Husky fans, we are officially in countdown mode for the Pac-12’s football season. It’s awesome to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but recruiting is a year-round campaign. With my mini-series breaking down the top 2022 in-state offensive line recruits wrapped up, I figured that this is a good point to catch up on some of the bigger picture notes that I have in my notebook and recap the recruits we’ve covered so far. Here are a few of the major notes/themes that I’ve got jotted down on my notepad.
Jimmy Lake May Have Hired a Gem in Cato
I won’t start collecting receipts yet, but I will say that the large number of Husky fans who panned Jimmy Lake’s hiring of Derham Cato should’ve had more faith and patience in the pick. Since his hiring not even 10 months ago, Cato has landed intriguing 2021 TE/H-Back/FB prospect Caden Jumper, a top-5 JUCO recruit in Quentin Moore, reestablished a relationship with and landed the commitment of elite 2020 TE Jack Yary, staged a roaring comeback to get into Brock Bowers top-2 schools, and landed 2022 TE Chance Bogan. Just to recap, that is a total of 5 TE prospects that he’s impressed on the recruiting trail. Sure, we haven’t seen how he performs in developing his TEs, and he certainly had some favorable situations with many of those recruits, but to do all of that in such a short amount of time and with little prior recruiting experience, I’d say Cato is doing just fine.
The 2022 In-State OL Class Will Test Huff’s Coaching Flexibility
As I, and many others have already discussed at length, we have a loaded 2022 in-state OL class. I genuinely believe that we will end up seeing 5 blue-chip rated offensive linemen in the state of Washington by the end of the 2022 recruiting cycle. I believe we are in a fantastic position to land whichever ones we want (I’d love all 5 of Conerly, Agbo, Iuli, Ioane, and Nabou). Huff is a proven recruiter, and he should have no issues recruiting in our backyard against some of the national bluebloods who will look to poach these guys.
What I will be keeping an eye on is how Huff plans to integrate whomever we bring into the system. Huff has been pretty multiple running inside/outside zone, power, counter, and a whole host of other blocking schemes. However, he’s done so with fairly versatile athletes along his lines. There haven’t been many linemen in Huff’s starting lines who were pigeonholed by their playing style. Adams and McGary were freak athletes for their size, Wattenberg could probably play all 5 positions, Kirkland is yet another freak for his size, and the list goes on. Harris was probably the closest to being scheme limited due to his size, but even then he punched above his weight.
What will be interesting is that we are now going to start seeing Huff’s recruits fill out his lines, and his philosophy of recruiting the best available talent will begin to test how creative his is in piecing together these lines. As I mentioned in my offensive line position preview, guys like Ulumoo Ale, Julius Buelow, and Nate Kalepo are much more scheme limited than guys like Troy Fautanu, Victor Curne, Geirean Hatchett, Gaard Memmelaar, and others, and yet it’s looking like they will have the inside track to start. How this line comes together will be indicative of how Huff would adjust for the 2022 recruits, and a poor OL showing wouldn’t be good on the recruiting trail.
2022 QB Recruiting Will Be a Juggling Act
It really will be a problem of having too much talent. Every program would love to string 4 consecutive classes of talented QBs like we have done with Jacob Sirmon, Dylan Morris, Ethan Garbers, and Sam Huard. However, like we’ve already seen, this is a delicate roster situation to balance. In the last few years, we’ve seen Colson Yankoff, KJ Carta-Samuels, Jake Haener, Daniel Bridge-Gadd, and almost Sirmon transfer out of the program. Maintaining adequate depth will be a challenge in this age of the transfer portal and QBs seeking out available jobs. It’ll also be hard to land elite QB recruits who might see 2-3 years on the bench behind other talented QBs. How we decide to attack QB recruiting will be indicative of how Lake and Donovan view their roster situation. If we start going after more of the “under the radar” or transfer guys, then we might be hedging our bets in preparation for one of our older guys transferring out. Keeping 4 QBs on the roster at all times is essential, and we’ve already taken a few transfers this season, so expect us to bring in additional depth.
For the rest of our UWDP recruiting notebook coverage check out and follow the stream above, or you can browse the list below of my recruiting breakdowns to-date. Also, don’t forget to check out Aaron’s weekly recruiting roundups every Sunday morning.
2020 Recruiting Class:
Jack Yary, TE: A Classic Y-TE with the Tools to be a Blocking/Receiving Match Up Threat
2021 Recruiting Class:
Vince Nunley, DB: A Jack-of-All-Trades Safety Who Could Outperform Expectations
2022 Recruiting Class:
Germie Bernard, WR: Kicking off the 2022 class with a future X-WR
Ryan Otton, TE: The Next Otton TE on Montlake?
Austin Terry, TE: The Second Half of Tumwater’s Dynamic Duo Could Be Another Versatile Y-TE
Chance Bogan, ATH-TE: A Legacy Recruit with WR and TE Versatility
Josh Conerly, OT: A Homegrown Elite Talent at the Premium OL Position
Malik Agbo, OL: A Blue Chip Talent with Development Potential Outside & Inside
Vega Ioane, OL: A Local Talent with Premium Athleticism for Multiple Positions
Mark Nabou, iOL: A Recruiting Gem Out of a Local Powerhouse