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 (2:00 PM)
Signing day is right around the corner, so there is plenty to talk about during this week's chat. I will be answering Washington recruiting questions for the next hour.
What's your guess of the percent chance Dawgs lose Daeshon Hall? Pick up Nico Falah?
Mason Kelley (2:03 PM)
Once Daeshon Hall committed to Washington, I thought that was where he would end up. I still think the defensive end signs with the Huskies. He has enough connections here that it makes sense. So, I wouldn't worry about that. Now, as far as Falah goes, it seems like the Huskies still have a chance here. I don't know if I can put a percentage on the Huskies' chances, but he is definitely intrigued by the idea of flipping to Washington.
Mike (133DB Husky Stadium, WA)
Have you had a chance to view the Husky Stadium renovation? In your opinion will it be as loud as CenturyLink when completed?
Mason Kelley (2:05 PM)
I went on the last media tour of the renovation and I have watched it take shape both from Washington's practice field and just driving by. I think it is going to be very loud in Husky Stadium. It was already a loud stadium, but now that the track has been removed and the crowd will be closer, it should make for a more intimate setting and should also boost the noise.
Shane (Tampa Florida)
Mason, I've been hearing a LOT of smoke about EV starting to lean towards UW when it used to be UCLA...Hearing similar rumors? Secondly, I've been hearing Jack and Turman are the ONLY visitors this weekend and the coaches are pulling out all of the STOPS to get Jack in the boat..I know he publicly said he is firm with UCLA, but this trip to UW is not just a courtesy visit. Your thoughts?
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
As far as Eddie Vanderdoes goes, he's not tipping his hand right now. Publicly, he has continued to put Washington right there in the mix, so the Huskies still seem to have a chance. However, right now, the ESPN Hot Board is predicting he will end up at Alabama. You are correct that Jack and Turman are the only visitors this week and Washington will put on a full-court press to land Jack. It will be interesting to see what he says Sunday. He was impressed by his ASU visit, but blown away by his UCLA trip. The Huskies have some ground to make up here. They have the recruiters to do it, so we'll see what Jack says Sunday after the trip.
VegasDawg (Las Vegas)
Which current UW verbal commits are most likely to sign elsewhere?
Mason Kelley (2:09 PM)
At this point, it does look like any of the current Washington commits are going to flip to other programs. Based on everything I've heard, the Huskies are planning on keeping this class intact.
Brett (Bothell, WA)
With Callier and Cooper coming back from ACL tears, why haven't we put more of an emphasis on recruiting a RB? Sankey will be a Jr with not a lot to replace him with. Do you think they are hoping they can land Joe Mixon from Freedom HS next year? (along with everyone other school)
Mason Kelley (2:12 PM)
Washington has been in the mix with several running back recruits who picked other schools. Whether it was Terrell Newby or Khalfani Muhammad, the Huskies were on their list late in the process. The Huskies would obviously love to land Joe Mixon. He is piling up big-time offers, but will keep the Huskies on his list throughout the process. He would be a key piece to the program's 2014 class. There is also local product Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace), a big back with plenty of talent. Then there is the 2015 class, with several very talented local prospects at the running back position. So, with Lavon Coleman as the only running back this year, I would expect the Huskies to focus on this position in 2014 and 2015.
Shane (Tampa Florida)
Hearing Nico Falah is leaning towards UW and will take his parents there on an unofficial next weekend. If we land Crane, Kirkland, and Falah, would you consider this OL class a success!? Any other OL possibilities!?
Mason Kelley (2:15 PM)
Even if the Huskies don't get Falah, I don't think there is reason to worry about the offensive line. Now, if they can find a way to add Falah, that would make this a very good group, in my opinion. If Washington doesn't get Falah, there is always the chance they make a late push for Riley Sorenson, but the Huskies are running low on open spots in this class, so if they don't get Falah, they might decide they are content with two offensive linemen in this class.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
If the Huskies are unable to flip Myles Jack do you feel there is an issue on how UW is recruiting its in-state players?
Mason Kelley (2:19 PM)
I talked to Marques Tuiasosopo about in-state recruiting recently. The way to get in-state prospects is to start winning on a high level. The Huskies landed Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Kasen Williams with the idea of building a program. Now, to start cleaning up in Washington again, the Huskies have to continue winning. Now, Jack is an interesting case. While he played high school football at Bellevue, he's not a local kid in the traditional sense. He is from Georgia, so he doesn't have the in-state, family connection pulling him home. If he picks the Huskies, it will be because the program is the right fit. Now, back to your question about recruiting in-state players. I don't think there is an issue yet. But it has become a trend for some of the state's biggest names to leave Washington.
Speaking of Riley Sorenson... what is the deal with his recruitment? He kind of fell off the radar didn't he?
Mason Kelley (2:21 PM)
He really did fall off the radar. I haven't seen an interview with him for a while and really have no idea which programs are currently pushing for him or where he will end up. I know at one point he has Washington as one of his finalists, but that was the last update I heard.
What are our chances with Partick Enewally? Seems like the Twitter chatter has us deep in the mix?
Mason Kelley (2:22 PM)
The chances are still good. It doesn't seem like anything has really changed here. He enjoyed his UCLA visit, but has continued to have Washington right there among his finalists.
What is your stance on Myles Jack being "committed" to UCLA, and if UW can sway him or is he just taking the trip as a formality?
Mason Kelley (2:25 PM)
My stance is that he is still committed to UCLA. I talked to him earlier this week and he enjoyed his official visit and that reinforced his commitment. Now, the fact that he is still taking his Washington trip this weekend, means the Huskies still to have a chance. He told me he planned to keep an open mind both this weekend and next weekend during his visit to Florida State. Since he never decommitted from UCLA and has always had the Bruins as his leader, I still think he signs there. I will be curious to see what he says Sunday.
Idaho Dawg (spirit lake Idaho)
Mason, what are UWs chances on the twins?
Mason Kelley (2:27 PM)
Based on their quotes after they cancelled their visit to Ohio State, it sounds like Tyree and Tyrell Robinson were so impressed with their in-home visit from Oregon's staff this week they plan to keep their commitment with the Ducks. At this point, I don't see them flipping. I know Washington will make room for them if they change their minds, but that doesn't seem likely.
Does UW REALLY have a shot to land Foster?
Mason Kelley (2:31 PM)
While I think Reuben Foster's interest in Washington in legitimate, I don't think he ends up signing with the Huskies. He has too many ties to the South and all signs seem to point toward him signing somewhere other than Washington.
Will there be any academic casualties in this class?
Mason Kelley (2:33 PM)
There is always the potential for a few academic casualties. However, there is nothing official to report about prospects who may or may not get into school.
VegasDawg (Las Vegas)
I thought I heard rumors that there might be video boards on the south and north sides of the west end structure in the new stadium. On the website with the webcams, there are raised roof structures in those areas (I think above the football operations areas/coach offices). Has the school said anything about that, or was it mentioned during the tour you took?
Mason Kelley (2:36 PM)
The specific amenities were not revealed during my tour of the stadium. There is another media tour scheduled for later today. There might be more details revealed at that time.
Vegas Dawg, in the new renderings of the stadium (relating to the announcement of the endzone luxury suites), you can see UW will add video boards in the two locations you mentioned.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
I saw Aaron Gordon over the holidays on ESPN. Romar is offering this kid his left arm, and next grandchild, to get him in Seattle, right?
Mason Kelley (2:38 PM)
Lorenzo Romar is putting together a nice class so far, but you're right, Aaron Gordon would be the key piece. He is really good and has been very impressive in the clips I have seen. Washington is doing everything it can to bring him into the class, but the Huskies have some high-powered competition.
Pete (Seattle )
What are the chances of UW landing the guys from Georgia? It seemed like they enjoyed there officials a few weeks ago.
Mason Kelley (2:40 PM)
All three seemed to enjoy their visits. However, at this point, I don't see them committing to Washington. At this point, the top remaining targets for Washington seem to be Jack, Falah and Vanderdoes.
Brett (Bothell, WA)
What's one name in this years class that you think has the best shot to make a huge impact? My guess is Qualls or Mathis, thoughts?
Mason Kelley (2:41 PM)
I agree with you on Elijah Qualls. He has the combination of size and athleticism that should allow him to make an impact fairly quickly. However, if I had to pick one name, I would go with receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow. He is the highest rated prospect in this class and plays a position that should allow him to step in and make an impact.
Do any of the young players on next year's roster have the ability to effectively replace Trufant?
Mason Kelley (2:44 PM)
I was really impressed with Marcus Peters at times this season. He seemed to put himself in a position to make plays and his experience this year should help him next season. The Huskies will also have Tre Watson back next year and it will be interesting to see how Cleveland Wallace develops after a year in the program.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
Whats your take on Washington in-state recruiting for next year? are the Huskies in good places with recruits like Baker and Downs??
Mason Kelley (2:47 PM)
The Huskies are in a decent position with both Bishard "Budda" Baker and Devante Downs. As far as I'm concerned, Baker is a special prospect Washington has to get. He is a blue chip recruit and a big-time playmaker. Based on what I know about Baker, I think he ends up playing in Seattle. However, the Huskies will have to hold off programs like Alabama, so it won't be easy. Now, as far as Downs goes, he is looking around and exploring his options. He wants to get as many offers as he can before he starts to narrow his list.
Why hasn't UW got any junior college commits this year? Usually we at least get one or two. Thanks.
Mason Kelley (2:50 PM)
Washington was a finalist for a few junior college prospects, but they picked other programs. With the players the Huskies have committed, combined with the limited number of scholarships available, I think the program is pleased with the current class and simply hasn't found come across the right junior college fit at this point.
NZDawg (Auckland NZ)
Where do the Dawgs finish in the final ESPN class rankings? In addition, what Pac-12 schools finish ahead of them?
Mason Kelley (2:53 PM)
Washington is currently No. 19 in the nation. In order to make a big jump toward the top 10, the Huskies have to land Eddie Vanderdoes otherwise I see them somewhere between 15-19. Landing either Myles Jack or Nico Falah would help, but Vanderdoes would be a huge addition.
Mason Kelley (2:54 PM)
Now, as far as what Pac-12 program finish above Washington, I would say USC and UCLA.
Budda Baker seems like a clone of Keaunte Bankhead of a few years ago. Exciting player. Where do you see this program standing this time next year? To me it will be either in turmoil or one of the hottest program in the country..
Mason Kelley (2:58 PM)
That's an interesting question. A lot will happen between now and the end of next season and there is a long list of potential scenarios. I will say the 2013 season is a big one for Washington. String together a successful season and the Huskies and another strong recruiting class and they could become one of the hottest in the nation. If the program struggles on the field, though, it will be interesting to see how that impacts the recruiting momentum Washington has carried through the past few cycles.
Any junior college commits this year?
Mason Kelley (2:59 PM)
Not right now, and it doesn't seem likely the Huskies bring in any junior college prospects in this class.
@Paul, Baker and Bankhead are totally different players. The only thing they have in common is they are big time local safety prospects. Baker is an electric playmaker in the mold of DAT while Bankhead was a hard hitting strong safety. More comparable to Taylor Mays if we are comparing local standouts.
Mason Kelley (3:00 PM)
I didn't get to watch Bankhead enough to make a comparison. I think I only got to see him once as a high school player.
Do you think there will be any surprises for UW on signing day. Recruits who we haven't heard much of that flip to the Huskies?
Mason Kelley (3:01 PM)
I don't see any big surprises as far as new names. The Huskies are still positive they can get a guy like Vanderdoes, Jack or Falah, but I wouldn't expect a name to emerge that hasn't been mentioned in connection with Washington.
I guess you never saw Bankhead return a kick... Dynamic athlete
Mason Kelley (3:02 PM)
I wish I had seen Bankhead more back then, so I could give you a comparison. However, I will say that Baker is one of the most impressive playmakers I've seen at the high school level.
Mason Kelley (3:03 PM)
That wraps up this week's chat. We'll have one more before signing day. Thanks for all the great questions and check back next week.