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Originally published August 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 15, 2008 at 12:17 PM

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Huskies land top state recruit Deandre Coleman from Garfield

Only a couple of miles away from Husky Stadium, football coach Tyrone Willingham found the new lead man of his next recruiting class. Willingham, whose uncertain future...

Seattle Times sports reporter

Only a couple of miles away from Husky Stadium, football coach Tyrone Willingham found the new lead man of his next recruiting class.

Willingham, whose uncertain future had some worried about recruiting, received a commitment Thursday from Garfield High School defensive tackle Deandre Coleman, considered by many to be the top senior in the state.

Coleman had previously indicated that he would wait to commit until after the season and take all of his official visits, but he decided this week he would rather have his commitment out of the way before the football season began. High-school practice begins Wednesday.

"I talked it over with my family, and I felt it was the best place for me," Coleman said. "I like coach Willingham. I have a good relationship with the coaches. I feel I have a good chance to play early. This is the right place for me."

Coleman, who grew up near the UW and wanted to stay close to his family, was not held back by Willingham's uncertain job status.

"He's a good coach, and I like him," Coleman said. "I feel he should be here."

After winning over a highly-rated recruiting class in 2008, Willingham was the last coach in the Pac-10 to receive a commitment this summer. His first didn't come until July 23, when California quarterback Keith Price committed. Three more commitments have come since, but none of those recruits come close to Coleman's level nationally.

"He's really the one national-level recruit (from Washington), the guy who could play for just any top-20 program," said Greg Biggins, a Pac-10 recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. "He's the one must-have recruit you need to get."

Scout.com ranks Coleman, 6-4, 285 pounds, as the 13th-best defensive tackle in the country, and he chose the Huskies instead of offers from defending national champion LSU, Oregon and California.

This marks the second consecutive year Willingham has successfully recruited the top-rated player in the state; he signed Lakes' blue-chip tight end, Kavario Middleton, last year.

"If you can keep that top player in the state every year, that's a great place to start," Biggins said.

Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or twyrwich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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