Washington Football: How Steve Sarkisian Intends to Use Each New Recruit
The Washington Huskies have already made a splash with their talented 2013 recruitment class.
Washington’s 2013 class currently rank 14th in the nation, according to Scout. Highlighted by a pair of wide receivers, the class features six 4-star players and two in the top 100.
With only 16 commits so far, they still have a chance to improve, if they can pull down some commitments from more of their targets.
Regardless, the 2013 class already looks like a force to be reckoned with and one that head coach Steve Sarkisian will have no problem putting to work.
Here is a breakdown of how every new recruit will fit in Sarkisian’s system.
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After receiving commitments from two 4-star quarterbacks in the 2012 class, UW has only received one so far in the recruiting period.
However, that is another talented quarterback in Troy Williams, who is ranked as a 4-star prospect and the No. 14 quarterback in the nation.
Williams possessed offers from a host of Pac-12 schools along with prestigious programs such as Auburn and Florida, but chose to don the purple and gold.
Williams is built in the same mold as Keith Price, but is a little smaller at this point of his career. Like Price, he can be a dual-threat quarterback, but he is a passer first and foremost.
He has a strong arm and gets the ball out quickly and efficiently. There is no wasted movement in his release and that bodes well for him moving forward.
He does not feature the strongest arm, but that’s not to say his arm is weak by any means. He has decent arm strength and gets enough zip on the ball to be able to force it downfield.
He is extremely athletic, and really shows that in the running game. He holds the ball high and tight to avoid fumbles and shows the ability to run through some tacklers.
The biggest question mark surrounding him is the fact that he was featured mostly in shotgun sets during high school. He surely will have to transition to playing under center, but his footwork in the pocket looks sound enough that it should be a smooth transition.
Sarkisian will use Williams much like he does Price. He will feature him on boots and rollouts and let his athletic quarterback take over games.
Williams will mostly likely redshirt his first year in order to gain more strength, but he could be a playmaker down the road.
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The only running back to commit to the Dawgs so far is from Lavon Coleman. He is a 4-star recruit and is ranked as the No. 26 tailback in the nation, according to Scout.
Coleman is a bruiser. He is 5’11” and 210 pounds and looks more like a brick than anything else.
With his brash running style, Coleman truly possesses one speed and really does not speed up after he gets through the hole.
Although he lacks top-tier speed, Coleman makes up for it with his power, as he boasts a devastating stiff arm.
He must improve on running through tacklers after the line and heading north. At times during his high school career he had a tendency to look for the sidelines but that is not what the Huskies are going to want to see.
Coleman must be able to wear down opposing defenses, as he will most likely be a change of pace back from the others currently on the UW roster.
Regardless, Coleman should improve his speed during his time at Washington and if he can, the Huskies will be inheriting a playmaker that may not hit the home run as often as some would like, but will still be a solid contributor.
He is a good blocker at this point, so Coleman should count on getting some reps on passing downs.
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This is where the Huskies recruiting class starts to shine.
The best receiver in the class is Darrell Daniels, who is the No. 5 receiver in the country and a 4-star recruit, according to Scout.
Now is the time for just about everyone in Montlake to get excited about the prospect of what Daniels could become. It may not be out of the question to compare him to the likes of Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald at this point, but he looks a lot like former Husky great Reggie Williams.
Daniels has a great mix of speed, strength and size. After the catch, he is a weapon in the open field, as he has the moves to make defenders miss as well as the strength to power through them.
He is strong when the ball is in the air and if defenders do not account for his speed, they will be left in the dust.
Daniels boasts a long wing span, which makes him a valuable red zone target and he will be a mainstay around the end zone if the quarterback can get him the ball.
He played linebacker and running back as well during high school, which is a testament to his versatility.
Sarkisian should be salivating at the prospect of installing a player like Daniels into the offense, as he should be a centerpiece of the Dawgs offense for years to come.
The Huskies second best prospect is Daniels’ fellow receiver Demorea Stringfellow. He is also a 4-star recruit, but is ranked as the No. 11 receiver in the country, according to Scout. Stringfellow and Daniels seem to be cut from a similar cloth, but Daniels is the more polished receiver at this point in their careers.
Stringfellow will become more comfortable with the game and his upside is through the roof however. He is a big, strong receiver who seems to be made of mostly legs on his 6’3” frame.
He is not one to shy away from contact, yet should not hesitate to use his speed to get away from defenders.
He is excellent when the ball is in the air and simply grabs the ball out of the air rather than waiting for it to come to him. Stringfellow will be featured on the outside, but is not a complete deep threat, yet.
He must become a better route-runner, especially on vertical routes, if he wants to find success at the college level.
At this point, Coach Sark is inheriting a raw physical specimen that can turn into whatever he wants to.
If he puts in the time and effort, he could become one of the most talented receivers of the entire class. However, if he banks on his physical gifts he will get eaten alive by college defensive backs.
Look for Stringfellow to be flanked on the opposite side of Daniels in the future, as they should provide two big, bulky receivers for Husky quarterbacks to throw to.
The final wide receiver of the class is Sammie Long. He is a 3-star recruit, according to Scout and although he may not be as massive as Daniels or Stringfellow, he is just as tall.
Long stands at 6’4” but he is still a work in progress. For his size, Long is not great down field and really excels in the short to intermediate passing game.
He could be a fixture as an inside receiver, but with his size, he should be able to go down field. At this point, he must improve on his speed, as his wheels leave something to be desired.
He lacks a change-of-direction speed and is likely to get caught by defensive backs.
With a huge stride, Long should be able to make up plenty of ground, but looks for more slants and crossing routes than anything else.
Anticipate Long to be counted on for short routes over the middle from the slot until he can improve on his downfield ability.
Long will be a nice compliment to the two other receivers in this class, but he is simply not close to athlete the other two are.
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The Huskies surely added some size to their line with this recruiting class. The best lineman they pulled down was 3-star center Dane Crane.
Crane is listed at 6’3” and 305 pounds and could add more size during his time at UW. He plays with a nasty streak that is detrimental to succeeding in the trenches.
Crane boasts great run-blocking ability, but is still improving his handwork in terms of his pass-blocking. Another big issue with Crane is up to this point of his career he has rarely utilized shotgun snaps.
With the shotgun becoming an ever-increasing part of the college game, Crane will certainly need to add that to his arsenal to become successful.
However, at this point, Crane looks like he has all the tools to become a successful interior lineman and should thrive playing alongside other talented lineman.
He will certainly have to improve his technique in his first few seasons, but Sarkisian could count on Crane after a redshirt year.
Alongside Crane, the Huskies added 6’5” guard Andrew Kirkland.
Kirkland was ranked the No. 43 guard in the nation by Scout but he is far from a finished product.
He can certainly stand to gain some weight on his tall frame, but he has shown the ability to play at the college level.
He mostly played tackle in high school, but some expect him to slide to the inside during his college career. The biggest knock on Kirkland to this point is for him to become more insistent and meaner in his blocking.
He should not shy away from finishing off defenders after initial contact and that should come with more maturity. His technique will need some work as well, as his hand placement at this point is suspect.
Regardless, if Kirkland can gain more flexibility and toughness, Sarkisian could count on him down the road. He must improve from the current product if he wants a shot at succeeding at the next level.
The final offensive lineman from the 2013 class is Poasi Moala.
Moala is tall, yet relatively skinny, at 6’5” 265 pounds, yet he garnered attention from a number of Pac-12 schools.
He will certainly need to add mass to his frame to be successful at the next level, but he seems athletic enough that a move to defense may be in the cards.
Moala will obviously need to polish his blocking if he wants to play line at the next level, but Sarkisian has a kid who has all the tools to become a solid lineman.
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The Huskies pulled down a few talented defensive lineman in this class, highlighted by defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, who is ranked the No. 16 tackle, according to Scout.
Qualls is listed as an athlete, according to ESPN, but that may be in part because the 6’2”, 279 pound Qualls played running back and linebacker at times during high school. Running back is out of the question at the college level, as he would likely be restricted to fullback if anything, but Qualls should find a home along the line.
Qualls excels on the line by using a low pad level to get around his opposition. When he can create separation, he is an excellent tackler and uses his size and strength to bring the ball carrier to the ground.
He shows his speed and quickness along the defensive line as he boasts good lateral speed and can shoot through gaps to get after the quarterback.
At this point, Qualls is not good enough getting off blocks to be a force, but with some coaching he could become a special player.
He is very athletic, given his size, and he is still a raw specimen in regards to his work along the line.
Look for Sarkisian to unleash him alongside other blitzers, in order to give Qualls a one-on-one matchup where he can show his versatility.
Qualls must improve his handwork on the line if he wants to be a force on the line, but with more time to learn and improve, look for Qualls to be a serious playmaker.
Alongside Qualls, the Huskies brought in an extremely intriguing prospect in defensive end Daeshon Hall.
Hall is ranked as 4-star prospect and is a rare mix of height speed for an end.
He is 6’6”, yet only weighs 220 pounds. He is fast and could turn into a premier pass-rusher.
At this point in time, Hall is an unpolished product, and will definitely need some coaching to help him improve.
He could add quite a bit of weight to his frame, as long as he maintains his speed, and could stand to add some technique to his pass rush arsenal.
Regardless, Hall gets after the ball carrier and seemingly has a never-ending motor when it comes to attacking. He could become a very productive defender with the right support, but Hall has shown flashes through his high school career.
During his junior season, he racked up 11 sacks, which shows he has a knack for finding quarterbacks.
Sarkisian should utilize Hall off the edge by sending him at quarterbacks non-stop throughout games.
He must add some mass in order to be able to fight through blocks, but Hall could turn into a pass rushing extraordinaire if he acquires the right techniques.
Another fellow defensive lineman from this class is Andrew Basham. He is no small kid, as Basham comes in at 6’4” and 305 pounds.
Basham is a strong interior lineman, who will look to suck up blockers in order to alleviate some of the burden on his fellow lineman.
At this point he looks like a run stuffer, who will be able to get his pad level low and stop the running back.
Basham is not much of a penetrating lineman, because of his size, yet he can move the pocket at times due to his strength. His ability to garner the attention of multiple lineman will be detrimental to the defense’s success moving forward.
The interesting thing about Basham is that he played on both lines during his time in high school, and he could perhaps make a switch back to offensive line if necessary.
Sarkisian may test him out at both positions, and it would not be surprising to see Basham find a home at offensive guard if defensive tackle does not work out.
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The final part of the Huskies recruiting class is their core of linebackers. The first is Sean Constantine, who is a middle linebacker and was ranked as the No. 28 MLB in the nation, according to Scout.
Constantine could be a very productive player at the next level and his sound in his decision-making and angles to the ball.
However, he struggles on making plays outside of the tackles as he lacks the ideal speed for a Pac-12 caliber linebacker.
Furthermore, at this point of his career, he lacks the strength necessary to drive ball carriers backwards. Constantine will make plays, but is not strong enough to make the big hit.
Nonetheless Constantine is very smart and has a lot of room to improve. If he can add some speed and strength during his time at Washington, he will surely be a productive member of the defense.
He moves well through traffic, which aids him when making stops on the edge. He is also an above-average blitzer, and has shown a knack for getting after the quarterback.
Sarkisian should be able to use Constantine as an every down linebacker if he can improve in some specific areas.
He should be a sound tackler down the road, with a high awareness for how plays are developing.
O’Brien played safety during his time in high school, which is almost shocking considering he is 6’3” and 205 pounds. Due to his time at safety, O’Brien is excellent against the pass, and can make plays when the ball is in the air.
He can come down with interceptions at times and showed the capacity to deliver a big hit.
He certainly can add some more size to his frame, but if he can maintain his speed, the Huskies would be inheriting a very talented all-around player.
The biggest thing O’Brien must improve on at this point is becoming a solid tackler. He must add strength in order to wrap up and bring the ball carrier to the ground.
However, with some time to mature and fill out his tall frame, O’Brien could mature into a talented multi-purpose linebacker.
Sarkisian could use him as either an outside linebacker or nickel safety depending on how much mass he adds to his frame.
Regardless, O’Brien will need some time before he is ready to start contributing for the Dawgs.
Caleb Tucker is the final linebacker of the 2013 class and he will be counted on mostly as a run stuffer.
Tucker was featured mostly at defensive end during his high school campaign since he was bigger than most of the lineman he matched up against.
That will not be the case for Tucker in the NCAA, as his 6’2” 225 pound frame is likely more suited for outside linebacker.
He is excellent at getting through blocks and keeps his feet moving while he is being engaged by lineman.
Tucker has a non-stop motor and will likely find the ball carrier before the play is over with.
Nonetheless, he is a liability in coverage and will likely not see many snaps on passing downs. Tucker projects more as a special teams player with his ability for getting through blocks.