- Mason Kelley, Reporter, Recruiting Nation
SEATTLE -- It is no secret Washington continues to work diligently to establish its foothold in California.
The Huskies still expect to get to the point where they consistently compete, and beat, USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal, for the top talent in a state that is loaded with recruits each year.
While they have made progress in getting to that point -- the Huskies' top five commits are from California -- the program still has to take care of its backyard.
It became clear earlier in the 2012 season that Washington planned to make a play for in-state recruits. The Huskies offered 2014 prospects running back Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace) and offensive lineman Kaleb McGary (Fife, Wash./Fife).
Washington also invited 2015 running back Chico McClatcher (Federal Way, Wash./Federal Way) to join the program.
The Huskies’ coaching staff made a point to land on the recruits’ radar early to ensure they have the best opportunity to secure their services when they eventually make their commitments.
In addition to the prospects who have earned scholarship offers, Washington invited seniors receiver Ryan Turman (Bellevue, Wash./Interlake) and safety Mason Stone (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace) to become preferred walk-ons. The Huskies also convinced 2013 tight end David Ajamu (Shelton, Wash./Shelton) to flip his commitment from Oregon State to the Huskies after giving him a scholarship offer before the Utah game.
Each offer made an impact. It helps the Huskies shore up the fence around the state that every top program tries to establish it its backyard.
The Huskies aren’t finished locally. On Sunday, the first day coaches could conduct in-home visits, Washington took a trip to see Notre Dame commit Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead).
Last week, the program invited 2015 athlete Austin Joyner (Marysville, Wash./Marysville-Pilchuck) to watch practice. Coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn’t let the sophomore standout leave before extending a scholarship offer.
Take a look at Washington’s roster and many of the program’s most important pieces are in-state products. Sophomores Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Danny Shelton and Bishop Sankey are all homegrown talents.
In order to compete for Pac-12 titles, the Huskies need to succeed with California recruits. But they can’t neglect their home state and, based on their recent recruiting effort, they are doing what they can to keep in-state talent wearing purple and gold.