Terrell Bynum, Alex Cook and Ty Jones offer a complementary blend of speed and size, and all three receivers could help immediately in 2017.
Even on National Signing Day, one of the most celebrated occasions around college football, you won’t find Chris Petersen thumbing through a thesaurus searching for inflated superlatives to describe the newest additions to his Washington roster.
And when Petersen does offer up a compliment — in this case, about the 18 recruits who signed with the Huskies on Wednesday — he feels obligated to add a qualifier, to temper expectations.
“I feel very similar to these guys that I have the last couple years, the classes that we signed — which I think is saying a whole heck of a lot,” Petersen said. “I hope I’m not overstating my bounds on that one because that’s pretty good with (what) the guys that we’ve signed the last couple years have done.”
The Huskies’ recruiting classes the past two years were key in leading UW to the Pac-12 championship and a College Football Playoff berth last fall, so that is indeed high praise from Petersen.
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This class is ranked No. 23 nationally by Scout.com, and fourth in the Pac-12.
The class’ strength is on offense, and especially so at wide receiver. The Huskies prioritized the position in this class. They wanted three receivers, and they got three: Terrell Bynum from Long Beach, Calif.; Alex Cook from Sacramento; and Ty Jones from Provo, Utah.
UW receivers coach Bush Hamdan called them a “3 headed monster” on Twitter, and all three will have a chance to play in 2017 at a position lacking quality depth.
“We wanted to get three receivers in this class… and feel really good about those guys,” Petersen said. “I think Bush Hamdan’s done a great job really finding the guys we think are really going to fit our system. That’ll be an interesting crew.”
The three new receivers are a nice blend of size and speed.
Bynum, who played his senior season at Southern California powerhouse St. John Bosco, is a 6-foot-, 184-pound home-run threat. In a video announcing the signing, Hamdan said Bynum “really (fills) a need for us with the loss of John Ross” to the NFL.
Cook, listed at 6-1, 184 pounds, compares more to UW senior-to-be Dante Pettis, “a complete football player,” as Hamdan said.
And at 6-4, 206 pounds, Jones adds size “we greatly need” at wide receiver, Hamdan said. There was some concern among Husky fans in the past week that Jones might “flip” his commitment after a visit to UCLA, but Jones ended up being the first to send his National Letter of Intent into the UW football offices early Wednesday.
All three receivers have been committed to the Huskies since last spring, and Cook said Wednesday that all three have become close, even though they’ve only met in person once.
“We talk all the time — we talk probably every day,” Cook said. “We already have a really good bond.”
Cook’s 7-on-7 coach Brandyn Thompson, who played cornerback for Petersen at Boise State, first turned him on to the Huskies, and Cook said never wavered after committed to UW last April.
“I don’t think it could get any better than UW,” he said. “Playing for Coach Pete, the Pac-12, West Coast — it was just perfect. I don’t want any more or less than that.”
In addition to the three receivers, the Huskies signed one of the state’s highest-rated recruits in four-star tight end Hunter Bryant. At 6-2, 241 pounds, Bryant looks like he will have a chance to be a quality downfield threat in the passing game, too.
Tumwater’s Cade Otton, who at 6-5, 222 has good size and good hands, was the second tight end UW signed in this class, and UW added a three-star quarterback in Jake Haener from Danville, Calif. The Huskies also targeted three offensive linemen and got three — Skyline’s Henry Bainivalu, Jaxson Kirkland of Portland and Cole Norgaard of Clements, Calif.
The Huskies added seven new faces on defense, including Salt Lake City outside linebacker Jordan Lolohea, who was a surprise addition to the class Wednesday. The new defense also features three more well-regarded defensive backs, plus a new punter from Australia in Joel Whitford.
Another local product, Juanita’s Salvon Ahmed, is considered one of the nation’s top athletes. The Huskies will have him start out at running back, though he could be used more as a combo running back-slot receiver, a la Chico McClatcher.
Petersen is impressed by Ahmed’s athleticism. “We think (he) is as good as anything we’ve been around,” he said.
The coach was quick to qualify that compliment. “But,” he added, “it’s like, let’s just let them get here. They’ve got enough expectations on them already just signing with us. So we’re thrilled with these guys, but we’ll just see when they get here.”