Welcome to the early signing period! It has been a very bizarre recruiting season for Washington to say the least. That was the case even before the firing of Jimmy Lake given that the Huskies’ struggles on the recruiting trail certainly contributed to his dismissal.
In previous seasons under Chris Petersen and then Lake one of the consistent elements of the Huskies was that just about everyone would sign in December and no one would decommit. That was not the case in the class of 2022 since more players have decommitted as remain committed (8 to 6). There is substantial variation in the reason for that. Some of the players left the class early after getting additional offers and potential opportunities. Some seemingly decommitted due to the dysfunction at Washington under the Lake administration. And still others decommitted after the coaching change either to re-evaluate their recruitment or because the fit wasn’t right with the new system.
One member of the 2022 class essentially reclassified since 4-star RB Emeka Megwa chose to enroll for fall quarter and so has already signed. He is in the boat. There are 3 other offensive skill players committed and the expectation is that all of them will end up signing today. Liberty HS 4-star WR Germie Bernard is the crown jewel of this class. The 6’2 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Nevada committed to the Huskies almost a year and a half ago and has never appeared to waver on that despite 2 high school teammates backing out on their pledges to UW.
A close second in importance in the class is 4-star TE Ryan Otton who is the younger brother of Husky star Cade. The 6’6 Otton is a higher rated recruit than his brother was coming out of high school but Husky fans will be happy if he winds up being anything remotely close to the player that Cade was in the purple and gold. Another local commitment is WR Denzel Boston from Emerald Ridge in Puyallup. The 3 pass catchers are 6’2, 6’3, and 6’6 and continue the trend of the Huskies acquiring a ton of size in their receiving targets.
Washington at the moment also has one commitment from an offensive linemen in Parker Brailsford. He’s expected to play center at the college level and sign during the early period. Parker won the state title at Saguaro in Arizona as a senior and has the makings of being a Nick Harris clone.
The lone current defensive commitment for the Huskies is OLB Lance Holtzclaw who is also from Arizona. Holtzclaw’s current plan is to take an official visit with the new staff in January after a defensive coordinator is hired to make sure he still has the right fit.
There are almost certainly going to wind up being more than just 5 new signees between now and the end of February. We’ve already seen 3 players enter the transfer portal in the last week since the coaching change in addition to 2 during the season. We could easily see at least another 5 transfers in the coming week. That would give the Huskies at least 13 openings to use either on high school recruits or on incoming transfers.
Some candidates from the high school realm include 2 of the official visitors that came to Seattle this past weekend. Linebacker Darrien Lewis out of Maryland is new to the position and currently unranked but that should change shortly. He has indicated that he’s going to wait until February to sign although we’ll see when he makes a commitment and he technically doesn’t have an offer from UW quite yet.
4-star LB Kevonte Henry is a Michigan commit but new Husky staffer Courtney Morgan was one of his lead recruiters and he took an official visit this weekend so we’ll see if the Dawgs have a chance of flipping him. He announced today that he won’t be signing during the early period so expect Washington to go after him hard.
Local offensive lineman Vega Ioane reopened his recruitment this weekend but you should expect Washington to try to get him back in the boat once they have officially announced a new offensive line coach.
The most important target for February though is local 5-star OT Josh Conerly who has been viewed as a Michigan lean but who will give the Huskies’ new coaching staff every chance to win him over. We’ll see if DeBoer and a potential new offensive line coach can win the battle for a local star that Jimmy Lake’s staff wasn’t able to last year.
Once the dust settles over the next 48 hours we’ll be able to see who remains unsigned and the new staff will know exactly who they can realistically over the next 6 weeks to try to salvage this recruiting class as best as possible.
It will be the quietest early signing period the Huskies have had since it first came into existence but there’s plenty of intrigue and mystery ahead.