Chat with Mason Kelley
Welcome to HuskyNation! On Friday, reporter Mason Kelley stops by to chat about the state of Washington football.
Kelley joined ESPN.com in 2012 after spending three years as the high school sports coordinator at The Seattle Times. He has written about high school, college and professional sports since 2004, working for newspapers in Florida, California, Idaho and Washington.
Send your questions now and join Kelley Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mason Kelley (1:58 PM)
After a one-week absence so I could attend the U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey presentation for Myles Jack, I'm back to take your Washington football recruiting questions. I will try to update you on everything going on with the Huskies over the next hour. Also, if you haven't signed up for ESPN.com's Bowl Mania, check it out: http://games.espn.go.com/college-bowl-mania/en/frontpage
Great call on Azeem Victor. He seems to be pretty excited to be a Dawg. Anyone else on your list to watch this week?
Mason Kelley (2:02 PM)
I think Azeem Victor is going to be a very good player at Washington. He's a bit of an under-the-radar prospect. As far as other prospects to look out for, I would keep a close watch on what happens with Trevor Walker at noon.
Sounds like we are second with Nico Falah? What would it take to flip him?
Mason Kelley (2:03 PM)
It's not going to be easy to flip him. After his visit he made it clear that Washington was running No. 2 at the time. I think something would have to change at USC to get him to flip to the Huskies.
The recent article really made it seem like UW was an afterthought for Foster. I know UW has a visit but is the interest genuine, on his side?
Mason Kelley (2:06 PM)
I am keeping a close watch on everything written about Reuben Foster. He definitely likes the Huskies. When he took an unofficial out here this summer, he loved it. During a brief conversation with him, he raved about the program. However, it will be tough to pull him out of the South. Washington will have to bring out their A-game when the Huskies roll out their sales pitch. I think the interest is genuine, but the program is just one of several schools he is looking at.
HugeDawgfan (Meridian, ID)
How do and can the Huskies beat the Broncos in the MAACO Bowl?
Mason Kelley (2:07 PM)
While I have been focused mainly on recruiting recently and not the bowl game, I think there are a few things that will help the Huskies against Boise State. First, they need to get their offense going early. Second, they need to eliminate early mistakes. The defense has played well throughout most of the year, so that shouldn't be much of a worry, but the offense needs to get things going early in this matchup.
How are we doing with Jalen Ramsey? Seems to be another guy we would love to get.
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
Jalen Ramsey would be a huge addition for the Huskies. As of now, they have done well with him. But he remains committed and I'm not sure what it would take for him to flip at this point.
Mark (Meridian, ID)
What are the Dawgs chances of getting Mattingly and Jack? After seeing Russell's success at ND I'm really wanting the home talent stay home.
Mason Kelley (2:11 PM)
I don't think it can be stressed enough that the top talent in Washington needs to end up at the in-state schools to ensure the long-term success of the local programs. Watching KeiVarae Russell and Joshua Garnett at Notre Dame and Stanford, respectively, proves that point. I, personally, think it's a big loss that Max Browne is going to USC. But Troy Williams helps ease that loss. As far as Danny Mattingly and Myles Jack, I think one ends up at Washington. Mattingly has been high on the program for a long time and likes what he has heard from the coaching staff. Jack might be a bit tougher to land. He really likes how the Huskies would use him. But he still thinks UCLA is a good fit. It still seems to me that the Bruins are the favorites to land Jack. But that could change after his official visit.
Fritz Ward (San Bernardino, CA)
Question from a Boise State Fan: I am more concerned about this bowl game than any Bowl game I have seen since Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The reason: DC Justin Wilcox. My question: how much impact does Wilcox have on the game. On the one hand, he knows the Boise playbook. On the other hand, Boise knows how Wilcox likes to prepare. Does Wilcox give Washington an edge?
Mason Kelley (2:13 PM)
My thought on this is Justin Wilcox presents a problem for Boise State, because he is a very good defensive coordinator. I don't think his familiarity with the program will make much of a difference in the outcome, but he has shown throughout the year he knows how to put his players in positions to be successful. I think this is going to be a fun game to watch. I'm looking forward to it.
Mark (Meridian, ID)
Here in Idaho it seems a given that Broncos will roll over the Dawgs. Any chance the Broncos players are over confident as well?
Mason Kelley (2:14 PM)
I don't see Boise State as the kind of program that gets overconfident in bowl games. However, I also don't think the Broncos roll over the Huskies. Again, I think this will be a great game to watch. I wish I was going to be in Las Vegas to see it.
What are your thoughts on Trevor Walker? Sounds to be a Husky lean. What does he bring to the table?
Mason Kelley (2:16 PM)
Based on what I've heard, Walker will be a very nice addition to Washington's 2013 class. We'll see what he announces soon, but it sounds like the Huskies are right near the top of this. He is known for being a hard-hitting safety with good speed and instincts. And, his addition would help Washington establish a footprint in Texas, which is always a good thing.
Ruben Foster looks like the best HS player to walk this earth. His closing speed and hitting ability are out of this world. What percent chance do the Dawgs have of landing this phenom?
Mason Kelley (2:18 PM)
Boy, I'm not sure I can put a percentage on it. I would say, at this point, it's less than 50 because of the number of SEC schools still in the running. It will be tough to convince him to leave the South, but if anyone can do it, Tosh Lupoi would seem like the guy.
Will losing the bowl game be bad on recruiting? And on the flip side is a bowl win good for recruiting? Go Dawgs!
Mason Kelley (2:19 PM)
A bowl win is always good for recruiting. I think a win would do more than a loss would hurt. After each one of Washington's losses this year, prospects said it didn't hurt their commitments or feelings with regards to Washington.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Lupoi & Co will finish strong in recruiting again this year? Or did UDUB miss a golden opportunity by blowing the Apple Cup, and not finishing the regular season 8-4, which would have been a huge momentum builder?
Mason Kelley (2:21 PM)
Other than being a big disappointment for Washington fans, I don't think losing the Apple Cup has done much to impact recruiting. Like I said in the last questions, big wins to more to help than losses hurt. Washington State's win hasn't seemed to derail much of the momentum the Huskies have been building. I think the program definitely finishes strong in the buildup to signing day.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
is Myles Jack enamored with UCLA because of his close relationship with Jim Mora? how can UW compete with this when Jim Mora was so close to the Bellevue program when he was unemployed??
Mason Kelley (2:23 PM)
Myles Jack does have a good relationship with Jim Mora. But it's not just his connection to the Bellevue program. Jack wants to get involved with broadcasting in some form. He wants to study that in school. He knows that Mora has done a lot of TV work. He knows that Southern California has plenty to offer when it comes to that line of work. That is very enticing for the linebacker and it something he points to each time he is asked about what he likes about UCLA.
Are there any UW commits who are not very solid with their verbal and are thinking about uncommitting? also, what is the chance of Vanderdoes flips to UW?
Mason Kelley (2:27 PM)
At this point, there aren't many Washington commits on shaky footing. I really wanted to check in with Sean Harlow after his Oregon State visit, but I couldn't track him down. He usually returns all texts, so maybe he enjoyed his visit to more than he wanted to talk about at the time. But he hasn't seemed to indicate that a decommitment was imminent, so I don't see reason to worry there at the moment. I also think Sammie Long enjoyed his visit to Montana and he could end up flipping if he finds a school he considers a better fit if he is worried about being behind a backlog of receivers in this 2013 class.
We will have a decent recruiting class this year but I believe that UW fans need to temper their expectations with signing any high 4 star or any 5 stars this year. We have a great program but the top 6 guys in our board will not end up at UW. Thoughts champ?
Mason Kelley (2:32 PM)
It is easy to get excited when recruits like Eddie Vanderdoes and Reuben Foster schedule visits. But expectations need to be tempered, because there are no guarantees here. It is great to get excited. There are plenty of positive signs with some of these big names, but if there is a Shaq Thompson this year, I would expect it to happen as an unexpected surprise in the final build up to signing day.
How many do you think the Dawgs will sign this year? Only 11 graduating seniors I believe so not sure how taking 25 is going to work but that's how many it seems we are taking.
Mason Kelley (2:35 PM)
With Troy Williams enrolling early, the Huskies will probably have at least 26 prospects in this class. Add a couple of greyshirts and it could go up to 28. You're right, there aren't enough available spaces right now, but there will be a few spots created through attrition, and the program will have until the scholarships for the 2013 prospects kick in to make room for the new additions.
Sorry to ruin the suspense but here it is: Huskies beat Boise St. 38-35 in OT
Mason Kelley (2:36 PM)
That sounds like a game Washington fans would like to watch. Ha!
Where do you think the class ranking will end up? Any chance we get into the top 15-10?
Mason Kelley (2:37 PM)
Washington can climb into the top 10-15 in the class rankings, but it would take the addition of an Eddie Vanderdoes or a Reuben Foster.
What are your thoughts on Joe Mathis? Would love to add another D-linemen. Was he a UW commit at one point?
Mason Kelley (2:38 PM)
Mathis was an early Washington commit. I got him on the phone last Sunday after his visit, but he asked me to call him back and I couldn't get him again, so I'm not quite sure where he is at right now. I would say that there is reason for optimism here and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with Washington.
Sam (Adams, NC)
How much did the Apple Cup loss hurt the Husky program?
Mason Kelley (2:41 PM)
Outside of the bruised egos that come with losing a rivalry game, I don't think it set the program back. If the loss came with a bowl bid on the line, it would have done a lot of damage. But Washington can still win its eighth game. The Huskies are still doing well in recruiting. So, while a loss to the Cougars stings a little more than most, it didn't do anything to derail what the program has accomplished in 2012.
Any word on Walker yet?
Mason Kelley (2:42 PM)
Nothing yet. Follow @damonsayles on Twitter for updates. His announcement should come around noon.
Justin (Redmond, WA)
Chances to land Reuben Foster? Sounds like he doesn't like the noise that has come with committing and decommitting... Seattle could be a good place to get away and leave that in the past.
Mason Kelley (2:44 PM)
That's an interesting way to think about things with Reuben Foster. We'll see what happens. That might be a good sales pitch. If the Huskies can find a way to land him, it would be huge for the program for several reasons.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
Any change in the Mattingly and Jack situations?? UW needs both badly!
Mason Kelley (2:45 PM)
No real change right now. Should know more about Mattingly after his Oregon visit this weekend. I don't expect to get a sense for what is going on with Jack until after he takes his visit, not long before signing day.
Mr. Triangle (Park City, UT)
Has Tosh been the rainmaker envisioned when he was hired?
Mason Kelley (2:46 PM)
Well, lightning struck with Shaq Thompson. Will it happen twice in two years? we'll see. He has definitely been a huge boost to recruiting. I don't know if I would call him a "rainmaker" but he is getting big-name prospects to take a longer look at the Huskies.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
is UW back in the hunt for Jermaine Kelly???
Mason Kelley (2:47 PM)
I would think they are probably in the mix for Kelly. I sent him a text after he decommitted, but I haven't been able to reach him.
Washington seems to have 4 LB committed already (Constatine, Tucker, O'Brien and Victor) and look to be in on a few more with Jack and Foster. How would you see this working out if those two want to be dawgs?
Mason Kelley (2:48 PM)
Size and depth has been an issue at the linebacker position for Washington, so I think the Huskies would have no trouble finding room for all six of them if each of those recruits signed with Washington.
Josh (St George, UT)
How are the Dawgs looking with the in-state guys if next year's class?
Mason Kelley (2:50 PM)
The Huskies are in good shape with in-state recruits. They seem to be spending more time on local kids. But I think there is still more work to do. Let's say there are 6-10 Pac-12, D-I prospects in Washington each year. I think Washington should try and get just about all of them in each recruiting cycle.
On the broadcasting thing with Jack, being a Husky football player sure didn't hurt Brock Huard, Ed Cunningham, Warren Moon and JC Pearson among others who have done well in that business. Hope Jack knows that because he would look great in purple and gold.
Mason Kelley (2:52 PM)
I'm not saying playing for Washington would hurt Jack when it comes to a future career as a broadcaster. I'm just saying part of the reason he finds UCLA appealing is because of his options to study the business while he is in school. It's something he talks about often.
When people hear "Dawgs" who comes to mind first? UW or UGA?
Mason Kelley (2:52 PM)
For people in Washington, I would say it's UW. For people in the South, I would say UGA.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
Is Austin Hooper still looking at uw?
Mason Kelley (2:53 PM)
I will be in Northern California for three days next week and Austin Hooper is one of the kids I am trying to catch up with. As far as I know, Washington is still in the mix. I'll get an update when I see him.
Who do you see UW adding to this o-line class?
Mason Kelley (2:54 PM)
I don't know if they can get him, but Brayden Kearsley would be a huge addition to this year's class.
How do future state of Washington classes look? 2014
Mason Kelley (2:55 PM)
The 2014 class is good, especially at the top with Bishard "Budda" Baker, Kaleb McGary and Devante Downs. However, based on what I'm seeing, 2015 is going to be a special year. There are a ton of prospects in that group.
I know your mainly focused on football. But seeing Aaron Gordon last night on ESPN gets me all excited about the chance of him considering UW. Man I hope Romar can bring him in.
Mason Kelley (2:55 PM)
I think every Washington basketball fan is saying the same thing with Gordon. He is a special player.
Sean (Norton, CA)
Does Pete Carroll ever help his boy Sark with recruiting?
Mason Kelley (2:57 PM)
Carroll has plenty to do coaching the Seahawks. I don't see him having the time to put in legwork recruiting for the Huskies.
So if we need to make room for this class is there anyone that you know of that is thinking of leaving? Or best guess.
Mason Kelley (2:58 PM)
That's a tough one. I don't know which players on the current roster would leave to make room for the 2013 class. But players transfer. Some just give up football. I don't have any specific names, but it seems like the program will, somehow, find a way for all of its recruits.
Mason Kelley (3:00 PM)
Well, that's it for this week. Again, keep an eye out for tweets from @DamonSayles who will have Trevor Walker's announcement covered. His decision should be coming in the next hour or so. This was the best chat yet as far as the volume of questions. Let's keep it going next week. Thanks again for stopping by. Take care and happy holidays.