Monday, July 24, 2006

Turning around recruiting

What the University of Washington football program could really use is a large and talented in state class. I remember the year Joe Steele came in leading about every top prospect in the region into the program. It really set the tone for Don James in coming years, because we really pulled a lot of talent out of Puget Sound that year, maybe 15-16 kids if I am not mistaken. That 1976 class really helped us get to the 78 Rose Bowl. Blanchet contributed a huge amount of talent over a two year period, so did Garfield and the eastside schools. That was the last great year of competitve Metro football at the AAA level. It was all down hill after that. James had a rare opportunity, and Steele probably became the most valuable recruit in his era by staying home. James often said that this was the year that set the tone for the programs future.

More than anything Ty Willingham could use an in state class like that to kick start the program. This year with the help of some more "early graduation" UW could bring in the full 25. Unfortunately it seems to be just an average year for talent, and numbers in state. I am not a talent guru, all I know about recruiting is what I read over at DM.

Talent is still cyclical in the Northwest despite the increase in population. On average you have around a dozen true Pac Ten recruits in the state each year. Every once in a while you have a bumper crop, but usually you are looking at between 8-12 guys who are qualified to be Huskies each year. A few of those kids are going to go to WSU, and like the last few years you are going to lose a few out of state, but hopefully not as many as the last two years. Felder, Schilling, Mays, and Stewart were serious losses, but they are an aberation. I don't think Ty will lose on too many of those guys in the future, just like Romar is doing in basketball, it takes a little time.

This years instate recruiting class can't be described as a bumper crop. QB is the position that stands out with as many as four in state guys capable of earning a Pac Ten scholarship. It is a good year at TE with two guys instate, and one in BC who are Pac Ten capable.

The Offensive Line is obviously a major need, as many as three of the four scholarships available will be filled out of state. This isn't a great year for instate OL. UW has a lot of offers out, but all are out of state. Of course last year we waited till mid season to offer Habben and he ended up being the best lineman who committed on paper last year.

You can say the same thing about the skill positions of WR, and RB. There are a couple of Pac Ten capable players at those positions, but the Southern kids are rated much higher. Take RB, UW has offers out to ten guys right now from the Southland, but nobody in state. If you take a look at the Dawgman Prospect list we are in the lead for five of the guys we have offered who rate us as high.

On Defense there may be four or five guys that will get Pac Ten offers this year. Not a great year on the defensive line, or at LB, but UW already grabbed the top two DB's.

Right now Washington is doing well in state. We have verbals from the top TE Izbicki, the top OL Eweka, the top DB's Mc Dowell, and Richardson. We probably will also get QB Killsgaard, and, TE Paulson.

A few more guys will get offers by around the 3rd game of the season after the staff has had a chance to see them in game action. I wouldn't count us taking more than 6-10 local guys in a class of 25 this year. So the bulk of the incoming talent is going to come in from California which means no free windfall for Ty in state this year.

James used to get the best talent in the Northwest, just not in state. Oregon is an area he loved to plunder. With the resurgence of the two Oregon schools we have basically lost that area for the forseeable future, and it has also cost us a slice of SW Washington.

Hawaii is another place we lost at the end of Lambo's tenure. Jim pioneered mainland recruiting in that state. It isn't a secret anymore as school like Tennessee, and Nebraska are all over the Islands recruiting. UW still has a large number of Polynesian athletes, and expect a couple of guys from this years recruiting class to hail from the Aloha St.

The Bay Area is a recent UW casualty. The resurgence of Cal, a new stadium at Stanford, and the Oregon De Lasalle pipeline have cut off a key area where Washington recruited well in the past.

The Central Valley which extends from Sacramento to through Fresno is still a place where Washington does well, and the addition of Coach Williams should help out in this area, as well as the Bay.

We just haven't recruited inner LA well enough in recent years. Coach James used to tell stories about ducking under dining room tables when gunshots were fired in the street during recruiting visits.

Colorado, and Texas are areas that Coach Bob Simmons has spent a long time in. Don't be surprised to see a few more visits than usual from those area's as he puts those relationships to use.

We have done ok on the periphery out toward Diamond Bar, Antelope Valley, Riverside, and have grabbed more out of San Diego, but we need more guys out of places like Long Beach, Compton, and Orange County. Coach Yarber is starting to turn that all around for us. We finished second on a lot of good athletes last year we had no business talking to, and that was all Yarber.

We have been more active in Nevada as the population increases in that state. We should get at least one guy out of Nevada, maybe two. Reno seems to be an overlooked area, we picked up an overlooked gem in Kosub last year during the last few weeks. Tormey should be able to get a few more gems from his eperience in that state.

This is going to be an interesting recruiting year with the bulk of the recruits coming from out of state. I think Ty is off to a good start, but he is going to need the extra push of visible improvement out on the field to put him over the top. Washington has some great recruiters on their staff, if we can make a push towards .500, Ty should be able to convince enough out of state talent that Washington is on the rise, and early playing time is a reasonable goal. I always figured it would take Ty four to five years to pull it back together, and we are only beginning half way through year two, so this years recruiting class is crucial to staying on track.


hairofthedawg said...

Thanks for the article. I enjoy the history some of you guys know about. I've always been a fan but have never been near the program.

Health Insurance Expert said...

I graduated from HS in 1977 so I knew a lot of the guys from that era, including all the Blanchet guys on the team.

The best HS game I have ever seen was Garfield vs Blanchet in either 75, or 76 at Memorial Stadium. A lot of great players on both sides that night.

Bruce Harrell from Garfield was just specatular.

hairofthedawg said...

79 here, B-8, just missed Napavine's state title because I moved, then B-11. Schools were so small I had to take chemistry and algebra II independently. Sucks in a way, but there were a lot of good things about it too. I saw and played in a lot of fun games, but nowhere near that level.

Health Insurance Expert said...

You live in Cyprus...correct, or was it Crete...I am thinking Cyprus. How long have you been over there, why are you there, and when are you coming back?

hairofthedawg said...

Cyprus and I've been here just over 4 years. I was in Korea for 5 before that. I work on one of the U-2's radars and when I have enough money to retire. There's a lot of boredom when everything's working but it can get hectic really fast.