An obvious next question last night after the news came down that Shaquille Thompson had committed to UW was to wonder the last time a player that highly rated had signed with the Huskies. Thompson is considered by many the top safety prospect in the country this year.
Depending on how you look at it, you only have to go back a year — Kasen Williams was named the Parade Magazine All-American Player of the Year last season, meaning in their eyes, he was the No. 1 player in the nation, let alone at his position.
And one problem in trying to definitively make such comparisons is that most of the major recruiting sites have only been around a decade or so and some have been folded into new companies, etc. There aren’t really lists with the same service making the same ratings based on the same criteria that go back all that long.
In that time, no other UW commit has been ranked No. 1 at his position — Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins were both No. 2 last year by Scout.com and Seferian-Jenkins also No. 2 by Rivals (which had Williams No. 13).
A couple of other players in that time were ranked as high as No. 3 at their position — Kavario Middleton was the No. 3 TE by Scout.com in 2008 and Zach Fogerson the No. 3 fullback in 2010. Chris Izbicki (TE, 2007) and Donny Mateaki (DL, 2002) were each ranked as high as No. 4. (Jake Locker was a Parade All-American, as well, but his highest position ranking was No. 4 by Rivals.com).
The names of the services, and some of the manner in which they did rankings, change as you go back a little deeper.
But the next player I could find ranked No. 1 at his position by a national recruiting service is WR Reggie Williams in 2001, who was named as the best receiver in the country by USA Today, among others. WR Charles Frederick in that same year was ranked No. 2.
A few others that come to mind:
— RB Paul Arnold (1998) was ranked as high as No. 3 at his spot, from what I could find (which means, what was listed in the UW media guide);
— QB Brock Huard in 1995 was the Gatorade National Player of the Year and rated the No. 2 QB in the country by SuperPrep and BlueChip Illustrated;
— DT Cedric White (1992) got 10 out of 10 on the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West list, at the time maybe the most prestigious rating (on the West Coast, anyway) of recruits;
— RB Napoleon Kaufman (1991) was a first-team, All-American by USA Today and Parade Magazine;
— S Tommie Smith (1989) was the California Player of the Year and also a perfect 10 on the Best in the West list;
— DT Mike Lustyk (1988) USA Today and Parade All-American, among others.
Lots of other guys were highly-rated and recruited, and obviously this stuff is so subjective, there are probably a few other guys who should have been on such lists. But I think going back to 1988, anyway, that’s about what I could find of players who appear to have been rated coming out of high school similarly to what Thompson is now, which means not just top 10 or so but considered possibly the best in the country at his spot.
And in what may bode well for the future, most had good-to-very-good-to-great college careers (including Arnold, who in my opinion gets a bad rap — UW doesn’t probably make it to the Rose Bowl in 2000 if not for the game he turned in against Oregon State that year) or seem on their way.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— The Scout.com experts predict WR Jaydon Mickens will announce today he is signing with UW.
— ESPN’s Greg Biggins notes that the presence of Justin Wilcox on the UW staff might have been just as big as that of Tosh Lupoi in luring Thompson to Seattle.
— SI.com notes that realignment doesn’t seem to be having much impact on recruiting.