Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Class of 2008

This class has plenty of balance, utility, and depth. It actually has the potential to be one of the best in over a decade at Washington. On paper it looks to be the best since the mid 90's since everyone looks like they are going to qualify at this point. Many observers are saying this class has a Don James feel to it.

The Huskies finish with the 19th ranked class according to Rivals, and #10 according to Scout as of Tuesday night.

Possible Early Impact

The 2008 class is already off to a good start with last years late enrollee's Devin Aguilar, Anthony Boyles, and this years early enrollee Chris Polk in school participating in winter drills. All three of those kids are going to get a shot at starting, or being in the rotation this Fall.

Jermaine Kearse, Cody Bruns, and Kavario Middleton will push for considerable playing time when they arrive this Summer. David Freeman is a possibility as a return man.

On defense Ta'Amu Alameda, Greg Noble, and Senio Kelemente will all get a chance to play early on a depleted defensive line. You can also expect a couple of the DB's to get consideration for early playing time. Justin Glenn, and Adam Long come to mind. Keep an eye on if they move any current DB's to LB in the Spring.

Overall Feel

From a completely critical view the class lacks a true marquee QB, and RB. Though you can make a case that Chris Polk who will start off at WR is also a marquee type RB. The Huskies however have a quality stable recruited last year to replace Rankin.

At QB since Jake Locker will be taking snaps for 2-3 more years the Huskies ended up with a couple of good looking, but green prospects who probaby won't be ready to play for 2-3 years. The Huskies only brought in one TE, and while that works for 2008 they are going to need to pick up at least two in 2009 because of graduation.

Defensively the Huskies filled all the holes they had on the defensive line, and backfield. They failed however to land a quality LB that could rush from the end, but they did fine inside with Mangum, and Roussel.

Quarterback - B Minus

When you have the potential of another three years of Jake Locker it isn't that easy to recruit All American QB's, but Washington took the best from in state, and one of the top pre season QB's from California. Kevin Prince was a last minute defect to UCLA, but it doesn't really matter since he won't even be on a campus for one to two years. Not a great decision, but he becomes recruitable again in September.

Dominique Blackman led Carson to the city championship game before the season ended with a loss. His stock went down this season after he got in trouble which resulted in a brief suspension. Dominique is a big man, and you could envision transitioning to tight end if things don't work out at QB. Blackman was originally a four star this Summer, but once he got in trouble he dropped like a bullet.

Luther Leonard was recruited to UW as an athlete who will start off as a QB. Leonard is fairly mobile and will get a decent shot at the position before they decide to move him. I think he sticks at QB. The kid is the same type of project that Stanback was.

Running Back - B

UW picked up some solid running back prospects. Freeman, Bronson, and Dailey are good players. Chris Polk could end up being a running back too, but I think his future, and interest is at WR. I think UW will end up using him the same way they envision using Curtis Shaw.

Terrance Dailey from Vacaville, Ca had a tremendous senior season which boosted his ratings. UW was in on him early and snagged an early verbal from him. Dailey could start off as a fullback, but the coaches will have all of next year to figure out where he is best suited during a red shirt season. He seems kind of small for FB, but maybe he could develop into a Richard Thomas type of guy.

David Freeman was another guy the Huskies were in on early that looks great on film. Freeman could contribute early by returning kicks. He reminds a lot of Steve Jones, and Andre Riley. James Rodgers of Oregon State is another player he was favorably compared to. He could end up at CB, or RB depending on need. Freeman played for ex Husky Charles Mincy in HS.

Demetrius Bronson was the pre season best in state, but UW was his only offer. His older brother played Lb at Penn State. Demetrius could see time as a TB, LB, or S before it is all said and done. He will likely redshirt in 2008.

Wide Receiver - A Plus

The only things would have worked out better is if JC phenom Carl Moore had been added. Washington filled the cupboards with a lot of upgraded talent. All these kids have a shot to play right away, but most likely a couple will redshirt to break up the class. There is a lot of talent to sort through here, almost an embarrasment of riches.

*Chris Polk was the surprise of the recruiting season after Washington was able to convince him to drop USC. UW beating USC out of a coveted recruit in their own backyard doesn't happen very much, but Redlands is beginning to establish a pipeline with Washington. Polk enrolls in January so he will count against the 2007 class. Chris will be able to come in right away and make a big difference. Don't count Polk out as a TB either, his film is just fantastic. Chris is in class right now and working out with the team.

Cody Bruns was the best looking receiver in the state last year. Everything that is thrown to him he catches sort of like a Chris Juergens, or Paul Skansi. Bruns runs disciplined routes which gives him an edge coming in. I think he ends up redshirting even though he has the ability to contribute right away. This kid is old school Husky. He is smart, runs great routes, and is very coachable.

Jermaine Kearse was the highest rated receiver in state this season. He can play on both sides of the ball but count on him to start at WR this year. At the Army All American game the observers felt he was the best WR on the West team. Kearse could play next year if needed.

Jordan Polk from Portland was the fastest WR in the Northwest this season. You could see him returning punts, but I think Jordan is a candidate to RS and get a little stronger.

Tight End A

The Huskies could have used another TE, but they will be OK for this year with the addition of Middleton. The Dawgs will take at least two in 2009. Demetrius Guice is still a possibility if he can get his grades straightened out in time for Winter enrollment in 2009.

Kavario Middleton was the top recruit in the state this season. He will probably be a TE since UW needs some immediate production but he could also be a standout DE. We haven't seen the best of Kavario yet. He wasn't as dominant as you like to see his senior year. Kavario will be in the mix for playing time from the get go. Kavario is a Parade All American.

Offensive Line A

This is a great class that should raise the level of line play at UW over the next five years. If they had added DeCastro which they were very close to doing I would have given it an A plus.

Terrance Thomas is a very athletic kid who is going to be a great tackle for the UW in the next couple of years. You have to think that he was a little underated coming from Idaho. The kid can really move. I think he will be an excellent tackle. He has grown to nearly 6'9 and 314 pounds. Thomas committed early and his stock really has gone up over the Winter. This kid is a great get.

Drew Schaeffer is a big time recruit and in most years would have been the top lineman in the state. Schaeffer will redshirt and provide immediate depth in the rotation his RS FR year. I think he will be every bit the player Decastro ends up being.

Adam Carroll is a good looking stud from Oakland who the Huskies coveted. The connection with HS friend Willie Griffin was important in his decision to attend UW. His stock went up in post season All Star games when he was voted the lineman with the best feet. This kid was a real good get for Washington.

Mykena Ikehara from Hawaii was signed after Decastro decided to head to Stanford. Ikehara isn't exactly a backup pick since he is rated the #47 OG in the country last year by Scout. Mykena is a good student, qualified and ready to go.

Defensive Line A

I don't know if you could have done any better than these four. All these guys could see action next year. You hate to see that though, you would like all of your lineman to get the full five years in the program.

Craig Noble wowed everyone in combines down in California this Spring and Summer. He also could be the rare kid who is close to being ready to play early in his career. Craig is probably the closest to being ready to play. This kid is really strong and could be ready right away if he gets the playbook down. UCLA really wanted him, but his grades were a little too borderline for the Bruins. Scout says Noble is the top DL in California.

Ta'Amu Alameda from Rainier Beach is a huge prospect that will be in the mix for playing time early. The kid is really big, really quick, really fast, and really strong. I am not sure if that translates into immediate playing time for a big man, but he will get a shot. To me he seems like he was built for nose tackle, but he could also be a dominant OG.

Senio Kelemente is a kid who has the potential to be a great one on either side of the ball. He has a motor that does not quit and was performed probably the best in his senior season of all the in state prospects. Senio can play inside, or outside, offense, or defense. I think he is a very good bet to see action if needed next year. I think Senio was the best player in the state last year based on senior season year performance.

Everette Thompson could be a prototype DE, or TE. He is going to start off on the defensive side of the ball and could see early action if he plays better than the incumbents. I think he needs a year to bulk up before contributing. Scouts have been raving about this kid since early in his Jr year of HS.

Linebacker B

I like both these kids, but when is Washington going to recruit the next superstar linebacker? who is the next Dave Hoffman, Tim Meamber, or Michael Jackson? One of our readers posted that the next great LB was already on the roster, we shall see.

*Kurt Magnum is a bit of a bonus because they were able to fit him into last years class because he is graduating early. The Huskies took their time at this position bringing in a lot of potential recruits. He has a good looking body but how he develops speed wise will be the determining factor in how he develops. According to Scout he tests off the charts.

Bradly Roussel was a late edition to the class after Washington put his recruitment on hold a week or two in search of players they had rated higher. The only knock on Bradly is size, but if you have seen his film you realize that he is a player. Hopefully he becomes big, and fast enough to be able to compliment his great instincts.

Defensive Back A

The cupboard is now officially full in the defensive backfield. For the first time this decade Washington has adequate depth, speed, and talent in the secondary. All they lack is experience. This is Willingham's second good DB recruiting class in a row. Things have picked up since DJ Williams joined the staff because Ty was whiffing at DB till he came here.

Vince Taylor is a versatile kid who can play on both sides of the ball. His size and speed could give him an immediate shot at getting playing time at Safety. Vince was one of the best athletes in Washington last year.

Greg Walker from San Diego played LB in HS but will be a Safety in college. I haven't seen any film on this kid yet, but they say he is a hitter who could play Safety, or move up to OLB.

Justin Glenn was the best defensive back in the state last year. He has the size and strength to play in 2008 if needed. For comparisons sake he will arrive in much better shape than Vonzell McDowell did last year to play early.

Adam Long is a kid the Huskies really went after in January. He was one of those kids they had to have. Long had offers from half the Pac Ten even though he wasn't a pre season elite recruit. He says he is a cover guy that loves to hit.

Anthony Gobern is another running back from California who is going to start out at CB for Washington. He has really good wheels.

Johri Fogerson was dominating for O'Dea this season on both sides of the ball. The kid can really hit and I think his future is on defense, but if you watch his film you realize he has a shot at RB too. I think he will be a nice hard nosed pickup. This kid is a football player. Fogerson was the Gatorade prep player of the year for all classifications. I think he has Safety written all over him.

* Winter or Spring enrollee who will count against 2007 class


bigdave967 said...

Havent seen Middleton's letter yet, i am sure its nothing.

Off topic, i am watching the highlight tape and i really think that Rankin will be a good late round pick up for a team. I like what i see. Sucks that he is coming out in a RB loaded draft.

Greg O'Byrne said...

Thought I'd post a nice video of Chris Polk.

Nice speed there...hey what about getting the Redland fullback too...

bigdave967 said...

looks like everyone is surprises one way or the other.

John Berkowitz said...

Thanks Greg.....that kid is a very good get. Everybody is accounted for so no surprises.

t9odawg said...

All the faxes were in before noon, I like that, no ding-donging around.
Do you suppose the Times will be dogging Blackmon when he gets to because of his indiscretion last season? Looking for ammo for the next attack on Husky FB.

Gabe Showalter said...

I agree about Fogerson on defense. Seems like everything I have heard from the coaching staff is that he will start on offense, but his size and speed seem to be a perfect fit for safety. We already saw the hitting he can do when he laid that kid out in the championship game. Not too mention we have a serious need on defense and seem to have nice depth at RB right now.

Anonymous said...

"At the Army All American game the observers felt he was the best WR on the West team."

Seriously, there's no need to blatantly lie about things. No one said this, and you should apologize to Michael Floyd and Dan Buckner, who were both head and shoulders above the other WRs on the West squad.

John Berkowitz said...

Anon - Blatantly Lie?

You are welcome to any opinion you like, but I am going off the observations of the "Scout" team who covered practices that week and stated that Kearse was the receiver who looked best in practices before the game.

They went on to say that he had a chance to be the MVP in the All Start game since the West QB's were so comfortable throwing to him.

We really didn't see what any of the West recievers could do in that game because the West QB's had a terrible day.

Kearse's HS coach who has coached a little talent in his day feels Jermaine will be an NFL draft pick some day.

No knock on the the other receivers, just going with what the journalists had to say.

Anonymous said...

Please, name the people on the Scout team who made those observations. News on Kearse was practically nonexistent on either Scout or Rivals because he did nothing to distinguish himself. On the other hand, guys like Michael Floyd and Dan Buckner wowed everyone all week long in practices.

"We really didn't see what any of the West recievers could do in that game because the West QB's had a terrible day."

Did you not watch the game? Michael Floyd went for over 100 yards receiving with 2 TDs.

Anonymous said...

Rivals Hot 11 for the West squad. Either Buckner, Floyd, or both are mentioned every single time, but where is Kearse? Surely if he was the best WR on the West squad he'd at least be mentioned....

December 31st:

January 1st:

January 2nd:

January 3rd:

January 4th Expert Observations:

Final Hot 11:

Anonymous said...

Here's a page with a number of updates on it. Unfortunately many of them are premium links, but there is only one mention of Kearse that I saw, and numerous mentions of how Buckner and Floyd were dominant in practices.

Let me guess....By "Scout team" you mean Chris Fetters and the guys from Interesting that the only people calling Kearse the best WR on the West squad are from the UW site, isn't it?

John Berkowitz said...

USAAB chat with Bob Lichtenfels, Greg Powers, and Alan Zepeda. I believe the chat was right after New Years.

Alan Zepeda had these comments after watching practices leading up to the game.

"Kearse seems to be the go to guy for the west, the quarterbacks love passing to him and he catches everything near him."

"I will say for the West I like Kearse for the MVP on offense, the QB's like passing his way."

"Kearse is a player that just makes catches and gets open, he is not flashy but the reason why I think he might be an MVP candidate is because the QB's for the West like throwing to him so often, thus I think he will get several extra catches on the day compared to everyone else. When you see a QB and WR get comfortable with each other they will ride that horse all they can."

Anon - You need to get your panties out of a bunch. No offense to Buckner, or Floyd, but Kearse impressed all week during practice.

I have a question though, where exactly did you pop out from?

Anonymous said...

I think that you probably misunderstood the comments that were made about Kearse. He had one really good day and was otherwise overshadowed by Floyd and Buckner. I don't have a problem with hyping players and I think that Kearse sounds like he could be a very good player for UW. What is a problem is to say that he was the best WR on the West, because that is just not true at all.

John Berkowitz said...

Those were the quotes verbatum, interpret them any way you like.