The list reads like a who's who of some the nation's most talented players in college football. Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart, USC safety Taylor Mays, Cal linebacker Anthony Felder and Michigan offensive lineman Steve Schilling are all natives of the state of Washington, but chose to head out of state rather than play for their hometown Washington Huskies.
However, things are starting to look up for head coach Tyrone Willingham in terms of keeping in-state talent. For instance, stud Washington quarterback Jake Locker, a native of Ferndale (Wash.), is already considered one of the best signal callers in the country.
Willingham continued his recruiting momentum within Washington as Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.) head coach Dave Miller confirmed with RISE this morning that his talented seniors, Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse, had pledged to the Huskies.
"I think our guys looked at the total program and how the players are handled with class," Miller told RISE. "The program is definitely heading in the right direction. I think our kids felt real comfortable with coach Willingham. They're real close at Washington. It's exciting to [Middleton and Kearse] to help bring things back at Washington."
Middleton and Kearse are both U.S. Army All-Americans. Middleton, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound tight end/defensive end, is rated the nation's No. 26 overall recruit in the Class of 2008 by RISE. This year, he caught 45 passes for 503 yards and eight touchdowns and tallied 115 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks on defense.
Meanwhile, Kearse might be one of the most underrated players in the country. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver/defensive back caught 55 passes this year for 903 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, he registered 89 tackles and six interceptions. He added a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and blocked two kicks, returning one for a touchdown.
Miller believes that Middleton and Kearse committing to Washington could pay big dividends in recruiting, especially within the state, for the Huskies. "I think it sends a message to stay at home and be a Husky," he says.