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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 6, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Signing day notes

A few notes from the signing day press conference with UW head coach Tyrone Willingham.
— Willingham said he thought the Huskies were able to recruit well in-state this year in part because people “saw a lot of promise in the direction we are going” and that “our players have done a great job when hosting young men in believing and showing confidence and faith in our program. … All of those things have helped us to be more productive in the state, and really be more productive everywhere.”
— Willingham also said the presence of Jake Locker “‘was a tremendous help. There’s one thing that great players enjoy and that’s other great players. There’s no question there was a Jake factor in our class.”
— Willingham wouldn’t say which players had the best chance of playing early saying “that’s the million dollar question and I always run in the million-dollar other direction.” But he later said the obvious, that receivers and defensive linemen will have the best chance due to the depth issues at those positions.
— Willingham on Kavario Middleton: “I think Kavario has a tremendous size advantage on most of the guys that we’ve recruited in the past. He’s an inch-and-a-half taller than most and and a little heavier yet he has decent mobillity and wonderful hands from his basketball career, so he has a lot of the tools you look for in a tight end. Now it’s about making the adjustment to college football.”
— Asked about the high ratings for the class, Willingham said that “on paper, the class looks good. …. but what they do when they are done, what’s their record look like, to a coach that’s the benchmark that really matters. Can we take and develop these guys and make them better than they are now and can they come in and become that championship-caliber team?”
— On Alameda Ta’amu: “Personally, I think that any time you can get an immovable object on the field that’s pretty nice and I’m hoping he will be that immovable object right in the center of our defensive line.”
— On the two QBs (Dominique Blackman and Luther Leonard): “They are not as far away from each other (stylistically) as you think. When you compare them to Jake you would say yes, but both of them have probably a little surprising more mobility than you think and are not just drop-back passers.” Asked about Blackman being mobile and 250 pounds Willingham referenced Florida’s Tim Tebow and said “I think Florida plays with a 240-pound QB who seems to move things along pretty well.”
— Willingham said not signing any JC players wasn’t solely due to improved depth but also because “you like to make the investment in high school players because there is a real chance to have them in your program and grow and develop them and have that commitment that you need in a program.”
— Willingham said the coaching change at WSU probably helped UW’s recruiting efforts a bit this year because “it does take time to get your feet on the ground.”
— Willingham said the talent in the state this year “was stronger than some of the other years, probably deeper. There’s been some really good players each year in the state but if you went down the list, the depth this year in the state was deeper.”
— Willingham said when Johri Fogerson ran for 297 yards in the 3A title game that secured a scholarship offer saying “that game had a lot to do with my view of Johri. Any time you can perform in the manner he performed, it says great things about you.” Prior to that game, Willingham said he was “in that dilemma of are you a defensive guy or an offensive guy. He just played so well (you realized) this young man is a football player and you want to have football players on your team.” Fogerson will start out his UW career as an RB.

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