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)
Well, signing day has come and gone. Another class has been revealed. Washington had its share of hits and misses. I will be chatting about that over the next hour, in addition to any other questions you might have. Let's get this chat started.
Is UW finished with its recruiting class this for the 2013 year?
Mason Kelley (2:02 PM)
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian made it seem like the Huskies were done with their 2013 recruiting class Wednesday. However, if an opportunity presented itself, I think Washington would consider it. However, at this point, I think that is unlikely and this is the group that will join the program in the fall.
Mason I think we have seen the Dawgs spend too much time on guys in Florida, Alabama, and outside the West Coast. Has this cost the Huskies? Maybe once we win 10 games and open up the new stadium, but it seems like it was a waste?
Mason Kelley (2:04 PM)
Washington spends plenty of time in California, so I don't think it's fair to say they spend more time nationally than they do on the West Coast. The coaching staff did spend time in Texas and Georgia, but it seems to me that the program's focus is on California. If there is one thing I would like it see, it would be increased attention on in-state standouts.
Paul Smenis (Seattle)
Hey Mason, I understand the Dawgs had a good recruiting class by overall standards, but I believe they are missing out on getting the hogs on both the OL and DL. This class doesn't seem to add many other than the usual WRs, QBs, and DBs. Qualls is a great get, I find this class to be overrated and once again we aren't keeping in-state talent. Am I wrong?
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
Paul, I agree with you on keeping in-state talent. That needs to improve. However, I think the Huskies did well on the defensive line. All four of those recruits have a ton of potential. The only thing that would have made this group better is holding onto Daeshon Hall or pulling off a surprise with Eddie Vanderdoes. Now, as far as the offensive line goes, I really, really like Dane Crane. He has a tremendous future at center. Andrew Kirkland and Coleman Shelton have plenty of potential and could contribute down the road. I think this is a very good class and better than some think on the offensive and defensive lines.
Andy (Seattle, WA)
Will the Huskies make an effort to sign OL and DL next year? We have seen that the big guys are what you win with and the Huskies need to get better in the trenches.
Mason Kelley (2:10 PM)
I know this isn't the popular answer, but I think the Huskies did make the offensive and defensive lines a priority in 2013 and they did well. Again, Qualls and Crane are potential cornerstones in the future. Landing Nico Falah on offense and Eddie Vanderdoes on defense would have been nice, but I think this group is solid on both sides. I really do. I would also expect the lines to continue to be a priority for Washington in the 2014 class.
Is there a limit to how many junior camps a team is allowed? I know they are having an event tomorrow and they also had the Rising Stars camp last summer.
Mason Kelley (2:13 PM)
I'm not sure what the exact rule in on this. I do know Washington has two big events each year -- the junior day, which is tomorrow, and the Rising Stars Camp in June.
Mason who did they lose this year in state honestly? Jack who chose UCLA which might be the best place to go to college in america for free and Browne who wanted to go to USC. I think Sark is addressing the perception that he doesn't recruit in state with Tui who is probably the best Husky ambassador we have.
Mason Kelley (2:17 PM)
It is easy to argue both sides of this point. Losing in-state guys like Jack, Browne and Danny Mattingly hurts, especially when all three go to other Pac-12 programs. It's no different than losing Zach Banner to USC or Joshua Garnett to Stanford the year before. Now, for just about all of these recruits, there were great reasons for them to leave the state, but the goal has to be to get them to Washington. Now, building on that, I think adding Marques Tuiasosopo was a genius move. He is going to be great for in-state recruiting. He will help a lot.
Mason Kelley (2:19 PM)
Building on that, if Washington takes the next step as a program, getting to the point where it's a perennial contender for a Pac-12 title, the Huskies will once again become the preferred option for in-state talent.
Todd (Rockwall, TX)
I really like the 2013 class. I believe the LB's who signed are the most underrated position group in the class. Constantine and O'Brien were sold commits for so long they didn't get much attention and Victor was getting a lot of pressure of Oregon at the end. What is your opinion on the LB's?
Mason Kelley (2:23 PM)
This is a very talented group. I watched Sean Constantine throughout his high school career and he is the kind of player who will run through a brick wall for his coaches and teammates. He is a great addition. Connor O'Brien seems to be a linebacker whose career path could be like Travis Feeney's, because O'Brien is going to move from safety to linebacker. There is length and athleticism among these linebackers. Azeem Victor is also a very good prospect. Down the road, this position could definitely end up being a strength of the 2013 class.
I guess I am more new age than some husky fans but with social media, cell phones, skype, etc going away for college is not as big a deal as it once was. Plus every kid we lost went to a national school who I would argue every state loses kids to at some point. Lastly, I would say it was a problem if we lost kids to other NW schools since that means they wanted to stay close but chose them over UW. Mattingly is the only recruit I can remember that fits this mold. It is not a huge problem in my eyes... but again I think Tui will help greatly in the perception that we dont care bout WA recruits.
Mason Kelley (2:26 PM)
I understand what you're saying. I get it. And, to a certain extent, I agree. Some kids really do want to go away to school. However, I still think there is some ground that can be made up here and I agree hiring Tui should help with that.
I don't think lumping Mattingly in with Browne and Jack is fair. You've lived here in Washington, right? I think once you get east of the mountains a kid needs to count for like "1/2 in-state."
Mason Kelley (2:30 PM)
I know what you're saying, but Mattingly was at one point committed to Notre Dame and signed with Oregon. Losing a kid from Spokane to Washington State would make sense. However, losing one to Oregon is a little bit different. Washington wants to win those battles. And they have in the past, getting Bishop Sankey to flip from the Cougars to the Huskies.
Brett (Bothell, WA)
Who do you think is the No. 1 target for 2014? Also are we going to be pretty limited on the numbers for next year?
Mason Kelley (2:32 PM)
There are two names that come to mind right away when I think about the 2014 class. Running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) is really good and he is being pursued by national powers. But the Huskies were on him early -- he was high school teammates with WR Darrell Daniels -- and he has said he will consider Washington throughout the process.
Mason Kelley (2:33 PM)
The one in-state recruit I would consider a must-get is safety Bishard "Budda" Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue). He's a special player. He will be one of the top prospects in the nation. He is a recruit Washington wants to keep home.
I've heard comments that top OL players don't choose UW because they don't want to play for Cozzetto.
Mason Kelley (2:36 PM)
I would have to disagree with this idea. I get this question, or a form of it, every week. Each offensive line prospect I talk to has nothing but good things to say about Dan Cozzetto. Dane Crane pointed to the coach as a reason he committed and later signed with the Huskies. So, as I've said many times, I don't think there is an issue with Cozzetto. I have yet to hear one recruit say one negative thing about Washington's offensive line coach.
Do you see any chance Troy Williams pulls a Russell Wilson and beats out the guys ahead of him to start at QB this fall?
Mason Kelley (2:44 PM)
There is a lot to like with Troy Williams. He has the talent to contribute early in his college career. However, I still think Keith Price will get every opportunity to finish his career as Washington's starter. Williams will get a chance to prove himself in the spring, but he will have to have a Russell Wilson-like performance to earn the job.
Todd (Rockwall, TX)
Do you have any info on who is attending JR day?
Mason Kelley (2:54 PM)
I'm am hoping to have a full list later today, but here are some of the big names. Bishard "Budda" Baker will be there. So will Kaleb McGary and Devante Downs. Some of the top talents out of Oregon will be up here as well. I was told the even will be closed to the media, so I will start catching up with recruits who will be in Seattle on Sunday and keep following up with them into next week. Another thing to note is this even isn't limited to juniors. There will be some sophomores there, too, including RB Austin Joyner and QBs Brett Rypien and Ross Bowers.
Mason Kelley (2:57 PM)
Well, that wraps up this week's chat. Thanks for the questions and have a great weekend.