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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

July 16, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Revisiting academic casualties

In the wake of the news last week on Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar, several of you asked whether there are more academic casualties these days than under prior UW coaches.
So I spent a few hours over the weekend trying to come up with a list, which I will present below.
I tried my best to make it a complete list, but it’s possible I may have forgotten somebody, so if you think of a correction, pass it along and I’ll investigate it.
Also, it is worth noting that academic standards change over time. NCAA and Pac-10 requirements have changed, and the school’s own requirements — and what the school will accept — also changes over time. That means a player who may have gotten in at one point might not have at another.
However, I also think it could be argued that it is a key component of recruiting for coaches to understand exactly what they are faced with in terms of academic requirements and recruit accordingly.
As I’ve stated here before in dissecting other recruiting classes, it doesn’t do your school any good to sign players who aren’t going to get in, whatever the reason may be.
Maybe there’s a momentary inflation in the recruiting ranking that makes everyone feel better for a while.
But in the grand scheme of things, recruiting is about getting the best players for your program in campus and on the field, and coaches should know going in what obstacles they will be facing in terms of academic requirements and plan with those in mind.
So in that light, here’s a list dating to 1994, which was the first full class for Jim Lambright:
1994 — 15 players signed, all made it into school.
1995 — 13 players signed, all made it into school.
1996 — 23 players signed. Cornerback Javon Daniels and linebacker Niva Tupua did not qualify.
1997 — 23 players signed. RBs Art Gipson and Adam Tate and DT Toalei Mulitauaopele did not qualify. Tate was a Clearinghouse casualty and did make a few practices before being pulled off the field. He eventually played at Utah. Mulitauaopele made it in for the 1998 season.
1998 — 24 players signed. All qualified except for WR Antonio Cooks. LB Anthony Kelley was a partial qualifier.
1999 — 18 signed, all made it in.
2000 — 25 players signed. OL Brandon Lockheart, CB Robert Maddox, S Donte Nicholson, DT Chris Solomona did not make it in. DT Terry Johnson was a partial qualifier. UPDATE: Nicholson, as one poster pointed out, ended up at Oklahoma. Solomona eventually played at Oregon, where he returned an interception for a TD against UW in 2004.
2001 — 23 signed. CB Eric Shyne, CB Kim Taylor and OL Francisco Tipoti were all ineligible for the start of drills. Shyne and Tipoti delayed enrollment until January while Taylor enrolled in fall of 2002. DT Manase Hopoi was a partial qualifier.
2002 — 22 signed. LB Fred Baisy did not qualify. UPDATE: As a poster noted in the comments section, DT Jordan Reffett was also a non-qualifier initially before enrolling the following January. ANOTHER UPDATE: Can’t believe I made this mistake, but Dashon Goldson was also originally a part of this class (I simply looked at a list that didn’t include him because he had already not made it in by then). Goldson didn’t make it in originally but did return two years later. I’ll update that below, as well.
2003 — 28 signed, all made it in. C Juan Garcia was a partial qualifier.
2004 —- 23 signed. CB Keauntea Bankhead and DL Rashaad Goodrum did not qualify.
2005 — 14 signed. DBs Qwenton Freeman and Chris Handy and DE Tyrone Davis did not qualify.
2006 — 22 signed. RB Leilyon Myers and DB Ashlee Palmer did not qualify. OL Sir Anthony Mason was also not eligible for the start of drills but arrived late.
2007 — 27 signed. DL/OL Emeka Iweka and WRs Boyles and Aguilar apparently won’t be in for the start of drills.
CONCLUSIONS: Of Lambright’s five full classes, he signed 98 players, with six not gaining initial admittance. Of those six, one (Multiauaopele) eventually played for UW.
Giving Neuheisel credit for the 1999 class, he had five full classes at UW and signed 115 players with 10 not gaining initial admittance. Of those 10, five later became Huskies (including Reffett and Goldson, who I added above).
Gilbertson’s only full class was in 2004, and he lost two of 23 players, neither of whom ever played for the Huskies.
Willingham has had three classes and of 63 players he has signed, it appears that at least nine will have been initially ineligible. Of the six ineligible from earlier classes, five won’t ever play for the Huskies.
Obviously, on the surface it appears that a higher percentage of Willingham recruits are having trouble getting into school than recruits of previous UW coaches.
As stated earlier, standards have changed through the years, so lots of explanations could probably be made, and it’s also worth nothing that we don’t know the final word on this year’s class. Still, I think it probably has caught some off-guard that UW has had this many apparent problems due to Willingham’s reputation at his previous stops (though it’s worth nothing those previous stops are Stanford and Notre Dame, two schools where it’s pretty impossible not to have a reputation for turning out strong academic classes).
Ultimately, how much any of this matters will be determined on the field.

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