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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 10, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Biggins talks UW recruiting

With spring football concluded, the Huskies — like every other college football program in the country — have turned their attention to recruiting.
Schools are allowed to send as many as seven assistants on the road for four weeks during the period from April 15-May 31 (excluding Sundays and Memorial Day) to meet with prospective recruits for the Class of 2010. They can visit campuses once to measure a recruit’s athletic ability, another time to examine academic progress.
Head coaches are not allowed to go on the road during this period, the so-called “Saban Rule,” which UW coach Steve Sarkisian and others in the Pac-10 oppose — the conference agreed at its meetings last week to propose legislation that would end that prohibition.
But with the spring recruiting season in full swing, I thought it worth it to place a call to ESPN recruiting expert Greg Biggins, who covers West Coast recruiting for ESPN.com he also helps organize the NIKE Football Training Camps for ESPNRise.com, and in that capacity he gets a good first-hand look at most of the talent on the West Coast.
Asked a general assessment of UW’s recruiting to date — seven commits for the Class of 2010 and six from in the state (here’s the list) — Biggins said he gives the Huskies high marks.
“They are doing good,” he said. “Sark is getting after it. They are taking that whole USC mindset of being very aggressive and everyone I’ve talked to, kids absolutely love the new staff and they love what they are selling and they really believe the program is going to turn around. I think depending on how they do on the field this year they could have one of their better classes in a long time.”
Biggins says he thinks all of the in-state players UW has gotten commitments from are “high-quality.” He’s seen all but Auburn’s Chris Young in person and says that the talent in the state of Washington this year will be regarded as better this year than it was last year, which was considered by most to be one of the weaker crops in recent memory.
“It’s better than last year, probably not as good as two years ago (the Kavario Middleton-Jermaine Kearse group),” he said. “Jake Heaps is a big-time national guy. After that it’s a lot of pretty solid players. Heaps is going to be the only guy you find in the (national) top 100. Darius Waters (linebacker from Lakes) and Jamaal Kearse (WR from lakes) are pretty close. Overall, it’s solid. Kind of what you except to find in Washington. There will be 15 guys signed at the high level, a couple of others that sign at the lower level.”
Biggins also said he thinks the lone out-of-stater who has committed so far — running back Melvin Davis of Narbonne High, has a lot of potential. Davis is listed at 6-2, 220 and Biggins said “he’s a bigger back, more of a one-back (scheme) type of back. What he was saying is that they plan to play him the way they did with LenDale White at USC. I think you’d want a speed guy to match up with Melvin so we’ll see. But it’s a loaded year for running backs on the West Coast, especially in Southern California. There’s a ton of them out there. So if they can get a smaller back to pair with Melvin that’s pretty good. That’s not to say on his own he can’t be an elite guy but pair him with another (speed) back and that would be good.”
Asked if it seems UW is concentrating on anything in particular in its recruiting, Biggins said “they just want help everywhere” but adding that “they want to improve their speed so that will be pretty key for them.”
The biggest question revolving around UW’s recruiting right now is Heaps, who attended three Husky spring practices/scrimmages and is obviously seriously considering the hometown team. While Heaps continues to list a number of schools as options, Biggins believes like many that it is likely to be either UW or BYU. “I think it will come down to those two schools,” Biggins said. “I think he likes both a lot and it could be either one, so we’ll see.”
The Huskies, however, are also avidly recruiting QB prospects Jesse Scroggins of Lakewood High in Lakewood, Calif., and Nick Montana of Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif. (who is also Joe’s son).
Biggins said the perception of UW’s class may depend quite a bit on what Heaps decides. But he said that in terms of impact on the field, UW would be just fine if it got Scroggins instead.
“I like Jake a lot,” Biggins said. “But if they were to miss on him and get Scroggins I would think that is just as good. But I think the perception is they need to get Heaps because he is in-state, the top QB to come out of Washington in a lot of years, and I just think the perception would be very negative if they lose him.”
Biggins said he doesn’t think UW, or any school, will get both QBs citing the fact that QBs generally write off one team once it gets a commit from another big-time player at that position for all the obvious reasons.
“If one goes there the other goes somewhere else,” Biggins said. “I can’t imagine (they’d both go to UW). Those are two of the top five guys (in the country). You just don’t see that happen very often (that they both go to the same school).”
According to Scout.com, UW has made at least 45 offers. A school can sign only 25 in a class (offers are often rescinded once players at that same position commit) and UW has a smallish senior class this year that doesn’t appear to leave it a lot of room. But Biggins is like most people who follow this who figure the Huskies will go in planning to sign a fairly normal-sized class and will make the numbers work somehow, noting it’s common for programs in a transition from one coach to another to have a fair amount of attrition.
“I think they will make room for as many guys as they want,” he said. “I don’t think scholarship numbers will be an issue at all.”

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