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    Recapping Washingtons 2017 football recruiting class – UW Dawg Pound

    National Letter of Intent Day is like your car. their relative qualities are fully evaluated in the eyes of the beholder.

    chris petersen’s fourth recruiting class is in the books and getting mixed reviews from a beefy fan base that was a bit spoiled by uw’s recent run in the college football playoffs.

    Reading: Uw husky football recruiting 2017

    For his part, petersen doesn’t want to hear any arguments that this isn’t just another class full of okgs. and he has a point. When he and his staff first arrived, UW fans, who had no basis for expecting anything more than a mid-level class, raised their eyebrows at “mid-level” recruits like db sidney jones, dl greg gaines, wr dante pettis , db jojo mcintosh and he drew you a sample.

    forgive Coach Pete if he can’t help but ask his critics “hey, how do you like me now?”

    still, a hallmark of any chris petersen recruiting class has been its relative lack of drama. few late additions, few uncertainties and no changes.

    That formula didn’t hold up in a washington football recruiting context in which fans largely expected it to be as favorable to uw as any coach could expect. uw’s standout season featured several factors that tend to attract recruits: a start-to-finish run through the pac-12, a trip to the college football playoffs, top-tier performances by offense and defense from uw, and a group of uw freshmen declaring their intentions to go pro where all are expected to be relatively high draft picks.

    For many, this should have been the “class to end all classes”.

    Instead, this class is much like any other husky recruiting class under chris petersen: balanced, full of character, and average in its overall talent ranking.

    In case you haven’t heard, here’s the final word on the uw class:

    It should also be noted that lb jordan lolohela, a 6’1″ 240 lb lb from utah, also sent a letter of will but is expected to take a two-year Mormon mission immediately.

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    The good faith of this uw class is as follows:

    • #22 in the nation
    • #5 in the pac-12 behind usc, stanford, ucla and oregon (uw class of 2013 was third in the pac)
    • uw’s nine four-star players are the most achieved by uw and second only to usc (12 plus two five-star players). stanford landed nine players between their five-star and four-star groups.

    what we like

    1. quality stocks

    drama that includes twists and last minute changes of heart that we can handle. the drama that includes drunk driving coaches, prospects breaking the law, and wads of cash being handed out to delivery guys in a starbucks cup is the kind we can do without.

    As it turns out, the worst that can be said about this class is that it has very little drama. In other words, this looks like another class full of solid kids. call them “okgs” if you like or, if you find that concept somewhat trite, just look at the qualities of the people who enter this class based on their high school background. the jake haeners, brandon mckinneys, joel whitfords, keith taylors, and ty joneses of this class are examples of leading men, all classic types of petersen types.

    The benefits of bringing quality stock of this type are plentiful. fewer distractions off the field, more success in managing the student side of the student/athlete equation, and better results that come from quicker acceptance of training. these kinds of things build momentum and add character to a show.

    Some may call them a class full of choirboys and worry that they don’t have the edge necessary to get this team back to the pits and prevail against a team like Alabama. I see, on the other hand, moldable clay that provides an opportunity for trainers like tim socha, jimmy lake, and ikaika malloe to make their mark.

    2. some great shots

    A popular complaint among skeptical fans was that the coaching staff had not yet shown the ability to attract decent players in the receiving game. With a full year of new WR coach Bush Hamdan running WR recruiting, that question has now been asked and answered.

    With the additions of Big Ty Jones (6’4″, 195) and Terrell Bynum (6’1, 180), UW may have added two of their top three receivers to the roster overnight. Plus , long alex cook (6’2″ 170) is the kind of slick, wide receiver that a team like uw absolutely needs to take chances on.

    and let’s not ignore four star te hunter bryant (6’3″ 235). chris petersen has shown that he has two distinctly different roles in his versatile offense: blockers and receivers. bryant is clearly drawn in the josh perkins mold. he has the physical tools to be a factor for uw in the passing game relatively early in his career.

    what concerns us

    1. where’s the meat?

    uw’s chokehold at the hands of alabama in the peach bowl put into the spotlight the huge gaps that exist between uw’s ranks and those that make up the most elite teams in the nation. With that evidence in hand and the prospects of losing key players like DT Elijah Qualls and OL Jake Eldrenkamp to the pros, there was some expectation that UW could become an attractive option for some key big West Coast talent.

    Husky fans were disappointed in this area. Engaged like Marlon Tuipulotu and local talents like Foster Sarell chose to pursue their football interests elsewhere. Also, it’s not even clear that uw was able to fill their own player recruitment quotas on the offensive and defensive lines.

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    A look at uw’s depth chart for next year reveals a surprising lack of depth at some key positions, including defensive tackle (with only three players in greg gaines, vita vez and ricky mccoy) and offensive line .

    2. coffee is for closers

    You may have noticed that I ordered the list of signatories above by their confirmation dates. the astute among you may have also noticed that the recruits with the lowest ratings in the class, regardless of the value of those ratings, congregate at the top.

    No matter how you feel about the recruiting rankings, it’s pretty hard to argue with the observation that uw was exercising a lot of “plan bs” in the last few days of bringing the class together. such tactics, of course, are common for most programs in the weeks leading up to signing day. however, uw fans may have hoped for a bit more success among their top goals that were “up for grabs” in the days after the new year. Until a few weeks ago, the uw class was ranked second in the conference. they finished fifth.

    Note that this was a small class where places were supposed to have a premium. The relative lack of room in this class should have been a selling point to lock in some of the highest priority recruits on Petersen’s big board. it didn’t work that way. imagine the conundrum this class would have become if there had been 22 or 23 positions available to fill. Would you have had to resort to plans “c” and “d”? would we look to recruit from the state of fresno and idaho instead of wsu and nevada?

    What’s more unsettling is how uw seemed to be outmatched in the recruiting process of players who were once in his grasp or, worse yet, firmly in his grasp. If you’re worried that UW won’t be able to get close to talents like Foster Sarell, Marlon Tuipulotu or Connor Wedington, even with the full weight of a Pac-12 championship and a trip to the playoffs behind the Huskies, you’re not alone.

    more than any recruit gained or lost, this inability to win even a significant head-to-head battle between undecided players who made up washington’s “plan a” is what will ultimately spark the leaks of doubt among the beefy fans who they’re asking “what else do we need to do?” hopefully, it’s raising the same questions among uw coaches and prompting some significant revisions to both their recruiting strategies and tactics.

    Now that I have recognized the elephant in the room, I would continue to advise my friends and colleagues to take a page out of the Aaron Rodgers playbook and stay calm. recruiting is a long game, and while it’s important, it’s just one of many variables that must be managed well to produce a winning program.

    I should point out here that I don’t really enjoy following, writing or talking about recruiting. Not only do I find the practice of meddling in the lives of teenagers somewhat unseemly, but I believe wholeheartedly in this notion that a recruit’s base stock is nothing more than a canvas for the show to run on. obviously some grades of material are better than others, but what is painted on that canvas is entirely the product of the artist.

    I have little doubt that this class will provide uw with a wave of talent capable of sustaining success. I’m also not worried about these players doing anything other than representing the university, its students and its fans with the utmost integrity. It is certainly one of the best classes the Huskies have ever signed on to and should be viewed through that lens. Whether there are one or two types of emerging talent that can propel this team to the next level remains to be seen.

    but seeing is the fun part.

    #wow

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