Thursday, October 11, 2012
A look at Washington's recruiting weekend
By Mason Kelley
SEATTLE -- Before Washington’s season started, every recruit pointed to one contest. If a prospect was interested or committed to the Huskies, they wanted to make sure they were in the stands for Saturday’s game against USC at CenturyLink Field.
If there was one weekend that looked to loom large from a recruiting standpoint, it was Washington’s matchup with the No. 11 Trojans.
However, due to high school football schedules and a 4 p.m. college kickoff, several players will not be taking their official visits. Both running back Khalfani Muhammad (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) and defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) planned to take trips to Seattle this weekend, but decided to reschedule.
San Clemente, Calif., offensive lineman Sean Harlow is expected at the Huskies-Trojans game but will reschedule his official visit to Washington.
Washington commits offensive lineman Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) and defensive lineman Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) will take unofficial visits instead of officials.
In fact, the only confirmed official visitor is linebacker commit Caleb Tucker (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish), who will be watching his second Washington game this season after traveling to Baton Rouge, La. for the Huskies' game against LSU.
Washington should also have plenty of local prospects sitting in the stands, including Bellevue (Wash.) teammates Sean Constantine (a Washington commit), Myles Jack (a UCLA commit) and Bishard “Budda” Baker (a 2014 prospect), who have attended every home game so far this season.
Junior running back recruit Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace) -- fresh off his scholarship offer this week -- also plans to attend the game.
While the weekend has taken on a different look as far as recruiting goes, it doesn’t diminish the importance of the game. It tends to take more than one game to sway a recruit’s decision, but every win helps, especially when it’s against a prominent program like USC.
The Huskies want to go head-to-head with the Trojans when recruiting California’s top talent and what better selling point than a win over the program you’re competing against.
This weekend’s game provides a chance for Washington to show Tucker, Harlow and Qualls what their commitments mean to the program. It is another chance to show Jack and Baker where the Huskies are headed. It is a chance to pull off another home upset with another nationally televised audience watching.
While there might not be as many recruits in the stands as originally expected, prominent prospects will be paying attention.