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Recruiting: Gilby versus Neu?
How well did Gilbertson compare with Neuheisel?
By: Malamute, 9 February 2004

Gilby and Don James, photo by Kim Grinolds, dawgman.com

Each year, the Tacoma News Tribune publishes a list of the best high school players in the west. And each year, we use that list as a benchmark to answer the question:  How well did the Huskies recruit relative to other schools in the Pac-10?

One more question was asked this year. As a recruiter, how well did Keith Gilbertson stack up against former coach Rick Neueheisel?

Not well, according to the table below. Neuheisel brought in 14 players last year that were members of the Western 100, second best in the Pac-10. Gilbertson recruited seven this year, his performance ranking in the bottom half of the conference, along with Mike Riley (OSU), Buddy Teevens (Stanford), and Mike Stoops (Arizona).

Not bringing in highly regarded out-of-state products is where Gilbertson parted company with Neuheisel, so says the Western-100 comparator.

Gilbertson brought in just one recruit from the Western 100 that hails from outside of the state of Washington. Neuheisel brought in eight last year, while managing to recruit six in-state products from that list. Coincidentally, Gilbertson brought in six in-state products as well.

The Western 100 aside, Gilbertson failed to bring in a recruit from the Hawaiian Islands, a Huskies' staple in past years. The Florida pipeline is apparently closed as well. 

Although the TNT metric is a highly subjective benchmark, it remains constant throughout the years and correlates somewhat with the way teams finish in the conference race each season when viewed through a wide-angle lens, that is, the top five teams versus the bottom five.

Using this table as a reference, it would seem that Oregon, USC, Washington State, UCLA and California are on the rise and that Washington, Arizona, OSU, Stanford, and ASU are sinking.

Although that conclusion is arguable, it correlates with my gut feeling about the current trend in the Pac-10. A case in point: Considering the UW's dire need for offensive linemen, not getting the best offensive lineman in the state, Aaron Klovas, may say something about recruiting, our coaches and that trend. Particularly, when taken in the context of the negative stuff I heard about Klovas at the recruiting banquet, all of which sounded like sour grapes. 

If Washington's top recruit, Matt Tuiasosopo, opts for professional baseball and one of its big-time recruits (the one mentioned at the banquet) fails to qualify academically, then this recruiting class takes a big hit in the subjective rankings. J.C. transfer Dashon Goldson has just undergone shoulder surgery and is expected to miss spring practices. Assistant coach Scott Pelluer, however, says that all of the recruits are expected to qualify and that Goldson's shoulder injury is not serious.

Thankfully, since I'm neither an expert on football nor a recruiting guru, there is plenty of hope in the future for the Huskies and coach Gilbertson. Most likely, a nearsighted boy scout could shoot 40 mm holes in my logic, using a rusted BB gun from a mile away. Don't miss the bonus material below, lucky fans.

UW football recruits, Western 100.

Matt Tuiasosopo, QB, 6-2, 205, Woodenville, Wa.
Johnie Kirton, RB, 6-3, 240, Mill Creek, Wa.
Greyson Gunheim, DT, 6-6, 230, Sebastopol, Ca.
Trenton Tuiasosopo, LB, 6-1, 220, Woodenville, Wa.
Walter Winter, LB, 6-5, 230, Kirkland, Wa.
Keauntea Bankhead, DB 6-0, 205, Seattle, Wa.
Casey Bulyca, OL, 6-7, 290, Woodenville, Wa.

Our benchmark:

Each year, the News Tribune, which polls college coaches and various media outlets, selects the top 100 high school recruits in the western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington).

Table. Number of players recruited from TNT's Western 100, in the years 2004 and 2003. Pac-10 schools only.

School 2004 2003
Oregon 14 9
USC * 12 22
UCLA 10 8
California 9 13
WSU 8 3
Arizona State 8 7
Washington # 7 14
Oregon State 6 4
Stanford 3 6
Arizona 1 2

* USC brought in six less players (19) than the allowable limit of 25. Four of its recruits hailed from places outside of the TNT coverage zone.

# The Huskies signed 3 players (not eligible for the list) out of the junior college ranks, two of which were highly sought after.

Bonus Material: Since you've stayed with this article this long, you deserve some bonus footage. According to Ruth Robbins, realdawg.com, there could be a surprise announcement coming shortly. Taking a guess at what it may be:

-- Ruth accepts position as Husky AD. She'll kick some butt.

-- A Mars rover uncovers the body of Jimmy Hoffa. Thatís Spirit, of course.

-- Rick pays back the $1.5 million loan and drops his lawsuit against the UW.

-- Matt says he wonít play professional baseball. Say, itís true, Matt, please do.

-- Mrs. Tuiasosopo is pregnant; God bless her in advance for the Rose Bowl in 2023. What a talented family.

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

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