Before I get started in my breakdowns of the current offensive commits for the class of 2017, let me introduce myself. My name is Russell Johnson, and I am going to be the new recruiting guy around here! I have worked with SB Nation for almost a year and a half, and ever since I started out at Hustle Belt, working with UW Dawg Pound has been a major goal of mine. I also cover recruiting for Vanderbilt over at Anchor of Gold, and I work for Rivals.com as well covering Georgia Tech and Cincinnati. I have been married to my beautiful wife for almost two years, and we have a little princess named Emory who will be three in November. I am studying Communications/Journalism in College, and I am extremely excited to be here! I will be providing up to the minute news/notes/rumors on the Huskies, and you can keep up with me on Twitter, @RivalsJohnson.
The first thing I see when I put on the tape of four-star WR Terrell Bynum is his ability to make people miss in space. The juke move he shows off in his third play on his Hudl highlights (see below) is lethal. Bynum also will have the chance early in his Husky career to see the field on special teams, where he uses his field awareness and overall football IQ to make plays. Bynum shows good footwork, and above average route-running abilities which will help him adjust to the next level when he gets on campus next fall.
Hunter Bryant is one of the top, if not the top tight end recruits in the country for this class. When I put on the tape, the name that immediately comes to mind is ASJ. The way Bryant spreads the field and gets downfield in a hurry is something Husky fans are going to love seeing on Saturdays for the next 3-4 years. Bryant has the chance to grow into a five-star with a strong senior season, and I would not be shocked at all if he does so.
Connor Wedington is emerging as an elite-level running back in this class, and when you put the tape on, you can see why. Wedington will be participating in The Opening this week, and it is well deserved. Wedington wastes no movement in finding holes to run through, and his vision is excellent. While he may have to adjust to the new offense when he gets to Washington next fall, he should have no problems translating his game, especially when you factor in his natural ability to make defenders miss and his elusiveness with the ball in his hand. With a good week at The Opening, Wedington could see his stock rise significantly.
A three-star WR out of Provo (UT), at 6-foot-4 Jones has the elite prototypical size teams are looking for on the field. UW beating in-state schools BYU and Utah for his commitment was huge, and when you put on the tape, you see what it is that makes him one of the top players in the state. Jones has some beautiful moves he uses in the open field, including several that you would not expect from someone at his size. He never struggles to gain separation, and it will be interesting to see how that transfers to the next level, with the large spike in level of competition. As Jones grows as a route-runner, he and Bynum could very easily become a top-five WR duo in the Pac-12.
Alex Cook, a WR from Sheldon (CA) in Sacramento, lit up the Rivals camp scene earlier on in Los Angeles. Cook showed excellent footwork, to the point where he had defenders all over the place in the short video attached below (check 1:25 mark). Cook is the third WR commit thus far. Between this trio and Haener at QB, this offense is in good hands going forward.
Where do I begin on Jake Haener? He may not have the prototypical size expected of elite QBs in today’s game (only 6-foot and 190 pounds) but he makes up for his lack of size with his pinpoint accuracy. Having completed nearly 70 percent of his passes last season, Haener has the type of accuracy you love to see at the HS level, and his mechanics are a big reason. Haener also has the ability to put his head down, and make plays with his feet as well, which is something that is sometimes overlooked in the Washington offense. He participated in the Elite 11 last month, and he proved he belonged in that top group. While he may be committed to UW, I expect several schools to jump in the mix with him in the coming months leading up to NSD 2017.
As you can see, this class has the potential to be special. On the offensive side of the ball, it is clear that the early emphasis has been on adding playmakers, and they have done that and more with these additions. Friday, we will take a look at the players on the defensive side of the ball, and tomorrow morning our Husky The Opening Primer will be up as well.