Washington is Winning the West: Recruiting Update

On Sunday, July 14, Eastside Catholic’s running back, Sam Adams II, gave his verbal commitment to the Washington Huskies. The son of Seattle Seahawks legend announced his commitment to the Dawgs around noon. Once thought to be leaning towards committing to his father’s alma mater, Texas A&M, Adams, Keith Bonopha added another local playmaker to his stable for the 2020 season.  

The slippery and powerful, the 6’2-200-lb machine will join a fleet that’s replete with versatile playmakers including hometown hero-in-the-making, Salvon Ahmed.  He also joins three-star RB commit, Jayveon Sunday of Texas in the 2020 backfield.

The State of the State of Washington

The approach to recruiting within the borders of the State of Washington have varied.  Legendary Washington Coach, Don James, said that he wanted to put a fence around the state.  That mantra appeared to disappear under former coach, Steve Sarkisian, who tended to focus his efforts on California.  Current Washington coach, Chris Petersen looks at recruiting as a “footprint” with a focus on getting the best talent in the West. 

Part of Winning the West would be much easier if Coach Pete could somehow erect that famed fence around the State of Washington…or just the Seattle-metro area over the next few years.  However, the number 1 prospect in Washington and 4th in the country, Sav’ell Smalls appears to be on the verge of taking his talents outside of the state.

Conversely, in 2018, the state’s top 2 recruits, QB Dylan Morris and Nate Kalepo stayed home.  Over the years there have been notable defectors that have hurt including Jonathan Stewart to Oregon and Foster Sarell to Stanford. 2020 looked to be a banner year with two top 75 players in the country in Sav’elle Smalls and Gee Scott, Jr. so the importance of reeling in Adams can’t be overstated.

For the current recruiting class, a late offer from UW to a four-star receiver, and no. 2 prospect in the state, and high school teammate to Adams, Gee Scott, Jr. did not sway the home-grown product away from his verbal commitment to Ohio State.  However, losing Scott to the Buckeyes has been augmented by the commitment of Jalen McMillian who is rated a top 10 receiving prospect by 247sports.com.  

There remains plenty of meat on the bone still for Coach Petersen in the state, as there are three uncommitted four-star players left.

—Behind the Numbers—

5 In the 1992 Rose Bowl Mark Bruener caught a 5-yard pass from Billy Joe Hobert to give Washington a 27-7 lead over the Michigan Wolverines.  His son, Carson, once thought to be an Oregon-leaning prospect has decided to continue his family’s legacy at Montlake.

4 Sam Adams’ commitment gives Washington 4 players in the top 10 at their position:

Punter, Triston Brown #1

Center, Myles Murao #2

Tight End, Mark Redman #8

Wide Receiver, Jalen McMillian #9

  There are an additional 3 recruits in the top 20 at their position:

Quarterback, Ethan Garbers #11

Offensive Tackle, Roger Rosengarten #12

Running Back, Sam Adams II #16 running back in the country

3 July the first Washington kicked off Three Stripe Life with adidas.  La Habra Tight End, Mason West, also kicked off the month of July with the first of 3 commits.  He was followed shortly by Murao on Independence Day. Ten days later Sam Adams announced that would be joining Husky Nation as well.

2 Corona Del Mar, California Quarterback Ethan Garbers kicked off the 2020 recruiting early in March.  He was followed a month later by teammate, Tight End, Mark Redman. Those two have teamed up to lead Washington recruiting efforts.

1 The highest rated player at any given position is Joco Punter, Triston Brown.  However, specialists are rarely given high ratings and will drag the Average Rating down.  With Brown UW has an Avg. Rating of .8912 on 247Sports.com. Without Brown the Avg jumps to .9013 and tops in the Pac12 Conference.

 —Behind the Numbers—

Trench Warfare

Despite a recruiting trip to Alabama, the lure of playing for the home team may prove to be impossible to pass on for Ferndale’s Geirean Hatchett.  He is the 8th ranked Offensive Guard in the nation is thought to be close to verbally committing to Washington. If he commits to the Dawgs he will round out a bumper crop “big nasties” that include the number 2 Center in the country, Myles Mauro of California, the number 12 Offensive Tackle, Roger Rosengarten of Colorado, and the number 1 player in Idaho, Offensive Tackle, Gaard Memmelaar.

Their job will be to keep quarterback commit, Ethan Garbers, jersey clean.  Though initially an under the radar prospect, California quarterback, Ethan Garbers quickly shot up the QB rankings after an MVP performance at the Bay Area Nike Regional.  He then followed that up with a 9th place finish at the Elite 11 quarterback competition early in July.  

Tight End Coach, Jordan Paopao received commitments from two physical Tight Ends, Mark Redman and Mason West and looks to continue “Tight End U” tradition for the Dawgs. 

Taking Advantage of the Uncertainty at USC

Traditionally USC has not needed to rely upon player development as it has drawn many of the top recruits not just from the West, like Washington, but from the Western Hemisphere.  

However, coming off of a 5-7 2018 campaign and swirling head coaching rumors and an onslaught of players entering the NCAA Transfer Portal there’s nothing but disarray in LA for the USC Trojans…and Coach Petersen is taking advantage.  

The Washington recruiting footprint, under Coach Pete is Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai’i and east to Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.  With Adams’ commitment to Washington that leaves two uncommitted running back prospects within Washington’s recruiting footprint for USC to fight for UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, Cal.  

In a normal year five-star running back, California-native, Kendall Milton of Clovis, despite not exactly in USC’s backyard but in normal times he would be a priority recruit for USC.  Instead he’s projected to go to head east to Georgia and USC barely registers a blip on his radar. Likewise, fellow five-star running back, Bijan Robinson of Tucson, Arizona appears to be headed east of the Mississippi River to Columbus, Ohio.

Snatching 4 top 30 prospects from California McMillian, Moaro, Garbers for Washington might not be all that alarming for USC but when the top Center, the top Tight End, 3rd best receiver are heading to Montlake. 

Getting Defensive

And Jimmy Lake hasn’t even revved up his engine.  If by design or accident, Jimmy Lake has not yet begun to get commits for the next iteration of Death Row Dawgs.  In fact, with the commitment of number 1 Juco punter, Triston Brown, there are as many defensive commits as there are specialists.  

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