Top recruits Josh Garnett, Cedric Dozier and KeiVarae Russell will leave the state to play college football, and Lakes High star offensive lineman Zach Banner will pick among UW, USC and Oklahoma.
Fresh off having restructured their defensive coaching staff, Washington coaches hit the road Wednesday to renew the work of adding a few more players.
And with the Feb. 1 letter-of-intent day approaching, the Huskies will need to get busy to add some luster to a recruiting class of 2012 that has taken some hits.
A year ago, Washington put together an acclaimed class that included the top five players in the state.
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But similar in-state success is eluding UW this year, as three top recruits — offensive lineman Josh Garnett of Puyallup High School, receiver Cedric Dozier of Lakes in Lakewood and running back KeiVarae Russell of Mariner in Everett — have all said they will sign elsewhere.
Dozier has committed to California and Russell to Notre Dame (doing so a few hours before the Alamo Bowl last week) while Garnett, the son of former Huskies defensive lineman Scott Garnett, has narrowed his list of finalists to Stanford, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Another, offensive lineman Zach Banner of Lakes, is still considering Washington, saying he will decide later this month among the Huskies, USC and Oklahoma.
As of now, Washington is assured of getting just one of the top five players in the state — Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist, who committed to the Huskies last spring.
That has had message boards in a tizzy over the inability to land top in-state players, generally regarded as the foundation of Washington’s recruiting success. It has not helped that the class the Huskies have put together so far is ranked 38th nationally by Scout.com and 41st by Rivals.com.
Recruiting analysts say they think Washington’s inability to secure most of the top in-state talent this year is hard to pin on any one specific reason.
“I would call it unique circumstances,” said Jacob Worthen, the West recruiting analyst for Fox Sports/Scout.com. “Josh Garnett, from the beginning, we felt was headed to Stanford, and that’s still where I think he will sign. With him it was an education thing, and any time you lose a kid to Stanford it’s not an indictment as much as it is how much that kid values his education.”
Even though Dozier attended Lakes in Pierce County, he’s not a typical local recruit who got away.
“He’s not from the area,” Worthen said. “He grew up in Georgia and he has some unique family situations, so for him it wouldn’t be as much staying at home (to play at UW) as it would be for a kid who grew up in Washington.
“I think KeiVarae was the one that kind of shocked people, just because he is a born-and-bred Washington kid. He’s had a good relationship with the staff. I think Washington was at least a co-favorite all along. So that one was a big blow.”
Adam Gorney, the West recruiting analyst for Rivals.com and YahooSports, calls UW’s in-state losses an anomaly.
“I don’t think it’s any kind of indictment on the Washington staff or the job (UW coach Steve) Sarkisian is doing,” he said. “I think it’s just really a group of guys who wanted to go out of state more than wanted to stay home and play.”
Worthen, though, says it’s also “a pretty negative deal” for UW to lose out on so many top in-state players.
Compounding that, Washington’s out-of-state commitments don’t include any five-star players such as Garnett or Banner, or last year’s in-state duo of receiver Kasen Williams of Skyline and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Gig Harbor.
“In every class you are looking to get a couple of four- and five-star players,” Worthen said. “That kind of shapes how the class is perceived. And those guys this year were Garnett and Banner and Russell, and Cedric Dozier to an extent. So with three of those guys heading out of state and the very real possibility that Banner could be headed to USC, that’s really going to damage the Washington class.”
Banner is scheduled to visit USC next weekend and make a decision soon. Both recruiting analysts say it’s hard to tell what school Banner is favoring. “Getting Banner would be really huge,” Gorney said, “just to get one of those top in-state guys.”
The group of coaches now hitting the road for UW includes newly hired defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon.
Sirmon, in particular, arrives with a reputation as a solid recruiter.
But Gorney and Worthen say it’s unrealistic to expect a huge recruiting impact from new hires for this class. Both arrived from Tennessee, and no Volunteer recruits are expected to follow them to Seattle.
Gorney expects Wilcox and Sirmon to be well-received, but recruits need to be exposed to them first.
“The immediate impact is still questionable because these guys haven’t had a chance to talk to them much yet,” Gorney said.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta
|Pos. Player||Ht||Wt||Hometown (school)|
|DE Damion Turpin||6-3||255||Compton, Calif. (Dominguez)|
|OL Cory English||6-4||285||Auburn|
|DT Josh Banks||6-3||285||Stockton, Calif. (San Joaquin Delta JC)|
|DE Cory Littleton||6-4||220||Spring Valley, Calif. (Mount Miguel)|
|MLB Ryan McDaniel||6-2||220||Torrance, Calif. (North)|
|RB Erich Wilson||6-1||185||San Mateo, Calif. (Serra)|
|S Jason Thompson||6-2||205||Burien (Kennedy)|
|DE Kalei Auelua||6-1||240||Honolulu (St. Louis)|
|P Korey Durkee||6-4||195||Gig Harbor|
|WR Kendyl Taylor||6-0||175||Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton)|
|MLB Blake Rodgers||6-2||220||Las Flores, Calif. (Tesoro)|
|WR Michael Rector||6-0||170||Tacoma (Bellarmine Prep)|
|DL Malcolm Jackson||6-3||255||Spring Valley. Calif. (Mount Miguel)|
|OT Nathan Dean||6-5||270||Kirkland (Juanita)|
|WR Dwayne Washington||6-0||170||Cerritos, Calif. (Gahr)|
|QB Cyler Miles||6-2||220||Denver (Mullen)|
|CB Darien Washington||5-11||175||Orange, Calif. (Lutheran)|
|QB Jeff Lindquist||6-3||225||Mercer Island|
|RB Tairen Owens||5-9||165||Pasadena (Muir)|