There is a lot of speculation that we could see some one or more commits for the class of 2018 over the next couple of weeks. That got me to thinking about the recruits that are rumored to be close to committing and an obvious question came to mind: Which 2018 recruits do I want to see commit to UW?
I realized that I am not good enough to evaluate talent, so I would be basing any answer on someone else's opinions about how good of a prospect they all are. I also realized that the only opinion that really matters is Petersen's. Since I am not in his recruiting meetings, I have no way of knowing who his priorities are.
Instead, I decided to look at that question from a different angle. As long as we trust Petersen and his process, the answer should be: any of them. But, as fans, that would be too simple of an answer. So I decided to take it a step further.
In reading some of the discussions about recruiting on UW Dawg Pound, one thing that stood out to me is the assumption that players that were offered earlier should be considered more important/better than ones that were offered later. I'm still not sure that I buy that argument completely. Sure, I think that Foster Sarell would have been a better choice as a OT than Cole Norgaard. But I think that guys like Ali Gaye, Joe Tryon, and Jaxson Kirkland can be outstanding football players for UW even though they were offered late.
I think, however, that it is useful to use the idea about when players were offered when looking at the question about who I'd like to see commit to UW. And the reason is not because I think that some of the players that were offered early are better for UW than those that may be offered later. But if Petersen has to offer more than a few recruits for 2018 after this summer is over, it means that they failed to get commitments from enough of the recruits that currently have offers, or he is not sure that they will get those commitments. That would indicate that the coaches couldn't close.
In past years that may not be as much of an issue. But for the 2018 class, I think it would. After coming off of a Pac12 title and a College Football Playoff appearance, UW should be one of the hottest programs on the west coast. And based on recruiting reports, UW's reputation now plus Petersen's reputation has UW on the top lists of many of the recruits that have UW offers.
UW has 9 commits currently. I think that they will take another 10 to fill out the class: 1 more RB, 2 more O-linemen, 2 more D-linemen, 2 more LB's, and 3 DB's. Let's look at how UW is doing with filling each of those position groups.
At RB, UW currently has offers out to Chris Brown and Richard Newton. Both of them are supposedly interested in UW. Do I have a preference for either? Some sites rated Brown higher than Newton. Brown is a bigger back, and UW already has a couple of smaller backs in McGrew and Ahmed (although he isn't that much smaller). If I had to choose, I might prefer Brown because of his size, so there is a balance of size at the RB position. But in reality, I shouldn't care; I should trust that Petersen thinks that either is good enough. What would be concerning, however, is if neither of them committed to UW, and Petersen had to offer another RB later. It would not look good if UW couldn't close on either of them. (I don't think that will happen anyway, but I think you get the point.) So my answer is either of those two.
For the offensive line, there appears to be at least 5 or 6 that have UW offers and real interest in UW. There are certainly some advantages to getting M.J. Ale since he is an in-state kid. And pulling an offensive lineman like Victor Curne out of Texas (where there are a lot of D1 schools) would also be something that could help with recruiting in the future. I think that UW will probably take at least 3 O-linemen in the 2018 class (including Mele), which means probably two more. If Petersen and Huff can't get at least one of the O-linemen that currently have an offer, than that is a real problem. (I believe that was the kind of problem that led to Strausser leaving UW.) I'm hedging a little here and not saying that they need to get two of the existing offers because of the possibility that Gabriel Wallace (the offensive lineman from Canada who came for the Dirt Dawgs camp) could get an offer this summer. If Wallace does get an offer, and then commits, I would be okay with that. What I don't want to see is Petersen having to offer some O-line prospects in December or January because they couldn't get commitments from the ones that currently have offers.
The defensive line is similar. I'm expecting to see UW take two more defensive linemen in the 2018 class (in addition to Bynum). If it is any combination of Togiai, Taimini, Cravens, Tremblay, or any of the others with a UW offer, I think that we should be satisfied. If Malloe can't get (and hold on to) the ones that currently have offers and they have to go after a third D-lineman in December or January, that is a big problem considering that several of the ones with offers have UW in their top lists already.
One other point on DL's: UW usually plays with one that is a NT/DT and another that is a DT/DE. Bynum probably projects as more of a DT/DE player. I think that it would be good to get at least one of the NT/DT type. So I would want at least one player in the mold of Togiai, Taimini, Coburn, Avery, or even Cravens. If they only get another couple of 6'5" 250 lb players, that is probably not be a good thing. So my answer here is that I want to see one of those 5 (Togiai, Taimini, Coburn, Avery, or Cravens) plus one more.
I'm not worried too much about the DB positions. Coach Lake has a very good record for getting top recruits. And there appear to be lots of good options to fill what I expect to be at least 3 DB positions for the 2018 class. Certainly getting DB's that are being nationally recruited like Taylor-Stuart, Addison, Griffin, and Hufanga would make a splash for UW recruiting. Getting a top local player like Gordon (especially after losing out on Harrison) would look good. And I'd like to see at least 2 of the 3 DB's be taller than 6'. Beyond that, it doesn't matter, again, as long as Lake isn't offering new recruits in December or January. But I'm not expecting that will happen. My only concern is about getting someone who can play safety. Ideally I'd like to see them get at least one true safety prospect in this class. Maybe Coach Lake can switch positions as necessary, but I'd like to see Crosswell, Hufanga, Addison, or Irvin (though someone mentioned that he could be being recruited as a corner) be one of the DB's. After that, I don't care.
The LB position is probably the one that I am most concerned about because while there is some good interest from a few recruits, I'm not sure if it is enough. My 'rule of thumb' is that it takes 4-5 offers to get one commit. I think that UW needs to get 3 LB's (including Sirmon), so they'd need 12-15 offers. Currently they have 11 offers, and 4 of them are already committed to other schools, plus Sirmon as already committed to UW. That means there are 6 possibilities for the 2 remaining positions. That puts UW in a good position to get one, especially considering the interest level from some of the recruits, but I'm not sure if they have enough interest to get two commits. Hopefully UW gets a commit from one of them by the end of this month. If so, that will alleviate my concern as it will leave one spot and 5 options-much better odds.
There appears to be enough interest to fill all, or at least most, of the remaining positions for the 2018 class with recruits that currently have offers. We have to assume that all of the players that currently have offers are good enough, so those are the ones that we should want to commit to UW. It is possible that Petersen is holding off on some good prospects to keep other schools away from them. I'm fine if there is one, maybe two, of those as long as the majority of the signees are ones that have offers by the end of this summer. So my answer is still: any of the ones that currently have offers, or will have offers by the end of the summer.
I'm interested in comments from others. If you have a preference for one recruit or another at a position, explain why that is.