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Originally published February 1, 2009 at 5:35 PM | Page modified February 3, 2009 at 5:54 PM

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UW football gets commitment from punter Will Mahan

The latest commitments bring the Huskies' total to 18, with signing day set for Wednesday.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A pessimist, or a rival fan, might say that the Washington Huskies finally got in this recruiting class the one thing they need more than anything else — a punter.

But Will Mahan, a punter from Bakersfield (Calif.) Community College, said he and the other players who committed to the Huskies during their official visits this weekend were drawn by the program's new direction.

"It seems like everyone on the team is pretty excited about the new coaches and ready to work and commit to their program," he said. "I guess there were some problems with [former coach Tyrone] Willingham, and some of the players didn't like some of the ideas that he had. The new coaches are young and they bring intensity and just get after it, from what I noticed."

Others reported by multiple recruiting sites to have committed this weekend were defensive tackle Johnny Tivao of Cerritos (Calif.) CC, and offensive tackle Daniel Mafoe and defensive end Ryan Davis, both of El Camino (Calif.) CC.

The three bring the list of reported commitments for the Huskies to 18, with signing day set for Wednesday.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Mahan fills an immediate need for the Huskies, as the team's regular punter the past two years, Jared Ballman, has used up his eligibility.

Mahan said he also had offers from Montana, Colorado State and New Mexico but became intrigued by the Huskies when UW coaches first contacted him about a month ago.

He said he averaged 39 yards per kick last year at Bakersfield, with a net of 38, downing 16 of 35 inside the 20.

Tivao, who signed with Boise State out of high school, is listed at 5-11 and 340 pounds, and will have three years of eligibility, adding depth to a young defensive line.

The 6-4, 320-pound Mafoe was listed by Scout.com as having offers from Oklahoma, Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State, among others. At El Camino, Mafoe played for John Featherstone, who was the coach when new Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian played quarterback there in the mid-1990s. Washington has both of its starting tackles returning in left tackle Ben Ossai and right tackle Cody Habben.

The 6-4, 250-pound Davis originally committed to California but changed his mind, in part because he wants to be a defensive end and the Bears saw him as a linebacker.

Also reported visiting this weekend were junior college defensive tackle Myles Wade, a former Oregon signee from Portland who has given a soft verbal to Texas Tech; high-school cornerback Brandon Sermons, who has given a soft verbal to UCLA; cornerback David Batts of El Camino, who has given a soft verbal to Kansas State.

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That the Huskies got visits out of three players who had already committed to other schools, recruiting analysts said, points to the aggressiveness of Sarkisian and his staff, who had less than two months to recruit.

It also indicates that there could be a little bit of drama surrounding the Huskies as letter-of-intent day approaches and players make their final decisions.

"They are using every means possible to try to lure anyone and everyone to get in the boat to try to get this thing going," said Chris Fetters, the Northwest recruiting analyst for Scout.com.

Washington still is likely to sign a class that will rank near or at the bottom of the Pac-10. Including the weekend commitments, Scout.com has UW's class rated 72nd in the nation and last in the Pac-10. Rivals.com's rating, also updated as of Sunday, has Washington's class rated 83rd in the nation but ninth in the Pac-10, ahead of Washington State.

Note

Grant Cisneros, a tight end from Sumner High School who committed to play at Washington in November before Sarkisian was hired, has decided to play at Central Washington, according to his mother, Kim.

Sarkisian's staff told Cisneros in December that his offer was being reconsidered and he should pursue other options.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

UW commits
Here's a list of players who have committed to Washington
Pos Name Ht. Wt. Home
MLB Tim Tucker 6-2 230 Harbor City, Calif. (Narbonne)
CB Dominique Gaisie 5-10 170 Walnut, Calif. (Mt. San Antonio College)
DT Semisi Tokolahi 6-3 290 Hilo, Hawaii (Hilo)
DE Kimo Makaula 6-2 225 Honolulu (Punahou)
DT Chris Robinson 6-1 270 Tustin, Calif. (Tustin)
S Will Shamburger 6-1 187 Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
CB Desmond Trufant 5-11 170 Tacoma (Wilson)
S Nathan Fellner 6-0 195 Fresno, Calif. (Clovis West)
TE Dorson Boyce 6-2 250 Santa Maria, Calif., (Allan Hancock CC)
DE Talia Crichton 6-2 240 Lakewood, Calif. (Lakewood)
QB Keith Price 6-2 183 Bellflower, Calif, (St. John Bosco)
TE Marlion Barnett 6-2 220 Corona, Calif. (Santiago)
LB Andru Pulu 6-3 250 Federal Way (Federal Way)
CB Kenneth Pinkard 5-10 180 Dallas (South Oak)
P Will Mahan 5-11 180 Bakersfield, Calif. (Bakersfield CC)
DT Johnny Tivao 5-11 340 Norwalk, Calif. (Cerritos)
OT Daniel Mafoe 6-4 320 Torrance, Calif. (El Camino)
DE Ryan Davis 6-4 250 Los Angeles (El Camino)

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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