It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Washington football could end up with 2021’s best recruiting class in the secondary
Will Harris and Terrence Brown have been putting in work on the recruiting trail for Washington football. They’ve already secured the commitment of Loyola (Calif.) cornerback Zakhari Spears, who fits perfectly into the Keith Taylor/Kevin King mold in the defense, and the pair of DB coaches are heavily in the mix for every highly-rated defensive back prospect out west.
With a lot of players trimming their top lists of schools recently, let’s take a look at who the Huskies made the cut for, and where those guys would fit into the defense.
Having publicly expressed a lot of interest in Washington over the last few months, JD Coffey is clearly near the top of the DB’s board. The safety from Kennedale (Tex.) plays a lot of single-high and would fit into the defense the same way Budda Baker and Taylor Rapp did during their time in college. He has impressive range and is a sure tackler who can come down in the box and stop the run, as well as drop back and play man coverage.
Recently, Coffey announced his top six schools, and if the Huskies can sell him on a top-tier education to go along with a path to the NFL, they’ll be in a great position to land Texas’ top-ranked safety.
Saguaro (Ariz.) High School is becoming a pipeline for Huskies, with Byron Murphy, Jacobe Covington, and Danny Rivera starting the trend, and Denzel Burke could be next in the line of defensive backs from Saguaro to call Seattle home. Burke has played a lot of receiver so far in high school, thanks to having Covington and five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo in front of him on the depth chart, but he should get a chance to show out at corner during his senior season. Burke is long, quick, and has good feet, and projects as a good boundary corner for the Huskies.
He’s a pretty raw prospect at the corner positon with great tools, but would need a year or two to develop, but along with head coach Jimmy Lake, Brown and Harris have what it takes to turn him into a top-flight corner. Burke recently trimmed his list of schools to 10, which includes the Huskies. If they have success with Burke and find a way to land him, it might give them even better odds to land a few other top prospects at Saguaro (Bram Walden and Quinten Sommerville).
Another four-star prospect out of Arizona, Steven Ortiz has recently announced he’ll be making his decision on Thursday, April 9th. He also recently released a top-five list, that included the Huskies, and a lot of crystal ball projections seem to be leaning Washington’s way for the four-star out of Desert Edge High School.
Ortiz is quick, physical, and has outstanding footwork that would allow him to thrive in Washington’s nickelback role, similar to Elijah Molden and Myles Bryant. He has the athleticism and dog mentality in man coverage that would allow him to thrive on the outside, but his exceptional lateral movement would probably suit him best in the nickel.
The top-ranked defensive back out west, Jaylin Davies out of Mater Dei (Calif.) High School is a perfect fit for the Washington defense. Watching his film would probably make a Husky fan think of Sidney Jones. With long arms and quick hips, Davies displays an impressive ability to mirror and match whoever lines up across from him. His reach and ball skills mean he’s never out of a play, and when he puts on some more muscle at the college level, he’ll be one of the best press man defenders in the country.
Washington made the top seven for one of the best players in California, and with the help of Spears who has been a very vocal recruiter, the Huskies have a great opportunity to land his services.
A five man defensive back class might be tough to hold depending on what happens at other positions during the 2021 cycle, but with all the DB talent that’s interested in Washington, Lake and his staff would find a way to fit all these guys into the class.