Washington Huskies Football Recruiting: Top 5 Position Needs in 2012
As the final recruiting period opens before National Letter of Intent Day on February 1st, Steve Sarkisian and his rebuilt Washington Huskies coaching staff have specific roster needs to fill this winter.
Losing out on top in-state talent has the Husky fan base jittery about this year's recruiting class, but Sark and company have two weeks to snag some late commits.
Here's a look at five positions the Dawgs need to bolster by signing day.
5. Defensive Tackle
A team can never have too many interior defensive linemen, and Washington only boasts one verbal commit at defensive tackle thus far.
Losing future NFL draft pick Alameda Ta'amu—coupled with the youth on UW's defensive line—led Sarkisian to land JC defensive tackle Josh Banks in this year's class.
Banks should bring maturity to a position that will feature true sophomore Danny Shelton next season.
With only Banks locked up, UW could use one more big body.
New linebackers coach Peter Sirmon brings a great reputation for successfully recruiting and molding young linebackers into premier players.
Mr. Sirmon, you've got a few weeks to live up to the hype.
Washington fielded one of its youngest (and weakest) linebacker groups last season, and were exposed to the whole country in the Alamo Bowl.
Graduating middle linebacker Cort Dennison leaves another void for Sirmon to fill, and finding an emerging leader among Garret Gilliland, Thomas Tutogi, Scott Lawyer, Cooper Pelluer and Jamaal Kearse is a huge question mark this offseason.
Up to this point, Washington has received only one verbal commitment at linebacker.
Erik Folk kicked game winners for Washington over a strong career, and now UW needs to replace both their place kicker and punter next season.
The Dawgs made huge strides in their special teams last year from kick coverage to punting, and signing a solid kicker/punter is vital to sustaining this momentum.
2. Offensive Line
When local stars Josh Garnett and Walker Williams eliminated Washington from their potential schools, all eyes turned to Zach Banner, a 6'9" behemoth offensive lineman that could change the perception of this entire class.
Getting commitments from Seattle-area OLs Cory English and Nathan Dean helps UW's depth, but many will be devastated if Zach Banner chooses USC or Oklahoma over Washington.
Jake Eldrenkamp and Shane Brostek are two names Husky fans would also love to see signing on February 1st.
Though the Huskies caught a few recent breaks at cornerback—namely, Antavius Sims finally enrolling and Desmond Trufant not declaring for the NFL draft—pass coverage remains a huge issue in Montlake.
Redshirt freshman Marcus Peters could help solidify the cornerback position next season, but Washington needs more cover corners on its roster.
Three-star recruit Darien Washington verbally committed and seems to be sticking to it (despite cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin leaving for UCLA), but he appears to be the only commitment at the position right now.
Martin's departure also loosens UW's grip on two corners from Compton, Brandon Beaver and Alphonso Marsh. Where those two recruits sign will heavily impact this class.
Husky fans hope that new hire Keith Heyward brings a few commitments with him from Oregon State, and that he has enough time to make a splash on the recruiting trail.