Jimmy Lake’s first priority as Washington’s head-coach-in-waiting is to maintain the program’s 21 2020 verbal commits ahead of next Wednesday’s early signing day.
But it’s not his only priority.
Besides beating Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21, and sending head coach Chris Petersen out with his first bowl win since 2015, Lake will also look to add to the aforementioned 2020 class — which currently ranks 12th nationally by 247Sports and first in the Pac-12. It’s an already impressive Husky haul — featuring three four-star offensive linemen, two four-star wide receivers, a four-star quarterback in Ethan Garbers and a local five-star outside linebacker in Kennedy Catholic colossus Sav’ell Smalls.
But the Dawgs may not be done.
Indeed, Lake and Co. continue to target a handful of prospective Huskies — including a pair of four-star prospects who will descend on Washington this weekend.
Let’s get to know the official visitors, tight end Jack Yary and defensive lineman Xavier Carlton.
TE Jack Yary, 6-7, 249, Murrieta Valley (Calif.) High
Yes, you’ve heard that name before. Yary’s father is Ron Yary — the former USC, Minnesota Viking and Los Angeles Ram offensive tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer. Unsurprisingly, Jack was verbally committed to his father’s alma mater for more than five months, before the massive tight end de-committed from USC in November. He’ll take an official visit to UW this weekend.
Of course, Washington already has a pair of 2020 tight end commits in Mark Redman and Mason West. But, especially given the imminent departure of junior standout Hunter Bryant, the Huskies would make room for Yary — who’s ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 9 tight end in the country and the No. 221 overall recruit in the 2020 class by 247Sports.
“I think that with Yary, the senior season he’s had has kind of catapulted him to being one of the premier tight ends out west in this class,” said 247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman. “I think obviously bloodlines have really gifted him, with his dad being a former No. 1 pick in the draft and a Hall of Famer. I think he’s really shown this year just how good of a receiver he is.”
In 10 games in his senior season, Yary piled up 42 catches, 621 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.
Like the 6-6, 250-pound Redman, he’s much more than a big body.
“They’re both kind of those big, physical, true, traditional tight ends,” Huffman said of Yary and Redman. “I think (Yary’s) a little bit better as a receiver. He runs a little bit better, but both have similar size. Both of those guys would probably be uber elite left tackles if that’s what they wanted to play, but they both have the athleticism, the speed, the skill set to be pass-catching tight ends.”
But will they utilize that athleticism, speed and skill set together in Seattle? That remains unclear. Huffman said Yary’s current plan is to sign in February, which would allow the legacy tight end to take official visits to Oregon and UCLA. Still, there’s always a chance he finds a fit at Washington and abruptly ends his recruitment.
Huffman added that Washington has “a very real chance to get him.”
DL Xavier Carlton, 6-7, 262, Draper (Utah) Juan Diego Catholic High
Washington currently has 21 verbal commits, and none of them reside on the defensive line. One of the Huskies’ few remaining d-line targets, three-star defensive end Lance Keneley, announced his pledge to Stanford this week. There’s a realistic possibility that UW will not sign a defensive lineman in the 2020 cycle.
So, to ask the obvious question, isn’t that a problem?
“I don’t think it’s a tragedy,” Huffman said. “I’m a big believer that you don’t need to just sign bodies for the sake of signing bodies. I know a lot of schools fill that need, where (they think), ‘We need to sign three linemen,’ because you have to have three linemen. Especially in this day and age with the transfer portal, it’s negative publicity when a kid goes into the transfer portal. So I think you’re better off just holding the spots for an ensuing year, rather than just signing bodies.
“This is one of the weakest defensive line classes I’ve ever seen out west. It’s kind of funny, because it comes off a two- or three-year span where the west has been pretty remarkable with its defensive linemen, and Oregon and Washington have gotten a number of those guys.”
Indeed, in the last two cycles, UW has signed six 247Sports Composite four-star defensive linemen — Tuli Letuligasenoa, Sam Taimani, Draco Bynum, Faatui Tuitele, Jacob Bandes and Sama Paama. So the Huskies hardly need to sign a body.
But Carlton is not just a body.
Though, to be clear, the four-star standout’s body is bewildering — 6-7, 262, with arms that seemingly extend into infinity. But that’s just the beginning.
“When you look at his frame and his physical upside, I think that’s what has coaches so excited about his potential and his future,” said 247Sports recruiting analyst Blair Angulo. “He’s a guy that could really go a number of ways depending on how his body develops. He can play inside. He can be a stand-up guy in some roles. He can put his hand on the ground on the edge. He’s a very versatile defensive lineman.”
In terms of frame and physical potential, it’d be natural to compare (the undeniably raw) Carlton to former Oregon standouts Arik Armstead (6-8, 280) and DeForest Buckner (6-7, 287). Carlton is currently ranked by 247Sports as a four-star recruit, the No. 11 strong-side defensive end and the No. 216 overall recruit in 2020.
For now, Utah — his father’s alma mater — is the undisputed leader in his recruitment. Ohio State is also a threat.
But might an official visit on Montlake swing momentum in a different direction?
“I know UW has been recruiting him pretty aggressively for a few months now,” Angulo said. “When he heard about Chris Petersen’s decision, he told me that it did nothing to his recruitment. It affected him in no way because he’s dealt with coaching changes in the past as a player, and then his father also underwent a coaching change when he was at Utah. So he understands the business aspect of it and choosing a school rather than choosing a coach.
“So he’s excited for his official visit this weekend. I know that. He’s really looking forward to connecting with the entire staff, connecting with the people around the program and getting a better feel for it.”
And, if Washington were to impress, Carlton’s commitment could come fairly quick.
“He hasn’t decided (when he’ll sign). It could happen on Dec. 18,” Angulo said. “I’ve heard that he wouldn’t wait if he didn’t have to. He hasn’t taken all five of his officials, so he theoretically would have a chance to take a couple more in January after he goes to the All-American Bowl and the Polynesian Bowl. So he’ll have a couple weekends free. But if he’s ready I wouldn’t be surprised if he just decided to end his recruitment.”