The official news in the last few weeks of the departures of Kimo Makaula and Chris Robinson means it might be a good time to review UW’s recruiting Class of 2009.
Each was members of that class, the first for Husky coach Steve Sarkisian. It’s not really accurate, however, to call it his first full class since he had less than two months to put it together after being hired on Dec. 8, 2008 to replace the fired Tyrone Willingham.
Classes put together on the fly rarely grade out as well as others, and UW was also hamstrung by the 0-12 record of 2008 and the months of uncertainty over the coaching situation, as well as the fact that it had a small number of scholarships to offer.
UW signed 19 players for that class, but already just 11 remain. Three of those were JC players who did not get admitted for academic reasons. Two others were dismissed from the team. One is a JC player who has already used up his eligibility. One retired early due to injury, and one transferred.
Of the 11 that remain, three project as almost-certain starters for 2011 and a few others as key reserves/possible starters. But in general, this class is looking like it won’t make recruiting analysts who pegged it near the bottom of the Pac-10 and in the 50-60-range nationally second-guess their original thoughts.
Reviewing this class also illustrates well why this is still a program in the building stages overall with another full class or two likely needed to give UW the all-around depth necessary to really get back to year-in, year-out contention.
Here’s a look at each player signed in 2009:
CB David Batts — JC transfer was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules early in 2009 and never played a down.
TE Dorson Boyce — JC transfer played in 2009 and 2010, using up his eligibility.
TE Marlion Barnett — Redshirted in 2009 and played in 10 games in 2010, mostly in a reserve role. Will start in a reserve role at TE in 2011.
DE Talia Crichton — Emerged as a starter midway through 2009 and held that spot through first half of 2010 before suffering knee injury. Recovered in time for spring and will be in the rotation at DE in 2011.
S Nate Fellner — Emerged as a starter at FS late in 2009 and held that spot through 2010 and likely will again in 2011.
CB Dominique Gaisie — Another JC transfer that didn’t get academically eligible.
WR James Johnson — A standout as a true freshman in 2009, battled injuries and a slump in 2010 but is hoping for a rebound in 2011.
OT Daniel Mafoe — JC transfer didn’t get eligible.
DE Kimo Makaula — Switched to FB and redshirted in 2009 and didn’t play in 2010 before deciding to transfer, apparently to Idaho State.
P Will Mahan — Starting punter in 2009 and for first game in 2010 before suffering ACL injury. Will compete with Kiel Rasp for starting punting job in 2011.
QB Keith Price — Redshirted in 2009 and became backup to Jake Locker in 2010 and now holds the starting job heading into 2011.
DE Andru Pulu — Played in mostly a reserve role and on special teams in 2009 before running into off-field trouble and being dismissed from the team. Now at Eastern Washington where he is likely to start on the DL in 2011 and play against UW at Husky Stadium on Sept. 3.
DT Chris Robinson — Sat out 2009 to rehab a pre-existing knee injury that required surgery, and played sparingly in 2010. Was on track to provide depth at DT in 2011 before re-injuring the knee in the spring and deciding to retire.
S Will Shamburger — Redshirted in 2009, in part to let a knee injury heal, and served in a reserve role and on special teams in 2010. Should contend for more significant playing time in 2011.
DT Johnny Tivao — Another JC transfer that didn’t get academically eligible.
DT Semisi Tokolahi — Emerged as a key contributor on the DL late in 2010 before suffering ankle injury in the Apple Cup. May not be 100 percent to start season but expected to return eventually.
CB Desmond Trufant — Emerged as a starter midway through 2009 season, holding that role through 2010 and will be a starter entering 2011.
MLB Tim Tucker — Redshirted in 2009 and served in a reserve role in 2010. Will be a backup at MLB when camp begins next month.
LB Jordan Wallace — Now a junior, has been a reserve and special teams player, a role he could fill again in 2011.
It’s worth recalling that UW was kind of forced to go the JC route more heavily than it wanted to due to the short time to put this class together. Sarkisian said later he wouldn’t recruit as many JC in future years, and he hasn’t — UW signed none in 2010 and two in 2011 (Thomas Tutogi, Antavius Sims — edited from earlier to clarify this point). Obviously, it’s the heavy number of JC players that has the level of attrition higher than it normally would be at this point.
Price’s development could go a long way toward defining this class historically. But given the short time to put it together, the contributions UW is getting from this class is probably about what should have been expected.