Keeping those prospects home was considered a big recruiting win for the Huskies, who signed 24 players that year, putting together a top 25 class. They beat out national powerhouses. It was a sure sign the program was on the rise.
Cal RB Brendan Bigelow originally committed to Washington before flipping to the Bears.
But there still were several prospects who got away.
Before Washington started going toe-to-toe with UCLA for some of California’s top prospects, the Huskies had several head-to-head battles with Cal. And in the 2011 class, a pair of prospects picked the Golden Bears after originally committing to the Huskies: running back Brendan Bigelow (Fresno, Calif./Central East) and cornerback Kameron Jackson (Long Beach, Calif./Poly).
Bigelow was the biggest name. The four-star recruit was the No. 13 running back in the nation. He earned his rating despite missing his senior season with a knee injury.
Considering the injury issues Washington has had at the running back position, losing Bigelow hurt. However, the Huskies were able to land Bishop Sankey (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) in 2011. In two seasons with Washington, Sankey has outgained Bigelow by 1,170 rushing yards.
So while losing Bigelow may have been cause for concern at the time, Sankey has more than filled the void.
Jackson, a three-star prospect, waited until the last minute to flip his commitment -- his letter of intent went to Cal on signing day.
He finished his sophomore season with 27 tackles and three interceptions.
But again, while a program always wants to land all of its commitments, the Huskies landed a pretty good cornerback in that class with Marcus Peters (Oakland, Calif./McClymonds), who had 44 tackles and three interceptions in his redshirt freshman season.
In recent years, Washington has done a better job at flipping high-profile recruits than losing them. However, in 2012, the Huskies did miss out on receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), who originally committed to Cal before flipping to Washington the day before he signed with UCLA.
His brief commitment makes it hard to list him as Washington’s top decommitment.
Going back a few years to Tyrone Willingham’s time as the program’s coach, the Huskies at one point landed a commitment from local product Deandre Coleman (Seattle/Garfield).
However, instead of signing with Washington’s 2009 class, the defensive lineman flipped to Cal. The Huskies, Bruins and Golden Bears have continuously clashed on the recruiting trail, a trend that should continue as all three programs try to reel in California’s top talent.