- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Most of the attendees at Washington’s Rising Stars Camp went through the 7-on-7 portion of the day, but during a break for lunch, that number took on a different meeting.
Seven standouts from the 2013 recruiting class stood up one-by-one and announced their commitment to Washington. It was a big day for all involved, but there might not have been a bigger smile than the one from quarterback Troy Williams (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) -- who stood and gave a second commitment in the middle of the ceremony.
When the applause ended, the Huskies had added seven new faces to their 2013 recruiting class--athlete Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande), wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), offensive tackle Poasi Moala (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), running back Lavon Coleman (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc), offensive tackle Andrew Basham (Lynwood, Wash./Lynwood), linebacker Caleb Tucker (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish) and defensive end Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Tex./Lancaster).
Many of the commitments were orchestrated by Qualls, a defensive lineman who will also see some time in the offensive backfield for the Huskies. Qualls was sought after by several big programs, but ultimately felt the location and camaraderie with the coaching staff of the Huskies was too much to pass up. That got his wheels turning on bringing some talent along for the ride.
“We’ve all met at camps,” he said of the seven commits. “We all realized we had Washington in common. We all loved this place. They all saw the same thing I did. We’re all on the same page and we decided. Why not do something that nobody else does?”
Hall’s commitment came just 24 hours after announcing his decommitment from Texas. Originally from Washington, he said he is looking forward to playing in front of friends and family. There was a thought he could wait a while to make another commitment after pulling away from Texas, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in the fun on Friday.
“This is really big for the Husky football program,” Hall said. “There’s a whole bunch of big-time athletes around here.”
Coleman was leaning toward Washington, but couldn’t hide his excitement at making the news official. He said the group became closer through Facebook and communication has been constant between all of them. The standout back rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior and could be the next great big back to play for the Huskies.
“It feels good,” Coleman said of committing. “Committing to UW was a pretty obvious choice.”
Basham will add another big body to Washington’s offensive line class and was the only in-state player to announce a commitment.
“I haven’t heard of seven people committing in one day,” Basham said. “It’s really special.”
Tucker will be making the farthest trip next year, but he didn’t have any doubts about Washington. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound outside linebacker capped off a solid performance at the Huskies’ camp with the realization of a lifelong dream.
“It’s another chapter in my life,” Tucker said. “It really hasn’t hit me yet. I’ve always dreamed about this and there aren’t too many people who can say that they actually accomplished this. I’m just really excited about it.”
The biggest get in this group might be Stringfellow, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound receiver capable of stepping in and playing right away. He is the No. 73 player in the country and the second ESPN 150 receiver to commit to Washington in this class. Sought after by virtually every program in the Pac-12, Stringfellow’s commitment is a feather in the camp of the Washington coaching staff.
“It’s a family environment,” Stringfellow said of Washington. “This is very special ... For the next four years, this is where I’m going to be playing ball at. This is a really special moment for me.”
The Huskies nearly doubled the size of their recruiting class with Friday’s haul and now have 15 verbal commitments for the class of 2013.
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney