Scout.com ranks the Huskies’ class as just the seventh-best in the Pac-12, but because UW graduated just 15 players after the 2015 season, this will be a skinny class for the Huskies. It still packs some punch.
In August 2014, before Chris Petersen had even coached his first game at the University of Washington, Eastside Catholic High School star Brandon Wellington became the first recruit to make a verbal commitment to join UW’s 2016 recruiting class.
In the almost 18 months since then, Wellington has kept close tabs on how the rest of the class has come together, and he’s eager for the Feb. 3 national signing day to arrive in a couple of weeks so he can make his pledge to the Huskies official.
“I’m happy that it’s finally here,” said Wellington, who led Eastside Catholic to back-to-back appearances in the Class 3A championship game. “It’s been nice to see who’s joining the pack and see what talent they’re bringing to the team. It’s special to see what Coach Pete and what rest of the staff is doing to change culture at UW, and to help rebuild that national-championship-caliber team that it once was.”
Wellington, a linebacker, is a top prospect in one of UW’s better recruiting classes of the past 15 years. True, Scout.com ranks the Huskies’ class as just the seventh-best in the Pac-12, but because UW graduated just 15 players after the 2015 season — including running back Dwayne Washington, who has elected to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft — this will be a skinny class for the Huskies.
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It still packs some punch.
Petersen has made known his disdain for the star measurements used by recruiting services to rank prospects, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy that UW’s class has an average star ranking of 3.46 — which puts the Huskies third in the Pac-12 behind USC (3.93) and Oregon (3.47).
It’s also the best average the program has had based on the 15-year history of Scout’s recruiting database.
“It is a smallish class numbers-wise,” Scout national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said, “but in terms of guys they have it’s really, really good.”
Of the 13 players committed to UW, six are four-star recruits and seven are three-star recruits. Five UW recruits are ranked among Scout’s top 300 national prospects: linebacker Camilo Eifler (94), Wellington (100), running back Sean McGrew (132), offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg (239) and cornerback Kentrell Love (254).
Love, out of Centennial High in Corona, Calif., visited UCLA over the weekend but later told Scout that he “never wavered” in his commitment to UW.
Another top cornerback recruit from the Los Angeles area, David Long, is scheduled to announce his decision on ESPNU at 3 p.m. Thursday. Long, who visited the UW campus this past weekend, has narrowed his choices to the Huskies and Michigan.
On Monday night, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made national headlines during his recruiting visit to Long’s home after Long recorded a video of Harbaugh climbing a tree and broadcasting it on Snapchat. Harbaugh’s recruiting antics are well-documented, going back to his days at Stanford.
It’s hard to envision UW’s coach going out on such a limb for a prospect, but Petersen and UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will get one last chance to make their pitch to Long during an in-home visit with him Wednesday.
Another top cornerback recruit, Byron Murphy of Scottsdale, Ariz., reportedly is giving UW strong consideration. Biggins said that’s a credit to Lake, “who has established himself as an elite recruiter when it comes to defensive backs.”
The Huskies are believed to have about four more scholarships available for this class, and they’re in particular need of another wide receiver. New receivers coach Bush Hamdan, who replaced the dismissed Brent Pease in December, has been playing catch-up on the recruiting trail, with little luck so far.
This month, UW missed out on one of the West Coast’s top receiver recruits when Javon McKinley, a teammate of Love’s at Centennial High, chose Notre Dame over UW and Oregon. Three-star receiver Chris Taylor-Yamanoha of Rohnert Park, Calif., also visited UW over the weekend but on Monday reaffirmed his commitment to Louisville.
“I do think they need to bring in that game-breaker type,” Biggins said. “I don’t know why it’s been a struggle for them this year, but it’s a pretty deep receiver class. And they have a very, very good freshman quarterback (Jake Browning) who’s going to be there for three or four more years. You’d think they would be able to go and get a guy.”
• Levi Onwuzurike, a four-star defensive end from Allen, Texas, is scheduled to announce his commitment Wednesday. He’s choosing among UW, Michigan, Baylor and Arizona State.
|UW’s 2016 recruiting class|
|The Huskies have received 13 commitments. National signing day is Feb. 3.|
|Name||Position||Ht., Wt.||High school|
|Daniel Bridge-Gadd*||QB||6-3, 195||Paradise Valley HS, Phoenix|
|Sean McGrew||RB||5-7, 175||St. John Bosco HS, Bellflower, Calif.|
|Aaron Fuller||WR||5-10, 170||Lovejoy HS, Allen, Texas|
|Jacob Kizer||TE||6-5, 235||West Salem HS, Salem, Ore.|
|Nick Harris||OL||6-1, 275||JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.|
|Luke Wattenberg||OL||6-5, 275||JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.|
|Amandre Williams||DE||6-3, 225||Tahoma HS, Covington|
|Camilo Eifler||OLB||6-2, 219||Bishop O’Dowd HS, Oakland, Calif.|
|Brandon Wellington||OLB||6-0, 217||Eastside Catholic HS, Sammamish|
|Isaiah Gilchrist||CB||5-11, 190||Bellevue HS, Bellevue|
|Kentrell Love||CB||6-2, 175||Centennial HS, Corona, Calif.|
|Taylor Rapp*||S||6-0, 200||Sehome HS, Bellingham|
|Van Soderberg||K/P||6-0, 200||Capital HS, Olympia|
|*enrolled at UW this month|