UW Football Recruiting | Huskies reel in touted Lakes duo
Washington receivers coach Charlie Baggett was already at Lakes High School on Thursday morning to celebrate one major commitment, from...
Seattle Times staff reporter
LAKEWOOD — Washington receivers coach Charlie Baggett was already at Lakes High School on Thursday morning to celebrate one major commitment, from receiver Jermaine Kearse, when Kavario Middleton joined the fun.
When Middleton, the state's top-ranked recruit, told Baggett he'd like to commit to UW, too, the Huskies assistant went nuts. He ran over to the 6-foot-6, 250-pound senior tight end and put him in a headlock.
"He tackled me," Middleton said.
The scene reminded Lakes coach Dave Miller "of a 5-year-old on Christmas morning getting that bicycle."
Amid the disappointment surrounding Washington's loss in last weekend's Apple Cup and a fourth consecutive losing season, the commitments from Middleton and Kearse — made official at a news conference Friday — must have felt like great gifts to the Huskies.
"Both those guys could have gone anywhere they wanted on the West Coast," said Greg Biggins, a Pac-10 recruiting analyst for Rivals.com.
The Huskies have watched some of the state's top players head elsewhere, including O'Dea's Taylor Mays (USC), Timberline of Lacey's Jonathan Stewart (Oregon) and Bellevue's Stephen Schilling (Michigan). Washington had already missed out this fall on Bellevue center David DeCastro (Stanford) and Hockinson of Brush Prairie tackle Nick Cody (Oregon).
Getting commitments from Middleton and Kearse assures the Huskies will keep at least two of the top recruits in state. Kennedy defensive end Everrette Thompson and Rainier Beach offensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu are the two highest-ranked in-state recruits who have yet to make a commitment, and both are considering the Huskies.
"They have a great chance at getting four of the top five guys," Biggins said. "Your first priority is to always to keep your top prospects in state. ... Getting those guys to stay is big."
Kearse made his decision Wednesday night.
"First of all," Kearse said, "I committed first. He [Middleton] committed after me. I kind of had to persuade him a little bit."
Middleton said there was never a moment he thought he wouldn't go to Washington.
"I kind of knew from day one I was going to U-Dub because my family's here, and my parents have supported me well through everything I've done since I was little," he said.
Both Lakes players said they didn't think much about where coach Tyrone Willingham stands with Washington, but they both said Willingham told them to ask athletic director Todd Turner about his status when they made their official visits.
Middleton and Kearse said the Huskies recruited them on offense, and they have been told they will have an opportunity to play next year.
"I want to play early," Middleton said. "That's a big factor."
Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
Washington State's Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Huskies
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