The 2015 recruiting class has now come and gone. With every passing day, the events of the first Wednesday in February get further into our rear view mirrors. Before it is completely gone, some of the senior staff at the UW Dawg Pound sat down with me to have a little roundtable discussion hosted by yours truly.
Brace yourselves for some excitement, intrigue and surprise.
Enjoy the roundtable.
By most accounts, Petersen's class ranked well nationally but middle of the pack in the conference. Are you satisfied? Why or why not?
Jack: Satisfied. This was a very good class for a program that has basically been 7-6 four out of the past five years and hasn't won 10 games in 14 years. It is balanced, has a handful of potential stars and Petersen fully took advantage of a stellar in-state crop of players.
Kirk: Obviously it would be great to see Petersen land more kids that are more universally praised and see a class that comes closer to USC & UCLA in terms of average star rating, but this is a good class that I can see turning into the foundation of an excellent team - I love what he did along the OL & DL, he got a top-flight QB and he got some very good playmakers in Chico, Gaskin, Joyner and Renfro. I'll say satisfied with the expectation he'll do even better with a few more years at the helm here.
Brad: It's a good class. It doesn't separate the Huskies from the middle of the conference on sheer talent alone, but it gives the coaching staff the tools it needs to separate the Huskies from the middle of the conference. I'm satisfied without being blown out of the water, but part of that is probably due to the fact that this was the least dramatic recruiting cycle I can really remember.
CSP discussed the importance of certain players in each class eventually becoming the "heart and soul" of your team. Who is the one player in this class that strikes you as having that kind of potential?
Jack: Myles Gaskin. He is in the mold of what seems like the Petersen program - tough, humble and competitive. As a pure player, I also think that he fits the mold of a Chris Polk or Bishop Sankey in a guy who the team could ride on offense for 2-3 years and carry the ball 30 times a game.
Kirk: Hard to pick one as there are a number of guys that appear to have that kind of leadership potential, but I'll go with Tevis Bartlett. He seems to have that "it" factor - a heady player (QB on offense), tough (he could compete at a high level in college as a wrestler) and under the radar enough that I can see him having a real hunger to prove himself.
Brad: That's tough to answer, because it's a question that deals with personality as much as talent. It'd be great if we look back in four years and say that it's Jake Browning on offense, just because he's the quarterback. And Benning Potoa'e is just a beast on the defensive side of the ball. But after hearing him talk a few times, I have to say that I'm really impressed with Myles Gaskin. He seems like a natural leader.
If this class were a super model, it would be ...
Jack: Kathy Ireland. Solid but not too flashy, timeless, underrated and one that will be around for a long time.
Kirk: Mmmm, super models. I'll confess to not being up on the last few generations so I'll probably date myself here - I'll go with Kathy Ireland. Definitely very attractive, but with a girl-next-door quality and a lot of savvy as she has turned her famous name into a huge business empire that is doing more than $2B annually in revenue. I think this class is one that outsiders recognize is good, but are under rating.
Brad: ....not very good at football, most likely. And no real help on the offensive line.
And by the way, question should read "If this class WAS a super model, it would be...."
I don't know. Elle McPherson. But if it was a car, it would be a Volvo.
CL: Well, our round table has certainly dated itself with two votes for Kathy Ireland and one for Elle McPherson. Oh, and a Volvo. I'm sure Elle's PR people might take exception to that comparison. And thanks to Brad for his excellent work at grammar policing.
It would seem that, for two years in a row, Petersen and his staff have struggled with both national recruits and with the islands. Given his name recognition, why is CSP struggling here? Is it a concern?
Jack: I don't know if Petersen's recruiting mindset meshes with the big national recruiting game well. In that game you are going to have to be okay with maybe more of the recruiting craziness that I just don't know if Petersen is about. Taking commits that you are going to have to babysit throughout the process who still might flip on you last second, recruiting players who are committed to other schools with no abandon and bringing in recruits who might have only a sliver of interest in on visits just for the PR and buzz.
Kirk: It used to be that recruiting Hawai'i was something only west coast schools did, and even there Washington always seemed to be ahead of the curve, but the secret is out and everyone has a big recruiting presence there. As for recruiting outside state lines, I think Petersen is doing better in the Rocky Mountain region than we've had before, but is still working on building his connections in California. I think success in recruiting there will follow success on the field - knocking off Oregon would go a long ways here. I'm encouraged by the inroads Choate and Pease have made in Texas - if they can pull 2-3 guys out of the Lonestar State every year, that's a win.
Brad: It's tough to put too much stock into the 2014 class, given how little time Petersen had to recruit. In 2015, I suppose you'd hope to have seen better, but recruiting these national players is usually a multi-year prospect. If it doesn't start getting better in 2016 and beyond, then there's a reason for concern. But as of right now, I'm really not overly concerned.
Teacher's Pet: Time to grade the class. A is 'stellar', F is 'fail'. Your curve is the rest of the Pac 12, but you can use any criteria you like.
Jack: B. Good, but not great. He took advantage of an excellent local crop to boost a class that otherwise may have been a C and hooked an excellent quarterback in Jake Browning. The class is arguably probably somewhere between third and fifth in the conference and for a program that has been pretty average the past five years or so, that's pretty good.
Kirk: B. It's clearly a step behind the ridiculous hauls down in L.A., but I think it's solidly in the next tier. Yes, the average star rating is a bit lower than Oregon, ASU and maybe Stanford & Cal (depending on which service you favor), but there's little significant difference statistically. I really like the balance, and I see major upside in the 2-star and most of the 3-star kids in this class - if this staff meets expectations in player development, I think this could be the foundation for a Rose Bowl contending team.
Brad: It's a B, which in this case stands for baseline. It might not be overly flashy, but it provides a solid core to build on, and grow with. There's room for improvement, but if the coaching staff truly provides a "plus" to this program, then this is the type of class that the team can provide that nebulous "next step" for the team. It should be the average moving forward, with landing someone like Chris Warren occasionally being the boost the team needs to really take off.