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Washington Huskies may wind up with Pac-12’s top recruiting class in football

Coeur d'Alene quarterback Cole Yankoff, above, and Bothell’s Jacob Sirmon anchor the Huskies’ recruiting class. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Coeur d'Alene quarterback Cole Yankoff, above, and Bothell’s Jacob Sirmon anchor the Huskies’ recruiting class. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Adam Jude Seattle Times

In the era of ’round-the-clock-recruiting coverage, dating to the start of the new century, never before has Washington had the Pac-12’s highest-rated recruiting class.

That could change this week.

With the new early signing period set to begin Wednesday, Chris Petersen and his staff at UW have assembled a 2018 recruiting class that is ranked, as of Monday afternoon, atop the Pac-12 and No. 10 nationally by 247sports.com.

It is Washington’s highest-ranked class in 247sports’ composite database, which dates to 2000. It also is on pace to be Petersen’s most acclaimed class in his 12 years as a head coach.

“They do a great job of identifying who fits into their program early on,” said Brandon Huffman, a national recruiting editor for 247sports. “And that means at times they go against conventional wisdom and there’ll be fans out there pounding the pavement going, ‘Why haven’t we offered this guy yet? Why haven’t we gone after that guy yet?’

“But there’s a method to how Chris Petersen and his staff recruit. They don’t just throw a bunch of offers out like some Power-5 schools do, especially schools in the Southeast, where they’ll throw 300 offers out (for a 25-man class). With the exception of Stanford, I don’t think there’s anybody who offers (fewer) players a year than Washington, and I think that shows the exclusivity of what that offer means.”

The Huskies have 18 recruits committed in this class, and most, if not all, are expected to sign Wednesday. Petersen is scheduled to hold a news conference to talk about the class late Wednesday morning.

By then, the Huskies are no doubt hoping to add one or two more names to their 2018 class. Among the recruits the Huskies are still pursuing is cornerback Kyler Gordon, the state’s top-ranked prospect out of Everett’s Archbishop Murphy. Gordon is expected to choose either UW or Notre Dame.

Three others are on the Huskies’ radar this week, according to Dawgman.com: safety Julius Irvin (Servite High, Anaheim, California); wide receiver/defensive back Dimitri Stanley (Cherry Creek High, Englewood, Colorado); and junior-college defensive lineman Caleb Tremblay (American River JC, Sacramento, California).

The 2018 recruiting cycle will continue into the traditional February signing period, but the majority of recruits are expected to sign Wednesday. That ought to provide ample evidence of just how far the Huskies have come over the past decade. After the program’s 0-12 season in 2008, the Huskies had a class ranked last in the then-Pac-10 and 75th nationally.

And Petersen’s classes have gradually garnered more respect nationally, too. His first UW class, in 2014, was ranked 38th, according to 247sports. And the Huskies’ 2017 class was 22nd.

This UW class is anchored by two touted quarterbacks: Bothell’s Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff of Coeur d’Alene.

“In this day and age, it’s hard enough to get one quarterback to commit to a program,” Huffman said. “To get two to come in this class that are both highly touted and both have plenty of other options, that’s pretty impressive to be able to pull that off.”

For the second consecutive time, the Huskies are expected to sign three prized receivers. This time, it’s expected to be Marquis Spiker, Trey Low and Austin Osborne, making that position perhaps the greatest strength in this class.

The Huskies have had a strong December, getting four commitments in the past 10 days. The latest was from four-star linebacker Brandon Kaho. Over the weekend, Kaho was one of 10 recruits on campus making an official visit to UW, and he stood up in front of UW coaches and recruits to announce his commitment Saturday night.

Kaho, from Reno, Nevada, is ranked as the No. 2 inside linebacker and the No. 32 overall prospect in the 2018 class, per 247sports.

“It’s different there; this place is special for me,” Kaho told 247sports. “It’s why it’s been high on my list for a long time before I got other offers, and once my parents saw what I saw and they could feel what I felt my first time there, I made the announcement.”

He plans to make that official by signing the letter of intent with the Huskies on Wednesday, a day that is shaping up to be one of the most promising in recent history for the program.

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