I know a few of you have had some questions about recruiting, so I figured I would call in an expert, Brandon Huffman, a national football recruiting analyst for FoxSports.com and Scout.com.
I asked Huffman a few questions and reprinted the answers below, beginning first with his thoughts on the performance this weekend of Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist (pictured) at the Stanford Elite 11 camp over the weekend. This camp was essentially a tryout for the national Elite 11 camp in July. Huffman said of the top 15 quarterbacks on the West Coast as rated by Scout.com, 12 showed up.
Here’s what Huffman said of Lindquist’s performance: “He looked very good at the Elite 11. I thought he was the most consistent quarterback on Friday, pretty much good at everything. Wouldn’t say he was great at any one particular thing. In terms of across the board the different things he did the different workouts they ran through, he was the most consistent across the board. His mobility and the footwork and the consistency of his accuracy, hitting the deep post, the deep throws, the short throws, the different routes, all the different routes — he was consistent at everything. There wasn’t one area where you said ‘wow, he struggled there.’ Even all the deep throws that he did, it wasn’t like he wasn’t getting the ball there, he was. He wasn’t throwing as far as some of the other guys were, he was hitting his receivers. He wasn’t great at anything but very, very good in everything, which to me stood out because for some guys, they showed great arm strength but their accuracy was atrocious.”
On whether it means anything that UW has two commitments right now compared to ffve a year ago and six in 2010: “I don’t think it really means anything. Look at Arizona State, for example. They’ve got five commitments already but every one of those five commitments has said they are going to take visits in the fall. One has already said pretty much he is a soft commit, so for Arizona State fans they can’t even feel secure that those guys are going to sign in February — they have to hope that those guys don’t start getting offers from other programs. So you’d kind of rather be in a position where you don’t have a lot of commitments and have to worry about them for eight or nine months, are they or aren’t they going to sign? UCLA doesn’t have any commitments, Cal just has one or two, Stanford has two. … Especially these days with all the de-commits you’d almost rather have the guys commit later and be sure then basically take an early one and stop recruiting a kid and then the kid you have decommits and you’ve lost ground with the other one. So it’s kind of a double-edged sword. Sure, you’d like to have some commits but at the same time you don’t want to have kids commit and spend the whole year wondering.”
On if UW will take another QB?: “I think they will. Especially with the uncertainty with having two young quarterbacks battling for the starting position, a lot of times somebody is going to transfer. I’m not saying Nick Montana is, but you’ve always got to assume that somebody might leave and plan accordingly. USC got two quarterbacks last year in Max Wittek and Cody Kessler yet they are still recruiting quarterbacks, and not just West Coast but national kids. So I think UW is going to recruit another quarterback just because they need depth.”
Any feel on what Zach Banner (tackle from Lakes High) and Josh Garnett (guard from Puyallup) are thinking? “I think that the longer the recruitment goes on and the more that college coaches are hitting Lakes and Puyallup, I think that they are now going to be of the mindset of ‘I want to see what the options are — now Auburn has offered me and Alabama has offered me and I want to take an official visit there and see if that’s the place for me.’ I think that’s what happens a lot with elite recruits is that they get those national offers and they want to wait until October to take an official visit to an SEC school on a Saturday and take in that whole gameday environment. So I think that while they are more likely to stay on the West Coast, I do think they are now going to go through the recruiting process and take those official visits and use it to their advantage to see all the schools that they are serious about.”
What positions does it seem like UW is focusing on? “I think they are being very aggressive with the offensive line because you can never have too many of those. They are recruiting Erik Magnuson and getting him up there for an unofficial in the next couple of weeks. Jordan Simmons of Crespi who we have rated right behind Josh Garnett as a five-star offensive guard, he likes Washington a lot, so they are still hitting offensive linemen. Even if they get Garnett and Banner they are going after upper-end guys. But they are also hitting the secondary hard, recruiting a lot of corners. They’ve offered a lot of corners. That’s where (UW cornerbacks coach) Demetrice Martin becomes such a key part of it because he’s not only a DB coach but I think the best recruiter on their staff and he also has a prime area in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. They are recruiting Kevon Seymour of Muir and two four-star corners from Compton Dominguez (Brandon Beaver and Alphonso Marsh) and they took an unofficial for the spring game and they talked about why Martin was such a key reason why they were interested and came up to Washington. So they are really hitting corners more than years past. And that’s one thing that the state of Washington has never been good at is producing a lot of corners, they are hitting some key guys early on with Martin being the cornerstone has really made some headway.”
On if some commits will come soon: “I could see it now happening at their camp up here in June. There always seems to be different stages, outside of quarterbacks, when guys commit, whether it’s after the spring game or after visiting for the camp or taking an official visit and then waiting for the fall. I think if they are going to get some out-of-state guys it will probably be after their camp in June when some of these guys come up and take an unofficial visits and get coached by the coaches. I don’t see any out-of-state guys making any decisions anytime soon. But there are a lot of guys saying they will take an official visit to UW and that’s usually thee next step before making a commitment. And you hear a lot of guys saying that Washington will be one of them.”
On if UW is getting a bounce from the Holiday Bowl: “I certainly think so, especially with kids in southern California. If there was a downside to the Holiday Bowl is that it’s not a great year talent-wise in San Diego, so you would have thought that would have helped but there is not a lot of great talent in San Diego this year. But a lot of kids seeing them winning, kids in the Inland Empire love Chris Polk and what he did in the bowl game and what he did down the stretch, so they are now aware of Washington. Jake Locker being drafted in the top 10 was big and beating USC the last two years was big. So it’s kind of a multitude of things that are now making kids take Washington seriously and making them a legitimate team. Not that they ever weren’t, but the perception in southern California is that Washington wasn’t strong, but now this coaching staff has had the perfect storm to parlay of having a winning team, winning a bowl game, having a player go in the top 10. Those are the kinds of things kids look at in southern California.”