2019 recruit DT Matthew Pola-Mao puts Washington Football in Top 6

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea /
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive lineman Vita Vea /

The Washington Football team continues to recruit defensive tackles to the team, now aiming at 2019. So it’s great news to learn DT Matthew Pola-Mao has placed UW among his top 6 universities

Despite addressing the issue in the class of 2018, the never ending saga of the Washington Football team‘s need for defensive tackles continues into the 2019 class.  We know that the 2018 recruiting class did include two huge additions in the welcome arrival of defensive tackle Tuli Letuligasenoa and the incredibly versatile offensive guard/defensive tackle Sam Taimani.  But the team did not land defensive tackle Tommy Togiai in 2018.  So recruiting for the position has had its ups and downs. But as 2019 defensive tackle recruit Matthew Pola Mao named UW among his top six universities, the winter freeze on defensive interior linement may be warming to a spring thaw.

Now for the wait. But while we do, let’s explore some of the recent defensive tackles for the Washington Huskies.

Washington produces NFL caliber defensive linemen

The Washington Football program has been a wellspring of NFL caliber defensive linemen for some time. Most recently, Huskies who play defensive line include nose tackle Danny Shelton in 2015. Defensive tackle Elijah Qualls  joined him in the NFL in 2017.  Now the pair prepares to welcome projected first round selection defensive tackle Vita Vea. Next year, the NFL will welcome defensive tackle Greg Gaines.

Each year, the Washington Football team showcases an interior defensive lineman who emerges as a standout in the NFL.  And for all intents and purposes, that trend likely continues for the foreseeable future. Still, all that being said, Washington struggled to attract defensive tackles recently.  All the while, defensive tackles from Washington have entered and performed well at the NFL level.   Why hasn’t that success attracted new recruits to fill in their wake? With the success realized in the recruiting class of 2018, hopefully, defensive tackles consider UW more favorably.

UW is DT focused defense

The Washington Football team defense revolves around the play of their interior linemen.  Defensive tackles gobble up blockers, freeing up their linebackers to make plays stopping the run. Similarly, the same gobbline up blockers frees up edge rushers on one-on-one matchups when rushing the QB. And finally, they are tasked with collapsing the pocket, preventing long pass routes from developing and keeping the quarterback from stepping up into the pocket.

The 2017 defense worked like a charm.  And with key defense recruits joining the roster in 2018, the defense should remain just as stingy. A young man like Matthew Pola-Mao would carry that stinginess deep into and beyond 2019.

Solid DT, bright future with right program

Pola-Mao is now working on the right decision for his future. But the persons who he has been speaking with are themselves uncertain of their own future.  USC defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze has interviewed twice with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers for their assistant defensive line coach.

Even if Udeze stays, there is now that perception of “one foot out the door” which complicates the matter for incoming recruits.  And Pola-Mao is not just anyone.

Husky standout? Or another number for USC?

On one hand, yes, he is a solid tackle with good strength and leverage. On the other hand, he can collapse a pocket on the quarterback, and stymie the offensive line to force a running back to divert away from the pressure. Ultimately, he shows all the signs of a young man ideal for UW. But he has ties to USC

So it’s a tough uphill battle to shake the younger brother from the path his elder sibling had taken.  Still, you have to wonder about the DL situation at USC and its uncertainty.

Next: Washington Football quarterbacks: The more the Huskier

I believe UW has a shot, albeit an uphill shot at less than even odds.  Husky defensive tackles have a good reputation in the NFL. At the moment of making a decision, hopefully that becomes one of the facts given strong consideration.

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