For my story for the Friday paper, I wrote about receiver James Johnson attempting to shake off the nagging injury bug which has followed him throughout his UW career.
As noted in the story, Johnson is now one of just three of 19 players signed by UW in 2009 — the first class for Steve Sarkisian after being hired on Dec. 8, 2008 — who remains on the roster.
The others are QB Keith Price and safety Will Shamburger. Given that, I figured it might be worth again reviewing what happened to the members of that class.
As I’ve noted in earlier reviews of this group, 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.
Of those signed, three were JC players who did not get admitted for academic reasons. Two others were dismissed from the team. Two were JC players who used up their eligibility quickly. Ultimately, only nine of the 19 will have used all of their eligibility at UW (two JC transfers, four who played as true frosh and graduated after last season, and the three who will be fifth-year seniors this year).
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. Later was on the rosters of both the Seahawks and Redskins.
TE Marlion Barnett — Redshirted in 2009 and played in 10 games in 2010 and was headed for a reserve role this year before quitting the team prior to the Nebraska game in 2011. Later transferred to Illinois State, but no longer on the roster there.
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 served as a backup in 2011 and then was basically a full-time starter in 2012.
S Nate Fellner — Emerged as a starter at FS late in 2009 and held that spot through 2010 and was the starter early in 2011 before suffering a hamstring injury. He recovered and regained his starting job due in part to injuries to others, and is listed as the starter for the Alamo Bowl. Moved to linebacker before 2012 season he suffered a broken foot during camp. Came back to play in two games, then left the team for personal reasons and was not available for the Las Vegas Bowl.
CB Dominique Gaisie — Another JC transfer who didn’t get academically eligible. Later played at Central Washington.
WR James Johnson — A standout as a true freshman in 2009, battled injuries and a slump in 2010. He rebounded in 2011 with 28 catches before suffering another ankle injury that slowed him during the second half. Broken wrist then derailed 2012 season and will be back for a fifth year in 2012.
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 to Idaho State.
P Will Mahan — Starting punter in 2009 and for first game in 2010 before suffering ACL injury. He returned to share the job in 2011 with Kiel Rasp, used primarily to make directional punts on short fields.
QB Keith Price — Redshirted in 2009 and became backup to Jake Locker in 2010 before taking over the starting job this season. Merely had one of the best seasons in UW history with a school-record 33 touchdown passes in 2011. Threw 19 last season and hoping to rebound in 2013 as a fifth-year senior.
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 and will be fifth-year senior there this year.
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 and as a reserve and part-time starter the past two years. Is the leader now at free safety entering spring ball in 2013 as a fifth-year senior.
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. Returned to play a key role on the line in 2011 and again in 2012 (officially, he started eight games last year).
CB Desmond Trufant — Emerged as a starter midway through 2009 season and held it throughout his career emerging as a possible first-round pick next month.
MLB Tim Tucker — Redshirted in 2009 and served in a reserve role in 2010. Moved to fullback in 2011 and emerged as a starter late in the year but was then dismissed from the team prior to spring ball in 2012.
LB Jordan Wallace — A reserve and special teams player his first two years, he was pegged for that role again in 2011 before leaving the team in September.
And as I’ve noted before on this class, 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 has since said he won’t recruit as many JC in future years, and he hasn’t — UW signed none in 2010, two in 2011, two in 2012 and none in 2013.