There we have it folks. Our first OL commit in the 2022 class has put pen to paper and is officially a Husky.
Parker Brailsford (OL, 6’2” 275, Saguaro HS, AZ)
Brailsford, a 247 Composite 3-star iOL prospect (0.8784 compsite rating), committed to us back in May over offers from Michigan State, Oregon State, BYU and Boise State. His offer and commitment came out of nowhere, and in quick succession. Despite that, Brailsford’s commitment has been rock solid through the tumultuous transition between the Lake and DeBoer eras. Similarly, we expect Brailsford to be a rock solid contributor in the not so distant future.
When he committed, I went back and took a look at his tape, and I can see why Coach Huff was so high on Brailsford:
When watching Brailsford’s tape, what immediately jumps out to you is his versatility. If it wasn’t for giant arrows pointing him out on every play, I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with all of his shuffling along the line. In the first 5 plays of his hudl tape he played all 5 OL spots, and not only that, he looked pretty comfortable at every spot. Whether it was pulling from center (a totally underrated skill), picking up stunts in pass protection from guard (again, an underrated skill set), or simply planting guys from whatever spot he was playing, Brailsford looks like a classic UW-caliber lineman. The movement skills, the mauling-play style, and the relatively refined technique are reminiscent of the handful of OL who have recently earned early playing-time (Harris, Wattenberg, Kirkland, etc.).
What’s also apparent from his tape is that his physique isn’t quite at the P5 level just yet. He doesn’t have the imposing build of someone like Agbo, Iuli, Ioane, or even Nabou, but he’s got a solid frame (6-2) and enough heft at 265 lbs where he could realistically be sitting at/above 300 lbs in 3 years (which would only be his sophomore season). Not to mention that extrapolating his ass-kicking power out to ~300 lbs is pretty exciting as he’s definitely punching above his weight right now.
His height is likely the limiting factor when projecting where he ends up positionally in college, but his feet and overall comfort working in space/on-the-move makes me think it’s worth reconsidering conventional thinking. As I’ve mentioned before, I have operated on the belief that OT is a hard enough position to fill that you want to try as many guys at the position as possible. Victor Curne’s success at RT at only 6-3 and with similar agility as Brailsford makes me think that even an outside chance at bringing swing tackle value to the line could be a major addition.
That being said, it looks like Brailsford is likely slated on the iOL (specifically center). His tape is a mix between Nick Harris’ and Troy Fautanu’s, and his mix of mauling downhill blocking, movement in space, and snapping experience makes me think he could be a more talented version of Harris down the line. Giving Harris as Brailsford’s comp is too simplistic if you boil it down to two guys with similar roster listings. It’s the fact that like Harris, he has athletic traits that you’d look for in a tackle, but with the skill set of an iOL (i.e. pulling, snapping, understanding interior defensive fronts & stunts).
Since my initial evaluation, Brailsford’s Saguaro HS team has risen to the top of the Arizona HS football scene by winning the state championship in their top division, and Brailsford has established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the state of Arizona’s ‘22 class. He’s added a few pounds since his junior season, but he’s still looking at a redshirt season in his first year on Montlake. There’s plenty of talent ahead of him (Ale, Buelow, Kalepo, Fautanu, Murao, Hatchett, Memmelaar, and Prentice), so while we might have openings at center and guard, we probably won’t need to put Brailsford on the field until he’s ready.
It’s tough to project exactly where he fits into Kalen DeBoer and Ryan Grubbs’ offense just yet, but center is still the most likely spot. Fresno’s run game featured a lot of the inside zone, outside zone, pin and pull, and counters that we’ve become familiar with over the last few years, and between those primary concepts, there is certainly a spot for Brailsford to show off his athleticism (an athletic center in outside zone schemes is critical).
Hopes are high on Montlake for Parker Brailsford. WOOF!