Jalen McMillan tweeted a cryptic math equation before he committed on Tuesday.
7 + 4 = 6
Sam Huard (7) + Jalen McMillan (4) = Touchdown (6)
For the Huskies, at least, it adds up. McMillan — a 6-foot-1, 176-pound receiver from Fresno, Calif. — proceeded to announce a verbal commitment to Washington, less than 48 hours after wrapping up an unofficial visit to Seattle.
“LET’S GO MAKE SOME DAMN HISTORY #PURPLEREIGN,” McMillan tweeted, along with a graphic that stated “I’m committed.”
McMillan chose the opportunity to make history with the Huskies over scholarship offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington State and many more. The San Joaquin Memorial High School standout is ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 4 wide receiver, No. 7 player in California and No. 31 overall recruit in the 2020 class by 247Sports.
Wonder why? McMillan caught 73 passes for 1,401 yards (19.2 yards per catch) and 19 touchdowns in his junior season, according to Maxpreps. That’s actually a step down from his prolific 2017 campaign, in which he piled up 78 catches, 1,810 receiving yards, 23.2 yards per catch and 21 scores. He registered a 4.53-second 40-yard dash and a 30-inch vertical jump in March 2018.
“He’s got top-tier speed. The guy can fly,” 247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman told The Times on Tuesday. “He’ll probably play at 6-2, 190ish in college without losing any of that top-end speed. He’s got good lateral movement. He can stretch the field. He can catch. He can jump. He’s got great body control.
“He’s just really one of those guys that, if there’s anything he really needs to work on, it’s just getting bigger. Because he’s going to draw top corners in college and probably some bigger corners who will muscle him. So if he can add some strength I think getting off the line of scrimmage won’t be an issue. If you give him any kind of cushion, he can expose that cushion quickly.”
He certainly did that while recently sharing a 7-on-7 team with Huard, Washington’s highly coveted 2021 quarterback commit. After McMillan’s unofficial visit to UW, he also ate dinner at Huard’s house on Sunday night.
Now, it appears the decorated QB-receiver tandem will keep eating together for years to come.
“I think that was important,” Huffman said of McMillan’s chemistry with Huard. “That’s where it really started to ramp up for the Huskies, when he was playing with Sam Huard. They developed a good relationship. I know Sam was on him all weekend. When I saw him at the (UW rising stars) camp on Saturday, Jalen and Sam were walking together. They did a photo shoot together.
“So I think Sam probably spent as much time recruiting him as Junior Adams did.”
That’s not to discount the role of Adams, UW’s first-year wide receivers coach. After officially being hired in mid-January, Adams was instrumental in signing four-star 2019 wideout Puka Nacua, and has since garnered 2020 commitments from McMillan and three-star in-state product Sawyer Racanelli.
On the recruiting trail, at least, he seems to be running laps around his predecessor at the position.
“It’s a night-and-day difference,” Huffman said. “He’s also a guy who’s got a good ability as a technical coach as well and developing (talent). But you need an aggressive recruiter at the receiver position.
“Frankly, you look back at the class they signed in 2018, and two of those guys committed largely because of Bush Hamdan, when he was recruiting them when he was the receivers coach. It wasn’t like (former Washington wide receivers coach Matt) Lubick was bringing in a lot of receivers, period. Junior comes in and almost changes the complexion of that entire receiver room, with getting Puka after signing day and now getting Racanelli and getting Jalen McMillan. And they’re still in the mix for a couple guys nationally.”
Washington’s 2020 class certainly has room to grow. Of UW’s eight verbal commits, seven project on the offensive side of the ball. Three of those commits — McMillan, quarterback Ethan Garbers and tight end Mark Redman — hail from California, the highest quantity of any state. The class is currently ranked 41st nationally and third in the Pac-12 (behind Oregon and Cal) by 247Sports.
McMillan is the Huskies’ most highly-ranked addition thus far — and not just in 2020. His 247Sports composite ranking (.9752) — a combined score from all major recruiting services — is higher than any Husky signee in the Chris Petersen era, edging out Budda Baker (.9741) and Marquis Spiker (.9703). Only three UW wide receivers in the history of 247Sports’ recruiting rankings — Reggie Williams (.9976), Charles Frederick (.9819) and Kasen Williams (.9764) — have earned a higher score.
Ironically, the only Husky verbal commit in the Petersen era with a higher mark is Huard (.9962), McMillan’s friend and future quarterback.
7 + 4 = 6?
Perhaps we should consider that a mathematical spoiler.
McMillan has decided on a college destination. Now it’s time to eat — and, just maybe, make some damn history on Montlake.