First, a look at Chris Petersen‘s second UW recruiting class as we know it, a day before National Signing Day:
UW 2015 RECRUITING
Twenty-four recruits are known to have made verbal commitments to the Huskies.
QB — Jake Browning*, 6-2, 210, Folsom HS (Folsom, Calif.)
RB — Myles Gaskin, 5-9, 185, O’Dea HS
OL — Henry Roberts, 6-5, 270, Bellevue HS
OL — Trey Adams, 6-7, 270, Wenatchee HS
OL — Jared Hilbers, 6-7, 275, Beaverton HS (Beaverton, Ore.)
WR — Chico McClatcher, 5-9, 185, Federal Way HS
WR — Andre Baccellia, 5-11, 170, Westlake HS (Westlake Village, Calif.)
WR — Isaiah Renfro, 6-2, 185, Sierra Canyon School (Chatsworth, Calif.)
TE — Mike Neal, 6-4, 225, Etiwanda HS (Etiwanda, Calif.)
DL — Bryce Sterk, 6-5, 230, Lynden HS
DL — Benning Potoa’e, 6-4, 265, Lakes HS (Lakewood)
DL — Ricky McCoy, 6-4, 273, Roosevelt HS (Fresno, Calif.)
DL — Myles Rice, 6-4, 225, George Bush HS (Richmond, Texas)
DL — Jason Scrempos, 6-6, 250, Milpitas HS (Milpitas, Calif.)
LB — Tevis Bartlett, 6-3, 215, Cheyenne (Cheyenne, Wyo.)
LB — Jusstis Warren, 6-3, 225, Lincoln HS (Tacoma)
LB — D.J. Beavers, 6-1, 205, Crespi Carmelite HS (Encino, Calif)
LB — Ben Burr-Kirven, 6-0, 200, Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton, Calif.)
LB — Kyler Manu, 6-1, 220, Highland HS (Pocatello, Idaho)
CB — Austin Joyner, 5-10, 186, Marysville-Pilchuck HS (Marysville)
CB — Jordan Miller, 6-1, 175, Oceanside HS (Oceanside, Calif.)
S — Ezekiel Turner*, 6-3, 200, Los Angeles Pierce College
S — Quinten Pounds, 6-1, 175, Cypress HS (Cypress, Calif.)
LS — A.J. Carty, 6-3, 250, Servite HS (Anaheim, Calif.)
*Already started classes at UW. Note: heights and weights are approximate.
Here’s my story from today’s paper with a general preview of signing day, featuring some thoughts from Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman.
One of the first things that jumps out about this class is the local talent. The Huskies have seven of the top eight in-state recruits committed. For a second-year coach trying to build relationships with local coaches (and local fans), that’s significant.
“More than anything, the biggest key for me is how well he’s done in-state,” Huffman said. “That wasn’t happening under Sarkisian. But that was the priority this year for them. And because they prioritized in-state kids, they got them.”
Huffman also said he’s impressed with the offensive talent coming in. Jake Browning is the headliner, of course, but there’s a versatile mix of skill guys with Myles Gaskin, Chico McClatcher and, even, Austin Joyner. Joyner, the Marysville-Pilchuck star, has said he would prefer to play defensive back but Huffman believes the door is open for Joyner to play running back, too. (If Chris Warren winds up coming to UW — more on that in a moment — Joyner would almost certainly be pushed to defense.)
Add in big three offensive linemen in Henry Roberts, Trey Adams, and Jared Hilbers, plus receivers Andre Baccellia and Isaiah Renfro and tight end Mike Neal, and this class has good balance on offense.
There’s quality depth on defense. That’s particularly true on the line and at linebacker, probably the team’s biggest area of need in this class. The Huskies were desperate for defensive backs last year and ended up signing seven of them. This year, they needed linebackers and got five of them. Plus, the plan for Benning Potoa’e and Bryce Sterk is for them to start out at the hybrid BUCK linebacker spot.
Ben Burr-Kirven gets my vote as the most underrated recruit in this class. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he is undersized for a middle linebacker, which is probably why other Pac-12 schools weren’t high on him earlier. The Huskies did their homework on Steilacoom’s highlight-reel sensation, Fotu Leiato — who will sign with Oregon — but UW ultimately didn’t offer him a scholarship because they essentially have had the same player, Burr-Kirven, in the fold since September.
I have received several emails from readers the past few days wondering about any potential surprises on signing day.
The answer: Unlikely. (Sorry.)
The best hope for UW, it seems, is four-star running back Chris Warren. It would be a “huge get” for the Huskies, as Huffman said, but it would also be more of a bonus at this point because of the class’ balance on offense already.
It feels like Warren is down to Texas and UW. Most believe that Warren will choose the Longhorns. That assumption might have gained more weight Monday when reports surfaced that another Texas running back, five-star Soso Jamabo, had apparently eliminated Texas from his consideration. (UCLA might be the favorite for Jamabo.) That would leave a running back spot open for Warren at Texas.
As we wrote last week, however, the fact that Warren saved his final visit for UW surely isn’t a bad sign for the Huskies going into signing day.
— K'tara Lopez (@KtaraL) February 1, 2015
There are two other UW targets expected to announce on signing day: receiver Jaylinn Hawkins (Buena Park, Calif.) and defensive end Mika Tafua (Honolulu), but the Huskies are considered a longshot for both. Arizona State is considered the favorite for Hawkins, and Tafua has been a “soft” verbal commit to BYU for a while.
Signing day coverage: Warren’s announcement is expected sometime around 6 a.m. PT Wednesday. We’ll have the news on that here and live updates on the blog throughout the day as UW announces the incoming letter of intents. UW will also announce those signings at GoHuskies.com, and I will posting updates on Twitter (@A_Jude) as well.
At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Petersen will host his signing day press conference, to be broadcast live on UW TV.
Honestly so excited for tomorrow! I've dreamed about this moment for so long
— AJ Carty (@ajcarty77) February 3, 2015