As if playing Oregon in the last game at Husky Stadium before the renovation and with the 1991 team on hand wasn’t enough, UW is also hosting its biggest recruiting weekend of the season to date.
UW figures to have as many as 10-12 players in for official visits —- there’s always a bit of intrigue as to who actually shows up so it’s always kind of a moving target — including some of the top players on the West Coast.
“It’s probably the biggest weekend that any Pac-12 school has had this year,” said Greg Biggins, the assistant recruiting editor and West Regional Coordinator at ESPN.
Highlighting the group is three players from Dominguez High in Compton, Calif. — cornerbacks Alphonso Marsh and Brandon Beaver and defensive end Damion Turpin. (You can see the entire list of visitors here). UPDATED, 11:30 — Dawgman.com has updated its list with a couple more visitors.
There would have been a fourth from Dominguez but offensive lineman Lacy Westbrook committed this week to UCLA, instead.
Other big-ticket recruits making the trip include safety Reggie Daniels of Hamilton High in Chandler, Ariz., who will be coming along with teammate Kendyl Taylor, a receiver who has already committed to UW; running back Byron Marshall of Valley Christian High in San Jose; receiver Kenny Lawler of Upland, Calif., who is listed as a soft commit to Arizona State but is keeping his options open; tight end Taylor McNamara of San Diego who was committed to Arizona but is now looking around since the firing of Mike Stoops.
Also making his official visit this weekend is quarterback Cyler Miles of Denver, who has been committed to UW since last spring. And the one in-state player scheduled for an official visit is offensive lineman Cory English of Auburn.
Cornerback Kevon Seymour of Muir High is also listed as a visitor this weekend, though Biggins says there’s a little bit of mystery there since Seymour rarely talks to reporters and hasn’t publicly said he’s coming. Seymour is a teammate of UW commit Tairen Owens, and it has been thought Oregon may be the leader for him — he visited UO last weekend.
Biggins also said OL Zach Banner of Lakes High will be there on an unofficial visit, and there will inevitably be lots of other local players taking unofficial visits, possibly also including OL Josh Garnett of Puyallup.
Of some of the players known to be making official visits, Biggins says that McNamara “is probably the top tight end on the West Coast”; that Turpin is an “under-the-radar guy who has had a huge year at defensive end”; that Marshall is “one of the top two running backs on the West Coast along with KeiVarae Russell” (of Mariner High in Everett); and that Daniels is “one of the top three or four safeties on the West.” Seymour, meanwhile, he says is “probably the top corner in the West.”
So a big weekend, indeed.
UW has to this point not had a lot of official visitors on game weekends, and Biggins says that’s not atypical, as coaches tend to want to save those for December and January when they can spend more time with the recruits and not be as occupied with a game to coach.
But Biggins said he thinks that “Sarkisian probably figures ‘this is going to be huge and the crowd is going to be as crazy as it will ever be and it’s against a great opponent, so why not?”’
It’s probably the most high-profile recruits UW has had in for a game weekend since the LSU game in 2009 when the Huskies hosted six three- or four-star players.
“Even though they lost that game, a lot of guys still loved the atmosphere,” Biggins said. “If you win the game, a coach can sell ‘hey, come join us.’ And if you lose, you can say ‘hey we need you, you can come play right away.’ There’s really nothing bad that can happen unless your team just looks really bad and the crowd is booing and it just looks ugly. But I don’t see that happening.”
Biggins said receiver Jaydon Mickens , a soft verbal to USC, and defensive end/linebacker Jeremy Castro, who recently switched his commitment to Oregon from UW, are expected to visit for the Apple Cup.
UW has 17 commitments so far for the Class of 2012, a class currently rated 37th by Scout.com. But as Biggins notes — and the list of visitors suggests — the final verdict on this class won’t come for a while, until it’s known where some of the higher-profile guys commit.
Biggins says he thinks that the class will ultimately be judged by how UW does keeping in-state commits home, saying there are five players in the state this year “who can play with any team in the country.” Those five, he said, are Banner, Garnett, Russell, quarterback Jeff Lindquist of Mercer Island and receiver Cedric Dozier of Lakes.
Lindquist has already committed to UW and Dozier to Cal, so Biggins says many may judge the class on where the other three commit.
“They’ve got to get at least two of those three guys,” Biggins said. “If they were to lose the two offensive linemen, even if they get a bunch of the other guys it would have to be considered kind of a disappointing class. It can be argued those are the two best linemen to come out of the state in the last 25 years, so you’ve got to get at least one of them.”
Biggins says Garnett appears to be down to Stanford and UW, and Banner to USC and UW.
The web site 24/7 Sports also previews UW’s big recruiting weekend.