Friday, February 3, 2012

Huskies finished with ranked recruiting class third straight year

By Kshell

For the third straight year Steve Sarkisian has landed a ranked recruiting class for the Washington Huskies. The Huskies are ranked 22nd in the nation on and 20th in the nation on . This has been a strange offseason for Sarkisian and I'm sure he is happy this recruiting process is finally over. This offseason has seen two coaches leave while firing three other coaches. This class also dealt with the devastating blow of losing four of the five top in state recruits which saw three going to conference rivals. The Huskies for the bulk of the recruiting season were ranked near the bottom of the conference below Oregon State, Utah and Colorado. Even on signing day the Huskies were dealt a blow as talented four-star recruit Jordan Payton decommited 14 hours after committing to the Huskies to commit to the UCLA Bruins. Sarkisian did steal plenty of recruits on his own on the last day as well. Most of the guys Sarkisian stole late were on the defensive side of the ball which is a big plus since hte offense appears Rose Bowl ready.

This class features 25 recruits which has 12 offensive players, 11 defensive players and two kickers. Of those 25 players the Huskies landed 15 from the state of California, five from their home state of Washington, three from Hawaii. They also landed three-star wide receiver Kendyl Taylor from Arizona and four-star quarterback Cyler Miles from Colorado. Based on Rivals rankings the Huskies had one five-star recruit, five four-star recruits and 14 three-star recruits. Based on Scouts rankings the Huskies have one five-star recruit in safety Shaq Thompson, three four-star recruits and 15 three-star recruits. The Huskies aren't quite recruiting at a Pac-12 championship level but they are recruiting at a nice level unlike the previous coaching regime.  In this following post I'll describe each of the big recruits the Huskies had landed in this class.

Jeff Lindquist- QB:

Jeff Lindquist is a four star quarterback according to both rivals and from Mercer Island. Lindquist had committed to the Huskies last May of 2011 as Sarkisian was hoping to have Lindquist build on the state of Washington.  Lindquist chose the Huskies over the Stanford Cardinal early in the process. He is the 8th rated quarterback in the nation per and 7th rated in the nation per rivals. com. During his high school career he was a three year starter where he showed he is a good pocket quarterback who can also scramble. Lindquist as a sophomore threw for 1,474 yards with 13 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He also ran for 519 yards with 11 touchdowns. Then he had a breakkout junior year throwing for 1,993 yards with 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions while rushing for 1,015 yards with 18 touchdowns. As a senior Lindquist threw for 1,303 yards with 11 touchdowns to six interceptions while rushing for 555 yards and 12 touchdowns(in only six games). Lindquist who 6'3" is the type of quarterback most schools dream about committing to them. For the Huskies who have Keith Price for two more years and a guy they are high on in Derrick Brown the most important position in sports will be loaded. Adding Lindquist to your class is a great get for most schools. Well Sarkisian did land another four star quarterback as well only this guy was out of state.

Cyler Miles - QB:

Cyler Miles was another big get for Sarkisian back in June. Then Miles had second thoughts in late January about USC decided to stick with Washington only to have second thoughts again on signing day to eventually stay with the Huskies. What the Huskies are getting in the 6'4"Miles from Mullen High School in Denver Colorado is a four star recruit according to both scout and Scout has him ranked as the 13th best quarterback while Rivals has him as the 2nd best quarterback in the nation(35th overall player). Besides beating out the Trojans for Miles the Huskies also beat out Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, the home state Colorado and Colorado State, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Vanderbelt, and two powerhouses Florida and Oklahoma State. During Miles junior season he led Mullen high school to a state championship where he completed over 70.0% of his passes for 2,131 yards with 20 touchdowns to just two interceptions while rushing for 256 yards with six touchdowns while catching a pass for 40 yards. In the U.S. Army all-american game which has the games top high schoolers going up against each other Miles was named the game MVP as he was seven for eight passing for 155 yards with a touchdown while rushing for another. He also had an 80 yard touchdown pass wiped away due to Zach Banner getting a costly holding penalty. The quarterback position is in good hands with Sarkisian landing these two four star quarterbacks.

Jaydon Mickens - WR:

When you land two talented quarterbacks they will need someone to throw the ball to which is the case with Jaydon Mickens. Mickens who is only 5'8" but runs a 4.4 40 is electric in open space. Mickens comes from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California and is a  four-star recruit according to both scout and Mickens is the 45th ranked receiver in the nation on scout and 11th ranked receiver in the nation on rivals. During his senior year Mickens was an all around athlete as he caught 32 passes for 558 yards(17.4 YPC) with seven touchdowns, he also ran the ball 82 times for 378 yards(4.61 YPC) with 13 touchdowns. He even attempted 32 passes on the year for 238 yards passing. Mickens had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Hawaii, SMU, UCLA and USC. For his hat announcment it was down to Washington, Washington State and Oklahoma State. He immediately faked putting on the Cougars hat then tossed it away before choosing the Huskies hat. Although the Huskies lost the talented Jordan Payton they still landed Mickens along with three other receivers who were all three stars so the receivers at Montlake should be just fine.

Brandon Beaver - CB:

This year the Huskies also landed some talented defensive players which is key seeing how they scored 56 points in a bowl game and lost. The Huskies landed the talented 6'1" Brandon Beaver out of Dominguez High School in Compton, California. Beaver also played in the Army All-American game and depending on the site is where he is ranked. On he is a three star recruit and is the 27th ranked corner in the nation. On rivals he is a four-star recruit and is the 12th ranked corner in the nation. Beaver many suspected had committed to the Huskies a few weeks ago which caused a huge storm on twitter which beg the question do recruiting sites do more harm than good? As Beaver almost went to other schools due to that. Beaver chose the Huskies over Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, Fresno State, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Mexico State, SMU, Tennessee, and UCLA. Then it came down to Utah and Washington State who Beaver passed over to put on the Purple and Gold. This was the last guy that Sarkisian snatched up on signing day as this was a huge signing for the Huskies as their secondary has been poor for quite some years. With Beaver who is a tall physical corner that will allow Wilcox the freedom to blitz more in the future.

Pio Vatuvei - DE:

While the Huskies may have lost Payton they did steal defensive end Pio Vatuvei from the USC Trojans on signing day as he was a USC commit. The 6'2" 280 pound Vatuvei is a three-star on scout as he is the 43rd defensive end in the country. While on rivals he is a four-star as he is the 11th ranked defensive end in the country. Coming from Patterson high school in Patterson, California Vatuvei was a very nice defensive addition by Sarkisian. Vatuvei chose the Huskies over Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Fresno State, Idaho, Nevada, USC, Utah, Utah State and Washington State. Basically every school on the west coast wanted him including the Trojans who only had 15 scholarships to give out. The Trojans gladly gave one of their 15 to Vatuvei which should tell you how incredible of a prospect he could be. Sarkisian knows if he wishes to be the coach that he expects from himself he will need his defense to step up.

Shaq Thompson - Safety:

Sarkisian made some major noise two days prior to signing day when landing the consensus five-star and #1 safety in the country Shaq Thompson from Grant Union High School in Sacramento, California. Thompson who is 6'2" who also played in the Army All-American game is the biggest Husky out of state recruit in a long time. When Sarkisian landed Thompson it created a buzz throughout the social networking scene and came at a good time. That was the same day Sarkisian lost out on Banner but the fans quickly forget as they landed Thompson. Thompson is a five-star recruit on both rivals and scout while being the #1 rated safety in both. On scout he is the 3rd rated player overally in the entire country while on rivals he is the 4th overall player(1st in California though) meaning the Huskies have reshaped their defense in a big way. Thompson who was originally a Golden Bear commit chose the Huskies over the Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Florida Gators, Arizona State Sun Devils, Oregon Ducks and of course the California Golden Bears. Thompson is the crown jewel of this recruiting class and whatever the Huskies are paying Tosh Lupoi was well deserved.

This recruiting class showed that Sarkisian is still a good recruiter and unlike the myths out there he is also a good closer. Sarkisian signed seven guys on the February 1st or January 31st which doesn't even count Payton who decommitted 14 hours later or Miles who re-assured he was staying at Washington. Of those seven that Sarkisian snatched at the last moments four were on defense and two were on the offensive line. Sarkisian brought in two highly touted quarterbacks, five offensive lineman, five defensive lineman(four of which are ends), and four guys in the secondary including two highly touted guys in Thompson and Beaver. Despite only having a month to recruit for Lupoi and Wilcox the Huskies staff did a fine job. Look for next offseason to have even more fireworks which is a good thing going forward. Also due to the depth on the team already look for Sarkisian to redshirt another 18 or so kids like he did last year. The Husky football program is heading in the right direction and Sarkisian closed out this class with a bang.

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