In putting together this update on Washington’s recruiting class for the Thursday paper, I talked with recruiting analysts Adam Gorney of Rivals.com/Yahoo Sports, and Jacob Worthen of FoxSports.com/Scout.com.
Here’s some more of what each had to say on a variety of recruiting topics:
On the impact of new coaches Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon: “I think that hiring Wilcox is going to be well received by a lot of guys. But before they get too excited, they are going to have to talk to them and meet them. There are some guys like Brandon Beaver (cornerback of Domminguez High in Compton, Calif.) that are going to want to see what’s going on there and if there are going to be a lot of changes. So I think it was a pretty solid hire getting a guy from the SEC. But immediate impact is still questionable because these guys haven’t had a chance to talk to them much yet.”
On the perception of the class now: “If you look at their class now, they have a bunch of solid three- and four-star guys, I think (Lakes High OL Zach) Banner would be a huge pickup for them. It’s not like the class is really all that struggling, but not getting the in-state guys obviously hurts, but (Mercer Island QB Jeff) Lindquist and (QB) Cyler Miles (of Mullen High in Denver) and some of the other pieces they are building around mean it’s still a solid class even though they haven’t gotten the in-state guys.”
On key targets remaining for UW to get: “I would say Beaver would be one of them. I think getting Banner would be really huge for the class just to get one of those top in-state guys. I would think those are two guys to really keep an eye on.”
On what he saw of Lindquist and OL Nathan Dean at the Semper Fidelis Bowl: “The more I see of Lindquist, the more I like him. He’s a really smart quarterback, makes a lot of good decisions. He had two touchdown passes in the game and that’s important because it’s tough for receivers to get timing with their quarterbacks in those games. So he’s really, a lot of people were going into it thinking he’s the second guy to Cyler Miles but I think there’s much more of a competition there than people might think. Nathan Dean is going to be a work in progress. He definitely has some of the tools to be a special player, but he has a lot of work to do with his technique and to get a little bit tougher. There’s some work to be done there, but he definitely has the physical tools to get it done.”
On the addition of Wilcox and Sirmon: “With both of them having Northwest ties it’s not going to be foreign for them to come back here with Sirmon being born in Walla Walla and playing at Oregon, and Wilcox working at Cal and Boise State. So I would expect to see some recruiting results but fans shouldn’t be waiting to see a guy like Brandon Beaver immediately commit, those type of moves. . but they should be able to some stuff done here before the next month.”
On losing out on the in-state guys: “To some extent, yeah, it’s a pretty negative deal in the fact that as of right now they are not in on any huge California prospects. In every class you are looking to get a couple of four- and five-star players, looking at last year with Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, that kind of shapes how the class is perceived. And those guys this year were (Josh) Garnett and Banner and (KeiVarae) Russell and Cedric Dozier to an extent, so with three of those guys heading out of state and the very real possibility that Banner could be head to USC, that’s really going to damage the Washington class. It will be interesting to see if they make up for it with guys from California, but right now I wouldn’t put them near the lead for any of the five-year guys who still have yet to decide in California.”
On the reasons for struggling in-state: “In some cases I would call it unique circumstances. Josh Garnett from the beginning we felt was headed to Stanford, and that’s still where I think he will sign. With him it was an education thing, and any time you lose a kid to Stanford it’s not an indictment as much as it is how much that kid values his education. With Dozier, as much as he went to Lakes High School which is usually a breeding ground for Washington commits, he’s not from the area. He grew up in Georgia and he has some unique family situations, so for him it wouldn’t be as much staying at home (to play at UW) as it would be for a kid who grew up in Washington. So for him it was just where he wanted to go and Cal was always kind of in there for him. But I think KeiVarae was the one that kind of shocked people, just because he is a born and bred Washington kid. He’s had a good relationship with the staff. I think Washington was at least a co-favorite all along. So that one was a big blow. I think it would have been okay if they had still gotten KeiVarae. I don’t think anything has really changed but just the way the class developed.”
On where Banner ends up: “I think it’s about 50-50 right now. I hear things both ways. I would definitely say the top two for him are Washington and USC. All along I thought he would stay at home, he’s a big family kid, and that he would stay at Washington. But one thing is that all these players know each other — Walker Williams, Zach, Josh Garnett work out together — there’s a lot of going back and forth between those guys. . the word is definitely out there right now that all of these kids have decided to play elsewhere.”
On the impact of getting the new coaches hired quickly: “I thought it was huge because one, the kids who are committed, the longer you leave them in limbo the more likely they are to go somewhere else so it was important to get someone in there that they can start communicating with and know they still have their offers and who they will be playing for. And two, for Washington there is still a lot of work left to do to fill out this class so it was important to get someone in with as much time as possible. At least you are giving them a month to do some decent work and have time to do an in-home and start calling kids and things like that. With UCLA, you are seeing already the work they have been able to do in just a couple of weeks with that class, and not just to commit but gotten in their ear to at least consider UCLA.”
On what out of state guys UW may have the best chance at getting: “Brandon Beaver is still a name out there that Washington, I would say they are the favorite. He enjoys the Twitterverse so he puts a lot of stuff out there, but he is definitely a player they are going to get a strong look from. (Receiver) Jaydon Mickens (of Dorsey High in Los Angeles) is another kid, a slot receiver/athlete type, he was probably the MVP of practice down here of any kid in Phoenix, he is going to take an official visit to WSU and it’s between Washington, Oregon and WSU right now and I would probably say Washington is the leader for him right now after talking to him this week. They are still making a push for guys like Ellis McCarthy (DT Monrovia, Calif.) but I think they have a lot of ground to make up on that. They are in it on Shaq Thompson (safety, Grant High, Sacramento, Calif.), he is considering Cal, Washington and Notre Dame, but he has long been considered a Cal commit. And they are theoretically in it for Aziz Shittu (DT, Atwater, Calif) but I don’t see that happening.”
By the way, Thompson is announcing his decision Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Game, which will be broadcast on NBC beginning at 10 a.m.
Athlon’s Sports has a list of all the players at the game expected to make announcements and predicts that Thompson will pick UW. He’s the only player there thought still seriously considering UW.