College football’s prolonged recruiting dead period finally ended on Tuesday.
And the Washington Huskies didn’t wait to celebrate.
Mark Nabou — a three-star 2022 offensive lineman from O’Dea High School — announced his verbal commitment to the hometown Huskies on Tuesday afternoon.
A 6-foot-4, 311-pound interior offensive lineman, Nabou also had offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Nevada and UNLV. He’s the Huskies’ fifth verbal commit in the 2022 class and their second offensive lineman, joining three-star Scottsdale, Ariz., product Parker Brailsford (who chose Washington last month as well).
“He’s a fantastic run-blocker,” 247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman said of Nabou on Tuesday. “Like most guys that come from O’Dea, that’s something they do extremely well, because they spend four years doing that. I thought he improved tremendously in pass protection this year. He showed a little bit more agility this year, a little bit more flexibility, compared to his sophomore year when he was more of a big body who was not super technically sound but had some natural brute strength.
“Going into his junior year I wanted to see a little bit more agility, more athleticism, see him utilized better in pass protection. I still think pass pro is a little bit of an incomplete (grade), just because again O’Dea didn’t throw the ball a ton (this spring). But I thought he looked much more in shape. He looked much better athletically and dynamically.”
Nabou is ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the state of Washington and the No. 19 interior offensive lineman in the 2022 class by the 247Sports Composite. He’s also the first of five in-state UW offensive line targets to announce a verbal pledge — with Rainier Beach’s Josh Conerly Jr., Todd Beamer’s Malik Agbo, Puyallup’s Dave Iuli and Graham-Kapowsin’s Vega Ioane all currently uncommitted.
“You’ve got to go back a decade to find an offensive line group (in the state of Washington) as talented as the 2022 group is,” Huffman said.
Which, of course, presents an appealing opportunity for Husky offensive line coach Scott Huff. With Nabou and Brailsford already in the boat, UW will likely accept the commitments of two more offensive linemen in the 2022 class.
And Conerly — a 6-6, 275-pound five-star recruit — is considered the class’ ultimate prize.
“Conerly can pull a J.T. (Tuimoloau) if he wants to,” Huffman said. “They will take Conerly up until the day before the first game in 2022. He’ll be the one they’re going to have to wait and see on and they’ll have to fight for, like they’re doing with J.T. Conerly is the crown jewel of this class, period, no matter the position.”
Meanwhile, under the direction of fifth-year position coach Scott Huff, UW returns all five starting offensive linemen in left tackle Jaxson Kirkland, left guard Ulumoo “M.J.” Ale, center Luke Wattenberg, right guard Henry Bainivalu and right tackle Victor Curne this fall.
UW’s 2022 class currently constitutes Nabou, Brailsford, wide receiver Germie Bernard, tight end Chance Bogan and quarterback Jackson Stratton. The Huskies are still searching for their first defensive commit.
But with visits and recruiting camps finally commencing this month, there’s hope that Nabou may be the first in a commitment Conga line.