April 10, 2010

UW Football Early 2011 Recruiting Class Assessment

Here's an excellent assessment of the current seven verbal commits the UW has so far for the class of 2011.


Washington football hauling in commitments for 2011

Washington's seven commits are the most of any Pac-10 school other than Stanford, which has nine.

By Bob Condotta

Seattle Times staff reporter

There was no reason to rush into a decision when Taniela Tupou, a junior defensive lineman at Archbishop Murphy High, attended Washington's football practice on an unofficial recruiting visit Thursday. Signing day for the Class of 2011 isn't until February.

But Tupou also decided there was no reason to wait, so after the practice, he gave the word to UW coaches he was committing to become a Husky.

"I already knew where I wanted to be," the 6-foot-3, 270-pounder said on Friday.

He isn't alone in making that assessment, as UW is getting an historically quick jump on filling its class.

Tupou is the seventh known commit for the Class of 2011, the most the Huskies have ever had by this date (or at least since dates of commits began to be recorded publicly about a decade ago). The Huskies had four by this date last year.

Washington's seven commits are the most of any Pac-10 school other than Stanford, which has nine.

The commits have come so early that not all of the players have received grades or star rankings from all of the major recruiting sites. But Allen Wallace, the national recruiting editor for Scout.com, says there's little questioning the quality of the players UW has gotten so far.

"I think this is a real impressive haul," he said. "I think (UW coach Steve) Sarkisian and his staff have really put down a nice footprint to get this ball rolling for 2011."

Last year, all four commits to this date were local. This year, five are from California, with Tupou the only one currently playing at a local high school.

Tupou is generally considered among the top handful of recruits in the state of Washington for 2011. Wallace said that most of the California commits also figure to loom as top recruits in that state when all the rankings are done.

The five California recruits UW has commitments from are running back Brendon Bigelow of Fresno; fullback Elijhaa Penny of Norwalk; lineman Maataua Brown of Paramount; defensive end Aubrey Coleman of Walnut; and cornerback Kameron Jackson of Long Beach.

Washington also has a commitment from safety Evan Zeger, a former Skyline High student now attending high school in Las Vegas.

Wallace has scouted four of the five California players and says, "All these guys are strong Pac-10 players."

He hasn't seen much of Brown, but noted that Brown was the No. 2 offensive lineman at the USC Rising Stars Camp last summer and said that alone gives evidence of Brown's ability.

Bigelow, according to Wallace, is the most impressive, having garnered offers from USC and California since committing to UW in January. Wallace said Jackson and Coleman are also players whose stock figures to rise, though none of the others has yet to get other offers — largely because many other schools are still waiting to decide whom to go after.

Sarkisian, however, has said from the start his staff will be aggressive in everything it does, and the way it is offering scholarships this early, and getting commitments, appears proof.

Aside from UW and Stanford, no one else in the Pac-10 has more than three commitments for 2011.

Wallace cautioned that the commitments tend not to mean as much as before, with players more prone to changing their mind than in years past. That means UW's coaches will undoubtedly have to continue to work to keep the players in the fold for the 10 months remaining until signing day.

He said a lot of other coaches "find a kid who has committed, (and) that's just a target for them. They think, 'We're going to change his mind.' "

But he also said there is significance in UW's early haul in what it indicates about the direction of the program in the second year under Sarkisian.

"It shows a hard-working staff that is comfortable with their evaluation of players," Wallace said.

Tupou said one of his major reasons for wanting to become a Husky was to stay close to a large extended family.

"I knew I would be the first local guy to commit to them (for 2011), and I just felt it was a great place and that the coaches were going to take care of me," said Tupou.

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09/04/10 at BYU
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