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Matching UW Commits with a Husky Blueprint to Follow

The fourteen eventual Montlake newcomers have others to emulate.
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College football recruiting is a fantasyland for everyone involved. Teenagers overnight are defined by stars, people often sitting on a couch at home become self-styled experts and each campus visit is truly awesome.

By all accounts, the University of Washington football program under Kalen DeBoer's lead has done well in this latest Easter egg hunt.

For sure, no Husky head coach has shifted the fan narrative more forcefully in the talent grab from "we really stink" to "we're not worthy!"

DeBoer and his staff tends to sneak up on you. See last year's Fresno State-UCLA football game, where a majority of these guys wouldn't give in at the Rose Bowl until they had pulled out a 40-37 victory in the final 14 seconds.

With the UW holding up 14 names, the fairly reputable 247Sports website has rubber-stamped the Husky haul as the 17th-best collection of commitments in the nation and No. 2 in the Pac-12 Conference.

Considering all of the stars delegated, compliments extended, airplane and boat rides involved, and crab legs eaten, we're going to use our decades of observation to try and match every new name with an old Husky.

It might not be a perfect position match, but we'll go with any reasonable connection to speed, size, style or phonics.

CLASS OF 2023 COMMITS

1) Tybo Rogers, RB, Bakersfield, Calif. — He was the first 2023 commitment for UW. He holds offers from nine Pac-12 schools, including USC and UCLA, plus Boston College and others. One recruiting outfit ranks him as California's No. 2 running back recruit in this class. Husky comparison: He resembles the man he's called coach in Bakersfield, Rashaan Shehee, who was hard running and shifty for the Huskies in the 1990s rather than an out-and-out blazer.

2) Keith Reynolds, WR, Adelanto, Calif. — Reynolds might be the fastest incoming Husky recruit this cycle. He has 77- and 80-yard punt returns, an 89-yard interception return and 77- and 94-yard runs for touchdowns so far in his school career. He was named league MVP while playing wide receiver, quarterback, defensive back and kick returner for a 1-9 team. Husky comparison: Beno Bryant. Flat-out, electric Southern California speed.

3) Deven Bryant, LB, Bellflower, Calif. — He hails from the St. John Bosco football powerhouse that previously sent eventual NFL first-round draft pick Trent McDuffie and others to the UW. He also holds offers from Oregon, Louisville and Colorado among his suitors. He brings a toughness pedigree. Husky comparison: Keishawn Bierria, similarly a SoCal backer who wanted to hit everyone.

4) Rashid Williams, WR, Pittsburg, Calif. — Williams is the first of three christened 4-star recruits for the Huskies so far. He turned down Miami, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Oregon among his 18 pursuers to give the Huskies their first highly decorated commit. He's coming off a 55-catch, 753-yard and 11-TD junior season. Husky comparison: In DeBoer's spread offense, why not aim big and become another Reggie Williams?

5) Jacob Lane, ER, Puyallup, Wash. — One of two local commitments among this group, he brings plenty of athleticism on a 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame. He has a 37-inch vertical leap. This edge rusher's other options included Utah, California, Arizona and San Diego State. Being that rare homegrown player gives him favored status among the fan base. Husky comparison: Travis Richardson, another very active  local edge rusher, who helped advance the Huskies to the 1990 Rose Bowl against Iowa.

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6) Diesel Gordon, CB, Arlington, Texas — With local 4-star corners Caleb Presley and Josiah Wagoner getting the hard push to go elsewhere, the Huskies turned to this Texas recruit from a 5A school (6A is tops) in the Dallas metroplex, one with a controversial $1.5 million Jumbotron. So he's used to bright Friday Night Lights. Arizona State and Utah also offered him. Husky comparison: William Doctor, the only other Texas cornerback the UW has signed and started, coming to the Seattle in the 1980s.

7) Anthony James II, ER, Wylie, Texas — James is the one who will be the most responsible for getting this UW class ranked high. He's a 4-star player with 23 offers, including SEC teams Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he should be ready to play right away when he arrives in Montlake next year. He cancels out the loss of local elite edge rusher Jayden Wayne, who decided the UW wasn't for him. Husky comparison: The late Reggie Rogers. They're both tall guys with freakish athleticism, with Rogers so talented he played linebacker as well as edge rusher in the 1980s.

8) Zach Henning, OT, Aurora, Colo. — He's one of three offensive linemen committed to this class, primarily choosing the Huskies over home state Colorado. He also holds offers from Kansas State, Oregon State, San Diego State, Indiana and Utah. Henning checks in at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds. Husky comparison: The Huskies have brought in almost no other offensive linemen from outside of West Coast states. Virginia's Ed Cunningham was an exception. Henning of the Denver suburbs is another.

9) Vincent Holmes, S, San Jacinto, Calif. — The third of the three UW recruits deemed 4-star, Holmes has elite 4.4-second speed over the 40. It will be interesting to see who's the fastest, Holmes or Reynolds? With his ability to run, he possibly could end up at corner. He holds offers from USC, UCLA, BYU, Colorado, Oregon State, Washington State and Arizona, among others. Husky comparison: He stands to be one of the fastest Husky safeties since Vince Newsome, a 1980s California import who ended up in the NFL.

10) Jordan Whitney, LB, Oxnard, Calif. — Yet another sprinter, he doubles as a trackman at Pacifica High School who runs the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. He and Bryant could be future starting linebackers playing side by side someday. He holds offers from USC, Arizona, California, Boise State, Fresno State, Washington State and others. Husky comparison: Chico Fraley, a heavy hitter from SoCal who could really get out and go for the UW's 1991 national championship team, gives Whitney a blueprint to follow. 

11) Elishah Jackett, OT, Orange, Calif. — He brings an overly impressive 6-foot-7, 280-pound frame mixed with plenty of athleticism from Southern California. While rated a 3-star player, he likely scoffs at that label after fielding other offers from USC, UCLA, Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Nebraska and more. Husky comparison: Dare we say Lincoln Kennedy, though Jackett will need to add another 35 pounds when he reports as a true freshman a year from now to truly match the man named after a pair of assassinated presidents.

12) Sua Lefotu, DL, Bellflower, Calif. — The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Lefotu tore an ACL and has missed all but two games of his high school career heading into his senior season at vaunted St. John Bosco. He's no secret, also holding offers from Michigan State, Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado. Husky comparison: When he tries to make up for lost time in college and play a lot, he would do well to emulate the similarly aggressive Larry Tripplett, another accomplished SoCal lineman though shorter than Lefotu. 

13) Landon Hatchett, C, Ferndale, Wash. — At 6-foot-3 and 292 pounds, he's already college size with a high school season left to play. He gives the Huskies a second state commitment. The younger brother of the UW's Geirean Hatchett, he also holds offers from Oregon, Michigan, Texas A&M and USC. Husky comparison: He's physical like Nick Harris over the ball and appears to have the same quirky sense of humor.

14) Lincoln Kienholz, QB, Pierre, S.D. — He's a dual-threat quarterback with size and speed. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Kienholz threw for 37 touchdowns and ran for 12 last fall. He shares DeBoer's South Dakota roots and winning ways, capturing a pair of state championships. He went with the UW instead of Wisconsin and Wyoming. Husky comparison: He looks like a skinnier Jake Locker and both come from similar small-town backgrounds, each growing up in a 14,000 population area.


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