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Washington gets going on '09 class

8/18/2008
Tyrone Willingham has five commits in Washington's 2009 class. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There was a lot of early discussion and hand wringing in the Seattle area questioning the direction of the Washington program. It was mid-July and the Huskies were the only school in the Pac 10 yet to receive a commitment. Fast-forward a few weeks and the Huskies now have a nice little run going; they hit one out of the park late Thursday night, landing a big commitment from the state's top prospect in defensive lineman Deandre Coleman (Seattle/Garfield). Unlike a year ago, this isn't a deep year for talent in the state of Washington.

Coleman was the one national-level prospect in-state and was a must-have recruit for the Huskies. At 6-4, 295 pounds, he's a big, physical defensive tackle and fills a position sorely lacking in top-level talent in the West this year. Cal was believed to be the early leader and Coleman was planning to visit LSU, but the lineman said in the end he just didn't want to leave home and felt a connection with head coach Ty Willingham.

Coleman wasn't the only Husky commit on Thursday. Safety Nathan Fellner (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West) pulled the trigger as well in somewhat of a surprise move. Stanford was the first to offer Fellner and was a big early leader.

Fellner took a recent unofficial visit to UW and spent four days on campus. He said the campus, stadium, tradition and coaching staff all put the Huskies over the top. He played primarily running back a year ago but was recruited to play safety.

The Huskies first commitment came without much fanfare but quarterback Keith Price (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is easily among the most underrated prospects in the region. At 6-1, 180 pounds, he opened up a lot of eyes during summer passing league and throws one of the prettiest balls in the state.

Price is a dual-threat quarterback with excellent passing skills. He played in a run-dominated offense as a junior, but Price will be the focal point this coming season and should have a big senior season.

West Coast Notes
•  You don't often see colleges offer a player who didn't start a single game in their junior season. That's what happened for quarterback Jeff Tuel (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West), and the signal caller decided to jump on the offer and committed to Washington State last weekend.

Tuel played behind Cal signee Beau Sweeney a year ago and didn't have a lot of film to send out. Instead, he hit the camp circuit hard and was a standout at both the Elite 11 regional workout at Cal and the NIKE Camp at Stanford. He attended several team camps, including Fresno State's full-contact camp.

Tuel then made a highlight reel of his performance at the Fresno State camp and sent it off to Washington State. The Cougars offered him, and after taking an unofficial visit to Pullman he ended his recruitment.

•  Running back Daniel Jenkins (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) took an unofficial visit to Arizona last week and said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Tucson. Jenkins is easily among the top backs in the West and the 'Cats have a very good shot at landing him.

Arizona was the first school to offer Jenkins and has been recruiting him harder than anyone else. Washington State, Nevada and New Mexico have also offered, and although Jenkins denies he has a leader, it would be a minor upset if he ends up anywhere other than Arizona.

•  After contemplating an early commitment (prior to his senior season), tight end Richard Wilson (Spanish Fork, Utah) has decided to go through the process and will now take his official visits.

Wilson took an unofficial visit to LSU and will head back to Baton Rouge in September for an official visit. National programs like Tennessee and Miami have also offered along with local schools BYU and Utah. Miami, Stanford and BYU also look good for visits.

We've heard some close to Wilson would love for him to stay close to home and play for the Cougars, but the talented tight end said he's open to leaving and will wait until Sept. 1 when colleges can call before he really narrows his list.

Greg Biggins covers recruiting on the West Coast for ESPN.com.