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Originally published January 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM | Page modified January 25, 2014 at 6:06 PM

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Recent recruits hoist Husky class from subpar to stellar

UW’s class has skyrocketed from the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference to respectability.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Given a truncated timeline in which to attract recruits, Washington’s new coaching staff could’ve been forgiven for assembling a less-than-stellar class in its first recruiting cycle.

Suddenly, though, UW’s class has skyrocketed from the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference to respectability — with two local stars still dangling in UW’s stratosphere.

New coach Chris Petersen and the Huskies landed verbal commitments from seven recruits during a five-day stretch last week, headlined by four-star quarterback prospect K.J. Carta-Samuels from San Jose, Calif.

“That’s pretty remarkable,” Brandon Huffman, a national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said of UW’s haul. “It shows obviously that Petersen and his staff — they know what they’re doing. They know they’re recruiting at a different level (from Boise State), and they’re acting like it.”

On Dec. 15, less than a week after Petersen was introduced as the new coach, UW had just five committed recruits for this class, the fewest of any BCS-level program. At the time, the class was ranked as low as 101st in the nation.

The recent surge gives UW 16 committed recruits for the Class of 2014, which entered the weekend ranked 45th in the nation by Scout. Another 11 prospects are reportedly visiting campus this weekend.

Thursday, three-star receiver Dante Pettis from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., became the latest to commit to the Huskies. Pettis, the nephew of longtime Mariners scout Stacey Pettis, was one of about 15 recruits who visited UW last weekend, and he said he was impressed by a presentation Petersen made to the recruits.

“I had heard things about how intent he was on people doing the right thing, and on the visit we really saw that,” Pettis said. “He made this presentation about building character and making sure we have good grades. A lot of it wasn’t even about football. I thought that was cool, that he cared about us off the field that much.”

Carta-Samuels is the “cream of the crop” for UW’s class so far, and Huffman said the quarterback’s commitment was especially impressive considering the Huskies only started recruiting him a couple weeks ago. When he made his pledge to UW, via Twitter, Carta-Samuels also made a pitch to Bellevue’s Budda Baker to join him.

Baker, The Seattle Times state player of the year and an Army All-American, was with Carta-Samuels and the other recruits on the UW campus last weekend. (Another Bellevue standout, defensive lineman Shane Bowman, committed to UW on Monday after also visiting campus last weekend.)

The state’s other top recruit, Fife offensive tackle Kaleb McGary, was slated to be on campus this weekend, and Huffman believes the Huskies have “at worst” a 50-50 shot of keeping Baker and McGary in state.

“I thought it was great,” Baker said of his UW visit, adding: “I got an impression that they care more about developing guys into a man instead of just football. (Petersen is) bringing more discipline onto the team. Those were probably the two main factors.”

Baker, who backed out of a commitment to Oregon, is also considering UCLA. Along with UW, McGary is believed to have Oregon State and Washington State among his final choices.

“Oregon and Oregon State both wanted those guys,” Huffman said, “so if (UW) can keep them home, it not only strengthens their class but also weakens their rivals’.”

UW commitments
The Huskies have commitments from 16 players, as of Friday.
Pos., playerHometown
WR Dante PettisSan Juan Capistrano, Calif.
QB K.J. Carta-SamuelsSan Jose, Calif.
RB Jomon DotsonAmerican Canyon, Calif.
OL Jesse SosobeeHuntington Beach, Calif.
OL Matt JamesCoeur d’Alene, Idaho
OL John TurnerLos Angeles
DE Shane BowmanBellevue
K Tristan VizcainoLa Verne, Calif.
S Drew LewisRedmond
DT Greg GainesLa Habra, Calif.
CB Brandon LewisElk Grove, Calif.
TE Drew SampleBellevue
S Jojo McIntoshWest Hills, Calif.
S Darren GardenhireLong Beach, Calif.
S Lavon WashingtonOakland, Calif.
TE Chase BlakleyCoeur d’Alene, Idaho

Adam Jude: 206-464-2364

or ajude@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter: @a_jude.

Staff reporter Josh Liebeskind contributed to this article.



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