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Take Two: Can Washington keep elite in-state talent home?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2021: Rivals100 | Position


Gee Scott
Gee Scott (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

THE STORYLINE

The 2020 and 2021 classes in the state of Washington are arguably two of the best in Rivals history dating back to 2002 and it’s become a place where elite national powers have come in and poached a lot of the best talent.

In 2020, five-star defensive end Sav’ell Smalls has a top list that no longer includes Washington. Four-star receiver Gee Scott Jr. is committed to Ohio State, although the Huskies just offered on Wednesday and things could get interesting.

Rounding out the top five are four-star running back Sam Adams, four-star tight end D’Andre Rogers and four-star cornerback Ayden Hector. The Huskies are involved with many of these recruits, but some could also leave the state as well.

The 2021 class might even be more loaded with five-star J.T. Tuimoloau leading the way as the No. 2 prospect in the nation followed by four-star receiver Emeka Egbuka. They remain uncommitted. Washington has secured the pledge of four-star QB Sam Huard.

The state, especially in recent years, has churned out elite talent. With the Pac-12 struggling, national powers like Georgia, Ohio State and others are luring top players away. Can Washington build a fence around the state and keep those players home?

FIRST TAKE: Lars Hanson, DawgReport.com

“From 2005 to 2015, only four cycles produced 50-plus signed high school football recruits from the state of Washington. Certainly the Evergreen State has become prominent recruiting territory for dozens of Power Five programs, continuing a growing trend.

“Previously, UW has been able to dominate in-state recruiting because of the staff’s ability to evaluate the elite talent early, and not many other programs had previously recruited the state. Due to a combination of coaching changes and more schools recognizing the talent coming out, it’s no longer a guarantee the Huskies will keep the premier talent home. With another 10-plus win season in 2019 and perhaps a New Year’s Six bowl victory expected this fall, UW could reinforce the fence it previously established around the state.

“In 2020, the Huskies have offered five in-state recruits; Smalls, Adams, Hector, four-star offensive guard Geirean Hatchett, and three-star wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli. Racanelli is the lone in-state commit as the class stands currently for UW. The expectation is that at minimum Hatchett will add his name to the list before all is said and done. Adams is another likely addition, with Smalls and Hector remaining possible but not as highly expected. UW has already secured one elite in-state commitment in the 2021 class in Huard. They’ve also offered Tuimoloau, an elite defensive end prospect, and Egbuka, a highly coveted receiver.

“Both are viewed as the two best prospects regardless of class currently in the state. That speaks volumes to their talent and the quality of elite talent Washington is on track to produce, but it will be difficult for the Huskies to keep everybody.”

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SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, Rivals.com

“Washington has to get back to the playoff. The Pac-12 is down and it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as some of the other conferences. Kids pay attention to that stuff. They’re kind of isolated in the Northwest corner of the United States and they just don’t get the national media attention that other schools get that are coming in there and trying to steal these kids away.

“A couple of them could certainly stay home, a couple of them could go elsewhere and then find their way back home like five-star quarterback Jacob Eason. But until the Pac-12 rights itself and until Washington gets back to the playoff, those other big schools are going to come in and poach a lot of those guys.”