Busy Huskies are climbing in football recruiting rankings

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Just a week ago, analysts were left wondering exactly what to make of a Washington football recruiting Class of 2011 that had lots of good parts but seemed in need of some finishing touches.

Seven commitments later, there are few questions remaining.

“They’ve done everything they needed to do,” said Jake Worthen, the West recruiting analyst for Scout.com and FoxSports.com.

Washington’s whirlwind was capped off Tuesday night when running back Bishop Sankey of Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep switched an earlier commitment to Washington State to UW.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Sankey said he had yet to talk to UW coaches when he initially committed to WSU in December 2009. He said a major draw of WSU was running-backs coach Steve Broussard, who left the following February for Arizona State.

Sankey said his decision to change his mind was “a gradual process” that first bloomed when he attended UW’s spring game in April. He said he formalized his decision after a visit to UW last weekend.

“That was kind of the last piece to help me make my decision,” he said. “The campus, the coaching staff, what they have to offer academically. It was just a great visit.”

Sankey said he knows he’ll have to face angry WSU fans a few times during his career but said, “It doesn’t really bother me. I knew that before making my decision. It’s just part of the recruiting process.”

Sankey was one of five Seattle Times blue-chip players, and UW has commitments from all five. Sankey is the seventh player to commit to the Huskies since Thursday, a haul that not only filled in the depth at a few positions but also helped shoot UW up the recruiting rankings.

Scout.com had UW at No. 10 in the nation following the Sankey commitment, while Rivals.com listed the Huskies at No. 20.

Washington’s ranking is unlikely to rise much more, however. The lone remaining big name UW appears to be recruiting is quarterback Jacoby Brissett of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., considered a longshot to sign with the Huskies. “It would be a shocker if they land him,” Worthen said of Brissett, who also is considering Wisconsin, Florida, Miami and Florida State. UW coach Steve Sarkisian is expected to have an in-home visit with Brissett sometime this week.

Worthen says if Brissett commits elsewhere and UW doesn’t land any other big-name players, its class will likely settle somewhere around No. 15 for the final ratings, which he says is still a nice climb for a program two years removed from an 0-12 season.

“They are up there recruiting with a lot of teams that have had a lot more success on the field recently than they have had, so that has to bode well for UW fans,” he said.

Even without Brissett, however, UW has addressed a need at quarterback by getting a commitment from Derrick Brown of Murrieta, Calif., last week, answering a question analysts had about this class.

Analysts also had questioned UW’s lack of cornerbacks, but the Huskies got two in the past week when Kameron Jackson of Long Beach Poly reaffirmed a prior commitment (having reopened his recruiting for a time) and also getting a commitment from Marcus Peters of Oakland.

Washington added two linemen in the past week, offensive guard-tackle Paulay Asiata of Honolulu and defensive lineman Stephan Nembot of Van Nuys, Calif., as well as receiver/defensive back Marvin Hall of Los Angeles.

Worthen calls Asiata, regarded as the No. 1 prospect in Hawaii, a particular coup, saying “he’s maybe the most underrated commitment in their class.” Asiata had taken a trip to Colorado last weekend before deciding on UW.

Like Sankey, Nembot was previously committed to WSU before deciding on UW.

Worthen says such decommitments are becoming more common and that UW’s coaching staff has shown an ability to sway recruits who had been leaning elsewhere.

“That’s kind of what the game is now,” Worthen said.

Washington, in fact, made Sankey a priority in part after it lost Brendon Bigelow, a running back from Fresno, Calif., who had been committed to the Huskies for months before deciding instead on California.

Washington appears to have only a couple of spots left to fill a full class of 25. The Huskies have only two players listed by Scout.com as coming in for visits this weekend, Hall and uncommitted defensive tackle Luther Maddy of Delray Beach, Fla. Washington also is waiting to hear from safety Travis Feeney of Pinole, Calif., who visited last weekend.