We continue our look at players who have already committed to UW with the linebacker position.
Washington has just two listed at LB at the moment, though it’s worth remembering a couple of the DEs listed earlier could eventually land at linebacker spots.
For now, each of the two listed LB commits are regarded as potential middle linebackers, a spot the Huskies need to begin adding some depth at with the loss to graduation of Cort Dennison, the departure before the season of Victor Burnett and the move during the season of Tim Tucker to fullback. JC transfer Thomas Tutogi looms as the starting MLB heading into the spring, having been the backup there this season. But there could be some shuffling of personnel all over the defense with the new coaches coming in on that side of the ball.
Here’s a look at the two MLBs committed so far to UW:
MLB Ryan McDaniel, 6-2, 220, Torrance, Calif. (North): McDaniel committed in early December and some have listed him as also potentially a running back at Washington — he played both spots in high school.
Here’s a feature on McDaniel from September in which he said he planned to graduate early and enroll in time for spring football. However, he later suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the rest of his senior season. As noted here at the time, UW under Steve Sarkisian has not been shy about taking players with knee injures — both John Timu and Will Shamburger, to name two, signed with the Huskies after suffering knee injuries in high school.
Here’s a little bit of ESPN.com’s scouting report on McDaniel:
“McDaniel is a big and explosive running back prospect who could get recruited to play both fullback and tailback at the college level. Linebacker is also a possibility with his strong downhill filling and stacking. Has a compact, thickly built frame; looks a bit shorter than his listed measurables but still has great size for college featured back and even fullback. Lacks great long speed and is more of a quick hitting, 10-15 yard burst type of runner. Makes subtle yet effective cuts showing goo body control and vision running with his eyes. For a back with his size he flashes good feet and change-of-direction skill through the hole and is quick enough to hit the crease and strong enough to create quality yards on his own. However, he struggles to separate when he breaks free into the second level lacking an extra gear and just great speed in general. Is a straight-line runner in the open field and elusiveness is marginal. Could project as a pure power-back in a change-of-pace type role and maybe an every-down runner in a downhill two-back offense. With any more bulk we feel fullback will be his college position blocking skills must be refined. More of a short-range backer on defense but he can brings great strength and power to the point of attack and has the toughness that’s desired — just not the height and range. Overall, McDaniel is college ready from a physical standpoint and a very solid prospect when projecting at the major college level.”
Here’s some video of McDaniel:
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MLB Blake Rodgers, 6-2, 220, Las Flores, Calif. (Tesoro): Rodgers committed last summer to UW and then took a trip only to Washington (here’s his Scout.com profile). As such, he hasn’t been written about a whole lot in the run-up to signing day. But he’s rated as a three-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals.com
Here’s a little bit of ESPN.com’s scouting report on Rodgers:
“Rodgers is a playmaker who runs well and is effective against both the run and pass. Has good playing speed and the strength to attack the inside run effectively. Possesses the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. His frame appears capable of handling additional body mass over time. The good open field tackling skills we see should prove beneficial as a special teams coverage defender; early playing time on teams is a possibility. This is a very active linebacker; is effective as an inside pass rusher capable of disrupting the quarterback’s timing; plays with the motor and intensity we look for when evaluating linebackers. Rodgers does not appear to be an immediate impact starter however early playing time is a possibility if a red shirt year is not deemed necessary.”
Finally, here’s a bunch of video of his senior year, and more below:
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