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Gilby’s Class is Rated M, for Mature Audiences
Maulers and brawlers will be strong up the middle
By: Richard Linde, 5 February 2004
I know Keith Gilbertson,
55, comes from the old school, but his recruiting class is
so old fashioned that it ought to rekindle stories of Gil Dobie, Washington’s
unbeaten coach from the 1908 era. Instead of recruiting a class of
thoroughbreds like Rick Neuheisel did, Gilby’s brought in a pack of plow horses,
guys who can pound the middle and stuff it to boot.
Not surprising, he’s an offensive lineman at heart and
underneath his pleasant exterior lies a gruff interior.
In a well-balanced effort, Gilby signed 6 defensive linemen
and 5 offensive linemen, the only guys he really ever wanted. Since the
offensive linemen were ostensibly wrenched from the cast of "The Longest Yard," forget the concept of team blocking.
His guys will work solo, each placing a symbolic bounty on the head of his man. Gilbertson must be laboring
under the old fashioned idea that the game is won up front, on both sides of the
Old fashioned? That old adage is not true in the Pac-10,
the experts say.
Gilby, please remember that the Pac-10 is a pass-happy
conference, with no boring running games to dull our senses. For example, one of
his incoming tailbacks, Johnie Kirton, weighs 240 pounds and benches a
full-grown mule--talk about dulling somebody’s senses, and in Johnie’s case,
that will most likely be a defensive end or two. Another Mo Shaw?
Add two more Tuiasosopo’s, Trenton and Mathew, to complete
the legacy lineage of that family at the UW. Matt (6-2, 205) is a 5-star
quarterback out of Woodenville. Remember his brother, Marques, who quarterbacked
the Huskies to a win over Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl? Since we all know that
Marques can’t pass (Al Davis still doesn’t know that), why did Gilbertson bring
in a kid with DNA that is so a close match to his? Because, like big brother Marques,
a warrior, that’s why.
Trenton, 6-2, 225, their cousin, fits the mold of a
linebacker and what a Tuiasosopo should be. Trenton's uncle, Manu, sacked so many
quarterbacks in the NFL that he should be teaching grocery sackers at Von’s
Markets that you're apt to mash heads of lettuce if you bag them with too much gusto.
And speaking of banking on banging heads, Keauntea
Bankhead, 5-11, 200, is quintessential Gilby, a hitter and a pounder. They say
that he’s “arguably the hardest-hitting
safety prospect to come out of the state of
since Lawyer Milloy.” The other coaches in the conference should tell Gilby that
quarterbacks sell tickets to games.
Gilby went to Venice, California to recruit Erick Lobos,
6-3, 280, who can play DT or on the offensive line. Yeah, they have canals in
Venice, but forget the romance.
Since there are no singing gondoliers in California's Venice, don’t paddle down
a canal late at night unless a Lobos
look-alike is with you. If brawling is in your bag, you can always pick a
with one of those Schwarzenegger’s at muscle beach.
Mesphin Forrester, 6-2, 195, projected at safety, is
another Venice product that fits the Gilby paradigm. You have to be a “hard
hitter,” as he says he is, if you come out of Venice with the name Mesphin.
Another DT, Jasper Henry, 6-2, 255, comes out of Dorsey
high school in Los Angeles. I can’t imagine any of those sissy highs schools in the valley ever scheduling a game with the likes of Dorsey, Fremont or Manual Arts
high schools. The inner city of LA is where John McKay found life insurance for
all those fancy tailbacks he used to recruit at ‘SC.
Gilbertson traveled to Rogers high school in Puyallup to
sign OL Ryan Bush, 6-4, 285. Because I hadn’t heard much about him and was
hungry for the skinny, I went to a recruiting site to view its highlight film of
him and was served three pancake blocks.
At the same site, I watched a film of 4-star JC transfer,
Rashaad Goodrum, 6-3, 225, who is projected as a defensive end. This guy loathes
quarterbacks. In the first scene, the quarterback rolls out to the right and,
near the sideline, Goodrum hits the quarterback and his blocker together,
knocking them both bowling-pin flat. In the next scene, he hits the quarterback
so hard, the ball comes loose. You get the picture.
Gibly signed a guy named Jordan White-Frisbee? Finally, I
thought, I found a guy who doesn’t fit the Gilby mold—you know, considering his
hyphenated name. And dogs chase Frisbees, don't they? So, I checked Frisbee's size. Whoops, he stands 6-7 and weighs 290?
Then I watched his highlight film. He’s another quarterback dumper.
When I receive the recruiting highlight disk from that
site, I ought to cover the wood floor under the DVD player with metal,
lest the laser burn a hole in the floor. The video is certain to be intense.
Since I'm in to alliterations, the name Walter Winter
tickles my fancy. I asked myself whether Gilby screwed up with him — name-wise anyway?
Gilby should be recruiting guys with names like Ben Hartsock, the TE at Ohio
State. Winter (6-5, 230) is a DE/LB out of Juanita over in Kirkland. He
was one of four players from the state of Washington picked for the U.S. Army
All-American Bowl. SuperPrep says he's the number four prospect in the state. No
screw up with Winter, in name or not.
In all, Gilbertson signed 21 players yesterday. The two
J.C. transfers that have already signed letters of intent bring the class to 23.
Rivals.com rates the class nineteenth in the country and
third in the Pac-10 behind USC (1) and Oregon (12). ESPN.com ranks the class
fourteenth in the country, second in the Pac-10. Not bad for a coach who could
be canned after next season, fired without cause. Hopefully, the new A.D. will
shore up Gilby's contract after he steps on board.
But this is a down-and-dirty class of bruisers, pancake
blockers and quarterback haters, for which there are no metrics of measure—these
behemoths who, someday on the field of play, will morph into frothing dawgs.
Here’s some unsolicited advice for Gilby. In practice next
fall, make sure your quarterbacks all wear yellow, lest they wear red the next
day. And for your own protection,
adopt the Neuhiesel approach. Be a players coach. For example, keep your
warriors happy by playing a ton
of rock and roll music during
And for my own protection, come game time, I’m going to sit
as far back from the field of action as I can. Gilbs’ games are going to be
rated M, for "Mature Audiences."
Washington's 2004 Recruiting Class
QB Matt Tuiasosopo Woodinville 6-2 205
DT Jasper Henry Dorsey (Los Angeles) 6-2 255
S Mesphin Forrester Venice (Los Angeles) 6-2 195
RB-LB Daniel Howell Hart (Newhall, Calif.) 6-2 210
RB Luke Kravitz Olympia 6-1 210
S Keauntea Bankhead Ballard 5-11 200
ATH Darin Harris Decatur (Federal Way) 5-11 200
LB Trenton Tuiasosopo Mariner (Everett) 6-2 225
OL Nathan Flowers Chula Vista, Calif. 6-4 285
OL Ryan Bush Rogers (Puyallup) 6-4 285
OL Tyler Ashby Ballard 6-4 290
DE Walter Winter Juanita (Kirkland) 6-5 230
OL Casey Bulyca Woodinville 6-7 285
DE Jordan White-Frisbee Inglemoor (Kenmore) 6-7 290
OL Jovon O'Connor Los Angeles 6-5 295
DE Greyson Gunheim Analy (Sebastopol, Calif.) 6-6 220
S Chet Sanders Carson, Calif. 6-1 185
RB Johnie Kirton Jackson (Mill Creek) 6-3 240
TE Caesar Rayford Bethel (Spanaway) 6-7 230
DT Erick Lobos Venice (Los Angeles) 6-3 280
CB Josh Okoebor San Bernardino (Calif.) CC 5-10 180
S Dashon Goldson Coffeyville (Kan.) JC 6-3 200
DE Rashaad Goodrum Los Angeles Valley CC 6-3 225
Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at