other prospects on Washington's recruiting list?
JU: Those guys are better athletes than Love. They are just on a higher level in terms of their fluidity and overall explosiveness. I think Love has decent ball skills and, as I mentioned above, is physical and tackles well. Those guys have better mirroring skills and are better options as man coverage corners.
I don't know what's going to happen with those players down the stretch (it looks like Long is off the board to Stanford), but all of those guys are players that I would hold a scholarship for. If they want to come, you find a spot for them. Gilchrist would obviously be a nice get as an in-state player, but I think Murphy has a very good chance at becoming an All Pac-12 corner one day.
UWDP: Some recruiting analysts have stated this is a down year for QB prospects on the west coast, and that after Jacob Eason, Max Gilliam and Matt Fink that things drop off quickly. At this point it appears Petersen's QB recruiting is aimed at trying to flip Eason, Armani Rogers or David Moore. Do you agree with the assessment of the QB pool this year, and if Petersen can't flip a current commit, are there any quarterbacks worth taking a flier on in your opinion?
JU: It's definitely a down year for quarterbacks out west. I think it's a bit of a down year in general for quarterbacks and that's why getting a good one early was so important.
Any time someone shares with me an uncommitted quarterback that I should take a look at, I always seem to come away disappointed. There really isn't anyone that sticks out for me right now. I think they should concentrate on trying to flip a prospect or two and keep an eye out for anyone who emerges as a senior. There is bound to be someone who surprises and the UW staff will have a shot at getting a developmental guy. There are always kids who are fairly new to the position who haven't worked with a private quarterback coach like a lot of these top recruits. They may have the tools, but just don't have the polished mechanics of a lot of others. The key is just finding the right one, which is not an easy task.
UWDP: Washington reportedly is still in the mix for some high-profile recruits such as Boss Tagaloa, Rashard Lawrence, David Long, Byron Murphy, N'Keal Harry, Isaiah Gilchrist, Oluwole Betiku, Dylan Crawford, Devin Asiasi and Steffon McKnight. Which of these prospects would you rate as the biggest get for the Huskies?
JU: Now that Betiku is off the board to UCLA, I would go with either Murphy or Devin Asiasi. I had high expectations for Murphy before The Opening and I thought he looked great. There was some awesome wide receiver talent out there and I thought he competed his butt off. I was extremely impressed.
I saw Asiasi at The Opening as well and he did some nice things, but he is much better with pads on than in a 7 on 7 setting even though he has very good hands. He can be a dominating in-line blocker if he stays at tight end and I think he may actually be an even better defensive lineman at the next level if that's where he wants to play.
A big thanks once again to Jamie for taking the time to answer our recruiting questions. Bookmark his blog and give him a follow on Twitter!