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Sports >  UW football

Analysis: Assessing Huskies’ commits, top targets in surging 2023 class

July 21, 2022 Updated Thu., July 21, 2022 at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Huskies tight end Devin Culp (83) reacts with Washington Huskies running back Kamari Pleasant (24) after Pleasant scored a touchdown during the first half of a college football game on Friday, Nov 26, 2021, at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Washington Huskies tight end Devin Culp (83) reacts with Washington Huskies running back Kamari Pleasant (24) after Pleasant scored a touchdown during the first half of a college football game on Friday, Nov 26, 2021, at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Mike Vorel Seattle Times

What a difference a month makes.

On June 19, the Washington Huskies had four verbal commits in their 2023 class.

By July 19, that number had grown to 18.

That’s thanks in part to a jumbo official visit week at the end of June that featured 12 prospects that have since committed. But however you explain the summer surge, Kalen DeBoer’s debut class at UW is ranked 18th in the country and second in the Pac-12 by 247Sports.

And yet, the class is not complete.

So, with fall camp fast approaching, and roughly seven slots to fill, here’s where Washington’s 2023 class currently stands — and who the Huskies might target in the sprint to national signing day.

Quarterback

Commits

Lincoln Kienholz | 6-3, 185 | Pierre, South Dakota | T.F. Riggs High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 0

Analysis: UW missed on a trio of four-star quarterbacks in Jaden Rashada (Miami), Gabarri Johnson (Missouri) and Avery Johnson (Kansas State). But in Kienholz, UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb gets a dual-threat, multisport athlete to mold on Montlake. Keinholz — who threw for 3,359 yards (55% completions) with 37 passing touchdowns and six interceptions while adding 1,165 rushing yards and 12 scores as a junior at T.F. Riggs High last fall — seems to be an ideal fit in DeBoer’s system. Next, he’ll have to prove he’s more than a plus-athlete.

Running back

Commits

Tybo Rogers | 5-11, 180 | Bakersfield, California | Bakersfield High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 0 or 1

Analysis: DeBoer and Co. are plenty familiar with Rogers, who they also recruited at Fresno State. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder is arguably undersized, but the staff values his breakaway ability and fluidity in catching the football. UW could conceivably add another commit to the program’s most uncertain position room … but only if the staff finds an ideal fit. Right now, there aren’t many obvious options.

Wide receiver

Commits

Rashid Williams | 6-2, 185 | Pittsburg, California | Pittsburg High | Four stars

Keith Reynolds | 5-10, 160 | Adelanto, California | Adelanto High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 1 or 2

Analysis: UW associate head coach and wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard is off to a fast start, reeling in a pair of California prospects in four-star Rashid Williams and three-star Keith Reynolds. But that group will assuredly grow — and three-star Taeshaun Lyons, four-star Jeremiah McClure and four-star Malachi Riley are the most likely commitment candidates. Many believed the speedy Lyons’ commitment was imminent over the last several weeks, but it appears he has delayed a decision.

Tight end

Commits: 0

Spots to fill: 1

Analysis: It’s true, tight end is not as critical a position in DeBoer’s system as it was under previous head coach Jimmy Lake. But UW needs a 2023 tight end commitment nonetheless. Four-star Jackson Bowers was recently seen as a heavy Husky lean, but he appears headed to BYU. Four-star Kenyon Sadiq is also an option who took an official visit to Montlake last month, but he’s trending to sign with Michigan. If Bowers and Sadiq don’t jump in the boat, position coach Nick Sheridan may have to dispense new offers and start from scratch.

Offensive line

Commits

Elishah Jackett | 6-7, 280 | Orange, California | El Modena High | Three stars

Landen Hatchett | 6-3, 295 | Ferndale | Ferndale High | Three stars

Zachary Henning | 6-6, 275 | Aurora, Colorado | Grandview High | Three stars

Soane Faasolo | 6-9, 260 | Menlo Park, California | Menlo-Atherton High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 0

Analysis: A year after he missed on five in-state offensive linemen, Scott Huff seems set for a stress-free summer and fall. Three-star prospects Elishah Jackett, Landen Hatchett, Zachary Henning and Soane Faasolo all committed this summer, and Jackett and Hatchett could achieve four-star status before they sign. That should allow Huff to focus on his current offensive line this fall, after that group massively underperformed in the Huskies’ 4-8 2021 season.

Defensive line

Commits

Elinneus Davis | 6-3, 295 | Moorhead, Minnesota | Moorhead High | Three stars

Sua Lefotu | 6-4, 285 | Bellflower, California | St. John Bosco High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 0 or 1

Analysis: The degree of need here hinges on whether four-star commit Anthony James (6-5, 245) ultimately sticks at edge or grows into a lanky defensive lineman. Regardless, UW has locked down a pair of intriguing interior prospects in Elinneus Davis and Sua Lefotu, no small feat in a region that sometimes lacks legitimate defensive line recruits. As for remaining options, three-star Scottsdale, Arizona, lineman Gavin Geweniger took a UW official visit last month and could factor into the equation.

Edge

Commits

Anthony James | 6-5, 245 | Wylie, Texas | Wylie East High | Four stars

Jacob Lane | 6-5, 230 | Puyallup | Emerald Ridge High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 1 or 2

Analysis: James may be the jewel of the class, a high-upside athlete and former Texas A&M commit that UW pulled out of Wylie, Texas. Lane, UW’s first in-state commit in this cycle, was an important addition as well. At a position that will likely lose Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Jeremiah Martin next offseason, the Huskies need to keep stacking future contributors. Four-star Blake Purchase and three-star Jaeden Moore are two of the Huskies’ top remaining targets.

Linebacker

Commits

Jordan Whitney | 6-2, 205 | Oxnard, California | Pacifica High | Three stars

Deven Bryant | 6-0, 210 | Bellflower, California | St. John Bosco High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 1 or 2

Analysis: UW already has commitments from a pair of linebackers in speedster Jordan Whitney and St. John Bosco standout Deven Bryant, but a few big fish could still be in play. Three-star thumper Victory Johnson seems to be a Husky lean, and a pair of four-star California products — Leviticus Su’a and Blake Nichelson — are considering official visits this fall. With expected transfer starters Cam Bright and Kristopher Moll both departing this offseason, reinforcements are required at linebacker.

Secondary

Commits

Curley Reed | 6-1, 180 | Lake Charles, Louisiana | Lake Charles College Prep | Four stars

Vincent Holmes | 6-0, 180 | San Jacinto, California | San Jacinto High | Four stars

Leroy Bryant | 6-0, 175 | Fairfield, California | Angelo Rodriguez High | Three stars

Diesel Gordon | 5-11, 170 | Arlington, Texas | Seguin High | Three stars

Spots to fill: 1

Analysis: UW missed on a pair of four-star in-state corners in this class, in Rainier Beach’s Caleb Presley and Spanaway Lake’s Jasiah Wagoner. But to say cornerbacks coach Juice Brown and safety coach Chuck Morrell have rebounded might be an understatement. Corner Curley Reed and safety Vincent Holmes are legitimate four-star prospects, and four-star Texas safety Jordan Sanford will likely add to the list when he announces his commitment on Aug. 4 as well. Oh, and beyond the blue-chippers, three-star corner Leroy Bryant might be the premier sleeper in UW’s 2023 class.

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