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Husky Football Blog

Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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February 29, 2008 7:22 PM

Wanna be the Husky Stadium PA guy?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well here's your chance.

Among the myriad of announcements from UW today was the news that the school is launching an official search for a new public address announcer for football games.

Here's the release from including a job description and application process.

It's the first time since the late '40s UW has had an open call for a new PA guy. Lou Gellerman, who had handled duties since 1985, retired last season and was replaced on an imterim basis by Eric Radovich, who is the PA guy for basketball.

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February 29, 2008 4:06 PM

UW appoints AD search committee

Posted by Bob Condotta

The news just keeps coming today out of Montlake.

The school announced this afternoon that a search committee has formally been created in the search for a new athletic director.

Here are the members of that search committe:

Dean Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, University Libraries (Chair)

Brooke Anderson, UW student-athlete

John Connors, Member, Tyee Board of Advisors

Professor J. Patrick Dobel, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs

Professor Roland E. (Pete) Dukes, Department of Accounting

Lesle Gallimore, Head Coach, Women’s Soccer

Anne Gittinger, Member, Tyee Board of Advisors

Vice Provost Eric Godfrey, Student Life

Professor Christine Ingebritsen, Scandinavian Studies

Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice President for Minority Affairs and
Vice Provost for Diversity

Professor David Lovell, Psychosocial and Community Health

Carol S. Niccolls, Special Counsel to the President

Lorenzo Romar, Head Coach, Men’s Basketball

Dr. Edward Taylor, Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs

It has not yet been decided if the school will hire an outside firm to help in the search.

The committee is expected to meet for the first time sometime next week.

Wilson, the chair, and UW president Mark Emmert were to meet today to begin plans for the search.

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February 29, 2008 4:03 PM

Willingham on Locker and baseball

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are some quotes from Husky coach Tyrone Willingham on the announcement today that UW quarterback Jake Locker will play for a summer baseball team, as relayed by the UW sports information department.

"Jake is such a great competitor and I completely support his decision to play baseball this summer,'' said Willingham, who was a second-team all-Big Ten Conference selection as a centerfielder on the Michigan State baseball team. "He has always had, and will continue to have, a positive commitment to our program and to his teammates. That will not change. I don't believe that playing baseball this summer will have a negative impact on his development as a football player.

"One of the great things about our program is that we are continually adding great competitors. Having players, such as Jake, who have a high degree of competitiveness is such a critical component in our development of a championship program.

"I am excited about Jake's involvement in baseball this summer and I know it will be a great complement to his development as a football player and as a person.''

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February 29, 2008 12:04 PM

Locker to play summer baseball

Posted by Bob Condotta

Word has come today quarterback Jake Locker is going to play baseball this summer.

The Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League announced today that Locker has agreed to play for their team this summer.

Here is the press release from the Bells:

University of Washington quarterback and Ferndale High School star Jake Locker has signed
a contract to play baseball with the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League's Bellingham Bells during the 2008 season, Bells General Manager Dave Lewis announced today.

The Bellingham Bells are a member of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, a wood bat summer baseball league, and play their home games at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham, Washington.

"We are extremely excited to have Jake on the team,'' Lewis stated. "Not only is he is a great athlete who will bring his skills to our talented roster, but he is another great local addition to the team. Head Coach Brandon Newell has done a great job of bringing in local players.''

Locker joins his cousin Brady Locker and several other Whatcom and Skagit County natives on the Bells 2008 roster, which will be released in the coming weeks.

Newell added, "Jake fits well with our philosophy of winning with local players. We have taken advantage of the hotbed this area has become for baseball talent by bringing in players from the area.''

As a baseball player at Ferndale High School, Locker was named the Washington State 3A Most Valuable Player following his senior year, and was named to the All-State Team as a pitcher and outfielder. Locker joins Brady Locker (Ferndale), Matt Argyropoulos (Mark Morris), and Jordan Chambers (Sehome), as Washington All-State players on the Bells roster.

Locker was awarded the Pac Ten Conference Freshman of the year following his outstanding 2007 football
season. He established the modern record for rushing yards by a quarterback by amassing 986 yards in his redshirt freshman year.

"I am excited to play baseball this summer,'' Locker said. "There are a lot of exciting things happening with the Bells and I am going to have fun being a part of it all.''

UPDATE --- UW officials have notified us that Locker is not getting paid for this, though it wouldn't be an NCAA violation if he were. Student-athletes can be paid in one sport and still be an amateur in another. Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, who played minor league baseball last summer, is a good example.

However, in this case, the phrase "sign a contract'' means only that Locker has signed an agreement to play for the team this summer. UW officials say the ''contract'' is simply an agreement that they will play for that specific team and outlines the obligations of the player and the team.

Here's the website for the Bells as well as their schedule.

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February 27, 2008 12:46 PM

ESPN looks ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'll pass along a couple of stories from previewing spring football for the Pac-10.

First, here are ESPN's pre-spring power ratings with the Huskies listed eighth ahead of only Stanford and Washington State.

Here's the complete order:

1, USC
2, Arizona State
3, Oregon
4, Oregon State
6, Cal
7, Arizona
8, Washington
9, Stanford
10, Washington State

My quick thoughts? The conference could really be a jumble. Other than USC at the top and the bottom two teams there's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of potential for movement up and down once the season starts. Everyone seems to have some significant questions and how they answer those between now and September will tell a lot about what happens in the fall. I'm sure almost all of you will protest UW being eighth. But coming off four straight losing seasons, and with the uncertainty at DL, RB and WR (and the fact that the biggest strength --- Locker --- is still an unfinished product), it's understandable that those looking from the outside will be pretty skeptical about the Huskies. I would expect this will be fairly typical for where the Huskies will be selected in pre-season polls. Also, Oregon State really seems too high given all their losses.

Here also is ESPN's look at what to watch for each team during spring practice. (And an FYI --- the date listed for the UW spring game is incorrect. As reported here and elsewhere locally in the last day, the spring game is April 26).

Speaking of spring practice, I've gotten a couple of e-mails from people wondering why some teams start earlier than UW and if the Huskies are at a disadvantage as a result. The answer to the latter is no. Everyone gets the same amount of practices --- 15 --- no matter when they start. When teams hold practice often revolves around class schedules --- whether it's a quarter or semester school, when spring break falls, etc. So starting earlier doesn't mean they get more practice time in, just that they get it done sooner.

TSN CHIPS IN, AS WELL --- Also, here is a pre-spring look at the Pac-10 from The Sporting News that isn't quite as detailed and just lists the teams alphabetically.

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February 26, 2008 2:14 PM

Spring game set

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's annual spring game will be held April 26, the school announced today.

Spring practice will begin April 3.

Teams are allowed 15 practices during the spring, 12 in full pads.

More details on spring practice, including a kickoff time for the spring game as well as new special events that will surround the weekend, will come later.

UPDATE ---- For those who have asked, I am told there is no TV of the spring game. It will likely be streamed live on (more information on that later) and there will also probably be some sort of involvement by KJR-AM (also more info later).

The spring game will also be held in conjuction with Washington Weekend, which is a campus-wide event featuring open houses, reunions, lectures and tours, as well as sporting events. Here are details on Washington Weekend.

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February 25, 2008 5:26 PM

Longtime Husky assistant Corrigan passes away

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sad news out of Montlake today as it was learned that former Husky assistant coach Myles Corrigan died Sunday of heart and kidney troubles. He had turned 64 earlier this month.

Corrigan worked with the UW football program for 14 years as a graduate assistant, tight ends coach and director of football operations.

He was tight ends coach from 1987-93 before suffering a dissected aorta during the 1993 game at Cal, which forced his retirement from coaching. He then served as director of football operations for the rest of the Jim Lambright era. He first came to UW as a graduate assistant under Don James in 1986 after having been an assistant at the University of Puget Sound.

Corrigan had been a high school and college coach for more than 15 years when he accepted the GA position, a job he sought after failing to become head coach at UPS.

"He was a good man,'' James said Monday. "You could see as a GA that he was more than a GA. He had the experience and he could coach. He had a real good temperament with the kids and was a good recruiter. He did a good job for us.''

Among the notable players Corrigan coached at UW were Aaron Pierce, Mark Bruener and Ernie Conwell.

Here's more information on Corrigan from his church, Life Center in Tacoma, where he was Director of Men's Ministries, Leadership & Stewardship.

Here's a column penned by Blaine Newnham shortly after the 1993 Cal game.

Corrigan had recently announced that he planned to work next fall as offensive coordinator at Life Christian High School in Tacoma where his son, Todd, was recently named head coach.

A service honoring Corrigan will be held March 3 at 3:30 p.m. at Life Center.

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February 24, 2008 4:40 PM

Sapp has short night at Tacoma Dome

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, I'll pass along this from our paper today on former Husky Bob Sapp, now a mixed martial arts fighter, among a lot of other things.

Sadly, his fight at the Tacoma Dome Saturday night didn't go so well, as Danny O'Neil reports, lasting just 55 seconds before he suffered a technical knockout.

Here's Steve Kelley's column two weeks ago on Sapp that details his winding road from UW football player to mixed martial arts stardom.

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February 23, 2008 10:05 AM

Coaches Hot Seat breaks down Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

So here's something from the web site right in the wheelhouse for all of you debating how many wins UW has to get next season to save the job of coach Tyrone Willingham.

The site offers this breakdown of UW for next season and speculates that the Huskies will finish 6-6 and that that will be enough to earn Willingham more time.

Hard to argue with any of their keys for next season since they are all pretty obvious --- no question Jake Locker's development will be huge and that UW has to play better defense, etc.

I would agree that home success is huge next season, especially since so many of the games appear winnable --- the Pac-10 schedule is simply flipped from last year which means bringing in UCLA instead of USC, Stanford instead of Cal, etc. It seemed like the home collapses against Arizona and WSU caused as much angst as anything else that happened last season.

I would also agree with the line about the opener at Oregon being huge --- I can't think of a season-opener in the 11 years I've covered the team that will be more heavily scrutinized.

And it's again an obvious point that the Huskies need to show some major improvement next season. But does two wins, as these guys speculate UW will get, qualify in that regard? Could depend at that point on what happens in a bowl game --- 7-6 could look a whole lot different than 6-7.

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February 22, 2008 6:51 PM

Bonnell heading overseas

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Washington quarterback Carl Bonnell is continuing his football career in a rather unlikely locale --- Austria.

Bonnell has agreed to play for the Hohenems Blue Devils of the Austrian Football League and is already in Europe with the season due to begin March 29. His brother, Ray, who played football at Washington State, will be a player-coach for the team, serving as defensive coordinator. Ray Bonnell coached in the same league a couple of years ago.

Here's the home page for the league and here's some information on Hohenems, a small town in western Austria.

Bonnell's father, Glenn, said Carl plans to return home in May to participate in a combine for prospective NFL free agents with the hope of getting invited to a camp but will then also have the option of returning to Austria.

Anyone who wants to know the type of experience Bonnell may be in for in Austria should read the recent
best-selling John Grisham book "Playing for Pizza'' which described a fictional season in the Italian Football League.

Carl Bonnell graduated with a degree in history and is touring Europe with his wife, Katie, until play starts in Austria.

"They took a second honeymoon,'' Glenn Bonnell said. "He's having fun.''

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February 20, 2008 4:33 PM

A complete two-deep

Posted by Bob Condotta

In our look at UW by position heading into the spring we have produced two-deeps for every section of the team.

Now it's time to put all of those together and give one, complete prospective two-deep with spring ball six (or seven, or five, who knows at the moment) weeks away.

So here goes:


Jake Locker, So.
Ronnie Fouch, RFr.

Brandon Johnson, So.
J.R. Hasty, Jr./
Willie Griffin, RFr./
Brandon Yakaboski, RFr.

Paul Homer, Jr.
Luke Kravitz, Sr.

Michael Gottlieb, Sr.
Johnie Kirton, Sr./
Chris Izbicki, RFr.

LT Ben Ossai, Jr.
Skyler Fancher, RFR.

LG Ryan Tolar, So.
Jordan White-Frisbee, Sr.

C Juan Garcia, Sr.
Matt Sedillo, So.

RG Casey Bulyca, Sr.
Scott Shugert, RFr./
Morgan Rosborough, Jr.

RT Cody Habben, So.
Mark Armelin, RFr.

WR D'Andre Goodwin, So.
Anthony Boyles, TFr./
Tony Chidiac, Jr./
Charles Hawkins, Sr.

WR Curtis Shaw, So.
Alvin Logan, RFr./
Devin Aguilar, TFr.
Chris Polk, TFr.


DE Te'o-Nesheim, Jr.
Darrion Jones, Jr.

DT Cameron Elisara, So.
Nick Wood, RFr.

DT Jovon O'Connor, Sr.
Tyrone Duncan, RFr.

DE De'Shon Matthews, So.
Kalani Aldrich, RFr.

WLB E.J. Savannah, Jr.
Chris Stevens, Sr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./Trenton Tuiasosopo, Sr.

SLB Mason Foster, So.
Matt Houston, So.

CB Byron Davenport, Sr.
Matt Mosley, So.

CB Jordan Murchison, Sr.
Vonzell McDowell Jr., So.

FS* Darrin Harris, Sr.
Nate Williams, So.

SS Mesphin Forrester, Sr.
Victor Aiyewa, So.

* --- FS Jason Wells out for spring recovering from knee surgery.


PK Ryan Perkins, Jr.
Jared Ballman, Sr./
Erik Folk, RFr.

P Jared Ballman, Sr.
Ryan Perkins, Jr.

SNAP Danny Morovick, Jr.

(UW will have to find a new holder --- Carl Bonnell did that last year --- as well as new starting kickoff and punt returners).

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February 18, 2008 1:31 PM

A couple of early looks at next year

Posted by Bob Condotta

Thanks to readers out there for passing along two stories that take an early look at next season for the Huskies.

I'll pass them along here to everyone.

First, here's a preview of the Huskies from Sunday Morning Quarterback that throws UW into its category of teams that are on the "Road to Recovery.'' Unlike another recent story that compared UW favorably to Illinois of a year ago, this writer says there isn't much of an adequate comparison to be made there. Sounds like something to investigate further down the road.

Second, here's a look at the entire Pac-10 from One minor quibble --- it's most accurate to say UW loses five defensive starters (Jordan Reffett, Greyson Gunheim, Wilson Afoa, Dan Howell, Roy Lewis) as opposed to seven. This could be one of those cases where a guy looked at UW's class designations for players (assuming guys like Trenton Tuiasosopo, Darin Harris and Mesphin Forrester are really seniors) and not what their actual eligibility is. You could probably question as well the statement that the UW defense "got to the quarterback on a regular basis.'' For the record, UW was sixth in the Pac-10 with 35 sacks but got a lot of those in a few games, such as seven against Syrcause.

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February 17, 2008 7:27 PM

Huskies a no-show at NFL Combine

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NFL Scouting Combine begins this week (running Feb. 20-26). But the Huskies won't be represented, with none of UW's potential draftees getting an invite.

Here's the official list of players invited to the combine and there are no Huskies included among the 335 players mentioned.

Every other Pac-10 team has at least one player on the list, and 40 players from the conference have received invites (here's the list of Pac-10 attendees).

This doesn't mean no Huskies will be drafted, but it is in line with the conventional wisdom that few, if any, Huskies have a real good shot of being selected.

Here's the page of UW prospects from, showing not only seniors but players from all classes.

As is explained in the fine print, the site tries to use "the best verifiable 40-yard time'' for each player. Interesting to see Vonzell McDowell tied with Louis Rankin as the fastest on the list (4.48).

Also interesting to see Chris Izbicki rated as the second-best prospect.

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February 15, 2008 4:00 PM praises Donatell hire

Posted by Bob Condotta

In his list of the top 10 newly hired assistants likely to make the biggest impact next season, Stewart Mandel of rates UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell No. 6.

Donatell was officially hired a couple weeks ago to take over a defense that ranked as the worst in school history last season in terms of yards allowed.

Mandel writes that UW's defense "was in desperate need of a new direction. Donatell obviously brings significant experience.''

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February 14, 2008 10:24 PM

Tui A. sighting

Posted by Bob Condotta

So for something just completely fun, was browsing through the website for the new All American Football League and noticed a name from the not-so-distant past on one of the rosters --- former Husky linemen Tui Alailefaleula.

He is on the roster of Team Arkansas.

He's the only former Husky I saw on a roster.

The league will begin play in April. Here's a good primer on the league.

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February 14, 2008 4:14 PM

The view from Eugene

Posted by Bob Condotta

Readers of the basketball blog are aware I'm in Eugene tonight for the Husky basketball game.

I figure the next time I'll be here is for the opener of the UW football season next August, a game that's probably as critical as any opener can be for all sorts of obvious reasons.

As I was driving here today I listened to the local all-sports radio station and with the Huskies in town, the discussion centered on what school is really Oregon's biggest rival.

The host agreed that UW-Oregon football rivalry is huge, maybe more heated than Oregon State, but that it has lost some luster in recent.

"It hasn't been a rivalry since Ty Willingham's been there because they've been such a pathetic program,'' the host said.

So that's what they think of the Huskies here right now.

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February 14, 2008 8:37 AM

On quarterback coaching

Posted by Bob Condotta

Many of you have asked whether the Huskies, in having some coaching vacancies this year, have thought about hiring a new quarterbacks coach.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham was asked that question on his teleconference to announce the Brian White hiring the other day and said no, the rest of the staff assignments will remain the same.

That means offensive coordinator Tim Lappano also having responsibility for the quarterbacks with help from graduate assistant Luke Huard, the younger brother of former Huskies Damon and Brock Huard.

The tone and volume of the e-mails I've gotten on this topic lead me to believe there is a perception out there that UW has to get better in this area.

Certainly, no one disputes that the biggest room for improvement in Jake Locker's game is his passing. His completion percentage of 47.3 last year (155-328) was the lowest in the Pac-10, and his passing efficiency rating of 105.0 was the second-lowest in the Pac-10 and not high enough to rank among the top 100 in the country.

But given Locker's inexperience running a sophisticated passing attack some struggles were to be expected. Also, I think you could conservatively estimate that he had at least two passes a game that were dropped by receivers. Give him 24 more completions (he played in only 12 games, remember) and his percentage would rise to 54 percent.

Huard is obviously new to college coaching --- last year was his first season --- but Lappano was QB coach at Washington State in 1991 (helping groom Drew Bledsoe there) and Oregon State from 1999-2002 (when the QBs were Jonathan Smith and Derek Anderson). So I think you can assume he knows what he's doing.

As for what they can do with Locker in the off-season, the answer is not much. Coaches aren't allowed to do hands-on coaching until the spring. But they can recommend drills, set up an off-season program, etc., so when Locker does his regular informal seven-on-seven passing sessions with the receivers, he is working on things that he has discussed with the coaches previously.

When spring ball comes around in April, the coaches will again be able to work with Locker more specifically. I think everyone will be surprised if he doesn't show some marked improvement in his passing next season. The big question this year will be the young receiving corps and how quickly he and they can develop some timing and chemistry.

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February 13, 2008 1:07 PM

My response to The Sporting News

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm admittedly a little hesitant to write about anything on here that involves reexamining the past, understanding the desire of most of you to move on.

But Matt Hayes of The Sporting News left me with little choice with this column penned earlier this week in which he tries to make the case that The Seattle Times has a vendetta against Rick Neuheisel.

I get the reasoning --- the Times broke the gambling story in 2003 that eventually led to Neuheisel's firing, then were viewed as piling-on with the series that ran last month.

I didn't write or make any of the decisions on the series, which is why I haven't written much about that in this space, and if Hayes had left it there, I would have, as well. My intent isn't to get into any of that since that wasn't my story.

But in his column, Hayes refers to e-mails written by Times staffers years ago in response to a story he wrote about Neuheisel in 2004 as proof of our vendetta.

As the author of one of those e-mails (and a reply or two back), I feel it my right to respond (and yes, I note the irony here given other recent events).

I wrote an e-mail in response to this story he wrote in 2004 that included a timeline that featured the following statement concerning Neuheisel's 2003 interview with the San Francisco 49ers --- ''Terry Donahue, Neuheisel's coach at UCLA, offers him the 49ers coaching job, which Neuheisel declines.''

I wrote to tell Hayes that we had an on-the-record comment from Donahue denying that Neuheisel was ever offered the job --- he cited no sourcing for his contention that Neuheisel was offered the job, and since some saw his story as refuting some of what we had reported, figured I'd point that out.

I got the Donahue comment in the summer of 2003 in the wake of Neuheisel's firing when the 49ers issue became a key point and we were trying to ascertain exactly what happened.

In his column this week, Hayes writes that we referred to ''NFL sources'' --- his quotes --- as if we had some vague, shadowy contacts for our information.

No, we had Terry Donahue, then the general manager of the 49ers, on the record.

Hayes responded that, well, we only had Donahue through a spokesman and that Donahue wasn't the one who made the decision and that you can't really go with what they say on the record anyway.

(We got it through a spokesman because it was a Friday in the summer time and Donahue was on vacation and didn't want to do a phone interview. Not ideal, but I don't really know the difference in a yes-or-no question. We relayed the question, a spokesman asked Donahue, and Donahue said no, he wasn't offered the job.)

And it's Hayes' story (or the timeline that goes with it, which I assume he okayed) that said Donahue was the one who made the offer.

Donahue wasn't our only source for saying Neuheisel didn't get an offer, however. No one at UW ever believed Neuheisel got an offer --- in February of 2003 or now --- and another who asserts that, as well, is former Husky quarterback Hugh Millen, now a talk show host in the area.

Millen said at the time and continues to say that Neuheisel was never offered the job.

Millen also provides a lot of specifics to back up his contention, such as that there was a two-tier interview process where Neuheisel first had to meet with Donahue and Bill Walsh and then with owner John York, and that the initial interview went so poorly that Neuheisel didn't even get to the meeting with York other than a quick meet-and-greet on his way out of the building. Millen has said that he has it on good authority that Walsh said that it was ''evident in the first five minutes that Neuheisel was in over his head.'' That's a lot of detail to just make up out of the blue.

And to make clear, Millen said all this in the days after Neuheisel interviewed for the job in 2003 when the information was freshest and before events happened later that led to a lot of spinning.

So when I wrote to Hayes, it wasn't vague ''NFL sources'' I was citing, but our on-the-record denial from Donahue, plus the comments of Millen, plus many others, like the source who told me Neuheisel asked the UW to delay sending out a statement saying he had never interviewed for the job, apparently so he could wait to see if an offer was coming before issuing his denial that any of it had ever happened at all, which of course proved to be a lie.

And according to a story by Bud Withers of our staff, who covered Neuheisel's trial in 2005, Neuheisel said on the stand that he was never offered the job.

Hayes also says we said Neuheisel was never offered the job at Notre Dame. I don't remember making a big deal of that fact. I could point out that Neuheisel said at the time "there was never an offer,'' but I'll concede how worthless such denials can be (especially from Neuheisel). Most around UW do believe Neuheisel had an offer and was parsing words in his denial, but that far from showing loyalty, turned it down mostly because his wife, Susan, had no desire to live in South Bend, Ind.

In one of our e-mails, I pointed out to Hayes that I guess you could call that loyalty, but the truth is also that Neuheisel and the Huskies negotiated a new contract in the wake of the Notre Dame talks.

For the record, Neuheisel got two contract raises and/or extensions during his time at UW, as well as his original contract, which took six months to complete due to haggling over details.

Neuheisel got a raise of almost half-a-million dollars, including incentives, in the fall of 2001 in the wake of the 2000 Rose Bowl season, his second year at UW.

Four months later he interviewed for the Notre Dame job and talks began on yet another contract, the one that would include the infamous $1.5 million loan as well as a six-year extension. So in the first three years and nine months he was UW's coach, Neuheisel got two raises and one extension, all while going from 11-1 to 8-4 to 7-6.

Call that loyalty if you want, but it's also unmistakable fact that Neuheisel was getting increasingly well-compensated for staying.

Also a fact is that Neuheisel was reported to be involved in at least five other jobs during his time with the Huskies --- Cleveland Browns, Alabama, Notre Dame, UCLA and the 49ers. Notre Dame is generally thought by most to be the only job he was ever offered.

Far from viewing him loyal, many around UW were irked that Neuheisel's name kept popping up for other jobs with Neuheisel usually responding to the speculation by saying "you can never say never,'' or that he planned to stay for the ''foreseeable future'' --- whatever that meant.

It was beginning to impact recruiting near the end of his tenure, with players such as Johnny DuRocher and Kellen Clemens each saying the fact that they had no idea how long Neuheisel would stay around played into their decisions to go elsewhere.

As for the lying, anyone who thinks that played no part in Neuheisel's firing wasn't very close to the situation. The trial obviously showed that mistakes were made by everybody (though it's often lost that the two sides agreed to a settlement and that the jury never decided anything. Everybody at UW was hoping it would go to a jury but the NCAA mess-ups ultimately forced the settlement).

But to conclude the way the trial ended showed the lying didn't matter is to miss the role it played in laying the foundation for everything that unfolded.

I'll grant this much --- when it came to Rick Neuheisel's time at UW, the truth was often as hard to find as a running game.

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February 13, 2008 12:01 PM

NCAA proposes rules changes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NCAA rules committee has released proposals for some rules changes mostly designed to increase safety and the pace of play.

Here's the official NCAA release with the details.

Among the changes: all facemask penalties will be 15-yards, eliminating the five-year incidental rule; out-of-bounds kickoffs may be taken at the 40 instead of the 35; all fumbles may be reviewed; and the horse-collar tackle will be outlawed.

As the release notes, none of these are official yet until reviewed by the general membership and the
Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

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February 12, 2008 8:23 PM

White just looking to help

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of us had a chance to talk for a little while today with Washington's newest assistant coach, Brian White.

And while his job title remains a little uncertain, he made it clear he's just happy to he here no matter his role.

The 42-year-old White officially began work this week. He will likely hold the titles of tight ends and special teams coach. But he also has significant background as a running backs coach, a position that remains open on the UW staff, one that figures to be filled in a few weeks.

Husky coach Tyrone Willingham says he's leaving the possibility open that White will move to running backs coach depending on who he finds for the other job.;

"I told coach Willingham I'll do whatever he deems best necessary,'' White said. "I'm comfortable and confident whatever the responsibilities are that I will perform them well and the position he decides will be a great fit.''

White was the offensive coordinator and also coached tight ends at Syracuse the last two seasons but was fired after the Orange finished 2-10 and 114th in the country in offense. He previously had been a running backs coach and offensive coordinator at Wisconsin.

It was while he was with the Badgers that he said he first got to know Willingham.

He was the RB coach there in 1999 when Ron Dayne won the Heisman and led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl against Willingham's Stanford team.

White said he was asked to fill in for Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez at a press conference one day and talked for a while with Willingham.

A few years later, in the spring of 2003, he made an extended visit to UW, asked by then-Husky coach Rick Neuheisel if he could come out and share some thoughts on how to jump start Washington's running game.

"They wanted to upgrade their running game and we had done a great job of it at Wisconsin and they wanted to get some ideas,'' White said.

On the flight home he got stuck for five days in the Denver-area due to a blizzard that snowed in the Denver airport.

But the trip made an impression on him, he said, and after he was fired at Syracuse, he said he "vigorously pursued'' the UW job. He also knew a few other members of UW's staff, notably seconday coach J.D. Williams, who coached with his brother, Chris, at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

"I just really enjoyed my experiences here and I have an understanding of the tremendous set of values that coach Willingham has and that's why I wanted to expose myself and my family to them,'' said White, who has an 11-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. "I just really wanted to be part of the program here.''

White said he coached tight ends at Syracuse the past two years and also a year at UNLV in the early 90s along with extensive running backs experience at Wisconsin.

He has never been a special teams coach in name but said he has coached "various phases'' of it through the years, including kickoff return and punt return.

"I'm excited to be able to work with that unit because I think it's a really critical phase of the game and one that is a common thread on your team where you are integrating both offensive and defensive players,'' he said. "So it's exciting to be able to put both phases together on one unit, which you don't do in any other way.''

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February 12, 2008 10:21 AM

Angotti leaves team

Posted by Bob Condotta

Walk-on safety Jay Angotti, who played in all 13 games last season as a sophomore and made 11 tackles --- primarily on special teams --- is leaving the Huskies.

Angotti's mother, Janice Smolec, wrote in an e-mail that Angotti had hoped to earn a scholarship and felt he had done enough last season to get one. When one didn't come he decided to leave the team. For now, he is concentrating on academics but may pursue playing opportunities elsewhere.

A UW spokesman confirmed that Angotti has left the team.

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February 11, 2008 9:45 PM

More on Willingham and White

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few more notes from the Tyrone Willingham teleconference today discussing the hiring of new assistant coach Brian White:

--- Willingham said White had a one-year contract in contrast to new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who got a two-year deal. Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano is also expected to get a new contract that will cover two years. All the other assistants were on one-year deals last season and this indicates maybe they will remain that way.

--- Willingham still has to find a running backs coach. Willingham said he didn't want to definitively say that White will be the tight ends/special teams coach to leave the option open that he could change his mind based on who he hires for the other job (White also has extensive running back experience so he could handle either role). Willingham said White is "multi-talented so if there is something I need to change based on the next person I need to look at I have the flexibility to do that.''

--- Willingham said there was no timetable for hiring the other job, though it would seem obvious that he would want someone in place by the time spring ball starts. Asked when he would fill the other job Willingham said "when I'm comfortable and think I've got the right person. ... I'm usually very patient about most of these hires.''

--- The obvious goal for White is to improve the special teams play, which lagged in most areas last year and helped lead to the firing of Bob Simmons. "We were making some improvement, I don't think there is any question about that --- we led the Pac-10 in punt returns,'' he said. "So where were some good things there. But I needed to feel a little better and see a little more progress and hopefully this will allow us to do that.'' UW led the league in punt return average at 11.0 but struggled in areas like kickoff coverage (ninth in the Pac-10) and kickoff returns (also ninth).

--- Asked about the fact White has significant experience coaching running backs, including a long stint as running backs coach at Wisconsin, Willingham said that White "felt comfortable at a lot of postions but what my needs where, where I saw him at, I felt he would be a better fit at tight ends and special teams.''

--- Willingham said White was on an initial list of candidates, that he looked at "a lot'' of guys, and then came back to White at the end.

--- Willingham said improving the tight end position is another obvious priority for next season and that the first task, with White now in the fold, is to "see how we can make that position more beneficial for us.'' Noting the influx of talent at that spot (Chris Izbicki, Kavario Middleton) Willingham said that if the players there give the Huskies "some really great play then quite naturally it becomes a focus of a part of our offense.''

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February 11, 2008 4:13 PM

Huskies planning expanded Spring Game weekend

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham talked with reporters today about his latest coaching hire, Brian White, who is likely to be the tight ends/special teams coach.

In the course of his comments, Willingham said that a date for the Spring Game has not yet been set because of some plans for events that would tie into the game that have not yet been finalized.

Apparently, the school is working on a weekend full of activities in conjunction with the Spring Game, that would include events on Friday night and Saturday. Plans should be finalized soon but until then, dates for spring practice are still not set.

As for White, Willingham said there was still a chance he could end up as the running backs coach but said it is most likely he will be the tight ends/special teams coach.

Willingham said he thinks White, who coached tight ends last year at Syracuse as well as serving as offensive coordinator, has "a personality and demeanor'' that will "fit in very well'' with the tight end corps and will "get them to be productive.''
Willingham said he has been aware of White since his days at Wisconsin and that he has "respected the work he's done, the people he's been with and the person he is.''

Willingham also said that no position changes, if there are to be any, have been set as of yet. There has been speculation about a few but Willingham said the coaches will now begin to explore those kinds of options now that recruiting season is over.

"We'll make those changes later, if there are any,'' he said.

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February 11, 2008 11:44 AM

Breaking down the defensive backs

Posted by Bob Condotta

We'll continue our series today looking at the Huskies by position as they prepare for spring ball.

In this installment, we'll preview the secondary.

RETURNING STARTERS: 3 (free safety Darrin Harris/Jason Wells, each seniors; strong safety Mesphin Forrester, Sr.; cornerback Byron Davenport, Sr.).

STARTERS LOST: 1 (cornerback Roy Lewis).


KEY RESERVES RETURNING: Cornerbacks Vonzell McDowell, So., Matt Mosley, So. and Jordan Murchison, Sr.; safeties Nate Williams, So., Jay Angotti, Jr., Victor Aiyewa, So.

ALSO ON THE ROSTER: Scholarship players: CB Marquis Persley, RFr., S Quinton Richardson, RFr. Walk-ons: CB Desmond Davis, Sr., SS LonZell Hill, So., DB Mick Connors, So.

POSSIBLE NEWCOMERS: None coming for the spring other than Connors, a walk-on (other walk-ons could arrive later, as well). UW signed five players listed as either cornerbacks or safeties and Husky secondary coach J.D. Williams has said at least one, cornerback Adam Long, will almost certainly play next season, on special teams, if nothing else.

A two-deep heading into spring could look like this (remember, Wells out for the spring):

CB Byron Davenport, Sr.
Matt Mosley, So.

CB Jordan Murchison, Sr.
Vonzell McDowell Jr., So.

FS Darrin Harris, Sr.
Nate Williams, So.

SS Mesphin Forrester, Sr.
Jay Angotti Sr./Victor Aiyewa, So.

COMMENT: On paper, this has a chance to be a vastly improved group with every key player back except one --- Lewis. The position won't be at full health in the spring with Wells still out while recovering from knee surgery. Assuming Wells comes back healthy, however, the Huskies could have a trio of seniors with significant starting experience at the two safety spots in the fall, with some foritification from some promising newcomers. Cornerback remains a little dicier with the loss of Lewis, who was on the field for just about every play last season and was a three-year starter. Davenport improved as last season went on and assuming he can avoid nagging injuries that plagued him at times, should be primed for a good senior season. McDowell and Mosley each got a lot of experience last season and Murchison got his feet wet a little. If Murchison were to win the other starting job UW could start four seniors in the secondary. Williams really sang the praises of Persley last season and he'll be one to watch in the spring at cornerback, as well, and it will be interesting to see where Richardson settles. The X-factor of the spring is new DC Ed Donatell, whose primary position experience throughout his career has been the secondary. He is sure to have lots of ideas about how to improve this position.

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February 10, 2008 1:27 PM

Recruiting never stops

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just four days removed from signing their 2008 class the UW coaches are already working on 2009.

The team is holding one of its Junior Days today with a dozen or so local football players being shown around the facilities by UW assistant coaches and taking in the UW-UCLA basketball game. Among the coaches I saw showing players around were Charlie Baggett, Tim Lappano and new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell (that doesn't mean more aren't involved, that's just who I saw walking around the halls during the game).

These aren't necessarily players who all have offers or anything, but players who are on preliminary lists of possible recruits, andn Junior Day gives an early chance for coaches to get to know potential recruits and vice versa.

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February 9, 2008 3:11 PM

Miami names new A.D.

Posted by Bob Condotta

The University of Miami named Kirby Hocutt of Ohio University of as its new athletic director Friday.

Jeff Compher, executive associate athletic director at UW, had been a finalist for this position.

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February 8, 2008 8:17 PM

White officially named

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies finally officially named Brian White as an assistant coach today.

Here's the release from

As it says, White will most likely be tight ends/special teams coach but his duties could change based on how the hiring goes for the final position.

So eight of the nine official spots for next year are filled. What remains open is the running back spot vacated when Trent Miles took the Indiana State head coaching job.

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February 8, 2008 4:55 PM

A quick look ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta

Looks like no official naming of Brian White today, but sounds as if it's just paper shuffling, etc., that needs to play out first.

So with no apparent news today, thought I would throw out there that ESPN already has a list of the top 150 recruits for 2009 and has two Washington players included --- Deandre Coleman, a defensive tackle from Garfield, and Marcel Seely, an outside linebacker from Kamiak.

UW obviously did a great job of locking up in-state prospects this year and just as obviously will try to do so again next year, meaning Coleman and Seely are sure to be big priorities.

Here's's scouting repoort on Coleman and Seely.

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February 8, 2008 9:41 AM

Brian White, continued

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nothing official yet on the naming of Brian White to UW's football staff, but it is expected to happen soon, possibly today.

Here's our story today on White.

White will likely fill the tight ends/special teams coach role at UW vacated when Bob Simmons was fired in mid-December.

You can read his resume here, though what it fails to point out is that White also coached tight ends at Syracuse last year, so he has experience in that area as well as extensive work as a running backs coach.

Here's a story from the day White was hired at Syracuse noting he has coached in 12 bowl games, many at Wisconsin, where

As noted here last night, White attended the UW basketball game sitting with Husky coaches Charlie Baggett and Ed Donatell, talking and shaking hands with other Husky officials at halftime.

UW still needs to hire one more coach to fill the vacancy left by running back Trent Miles when he left to become head coach at Indiana State.

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February 8, 2008 9:21 AM

Fogerson gets national award

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW recruit Johri Fogerson was one of 50 players named as a National Old Spice Red Zone player of the year this week. Fogerson is a running back from O'Dea High rushing for 2,545 yards and 34 TDs last fall.

Here's our story on his award.

And here's a list of all the winners as well as more information on the award itself.

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February 7, 2008 8:36 PM

More on White

Posted by Bob Condotta

Brian White is sitting at the basketball game with Ed Donatell and Charlie Baggett.

Sounds as if an official announcement could come tomorrow and that White is likely to coach special teams and tight ends.

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February 7, 2008 7:45 PM

New coach in the fold?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sounds as if the Huskies may have filled one of their two remaining assistant coachinig vacancies.

Brian White, who was the Syracuse offensive coordinator last season, is at Edmundson Pavilion and a source confirmed he has been hired though it was undetermined yet which of the two spots he would fill --- running backs or special teams/tight ends.

Here is his bio and since he has more experience at running backs that might make more sense. But I was told his exact assignment hadn't been determined.

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February 7, 2008 5:23 PM

Interesting Willingham interview

Posted by Bob Condotta

After the main signing day press conference had concluded Wednesday, Gregg Bell --- one of the local writers for the Associated Press --- had a separate interview with Tyrone Willingham and elicited a few interesting thoughts from the Husky coach.

You can read it here.

The interview is the most expansive Willingham has been on some of the topics of the last few months, including the departure of AD Todd Turner.

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February 7, 2008 8:02 AM

A few more recruiting leftovers

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says:

--- Looks like UW is settling at No. 14 in the ratings, which will be UW's highest for any recruiting class since the 2001 class garnered a No. 5 ranking. That was the highest rating since the 1991 class got a No. 4.

--- Add Adam Long to the list of players who could (or will) see immediate playing time. UW secondary coach J.D. Williams said at the recuiting banquet last night that Long would definitely see time at least on special teams next season. Long is regarded as the fastest player in the class.

--- Media were allowed to attend the banquet and a few of us, after finishing stories, walked upstairs to watch the film portion of the event. Of guys I didn't know much about, one of the most impressive films was WR Jordan Polk shown making a one-handed grab that was replayed a few times to make sure everyone got a full view.

--- If you're wondering why the heights and weights of some guys changed yesterday, the school released heights and weights that it took during physicals when players came on their official visits. Those are the ones you see on the school's official release and also the ones I used. The pictures the school released of players were also mostly taken during their visits, as well.

--- Here are links to our coverage today --- an overview of UW's class and a look at the importance of family for three local UW signees.

--- Here's a list of every player in the state who signed with a school other than UW or WSU.

--- Via the LA Times, here's a list of all the signees for every Pac-10 school (plus a few others at the bottom).

--- Here's a story on Terence Thomas' signing day noting that he was joined by former UW QB Cody Pickett, who is also a graduate of Caldwell (Idaho) High.

--- College Fantasy Football Insider lists Chris Polk as an incoming RB to watch next season even though UW plans to start him at receiver (though have to admit his RB film was pretty impressive last night).

--- Here's a story on South Bay (California) signees that quotes David Freeman on why he decided to come to UW.

--- On the day he signed his letter with UW, Dominque Blackman scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds for Carson's basketball team.

--- Here's a story on four players from McClymonds High in Oakland signing letters, including Allen Carroll, who apparently gave a heart-felt thank you speech during the signing ceremony.

--- Here's a good roundup of what happened with the Oregon schools for anyone who wants to keep tabs on the rivals to the south.

All for now.

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February 6, 2008 9:04 PM

A few quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of other leftover notes from today:

--- CLARIFICATION ON THE PREVIOUS JASON WELLS NOTE: I got the previous note from talking to someone at UW last night under the impression this was a more recent surgery than what had been reported earlier. It's not. Wells had ACL surgery in October. The official word is that he will miss the spring and should be 100 percent in mid-summer. It took a while after he suffered the injury to get swelling down and range of motion back in the knee.

--- Word is that there are few, if any serious, academic situations in this class, meaning almost everyone --- if not everyone --- should be eligible. This is regarded as one of the best classes in recent memory in terms of academics.

--- The phrase "nose guard'' was thrown around a few times today talking about DT Alameda Ta'amu. Is that a tipping of the hand of the defensive scheme for the Huskies next season? Either way, new DC Ed Donatell has already said the Huskies will use some of both 4-3 and 3-4 looks next year.

--- The final national recruiting rankings show UW at 25th. Here's what Rivals says about UW's class: "Ty Willingham needs on-field success this season, and there are some players in this signing class who can help out in the fall. The Huskies did especially well on both lines.''

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February 6, 2008 6:05 PM

Signing day notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes from the signing day press conference with UW head coach Tyrone Willingham.

--- Willingham said he thought the Huskies were able to recruit well in-state this year in part because people "saw a lot of promise in the direction we are going'' and that "our players have done a great job when hosting young men in believing and showing confidence and faith in our program. ... All of those things have helped us to be more productive in the state, and really be more productive everywhere.''

--- Willingham also said the presence of Jake Locker "'was a tremendous help. There's one thing that great players enjoy and that's other great players. There's no question there was a Jake factor in our class.''

--- Willingham wouldn't say which players had the best chance of playing early saying "that's the million dollar question and I always run in the million-dollar other direction.'' But he later said the obvious, that receivers and defensive linemen will have the best chance due to the depth issues at those positions.

--- Willingham on Kavario Middleton: "I think Kavario has a tremendous size advantage on most of the guys that we've recruited in the past. He's an inch-and-a-half taller than most and and a little heavier yet he has decent mobillity and wonderful hands from his basketball career, so he has a lot of the tools you look for in a tight end. Now it's about making the adjustment to college football.''

--- Asked about the high ratings for the class, Willingham said that "on paper, the class looks good. .... but what they do when they are done, what's their record look like, to a coach that's the benchmark that really matters. Can we take and develop these guys and make them better than they are now and can they come in and become that championship-caliber team?''

--- On Alameda Ta'amu: "Personally, I think that any time you can get an immovable object on the field that's pretty nice and I'm hoping he will be that immovable object right in the center of our defensive line.''

--- On the two QBs (Dominique Blackman and Luther Leonard): "They are not as far away from each other (stylistically) as you think. When you compare them to Jake you would say yes, but both of them have probably a little surprising more mobility than you think and are not just drop-back passers.'' Asked about Blackman being mobile and 250 pounds Willingham referenced Florida's Tim Tebow and said "I think Florida plays with a 240-pound QB who seems to move things along pretty well.''

--- Willingham said not signing any JC players wasn't solely due to improved depth but also because "you like to make the investment in high school players because there is a real chance to have them in your program and grow and develop them and have that commitment that you need in a program.''

--- Willingham said the coaching change at WSU probably helped UW's recruiting efforts a bit this year because "it does take time to get your feet on the ground.''

--- Willingham said the talent in the state this year "was stronger than some of the other years, probably deeper. There's been some really good players each year in the state but if you went down the list, the depth this year in the state was deeper.''

--- Willingham said when Johri Fogerson ran for 297 yards in the 3A title game that secured a scholarship offer saying "that game had a lot to do with my view of Johri. Any time you can perform in the manner he performed, it says great things about you.'' Prior to that game, Willingham said he was "in that dilemma of are you a defensive guy or an offensive guy. He just played so well (you realized) this young man is a football player and you want to have football players on your team.'' Fogerson will start out his UW career as an RB.

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February 6, 2008 4:10 PM

UW player bios

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are bios on UW recruits.

Dominique Blackman
6-5, 250, QB
Carson, Calif. (Carson)
Had final three of Fresno State, Arizona and UW before picking Huskies. … Left-handed, led Carson to an 11-3 record as a senior. … team made it to the CIF Los Angeles City Section championship game before falling to Birmingham. … ran for eight touchdowns as a junior. … threw for 2,086 yards and 19 TDs as a senior. … has drawn comparisons to Byron Leftwich. …

Demitrius Bronson
5-10, 215, RB
Kent (Kentwood)
Washington was the first school that offered and he accepted quickly last August. … rushed for 3,810 yards in high school career. … averaging more than 200 yards a game as a senior before suffering ankle injury. …. Older brother, John, played at Penn State and is now a tight end with the Arizona Cardinals. …

Cody Bruns
5-11, 168, WR
Prosser (Prosser)
Also seriously considered Washington State before choosing Huskies. … set state records with 5,178 receiving yards, 310 catches and 72 touchdowns…. Receptions and yardage totals rank No. 2 all-time in the nation for 11-man football and TD total is third. … Had 90 receptions and 19 touchdowns as a senior. …

Allen Carroll
6-4, 300, OG
Oakland (McClymonds)
Also visited Arizona and seriously considered UCLA and also had offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington State, among others. … Won offensive line MVP honors last two years at Cal's summer camp. … Played with current UW redshirt freshman RB Willie Griffin. … team won three straight CIF Oakland Section championships. …

Terrance Dailey
5-10, 194, RB
Vacaville, Calif. (Vacaville)
Also had offers from Nevada, Utah and Utah State. … Rushed for 1,741 yards on 165 carries with 28 touchdowns as a senior. … Rushed for 2,334 yards and 26 TDs as a senior. … Also a standout hurdler. … Had six games with 200 or more yards rushing as a junior. …

Johri Fogerson
6-2, 190, S
Seattle (O’Dea)
Was the Associated Press Player of the Year for all classifications as a senior. Rushed for 2,545 yards and 36 TDs as a senior. … Ran for 297 yards and four TDs in the 3A statte title game loss to Skyline. … Said he also considered Ohio State, Oregon and Cal, among others. …

David Freeman
5-7, 190, RB
Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood)
Washington was first school to offer and he grabbed it last June. … Arizona State and Oregon State had also shown interest. … High school coach was former Husky defensive back Charles Mincy and an assistant was former Husky LB Donald Jones. … Missed some games as a senior due to injury but came back to rush for 270 yards and three TDs on 16 carries against Hawthorne. … Also played cornerback. …

Justin Glenn
5-11, 185, CB
Mukilteo (Kamiak)
Also considered Oregon and Washington State. … Had five interceptions as a cornerback while also rushing for 1,056 yards and 20 TDs as a senior. … Named to the Seattle Times all-state team as a senior. … a versatile athlete called “a winner and a leader,’’ by UW coach Tyrone Willingham. … also plays basketball at Kamiak. …

Anthony Gobern
6-0, 176, RB
Fair Oaks, Calif. (Del Campo)
Also had offers from Air Force, Nevada, UNLV and Utah State. …. Played running back and defensive back. … Rushed for 938 yards on 83 carries (11.3 per try). … Also an outstanding sprinter who has run a 10.97 100. … Ranked the No. 93 recruit in the state of California by …

Mykenna Ikehara
6-3, 291, OG
Honolulu (Kamehameha Secondary)
Also had offers from Arizona and Hawaii. … Rated the No. 35 guard in the country by … Played on both sides of the lane for a team that finished fifth in the state. … Brother, Kazden, is a wrestler at the Air Force Academy. … First-Team All-State pick. … Rated No. 6 prospect in Hawaii by …

Jermaine Kearse
6-1, 180, WR
Lakewood (Lakes)
Caught 54 passes for 903 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. … Played in the U.S. Army All-American Game. … Also seriously considered Oregon and Washington State. … Committed on same day as teammate Kavario Middleton. … Also named league’s Defensive MVP with 89 tackles, six interceptions and two blocked kicks. …

Senio Kelemete
6-4, 260, DE
Seattle (Evergreen)
First player in class to commit, doing so last March 4, the earliest known commitment in Husky history. Also had offer from Arizona State. … Will start out at defensive end for the Huskies and has a chance to play immediately at a spot low on depth. … Named Seamount League Lineman of the Year on both offense and defense. …

Luther Leonard
6-2, 193, QB
Seattle (Evergreen)
Also had an offer from Idaho State. … Led Evergreen to a 9-2 record as a senior. … Completed 94 of 155 passes for 1,709 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions as a senior. … Teammate of Kelemete’s. … Named the No. 23 “dual-threat’’ QB in the country by … Also played defensive back but UW coaches envision him staying at QB for now. …

Adam Long
5-10, 168, CB
Playa Del Rey, Calif. (St. Bernard)
Also had offers from Cal, Oregon State and also visited UCLA. … Called the fastest player in the class by recruiting coordinator Chris Tormey. … Also played running back and had 212 yards and four touchdowns in a double-overtime playoff game. … Third in the state 200 last year at 21.20 and won the CIF Southern Section 100 meters at 10.53. …

Kurt Mangum
6-2, 240, LB
Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler)
Also had an offer from Colorado State. … Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers is his great uncle. … May try to enroll in time for spring practice. … Had 140 tackles with two interceptions and four sacks as a senior. … One of three signees to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Game in Miami. … Called an prototype middle linebacker by UW coaches. …

Kavario Middleton
6-5, 255, TE
Lakewood (Lakes)
Highest-rated player in the class and one of two to earn honors as a Parade All-American. … Caught 45 passes for 503 yards and eight touchdowns and also had 115 tackles and 10 sacks. … Generally considered among the top five tight ends in the country. … Only Washingtonian to make the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West firs team, which also listed him as the No. 9 recruit on the West. …

Craig Noble
6-3, 300, DT
Woodland Hills, Calif. (Taft)
Also seriously considered UCLA. … One of the key members of the class as he could provide immediate help on the D-line. … Had 75 tackles and nine sacks as a senior. … Ranked the No. 17 DT in the country by Scout. … Also named to the All-West Region by SuperPrep as an offensive lineman. …

Chris Polk
5-11, 200, WR
Redlands, Calif. (Redlands East Valley)
Was a commit to USC for months until changing mind in December. … Is already enrolled in school. … Some analysts think he could be a better running back, a position he also played at Redlands. … Rushed for 2,561 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior while catching 18 passes for 314 yards and five TDs. … From same high school as current UW redshirt freshman QB Ronnie Fouch and cornerback Marquis Persley. …

Jordan Polk
5-8, 161, WR
Portland (Lincoln)
Also had offers from Arizona and Portland State. … Second in the state of Oregon as a senior with 1,209 yards and 72 catches. … Also had state-high 19 TDs. … Is a cousin of fellow classmate Chris Polk. … Ran a 10.8 100 at the Oregon state track meet last spring. … As a junior, averaged more than 31 yards per catch with 45 receptions for 1,435 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Bradly Roussel
5-11, 207, LB
Baton Rouge, La. (Redemptorist)
Was briefly a commit to Tulane while UW weighed whether to give him an official offer. Finally joined the class on Monday becoming the last member. … Tormey said he may have been the best linebacker the team saw on film. … Had 109 tackles and five sacks as a senior. … Rated the No. 35 LB in the country by both Rivals and Scout. … Like to start out at weakside linebacker for the Huskies. …

Drew Schaefer
6-5, 275, OT
Redmond (Eastlake)
Second player in the class to commit, doing so last April. … Also had offers from Stanford and Washington State. … Named the No. 32 offensive tackle in the country by … also plays basketball at Eastlake. … Teams finished 10-2, 9-3 and 8-2.

Alameda Ta’amu
6-2, 348 DT
Seattle (Rainier Beach)
Highly-rated as an offensive guard but will start out on defense for the Huskies, who have a need for immediate help there. … A prototype nose-guard. … Also visited Arizona and Hawaii. … Named to the Parade All-American team. … Named after the county in California where he was born. …

Vince Taylor
6-2, 198, S
Bellevue (Eastside Catholic)
Also had offers from Oregon and Oregon State. … Co-Offensive MVP of the Metro League’s Mountain Division along with Fogerson. … played receiver on offense and was also a standout returner. … As a senior, had consecutive games where he had both 100 yards rushing and receiving. … also a good basketball player. …

Terence Thomas
6-8, 305, OT
Caldwell, Idaho (Caldwell)
From same high school as Cody Pickett, UW’s leading career passer. … Also had offers from Oregon State and Boise State. … Did not give up a sack his last two seasons of high school… Coaches like his size. “When they are big like that, it’s just difficult to get around them,’’ said UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

Everette Thompson
6-6, 255, DE
Burien (Kennedy)
Rated as the No. 12 defensive end in the country. … Also seriously considered Oregon State before choosing UW. … Huskies envision him as a speed pass rusher off the edge and he could play immediately at a spot that doesn’t have much depth. … Had 60 tackles and 17 sacks as a senior. … Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Game in Miami. …

Greg Walker
5-11, 198, S
Playa Del Rey, Calif. (St. Bernard)
One of the sleepers in the class could also grow into an outside linebacker. … Also had interest from San Diego State and Stanford. … Played middle linebacker and running back in high school making 120 tackles as a senior. Also had nearly 500 yards rushing playing primarily fullback… Good student who may pursue medicine or engineering

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February 6, 2008 1:52 PM

Official player list

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is the final official list of players who signed today as well as comments as released by the school and available at

SEATTLE – A total of 26 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent or financial aid agreements to enroll at the University of Washington and play football for the Huskies, head coach Tyrone Willingham announced today.

All 26 signees were high school seniors during the 2007 season. Each student-athlete in the group will be expected to participate in the 2008 season, while one (Chris Polk) enrolled for the start of the winter quarter in January and is currently enrolled at the UW.

Of the players in this year's recruiting class, 12 hail from Washington, nine are from California and one each come from Hawaii, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon and Louisiana.

"I've very pleased with this group of young men," said Willingham. "I think our coaching staff and our players did a great job in terms of addressing the needs of our team and in terms of getting so many standout student-athletes from here in the state of Washington. I’m looking forward to getting this group on campus in the fall and preparing for the 2008 season.''

Following its season opener Aug. 30 at Oregon, Washington will return to Seattle for three consecutive home games against BYU (Sept. 6), Oklahoma (Sept. 13) and Stanford. The Huskies will also play Oregon State, Notre Dame, Arizona State and UCLA during its seven-game home schedule. Away contests include games at Arizona, USC, Washington State and California.

Deposits for new season tickets are currently being accepted through the Husky Athletic Ticket Office by calling (206) 543-2200 or online through Season ticket renewal forms were recently distributed through the mail and are due for return by early March.

The following is a list of Washington's 26 new signees:

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School)
Dominique Blackman QB 6-5 250 Carson, Calif. (Carson HS)
Demitrius Bronson RB 5-10 215 Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS)
Cody Bruns WR 5-11 168 Prosser, Wash. (Prosser HS)
Allen Carroll OL 6-4 300 Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS)
Terrance Dailey RB 5-10 194 Vacaville, Calif. (Vacaville HS)
Johri Fogerson RB 6-2 190 Kent, Wash. (O’Dea HS)
David Freeman RB 5-7 190 Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS)
Justin Glenn CB 5-11 185 Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak HS)
Anthony Gobern CB 6-0 176 Fair Oaks, Calif. (Del Campo HS)
Mykenna Ikehara OL 6-3 291 Mililani, Hawai’i (Kamehameha HS)
Jermaine Kearse WR 6-1 180 Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes HS)
Senio Kelemete DL 6-4 260 Seattle, Wash. (Evergreen HS)
Luther Leonard QB 6-2 193 Seattle, Wash. (Evergreen HS)
Adam Long CB 5-10 168 Los Angeles, Calif. (St. Bernard HS)
Kurt Mangum LB 6-2 240 Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler HS)
Kavario Middleton TE 6-5 255 Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes HS)
Craig Noble DL 6-3 300 Los Angeles, Calif. (Taft HS)
Chris Polk WR 5-11 200 Highland, Calif. (Redlands East Valley HS)
Jordan Polk WR 5-8 161 Portland, Ore. (Lincoln HS)
Bradly Roussel LB 5-11 207 Baton Rouge, La. (Redemptorist HS)
Drew Schaefer OL 6-5 275 Sammamish, Wash. (Eastlake HS)
Alameda Ta’amu DL 6-2 348 Kent, Wash. (Rainier Beach HS)
Vince Taylor S 6-2 198 Issaquah, Wash. (Eastside Catholic HS)
Terence Thomas OL 6-8 305 Caldwell, Idaho (Caldwell HS)
Everrette Thompson DE 6-6 255 Renton, Wash. (Kennedy HS)
Greg Walker S 5-11 198 Bellflower, Calif. (St. Bernard HS)

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February 6, 2008 12:29 PM

Tormey chatting now

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW recruiting coordinator Chris Tormey is hosting a live chat on

Here's the link.

As I type this, maybe the most interesting comment is Tormey saying that DB Adam Long is the fastest player in the class.

Tormey also says that all four DL recruits have a chance to play immediately due to the depth at that spot.

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February 6, 2008 11:58 AM

Picture of signing day press conference

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to pass along a link to a picture we have posted on-line of the signing day press conference today for Alameda Ta'amu, Johri Forgerson and Everrette Thompson.

Here it is.

We'll have a story from their event up soon.

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February 6, 2008 11:04 AM

All letters now in

Posted by Bob Condotta

All the letters are now in for UW, including Kavario Middleton's, whose was among the last to arrive.

Middleton was just on with Dave Mahler on KJR-AM and said that LSU was the school that pushed him the hardest at the end to reconsider his commitment to UW. But Middleton said he wanted to stay close to home and had grown tight with UW coaches Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Baggett, who handled his recruitment.

He also said he will play tight end at UW and not defense.

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February 6, 2008 10:23 AM

A look at past ratings

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW's 2008 recruiting class could be its highest-ranked since 2001, when it signed a group ranked in the top 10.

Here's a look at UW's recruiting classes since then.

Number of in-state signees --- 8 rankings --- 19th nationally, fourth in Pac-10. rankings --- 23rd nationally, third in Pac-10
Comment --- Most successful player might have been Nate Robinson, who switched to basketball after one season. No player ever earned All-Pac-10 First-Team honors

Number of in-state signees --- 10 rankings --- 23rd nationally, fourth in Pac-10. rankings --- 18th nationally, second in Pac-10
Comment --- The last of Rick Neuheisel's classes, only one player attained All-Pac-10 first-team honors so far, safety C.J. Wallace in 2006 (center Juan Garica, back for a sixth year in 2008, is last active member of this class).

Number of in-state signees --- 11 rankings --- 19th nationally, third in Pac-10. rankings --- 22nd nationally, fourth in Pac-10
Comment --- Keith Gilbertson's lone full class didn's live up to its rankings due in part to decision of QB Matt Tuiasosopo to play baseball, and ineligibility of DB Keauntea Bankhead.

Number of in-state signees --- 6 rankings --- 66th nationally, 10th in Pac-10. rankings --- 55th nationally, 10th in Pac-10
Comment --- Tyrone Willingham signed just 13 players after taking over less than two months before signing date. Top recruit, RB J.R. Hasty, hasn't done much to date.

Number of in-state signees --- 5 rankings --- 35th nationally, sixth in Pac-10. rankings --- 35th nationally, sixth in Pac-10
Comment --- Willingham's first full class included seven JC transfers and some QB named Locker.

Number of in-state signees --- 5 rankings --- 36h nationally, fourth in Pac-10. rankings --- 29th nationally, fourth in Pac-10
Comment --- What was regarded as a weak year for in-state talent didn's help UW's recruiting efforts.

UW should have 12 in-state signees this year.

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February 6, 2008 9:45 AM

Latest recruiting rankings

Posted by Bob Condotta

With more schools getting commitments in the last day or so, UW's rating is moving down just a little bit. now has UW at 14 nationally, though still No. 2 in the Pac-10 behind only UCLA, while has UW at 23rd nationally and fifth in the Pac-10.

Also, as I type this, it looks like Dominique Blackman's LOI has arrived, giving UW 20.

UPDATE 10:06 --- Johri Fogerson's, Anthony Gobern's and Greg Walker's LOIs are now in, as well bringing the total to 23.

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February 6, 2008 9:32 AM

Five more in

Posted by Bob Condotta

Five more LOIs are in --- David Freeman, Mykenna Ikehara, Kurt Mangum, Vince Taylor and Everrette Thompson.

That brings the total to 19 as of 9:30 a.m.

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February 6, 2008 8:31 AM

Signing day is here

Posted by Bob Condotta

And I almost wrote "singing'' at first, though that might be accurate, as well, when it comes to the UW coaches, who will be basking in the glow of one of the school's best recruiting classes in years.

According to the school web site, 14 players have already signed their letters (see the list here) none of them a surprise.

The letters already in are --- Senio Kelemete, Cody Bruns, Luther Leonard, Chris Polk, Allen Carroll, Terrence Dailey, Justin Glenn, Jermaine Kearse, Adam Long, Craig Noble, Bradly Roussel, Drew Schaefer, Alameda Ta'amu and Terence Thomas.

In fact, should be few, if any, surprises today as the last unsettled business appeared to be Kevin Prince's situation, solved yesterday when he announced he's going to UCLA.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham will meet the media at 2:30 p.m., the first time he can talk about any of the recruits. The school fully expects that all letters will be in by then.

Not sure if Willingham will have any other news today but there are rumblings that he could be close to filling both of the assistant coach jobs that are vacant --- running backs and tight ends/special teams. Rumor is that former Syracuse offensive coordinator Brian White was in town last weekend interviewing for the running backs job.

I wrote this story today previewing UW"s recruiting class also noting that as excited as everyone is today, the real proof of how good a class it will be comes in 3-4-5 years when we see how it all turns out.

I'll also pass along this story that several of you passed on to me from the Idaho Statesman today about UW signee Thomas.

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February 5, 2008 8:42 PM

Report on Olympia trip

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a report on the trip to Olympia today by the UW contingent briefing the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The story, written by the Associated Press, doesn't paint a real optimistic picture for the chances of this passing this year.

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February 5, 2008 8:18 PM

Prince to UCLA

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Los Angeles Daily News is reporting that Kevin Prince has indeed switched his commitment to UCLA, costing the Huskies a quarterback and apparently solidifying their recruiting class at 26.

Prince, from Crespi High in Encino, Calif., had committed to UW in December over the Bruins, but became interested again in UCLA when former Husky coach Rick Neuheisel got the job in Westwood.

UW still has two QBs in this class --- Evergreen High's Luther Leonard and Dominique Blackman of Carson, Calif. It's uncertain when Prince will enroll due to injury and a church mission, so his loss is more of a long-term hit than short-term.

UW is now likely to have 26 members in this class and to sign 25 players tomorrow --- Chris Polk won't sign an LOI tomorrow as he has already signed financial aid papers after enrolling in January.

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February 5, 2008 5:53 PM

Huskies jump in Rivals rankings

Posted by Bob Condotta

There's still a bit of sorting out to do between now and tomorrow, when the final letters-of-intent are signed.

But the Huskies appear to be holding their ground, and even moving up, in the rankings of the two most well-known recruiting services.

UW has ranked higher in the ratings all year and continues at No. 10 in the nation and No. 2 in the Pac-10, behind only UCLA, in the latest rankings. has had the Huskies a little lower throughout but now has them up to 19 nationally and third in the Pac-10 behind USC and UCLA. UW was at 22 in the Rivals rankings and fifth in the Pac-10 just a few days ago.

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February 5, 2008 1:19 PM

Huskies to make pitch today

Posted by Bob Condotta

As mentioned yesterday, a UW contingent is in Olympia today to meet with the Senate Ways and Means Committee to pitch the school's proposal for $150 million for a renovation of Husky Stadium.

As this story mentions, the meeting is at 3:30 p.m.

Interim AD Scott Woodward, football coach Tyrone Willingham and former Gov. Dan Evans, head of the Husky Stadium renovation committee, will represent the school. UW president Mark Emmert is in Washington D.C. on other business and unable to attend.

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February 5, 2008 8:38 AM

Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of pre-signing day links to throw your way:

--- ESPN has this breakdown of UW's recruiting class, via Scouts Inc. As are the others, this report gives UW props for getting most of the key recruits in the state this year.

--- UW's official site,, has all kinds of stuff planned for signing day. You can check it out here.

--- Here's a good rundown of signing day from Dennis Dodd at

--- Here's a bizarre story about a player committing to Cal who didn't have an offer.

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February 4, 2008 8:01 PM

Roussel finally in the fold

Posted by Bob Condotta

The recruiting saga of Baton Rouge linebacker Bradly Roussel is finally over with the 5-11, 215-pounder from Redemptorist High committing again today to Washington.

Hoping to have more later from Roussel but I have confirmed other reports that Roussel is back in the fold for UW, putting an end to Washington's recruiting for 2008.

Here's the story we ran on Roussel three weeks ago when he instead appeared headed to Tulane (giving it to you now as background).

And here's the story on his recommitment from

This appears to put a wrap on UW's recruiting for 2008 other than hanging onto Kevin Prince. LOI day is Wednesday and UW will have 26 or 27 signings depending on what Prince does.

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February 4, 2008 4:39 PM

Prince wavering on UW commitment?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The LA Daily News reports that Kevin Prince, a quarterback from Crespi High in Encino, Calif., who has given a commitment to UW, is now "kind of leaning to UCLA.''

You can read it here in Brian Dohn's UCLA blog.

The LA Times also reports that UCLA is "in a strong position'' to add Prince.

So looks like Tyrone Willingham and Rick Neuheisel may be in their first heated recruiting battle since Neuheisel took over at UCLA.

Prince is expected to go on a church mission so he isn't expected to contribute immediately wherever he goes. rates him as the No. 40 QB prospect in the country.

UCLA is also making a late run at another UW commit, defensive tackle Craig Noble of Taft High in Woodland Hills, Calif. But Noble said the Times Sunday he is remaining firm to UW.

"They want me, but now it's like it's too late for all of that,'' said Noble, who said he is excited about the opportunity to play immediately on the defensive line for the Huskies.

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February 4, 2008 12:43 PM

Rivals rates UW one of top five surprise classes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's 2008 recruiting haul ranks as one of the top five surprise classes in the country according to recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree.

You can read the list here.

Crabtree writes that UW coach Tyrone Willingham "is flat out getting it done in Seattle this recruiting season'' noting that UW's in-state success and getting Chris Polk out of southern California are key reasons for the high ranking of the class.

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February 4, 2008 12:21 PM

AD update

Posted by Bob Condotta

No huge news.

But wanted to pass along that last Thursday marked Todd Turner's last official day as athletic director, with Scott Woodward taking over as interim AD on Friday.

At the moment, that's where things stand. A search committee is expected to be formed at some point to help in the selection of a new AD. Woodward may also be a candidate though he hasn't said anything yet on that publicly.

Woodward, football coach Tyrone Willingham and former Gov. Dan Evans, the chairman of the Husky Stadium renovation committee, are expected to meet before the state legislature tomorrow in Olympia to talk about the school's request for $150 million in state money for a rebuild of the stadium.

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February 3, 2008 3:04 PM

Falemalu to Hawaii

Posted by Bob Condotta

One of UW's last remaining undecided recruiting targers is apparently headed elsewhere.

According to this story in the Honolulu Advertiser, linebacker Paipai Falemalu will stay home to attend the University of Hawaii.

UW has one more scholarship to give, and there had been some thought that if Falemalu didn't take it that it could still go to Baton Rouge linebacker Bradly Roussel.

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February 3, 2008 11:26 AM

Boardman's Q-and-A

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to make sure you saw the question-and-answer piece written by our Executive Editor David Boardman in response to the series that ran this week.

Here it is.

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February 3, 2008 9:42 AM

Rankin, Reece on losing end of All-Star game

Posted by Bob Condotta

The nation got killed badly by Texas in that all-star game yesterday in El Paso, 41-14. Here's a game story.

Louis Rankin and Marcel Reece played for the nation, and didn't do much according to the final stats (which you fan find here).

Rankin had two carries for 11 yards (apparently carries of five and six) while Reece had no catches.

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February 2, 2008 4:16 PM

Possible running backs coach candidate?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm heard this only as a rumor, but this all makes some sense so I'll throw it out there in that light.

A name that could be in the running for the running backs coach job is Brian White, who was the offensive coordinator at Syracuse last year, ironically enough, before being let go at the end of the season, which means he's out of a job and looking for work.

Here's a story detailing his firing.

White made his name previously as the OC at Wisconsin and as a running backs coach prior to that --- here's one bio and here's another detailing his background.

And here's a story on White when he joined the Syracuse staff in 2006.

UW is looking for an RB coach to replace Trent Miles who left to take over as head coach at Indiana State.

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February 2, 2008 11:25 AM

Rankin, Reece in All-Star game today

Posted by Bob Condotta

A reminder that Marcel Reece and Louis Rankin will be playing today at 2:30 p.m. in the Texas vs. The Nation Challenge all-star game at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Here's more info from

And here's a good breakdown of the game that mentions both Reece and Rankin.

The game will be live on CSTV at 2:30 p.m. preceeded by a documentary of former Texas coach Darrell Royal, who was also coach of the Huskies for a season in 1956. My system also shows that the game will be replayed at 8 p.m.

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February 2, 2008 9:21 AM

An intriguing walk-on for UW?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a little story for today's paper about Tripper Johnson, a Newport High grad who has played minor league baseball the last eight years but now is thinking about walking-on to play football at UW.

Here's a link to the story in the paper.

As often happens, the story was cut for space reasons, so here's some info that didn't make it in the final cut:

Johnson said that after last season, when his contract ran out, he began to explore other options.

He said he learned then he has four years of college football eligibility and decided to see what his options would be. He's also talked with coaches at Washington State, University of San Diego and Penn State (where his dad went to school) but said he has his heart set on UW.

He said he hasn't completely closed the door on baseball but that he's excited about the opportunity of football having spent the last few months training.

"I loved baseball, but I think football was my first love,'' he said. "There's just something about it. My intention right now is to go play football for four years."

Johnson was a first team All-Kingco pick as a defensive back and second team as a running back in 1999 as a senior at Newport. He was The Seattle Times Male Athlete of the Year for the Eastside after being named All-Kingco in football, basketball and baseball.

Finally, here's a link to Johnson's baseball stats.

NOTE --- Sorry for the continued garble on quote marks. We're having some problems with this. I've fixed it for now in this post, I think.

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February 1, 2008 1:26 PM

Updated recruiting rankings

Posted by Bob Condotta

Talked with a recruiting expert today who reiterated a point made here a few times already --- UW is likely to see its final recruiting ranking move down a little bit as everyone else fills in their classes in the final days before letters are signed.

Scott Kennedy, the director of scouting for, said UW's ranking (currently No. 10) is "artificially a little bit high based on how many commitments they have.'' UW has 26 commitments, more than anyone in the Pac-10 except ASU, which has 27.

This isn't to put a knock on UW's recruiting class --- it will still rank as one of the best in recent school history. Just to point out it should be no surprise if that ranking drops a few notches in coming days.

"They will come back in the pack a little, more in the middle-teens or so,'' Kennedy said. currently has UW at No. No. 2 in the Pac-10 as well as 10th in the nation. But as you can see, there's quite a scrum of Pac-10 teams there with UCLA at 9, ASU at 13 and USC at 14. Given that USC has just 17 commitments, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Trojans move up a few more notches and maybe ahead of UW by signing day. has had a little less rosy view of UW's class all along, and currently has the Huskies at No. 22 nationally and fifth in the Pac-10.

How much rankings matter is a topic that can be debated another day --- or here in the comments section if you'd like. The general take on UW is that no matter the final ranking, it's a class filled with more than enough talent to win with down the road, which is the most important thing.

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February 1, 2008 9:34 AM

Wrapping up Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to pass along the final version of our story on the official hiring of Ed Donatell yesterday, a move that appears to solidify UW's defensive coaching staff for next season.

A lot of info was passed along here yesterday with all of the conference calls, announcements, etc., so let's hit the high points of what this teams:

--- Both Donatell and UW coach Tyrone Willingham said the rest of the defensive staff will return. So in the end, the only change made was to the coordinator with DL coach Randy Hart, LB coach Chris Tormey and DB coach J.D. Williams all due back. They'll have their work cut out to revive a defense that allowed 446 yards per game last season.

--- Donatell got a two-year deal worth $334,000 annually, the most for an assistant in UW history and the first assistant of the Willingham era to get more than a one-year contract. It is also expected that offensive coordinator Tim Lappano will now get a similar deal. Lappano has been working on one-year deals since arriving at UW in 2005, but under Willingham, the coordinators have had identical contracts. Word is that the school is working with Lappano on a new deal.

--- Donatell said the two-year contract wasn't a necessity to come to UW, that it is simply becoming par-for-the-course for college coordinators. It's true multi-year deals are becoming increasingly common, but in this case, UW seemed to have little choice to whoever it was offering the job due to the hot-seat nature of next season.

--- UW still needs to hire running backs and tight ends/special teams coaches. Willingham gave no real timeline on it, but it likely will wait now until after letter-of-intent day, which is Wednesday.

--- Donatell gave no specifics of what the schemes will be next season, saying that it's too early to decide that yet. But he said it is likely to be multiple, meaning use of both the 4-3 and the 3-4. He explained he's been a 4-3 guy most of his career but studied the 3-4 last year while working as a special assistant with the Jets. He also said he thinks adaptability is one of his strengths, something echoed by the likes of Jim Mora, which seems like a necessity with this team right now. The defense still lacks experienced personnel in a lot of places and the trick will be finding the best schemes for their talents.

--- Given everything, this seems on paper like a hiring that will be well-received. Donatell has a proven track record but also has ties to the school and familial ties to the area that make him seem truly excited to be here for as long as can be, not just taking another job somewhere as could have been the case with someone else. No doubt tracking the progression of the defense now becomes the focus of spring football.

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