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Gilby’s Class is Rated M, for Mature Audiences
Maulers and brawlers will be strong up the middle
By: Richard Linde, 5 February 2004

I know Keith Gilbertson, 55, comes from the old school, but his recruiting class is so old fashioned that it ought to rekindle stories of Gil Dobie, Washington’s unbeaten coach from the 1908 era. Instead of recruiting a class of thoroughbreds like Rick Neuheisel did, Gilby’s brought in a pack of plow horses, guys who can pound the middle and stuff it to boot.

Not surprising, he’s an offensive lineman at heart and underneath his pleasant exterior lies a gruff interior.

In a well-balanced effort, Gilby signed 6 defensive linemen and 5 offensive linemen, the only guys he really ever wanted. Since the offensive linemen were ostensibly wrenched from the cast of "The Longest Yard," forget the concept of team blocking. His guys will work solo, each placing a symbolic bounty on the head of his man. Gilbertson must be laboring under the old fashioned idea that the game is won up front, on both sides of the ball.

Old fashioned? That old adage is not true in the Pac-10, the experts say.

Gilby, please remember that the Pac-10 is a pass-happy conference, with no boring running games to dull our senses. For example, one of his incoming tailbacks, Johnie Kirton, weighs 240 pounds and benches a full-grown mule--talk about dulling somebody’s senses, and in Johnie’s case, that will most likely be a defensive end or two. Another Mo Shaw?

Add two more Tuiasosopo’s, Trenton and Mathew, to complete the legacy lineage of that family at the UW. Matt (6-2, 205) is a 5-star quarterback out of Woodenville. Remember his brother, Marques, who quarterbacked the Huskies to a win over Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl? Since we all know that Marques can’t pass (Al Davis still doesn’t know that), why did Gilbertson bring in a kid with DNA that is so a close match to his? Because, like big brother Marques, Matt is a warrior, that’s why.

Trenton, 6-2, 225, their cousin, fits the mold of a linebacker and what a Tuiasosopo should be. Trenton's uncle, Manu, sacked so many quarterbacks in the NFL that he should be teaching grocery sackers at Von’s Markets that you're apt to mash heads of lettuce if you bag them with too much gusto.

And speaking of banking on banging heads, Keauntea Bankhead, 5-11, 200, is quintessential Gilby, a hitter and a pounder. They say that he’s “arguably the hardest-hitting safety prospect to come out of the state of Washington since Lawyer Milloy.” The other coaches in the conference should tell Gilby that quarterbacks sell tickets to games.

Gilby went to Venice, California to recruit Erick Lobos, 6-3, 280, who can play DT or on the offensive line. Yeah, they have canals in Venice, but forget the romance. Since there are no singing gondoliers in California's Venice, don’t paddle down a canal late at night unless a Lobos look-alike is with you. If brawling is in your bag, you can always pick a daytime fight with one of those Schwarzenegger’s at muscle beach. 

Mesphin Forrester, 6-2, 195, projected at safety, is another Venice product that fits the Gilby paradigm. You have to be a “hard hitter,” as he says he is, if you come out of Venice with the name Mesphin.

Another DT, Jasper Henry, 6-2, 255, comes out of Dorsey high school in Los Angeles. I can’t imagine any of those sissy highs schools in the valley ever scheduling a game with the likes of Dorsey, Fremont or Manual Arts high schools. The inner city of LA is where John McKay found life insurance for all those fancy tailbacks he used to recruit at ‘SC.

Gilbertson traveled to Rogers high school in Puyallup to sign OL Ryan Bush, 6-4, 285. Because I hadn’t heard much about him and was hungry for the skinny, I went to a recruiting site to view its highlight film of him and was served three pancake blocks.

At the same site, I watched a film of 4-star JC transfer, Rashaad Goodrum, 6-3, 225, who is projected as a defensive end. This guy loathes quarterbacks. In the first scene, the quarterback rolls out to the right and, near the sideline, Goodrum hits the quarterback and his blocker together, knocking them both bowling-pin flat. In the next scene, he hits the quarterback so hard, the ball comes loose. You get the picture.

Gibly signed a guy named Jordan White-Frisbee? Finally, I thought, I found a guy who doesn’t fit the Gilby mold—you know, considering his hyphenated name. And dogs chase Frisbees, don't they? So, I checked Frisbee's size. Whoops, he stands 6-7 and weighs 290? Then I watched his highlight film. He’s another quarterback dumper.

When I receive the recruiting highlight disk from that site, I ought to cover the wood floor under the DVD player with metal, lest the laser burn a hole in the floor. The video is certain to be intense.

Since I'm in to alliterations, the name Walter Winter tickles my fancy. I asked myself whether Gilby screwed up with him — name-wise anyway? Gilby should be recruiting guys with names like Ben Hartsock, the TE at Ohio State. Winter (6-5, 230) is a DE/LB out of Juanita over in Kirkland. He was one of four players from the state of Washington picked for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. SuperPrep says he's the number four prospect in the state. No screw up with Winter, in name or not.

In all, Gilbertson signed 21 players yesterday. The two J.C. transfers that have already signed letters of intent bring the class to 23.

Rivals.com rates the class nineteenth in the country and third in the Pac-10 behind USC (1) and Oregon (12). ESPN.com ranks the class fourteenth in the country, second in the Pac-10. Not bad for a coach who could be canned after next season, fired without cause. Hopefully, the new A.D. will shore up Gilby's contract after he steps on board.

But this is a down-and-dirty class of bruisers, pancake blockers and quarterback haters, for which there are no metrics of measure—these behemoths who, someday on the field of play, will morph into frothing dawgs.

Here’s some unsolicited advice for Gilby. In practice next fall, make sure your quarterbacks all wear yellow, lest they wear red the next day. And for your own protection, adopt the Neuhiesel approach. Be a players coach. For example, keep your warriors happy by playing a ton of rock and roll music during practice.

And for my own protection, come game time, I’m going to sit as far back from the field of action as I can. Gilbs’ games are going to be rated M, for "Mature Audiences."


Washington's 2004 Recruiting Class

QB Matt Tuiasosopo Woodinville 6-2 205
DT Jasper Henry Dorsey (Los Angeles) 6-2 255
S Mesphin Forrester Venice (Los Angeles) 6-2 195
RB-LB Daniel Howell Hart (Newhall, Calif.) 6-2 210
RB Luke Kravitz Olympia 6-1 210
S Keauntea Bankhead Ballard 5-11 200
ATH Darin Harris Decatur (Federal Way) 5-11 200
LB Trenton Tuiasosopo Mariner (Everett) 6-2 225
OL Nathan Flowers Chula Vista, Calif. 6-4 285
OL Ryan Bush Rogers (Puyallup) 6-4 285
OL Tyler Ashby Ballard 6-4 290
DE Walter Winter Juanita (Kirkland) 6-5 230
OL Casey Bulyca Woodinville 6-7 285
DE Jordan White-Frisbee Inglemoor (Kenmore) 6-7 290
OL Jovon O'Connor Los Angeles 6-5 295
DE Greyson Gunheim Analy (Sebastopol, Calif.) 6-6 220
S Chet Sanders Carson, Calif. 6-1 185
RB Johnie Kirton Jackson (Mill Creek) 6-3 240
TE Caesar Rayford Bethel (Spanaway) 6-7 230
DT Erick Lobos Venice (Los Angeles) 6-3 280
CB Josh Okoebor San Bernardino (Calif.) CC 5-10 180
S Dashon Goldson Coffeyville (Kan.) JC 6-3 200
DE Rashaad Goodrum Los Angeles Valley CC 6-3 225

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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