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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.
Husky recruits ranked high nationally despite late misses
By Bob Condotta
Seattle Times staff reporter
Some Washington football fans who follow recruiting with the same fervor as the games might have been left a little disappointed by the Huskies' finishing kick.
But those who analyze recruiting say any angst over a few who got away on signing day should be mitigated by what they said is the impressive work the Huskies did the previous 12 months.
"Today was kind of a downer for UW fans," said Jake Worthen, the West Recruiting Analyst for Fox Sports/Scout.com, noting that the Huskies lost touted defensive end Daeshon Hall to Texas A&M and were unable to sway a few others. "But the class as a whole is a very big positive."
Indeed, the overall rankings for the 22-player class Washington introduced Wednesday will be the highest of the five signed by coach Steve Sarkisian. Scout.com has it 14th nationally and second in the Pac-12 behind only UCLA (No. 5), while Rivals.com had it at 18th nationally and third in the Pac-12 behind UCLA (11th) and USC (13th). The last UW class to be ranked as high by both came in 2008, when Scout and Rivals each had UW at 14th.
"As far as making an immediate impact goes, it's second (among Pac-12 schools) only to UCLA," added JC Shurburtt, the national recruiting director for 247Sports.
What each of the analysts liked most were some of the same things Sarkisian talked about at a news conference Wednesday — adding playmaking ability at receiver and depth and potential pass-rushers on the defensive line.
"We wanted to address the explosiveness or playmaking ability at the wide-receiver position, and I think we were able to do that," Sarkisian said. "We really wanted to address our pass-rushing ability from the defensive-line spot, and I think whether it's the edge rushers or the interior rushers, we were able to do that in their playmaking ability."
Worthen was particularly impressed by the trio of receivers the Huskies signed — Darrell Daniels of Pittsburg, Calif., Damore'ea Stringfellow of Perris, Calif., and John Ross of Long Beach, Calif.
"If you watched them last year, they had a glaring need for playmakers," Worthen said. "This is the best class in the West Coast as far as receivers go."
And despite the loss of Hall, UW's defensive-line group also drew high praise, especially the trio of ends Joe Mathis of Ontario, Calif., and Marcus Farria of Peoria, Ariz., and tackle Elijah Qualls of Petaluma, Calif.
"They really put a boost to that position group," Worthen said.
Signing Hall would have added more. But after publicly committing to Washington in June, Hall ended up announcing Wednesday morning he would sign with Texas A&M.
Hall attended Garfield High in Seattle as a freshman and sophomore, but has spent the past two high-school years in Texas.
Washington also did not get a few of the big-name recruits who had visited in recent weeks. Bellevue linebacker Myles Jack signed with UCLA; defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes of Auburn, Calif., with Notre Dame; offensive lineman Nico Falah of Bellflower, Calif., with USC; and twin athletes Tyree and Tyrell Robinson of San Diego with Oregon.
The Huskies, however, did get a couple of new commitments on signing day from linebacker Keishawn Bierria, who also had considered Oregon State, and cornerback Patrick Enewally of Norwalk, Calif.
"We got a couple of them, we didn't get a couple of them," Sarkisian said of the battles that went to signing day.
Sarkisian, though, expressed no regrets about a class that was heavy on out-of-state players. Just four players signed from Washington, with 15 from California and one each from Oregon, Arizona and Texas.
Sarkisian noted that 11 of the 22 signees are 6 feet 3 or taller, continuing a desire to get longer and more athletic, especially on defense and attempting to defend the increasing number of spread offenses in the Pac-12.
"We wanted more length and size at linebacker," he said. "We wanted more length and man-to-man coverage ability at the defensive-back spot, and we were able to do that."
Sarkisian also highlighted some of the specific needs he felt UW filled, such as a touted quarterback in Troy Williams of Los Angeles, a kicker in Cameron Van Winkle of Mount Si and a center in Dane Crane of Irvine, Calif..
"It's not necessarily about quantity but about quality, and getting quality individuals that are going to make us a better football team and continue us on a quest for not only a Pac-12 championship but a Rose Bowl championship and ultimately a national championship," Sarkisian said. "And I think we have been able to do that."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @bcondotta
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