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January 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Huskies kick off important recruiting weekend

Washington is scheduled to host 10 recruits this weekend in what amounts to the first big test for Chris Petersen and his staff at UW.

With nine recruits committed to this class, the Huskies have three weekends left to make headway before the Feb. 5 national signing day.

A look at the recruits scheduled to visit this weekend, per Scout.com and 247sports.com:

QB KJ Carta-Samuels, San Jose, Calif.
RB Jomon Dotson, American Canyon, Calif.; committed to Colorado
DT Greg Gaines, La Habra, Calif.
S Darren Gardenhire, Long Beach, Calif.; committed to UW
DE Jaylen Johnson, West Hills, Calif.
S Khalil Oliver, Meridian, Idaho
WR Dante Pettis, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
TE Drew Sample, Bellevue (Newport High); committed to UW
DT Kalani Vakameilalo, Kapolei, Hawaii; committed to Oregon State
S Lavon Washington, Oakland, Calif.; committed to UW

Of those 10, all are considered three-star recruits except Carta-Samuels, who has reopened his recruitment after coach James Franklin left Vanderbilt for Penn State. (Carta-Samuels’ brother, Austyn, was Vanderbilt’s starting quarterback last season.)

UW, probably more than any other Pac-12 schools, needs to take advantage of these final few weekends, said Justin Hopkins, a West Coast recruiting analyst for 247sports. Hopkins said it’s unlikely that UW will make a major leap in the national recruiting rankings (UW is 70th in the Scout rankings, 81st by 247 and 96th by Rivals). The key, he said, is to look not at the total number of recruits in this class, but the average star rating for each recruit.

“There a half dozen or so guys that (UW is) in final two for — and that’s a really good batting average at this stage of the game,” Hopkins said. “Washington fans shouldn’t be scared to death because they have ability to close strong with this class.”

Hopkins said the Huskies have “some nice pieces” in the class already — naming Sample, Gardenhire, offensive lineman Matt James and tight end Chase Blakley — but noted there is much work to do still for the UW staff.

“Frankly, they’re going to need some linemen,” Hopkins said. “They need a quarterback and the know they need a quarterback. If you’re Washington, if you’re Chris Petersen, if you’re going to get to the next level among the elite in the Pac-12, you gotta get some game-breakers — get some guys who can move the needle, if you will.”

Among the visitors this weekend, Hopkins said he believes UW has a good chance to land commitments from Dotson, Pettis and Gaines. (Pettis is the cousin of former Boise State standout receiver Austin Pettis and the son of Texas Rangers third-base coach Gary Pettis.) Similarly, Scout.com’s Scott Eklund says it appears that the Huskies are “in the lead” for Pettis.

Fife’s Kaleb McGary, a four-star lineman, is among the recruits scheduled to visit UW next weekend. Hopkins said Oregon State “has a little bit of a lead” with McGary, who is also reportedly considering Washington State, Wisconsin and Arizona State.

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