Huskies bring in 26 recruits
Dawgs second in TNT’s Western 100
By: Malamute, 5 February 2003
Finishing behind USC
Washington managed to garner the third best recruiting class in the Pac-10, according to rivals.com.
This internet recruiting service ranks the Huskies twenty-second nationally,
while the insiders.com ranks it twentieth nationally and third
in the Pac-10. The Dawgs landed 14 players listed in the Tacoma News Tribune's
Western 100, but failed to land a running back or an offensive lineman from
Not surprisingly, the Dawgs, who dominated the Pac-10 in
passing statistics in 2002, cleaned up on wide receivers, corralling one third
of the receivers listed in the Tacoma News Tribune's Western 100. However, USC
was able to land Parade All-American Steve Smith, a consensus all-everything
wide receiver from Taft high school. Smith can play defense as well, and led
the state of California in interceptions this year with 12.
Apparently, the Trojans are about to sign Parade
All-American Whitney Lewis (WR, 6'1, 215), out of St. Bonaventure (Ventura). As
of this morning, according to the Ventura County Star, Lewis' mother,
Sherry Laws, said that she would not sign a letter of intent unless Lewis was
headed for USC. Lewis wants to enroll at Florida State.
Incoming Husky recruits Corey Williams (WR, 6-3, 185, Las
Vegas), Charles Smith (WR, 6-1 175 La Mesa, Calif.; La Mesa Helix) and Craig Chambers (WR,
6-5, 197, Jackson) are among Tom Lemming's (ESPN) top 25 receivers in the
country--so the Trojans didn't completely put the hammer on the Huskies in this
area. This trio
will most likely get playing time next season since Wide receivers Wilbur
Hooks, Pat Reddick, Paul Arnold are lost to graduation and Eddie Jackson has
left the program.
Disappointingly, the Huskies, who finished 113th
in NCAA rushing statistics in 2002 (Division 1-A), failed to land one running
back or offensive linemen listed in the Tribunes’ Western 100. However, as they
did with Kenny James last season, the Dawgs managed to lure Louis Rankin (RB,
6-3, 180, Stockton) away from Fresno State. Rankin is a 4.3 speedster who broke
a Stockton area rushing record this season with 41 touchdowns on 2200 yards
It's hard to sell a north forty that features a running
stream, when the stream is barely a trickle.
USC got Parade All-American running back Reggie Bush (6-0,
180, Helix Charles High), who had been on the Husky radar before committing to
Durrell Moss (6-1, 190), listed as an athlete in the
Tribune 100, could play running back for the Dawgs, as could Anthony Russo
(5-11,180). Presumably, they’ll be tried on defense first.
At quarterback, although not listed as part of the
official recruiting class, the Huskies landed Carl Bonnell (6-3,
194), who gray-shirted at WSU last year. Gray-shirting allows a student athlete
to enroll at the school but not participate with the team, saving an extra year
of eligibility. Because Washington contacted Bonnell before his
letter-of-intent expired, his status is unclear at this time and won’t be
resolved until the National Letter of Intent steering committee meets this
The Huskies failed to land a punter from the J.C. ranks to
replace Derek McLaughlin (sophomore), who left school after the Sun Bowl to take a Mormon
mission. Instead, the Dawgs recruited Sean Douglas (6-1, 195) from Bellevue,
Nebraska, who can function as either a kicker or punter. Also, they landed
Michael Braunstein, a kicker from Gilbert, Arizona, a member of the Tacoma
Tribunes’ 100. Both will be true freshman and are expected to handle the
kicking/punting chores next season.
Whoever punts for the Dawgs next season--most likely
Douglas--can expect heavy
pressure in his first game when the Huskies play the defending-national champion,
Ohio State. The Huskies suffered five blocked punts in the 2001 season when
McLaughlin was a true freshman, one in the opener against Michigan.
The Huskies will get immediate help from two highly-sought
after players from the J.C. ranks, Mike Mapu (DE, 6-4, 250, Mesa J.C.) and Jon
Lyon (TE, 6-6, 251, Saddleback J.C.). Mapu is a candidate to replace Kyle
Ellis at defensive end, and Lyon is expected to fill the shoes of Kevin Ware at
tight end, along with redshirt sophomore to be Joe Toledo (6-6, 290).
At defensive end, the Dawgs landed Wilson Afoa (6-3, 260, Saint Lous), who
was named Hawaii’s high school defensive player of the year last fall; he told
the Honolulu Advertiser that he liked Washington’s facilities and their
schools of education. This last season, Afoa had 51 tackles and 19 for a loss.
One of Washington’s recruits, Jordan Reffett (6-6, 250, Moses Lake), who
signed with Washington last year but was ineligible to play, will contribute on
the defensive line next season, along with Afoa and Mapu. This last season, the
Dawgs finished fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing defense.
The Huskies lost Mathew Malele (NT, 6-0, 302, Carson) to
Cal. Malele, a nose tackle with Larry Tripplett’s size and speed, though a
freshman, might have contributed at NT in 2003. He wasn’t expected to redshirt.
He would have been a welcome addition to the eleven players of Polynesian
descent at Washington. The closely-knit group of Polys call themselves "The
Also, the Dawgs failed to close on Dennis Dixon (QB, 6-4,
177, San Leandro) and Devin Stearns (6-2, 175, Paramount, Calif.). Dixon ended
up at Oregon and Stearns is going to play for Cal.
A case for failing to close on Malele, Dixon and Stearns
might be made, considering the sanctions levied by the NCAA against head coach
Rick Neuheisel who was not permitted to make in-home recruiting visits this
season because of the secondary recruiting violations he incurred while
coaching the Colorado Buffaloes during the 1996-1998 seasons.
On the home-grown front, the Huskies landed three of the
five Seattle Times’ blue-chip selections, these five all from the State of
Washington. The three Dawgs to be are Tahj Bomar (LB, 6-2, 210, Kentwood),
Derrick Bradley (DB, 5-10, 185, Kamiak), and Craig Chambers, a legacy recruit.
Bomar, Bradley, Smith, Williams, Afoa and Chambers are also members of the Tacoma News
Tribune's Western 100, which lists the top 100 high school recruits in the
western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada,
Oregon and Washington). This list does not include J.C. transfers or players
like Bonnell (grayshirt) that can affect a school’s overall ranking. Other
recruits from the Western 100, who have chosen Washington, are as follows.
- Quintin Daniels (WR, 6-0 180 Los Angeles; Loyola)
- Kyle Trew (SS/LB, 6-2 215 Edmonds, Wash. (Edmonds-Woodway)
- Rob Lewis (LB, 6-5 215 Van Nuys, Calif.; Montclair Prep)
- Michael Braunstein (K, 5-8 170 Gilbert, Ariz.; Gilbert)
- Cody Ellis (Athlete, (6-1 170, Puyallup; Puyallup)
- Durrell Moss (Athlete, 6-1 190 Orange, Calif.; Orange)
- Anthony Russo (Athlete, 5-11 180 Lakewood; Lakes)
- Clarence Simpson (Athlete, 6-3 195 Sylmar, Calif.; Sylmar)
Players and where they're headed (Tacoma News Tribune's Western 100).
Caveat: Any factual errors appearing in this article are my own and should
not be attributed to the Tacoma News Tribune, rivals.com or the insiders.com.