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Not enough twinkles for local star?
By: Malamute, 28 January 2004

I know the recruiting ratings can be iffy and that the number of stars given to a recruit may be supernovas—exploding stars—but there does seem to be some correlation between those star-studded teams in the country and their orbital position in the BCS galaxy.

I have some supporting, correlative evidence; however, in doing research at times, my synapses are so slow that all of the electrical energy in my brain could be supplied by a zero-volt battery. So let me offer a few quotes by Ted Miller of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to support the need for a bounty of stars in one’s recruiting class.

According to him, “seven of the 10 winningest programs in the 1990s ranked in the top 10 in recruiting. Nine ranked in the top 15.”

Miller adds, “Prep All-Americans also are far more likely to become stars than the proverbial diamonds in the rough.” USA Today reported that, through 1997, 43 percent of its high school All-Americans played in the NFL, with an average career of 57 games.

This year’s top three teams in college football have had highly rated recruiting classes over the past three years.

In 2002, Oklahoma, USC, and LSU finished 7, 13, 15, respectively, in the rivals.com computer rankings; they finished 4, 3, and 1 in rivals’ 2003 rankings and currently are 4, 1, and 2 in this year’s rankings.

In other words, the number of the stars does count.

Currently, rivals.com ranks Washington as eighteenth in the country. Not bad.

Of the instate products the Seattle Times ranks as the best (blue chip players), four of them have committed to the UW: Matt Tuiasosopo (QB), Keauntea Bankhead (WR, DB), Johnny Kirton (RB), and Walter Winter (LB). Not bad again.

However, the Huskies apparently have missed out on some local products--a wide receiver and two offensive linemen--which could have helped their lot considerably. This for a couple of reasons.

For one, none of Washington’s true freshmen receivers from last season stepped to the fore to become that third receiver Cody Pickett could rely upon. And the UW doesn’t have a wide-receiver in this year’s class.

For another, it’s important for Keith Gilbertson, a former offensive lineman, to land the best athletes from the State of Washington if he has any hopes of staying around longer than Rick Neuheisel did at the Dub. 

In the midst of all this, fans are clamoring for a return to the traditional passing attack and running game that characterized Don James’ teams. To wit:

With the Mine-Me passing attack designed to ward off Dr. Evil last season, the UW should have been quarterbacked by Billy Bardy and thrown to Gary Goleman, all of them stars in their own right.

Therefore, missing out on wide receiver Chancellor Young (6-foot-2, 210), out of O’Dea high school, was huge. Young runs a 4.4 and is the son of Charlie Young of USC and 49ers fame. Young was one of eight players named to the Seattle Times’ Blue Chip team. He says he’s considering Oregon, UCLA or Duke, according to the Times. Curiously, he told the Times the Huskies don’t have a scholarship to offer.

Duh, make room for one.

Despite a dire need for quality offensive linemen, the Huskies (ranking sixth in conference rushing and ninth in giving up sacks in 2003) failed to bring in local product, four-star recruit Aaron Klovas out of Graham Bethel. He's ranked as the best offensive lineman from the state of Washington and is going to Oregon. According to rivals.com, Washington State gets the second best lineman in the state, Andy Roof (rated four stars).

Klovas is a member of the Long Beach Press-Telegram's "Best in the West" and was one of the Times’ Blue Chip players.

Seventy-five percent of the offensive linemen recruited by Washington over the past two years could be classified as sleepers, that is, they have been give two stars or less by the recruiting services. Neuheisel recruited four quality linemen in 2002, but only one of them, Clay Walker, is available now for duty in the trenches.

A sleeper is a guy who fell asleep in high school and suddenly wakes up in college. But a coach can have only so many sleepers in each class before he’s is laid to rest and dumped on his slumbering petard. Over the past two recruiting seasons, Arizona and Washington rank at the top of the conference when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen who rank as questionable.

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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