I recently had a chance to talk Husky recruiting with rivals.com Lars Hanson regarding several Husky football recruiting questions. Lars has been covering Husky recruiting for several years. Here is what he had to say about all of the questions I threw at him:
The 2018 class is going to be another 20-22 guys class probably. How do you think the staff is doing so far?
I would probably put the number closer to 18-20 but it’s also dependent on what happens after the season if more guys declare early. At this point Washington is ranked No. 23 overall per Rivals’ rankings after landing Nicholas Bolton and Victor Curne this week, but UW still has roughly six months to address just the defense.
UW is at a point under Chris Petersen where the previous years of recruiting, combined with developing the players who were already here under Steve Sarkisian, allow them to be more selective and patient in choosing who they take. The Huskies will have their entire offensive board shored up before the season opener against Rutgers, which includes adding another OL commit and their one RB commit for the class.
They already have two linebacker commits – Jackson Sirmon and Bolton – and one defensive line commit in Draco Bynum. UW will take at least two defensive backs (one corner, one safety), one BUCK linebacker, and one or two defensive tackles. They have all of those spots still open so the ranking for the class could very well end up in the top ten, with four-star DT Tommy Togiai, four-star DL/OL Sam Taimani and others still high on UW.
So I think the staff is right where they want to be. It would be nice if they had everyone they wanted, but Petersen isn’t the coach who wants to say he had a four-star recruit committed for months only to have him never play at UW and sign elsewhere…
Who do you think is the biggest commitment in the 2018 class and why do you think they are such a big pickup?
I want to preface my response by noting it’s hard to not take any one of these commits as the biggest, but for where UW is as a recruiting power right now I would say the biggest commitment (thus far) is Victor Curne.
UW has three, four-star wide receivers in Austin Osborne, Marquis Spiker and Trey Lowe, something the program has never had. So, while that is a statement in itself, going into the state of Texas for a 6-5, 302-pound OT who did have offers from Utah, TCU, Missouri and other schools who traditionally recruit the Lone Star state better says something for their efforts.
With the Huskies needing an improve OL if they want another shot at Alabama, or any other SEC power for that matter, getting a recruit the quality and stature of Curne is my pick as of now for the biggest get in 2018.
Who are the biggest prospects in terms of need and ranking left on Washington's board?
With a majority of the remaining spots on defense the main top remaining targets would be four-star CB Olaijah Griffin, four-star DT Tommy Togiai, four-star OG Steven Jones, four-star safeties Julius Irvin, Bryan Addison, four-star CB Kyler Gordon and four-star DT Caleb Tremblay. UW will need at least one safety and one cornerback in this year’s class, at least one or two DL and then one BUCK linebacker. There are other top targets including a pair of Hawaii LB’s in Kana’I Mauga and Zion Tupuola-Fetui, both visited UW in July.
Where do you see this class being ranked when the LOI's are signed?
Right now UW is ranked 23rd according to Rivals, and that’s with Jackson Sirmon, Curne, Mele and others who could become four-star prospects when all is said and done.
If Washington is able to sign Irvin and one of Gordon/Griffin/Addison and either Togiai or Tremblay, they will finish in the top 15 at minimum. The hard part will be the limited amount of scholarships, with other schools having the ability to take 22-25 recruits and add a four-star at the end to jump UW in the rankings.
Who is the ring leader of the commits so far?
Probably Jacob Sirmon or Austin Osborne, depending on who you ask. For those who question or are concerned about whether or not Sirmon will stand by his decision… he’s enrolling in January and often one of the first on social media welcoming the latest commitments. Osborne definitely has been doing his part with Olaijah Griffin and Julius Irvin, two four-star defensive backs who would continue the legacy Jimmy Lake has developed to recruit elite prospects and turn them into NFL caliber players.
I think with the offense being set in terms of UW having who they want already, it will be intriguing to see who steps up to start recruiting for the defense. Zion Tupuola-Fetui has stated previous to me he’s considered the idea of playing with Mauga at UW, who currently is committed to USC.
Four-star DE Draco Bynum told me before the Rising Stars Camp that Sirmon had been actively reaching out to him to get to know Bynum better, all but burying the hatchet on any thought of Sirmon playing anywhere but Washington.
Are you surprised Jimmy Lake hasn't landed any bigtime DB's so far in the 2018 class?
Only from the stand point that it has surprised me a little that four-star safety Julius Irvin hasn’t made his decision, but he’s decided to keep the process open a little longer which is in his right. Beyond that I don’t think it’s surprising because Washington doesn’t have a true need for a defensive back in this class, based on the past two years of recruiting players like Byron Murphy and Kentrell Love and the rest.
Looking at their board UW has six, four-star DBs still on the board with a legitimate shot to sign: Cornerbacks – Olaijah Griffin, (note: he has since committed to UCLA) Kyler Gordon and Isaac Taylor-Stuart, plus three-star CB Dominique Hampton from Arizona; safety’s – Julius Irvin, Bryan Addison and Aashari Croswell.
Come Signing Day, UW will have three of those recruits.
How do you think the run to the playoff has impacted the 2018 class, and if UW makes another great run this year can they close out strong in on LOI day?
This is the year UW will begin to see the payoff in recruiting, but more so with the 2019 class which has already begun with four-star QB Dylan Morris. I think with another undefeated season heading into the Pac-12 title game, likely against USC who the Huskies don’t face during the regular season, Washington could benefit in inching passed another school for a top recruit.
For players like Addison or Griffin for example, who have high interest in both the Huskies and Trojans, if UW can prove one more time they can run the table and be in the playoff conversation, that will begin to have more merit on the recruiting trail.
As always you can follow me @asieverkropp and I would definitely recommend following @larshanson and checking out what he writes @ https://washington.rivals.com/.