Wednesday, February 6, 2013
It's quality over quantity for Huskies
By Mason Kelley
SEATTLE -- Steve Sarkisian settled into his usual press conference position wearing a dark pinstriped suit with a light purple tie.
He described the 20 recruits who signed letters of intent Wednesday -- two more enrolled early -- as quality over quantity.
The Huskies went after length -- 11 prospects 6-foot-3 or taller -- and production on both sides of the ball, acquiring talent and depth.
“This class is all about quality,” Sarkisian said. “This isn’t necessarily all about quantity. It’s about getting quality individuals that are going to make us a better football team, that are going to continue us on a quest, not only for a Pac-12 championship, but a Rose Bowl championship and, ultimately, a national championship.”
LaVon Coleman is a bigger running back who can complement the other players in Washington's backfield.
Washington lost defensive end Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) to Texas A&M, but added cornerback Patrick Enewally (Cerritos, Calif./Gahr) and linebacker Keishawn Bierria (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) to take his place.
When the coaching staff set out to assemble this class, the Huskies focused on explosive receivers. According to Sarkisian, they signed their top three targets -- Damore’ea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), Darrell Daniels (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan).
All three bring something different. All three fill a need.
“You can argue it’s probably the best core of wide receivers of any class in the country,” Sarkisian said.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Sarkisian said Daniels, “can really go.” Ross is smaller than Daniels, but at 5-11, 180 pounds, he is a likely threat on special teams. And Stringfellow, “if he walked in the room, he looks like an NFL wideout today.”
On the other side of the ball, the key was to get bigger, faster and more athletic throughout the defense. With four defensive linemen, four linebackers and four defensive backs, the Huskies have plenty of balance among this group.
Each one of the cornerbacks -- Jermaine Kelly (Los Angeles/Salesian), Kevin King (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) and Enewally -- is at least 6-1, which fits the mold Washington wants in its secondary.
The Huskies also brought in dynamic linebackers and excellent pass-rushers on the defensive line.
When talking about defensive end Marcus Farria (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial), Sarkisian said, “I’m excited to watch him rush the passer. He brings a couple of things we might not have in our program right now.”
For all the impressive pieces Washington added, there were questions surrounding both the offensive line and running back.
Sarkisian likes the young depth already in the program on the offensive line and considers Dane Crane (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) as a leader in the 2013 class.
Lavon Coleman (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc) is the only running back in this group, but at 6-foot, 220 pounds, he is the type of player the Huskies were looking for.
“(Coleman is) a bigger, physical-type back to complement some of the other backs that we have in our program,” Sarkisian said.
Kicker Cameron Van Winkle (Snoqualmie, Wash./Mount Si) plans to enroll at Washington for spring quarter and will get nine practices in the spring, which will allow him to compete for the starting job.
Some of these prospects can contribute right away, but the program has reached a point where the Huskies will be able to redshirt a large portion of this class.
Sarkisian also feels Washington’s 2013 class rivals those put together by the rest of the Pac-12.
“I believe this class is in the upper echelon of our conference in a year in which our conference did a really nice job with recruiting.”