UW Rising Stars Notebook - Day One

Taniela Tupou (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

SEATTLE - The sun held out, the conditions couldn't have been nicer. And it's just what the Washington coaches could have hoped for as they worked out roughly 100 prospects during the first day of their Rising Stars camp at Husky Stadium.

Here's a position-by-position look at who stood out on the day.

Quarterback - Max Browne (2013) - Skyline 6-5, 196
Thomas Vincent - King's 6-0, 191
John Cabot - Torrey Pines (CA) 6-4, 205
Jason Thompson (2012) - Kennedy 6-2, 188

The Brett Hundley watch was on, but we didn't see Hundley out on the field Tuesday. Obviously we'll be back on the watch Wednesday, but in the meantime it was fun to watch some good signal-callers from a few different classes duke it out. Cabot and Vincent were arguably the top 2011 quarterbacks, and both get the job done in different ways: Cabot is a prototypical big, strong pocket QB, while Vincent is more athletic and a more accurate passer. Cabot has already been offered by Idaho.

Thompson - the younger brother of UW's Everrette Thompson - has been on the scene for a while now, and it's been interesting to watch him develop physically and as a QB. He spins it well for an athletic quarterback, and if he continues to grow could end up being one of the more intriguing prospects for 2012. Browne was my top pick at QB Tuesday, as he continued to build on a great showing at Washington's 7-7 tournament (where Skyline took top honors both days), hooking up repeatedly with teammates Kasen Williams, Jordan Simone and Michael Ford in the morning session.
Running Back - Baylor Black (2012) - Rockwall (TX) 6-0, 175
Keenan Forch - O'Dea 5-10, 205

This group appeared to be a little thin talent-wise, but Black definitely showed up as a pleasant surprise. The 2012 Texas prospect runs on a lean frame, but displayed a nice change of direction and burst. Forch was the best of the local prospects on hand, and he continues to show his versatility and athleticism. It's unclear whether or not he's a Pac-10 player at this point, but he's a heck of a competitor - especially during the one-on-ones with the linebackers. At this point, he reminds me of a little smaller and faster version of Larry Dixon from Olympic.
Wide Receiver - Kasen Williams - Skyline 6-2.5, 195
Ellis Henderson - Skyview 6-0, 170
Trent Sewell (2012) - Bothell 6-2, 185
Jordan Simone - Skyline 5-11, 180


(Kasen Williams/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

Both Williams and Henderson took off after the morning session, showing the UW coaches more than enough. Williams, in particular, looked even bigger than the 6-2.5 he reports, especially lined up close to Henderson, who was a few inches shorter. Williams got great tests all morning against some of the corners from out of the area, like Jaylen Harris and Buddy Mitchell, and passed all exams with flying colors. At this point, there's not much more the Scout.com No. 1 WR nationally needs to do to prove his worth, as well as his ranking. Henderson looked sharp all morning, and to my eye he looked like a slightly shorter version of Jermaine Kearse. With five Division-1 offers, including Washington State, Henderson is also a great return specialist, and that versatility will only add to his desirability as a prospect when the UW coaches take a look at whether or not an offer will be in the works.

Sewell, the top in-state receiving prospect for 2012, did nothing to diminish his status, running 4.5's in the 40 and showing the part of a pure athlete who can also catch the ball a little bit. Simone, the younger brother of current Washington State WR Gino Simone, is bigger than Gino but doesn't quite have the separation speed or route-running ability to take him to Gino's level just yet - but there's no question Simone continues to be one of those players to watch this fall that just might break out and earn a Pac-10 offer before it's all said and done.
Tight End - David Green - Wasilla (AK) 6-4, 255
Kishon Sanders - La Salle (CA) 6-1, 235
Jake Schifferl - Burlington-Edison 6-3, 225

Besides Jaylen Harris and Scott Lawyer, Green was arguably the biggest riser of all the rising stars on Tuesday. He worked out with the defensive ends in the afternoon, but I was much more impressed with his athleticism and hands when he worked out with the tight ends in the morning. He's every bit of 6-foot-4, and runs very well for his size. His hands were money all morning going up against the linebackers, getting good release and separation nearly every rep he took. Montana is the only other camp he's been to, and safety coach Jeff Mills has done his homework with Green, having visited Wasilla already during the recruiting process. Sanders was nearly as impressive with his hands catching the ball all day long, but his body is definitely not what you would consider to be a typical D1 tight end body. Schifferl was the top local TE prospect, also showing good hands - something he did during the UW 7-7 tournament last Friday.
Offensive Line - Zach Banner (2012) - Lakes 6-9, 300
Kyle Scheuler - Lakes 6-4, 250
Desmond Thompson - Samoa 6-5, 280


(Zach Banner/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

Banner was heads above this group (literally), and it's hard not to gravitate toward watching him work out, just because seeing a young man of his size and athleticism is so rare. Unofficially he ran a 5.2 40, which means the sprint workouts he's been doing are working out for him. Where a 2012 prospect like Isaac Seumalo from Corvallis is a technically-sound player, Banner is simply a clean canvas for coaches to draw up their ideal offensive tackle. A couple of times UW OL Coach Dan Cozzetto spent more than a few minutes with Banner off to the side, drilling home the fundamentals. When the technique hits home and he can repeat his steps and lean on some proper fundamentals, there's no stopping Banner.

His teammate Scheuler looked strong all day long and could be a surprise prospect for the 2011 class. Bilal Liggins was a Lancer that came from nowhere a few years ago to earn a scholarship offer from Idaho, and Scheuler could be another one of those prospects. Thompson - a first cousin of UW DE Everrette Thompson - was by far the most intriguing prospect of the camp. Already bigger than his Seattle cousin, Thompson - from Samoa - has never played football before. He's on the mainland for a few months to check it out and see if he has the heart and head for the sport - but one thing is very clear; he's got the build for it. It was hard to get too much info on Thompson on Tuesday, but it sounds like he's not a senior-to-be, so he could be a name to tuck away in the memory banks for 2012 and beyond.
Defensive Line - Taniela Tupou - Archbishop Murphy 6-2.5, 260
Jarett Finau - Juanita 6-3.5, 235
Julius Tevaga - Archbishop Murphy 6-1.5, 295
Ben Teichman - San Ramon Valley (CA) 6-1, 275

Tani Tupou has had arguably the best spring/summer of any 2011 in-state prospect, winning three Nike MVP awards, as well as an All-Poly camp award. If there was a player who has worked himself into the conversation when it comes to playing in the post-season All-America games, it's Tani. He looked to be in extremely good shape and clearly was the class of the morning group. Both Tani and Julius Tevaga had to leave after lunch, but the UW commit showed exactly why the coaches offered him after last year's Rising Stars camp.

Finau, offered Sunday after the UW OL/DL camp, was back for more during the Rising Stars camp, and he didn't slow down one bit. In fact, he went up against Zach Banner a few times and just blew by the mammoth 2012 OL. In just a matter of days, Finau has gone from a player that was on the periphery of UW's recruiting radar to right in their crosshairs. Tevaga, in my opinion, has to be right on the cusp of getting offers from some colleges, because it's hard to ignore his talent - and especially potential. He doesn't get it done pretty, but he always seems to find the backfield. Teichman is another player that wasn't necessarily pretty on the day, but effective nonetheless.
Linebacker - Scott Lawyer - Oak Grove (CA) 6-2.5, 195
Sam Atoe - Maria Carrillo (CA) 5-11, 206
Ejiro Ederaine - Santiago (CA) 6-2, 195
Nick Holt - Seattle Prep 6-1, 215

After finding out about Lawyer's commitment to UW, it was easy to see why during the Rising Stars camp. He's got a physique that will flourish with a couple of years in Ivan Lewis' weight room, where he can transform his body like Mason Foster. During the one-on-ones with the running backs, he showed a strong competitive streak, as well no hesitation when it came to bodying up RB's and making it tough for them to get separation. He plays fast and smart, moving guys around with the other LB's during the 7-7's. Not only does Lawyer have a lot of physical upside, but he's also got enough football IQ to make a difference the moment he steps on campus.

Atoe, who played running back in the afternoon session and showed nice burst and feel, worked out at the MIK spot for UW LB Coach Mike Cox, and I was more impressed with Atoe as a linebacker. He was another LB that really did their best to stick to the RB's like glue, and he was ultra-competitive. I believe schools like Sacramento State have already offered Atoe (I don't know if he's related to James Atoe), and if he continues to play like he did at this camp, he could see his offer sheet bump up in grade.

Ejiro Ederaine has a body similar to that of Lawyer's, and he also has a trademark Stegosaurus-type mohawk hair cut. But it wasn't his 'mo that kept Ederaine above the rest; it was his play out there on the field. He was flying around, making plays during the 7-7 session. Holt, son of UW Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, didn't get a chance to show up until the afternoon session, but when he did get there he was thrown right into the mix and played the MIK during the afternoon 7-7's. He's got the right build for that position, and he's clearly been drilled in how to do things right. Holt is definitely another Seattle-area prospect to watch out for this fall.


(Nick Holt/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

Defensive Back - Jaylen Harris - Vista Ridge (TX) 5-8, 165
Buddy Mitchell - Oakland (TN) 5-9, 175
Cedric Dozier (2012) - Lakes 5-11, 175
Ma'ne Manaea (2012) - Lakes 5-11, 175
Austin Vanderwel - Archbishop Murphy 6-1, 190
Demetrius Counts - Pomona (CA) 5-9, 179
Michael Ford - Skyline 5-9, 160

The defensive back group was the deepest group all day. Harris put his stamp on the day early on, with what we believe to be the fastest 40 of the camp so far. He's not the bigger corner that you might imagine the UW coaches would be going after, but Harris - who went home Tuesday night because of a workout with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday - more than made up for his lack of height with a scrappiness and athleticism that might put him right on the verge of a UW offer. He went up against Kasen Williams quite a bit and held his own, nabbing a couple of interceptions during the 7-7's. I believe Air Force has already tendered an offer, and other schools - like UTEP - could be offering soon. He's one to put on your watch list for this fall.

Buddy Mitchell first came onto my radar when I saw him at last year's Jason Gesser camp at Starfire in Tukwila. The Tennessee prospect won an MVP award that day, and Mitchell was back in the Seattle area to show last year's effort was no fluke. Dressed head to toe in red, Mitchell may not been quite as athletic as Harris, he was probably a little more physical. Counts and Ford were also two very solid cornerbacks on the day, making the CB corps as strong as any position out there at Husky Stadium.


(Cedric Dozier/Kim Grinolds Dawgman.com)

At safety, the Lakes duo of Cedric Dozier and Ma'ne Manaea proved to be a fun pairing to watch. Clearly they enjoy playing alongside each other, and even though Dozier didn't stay for the afternoon session he showed enough to make me believe that a scholarship offer from the Huskies will happen sooner, rather than later - if it hasn't already happened. Manaea had an interception during the closing 11-11 session, drawing a lot of response from the UW coaches. He's an instinctual player with a nose for the football. Vanderwel was a bit of a revelation for me, as I wasn't expecting to see him play so much safety. He is Archbishop Murphy's quarterback, so you know he's got a good head on his shoulders, as well as a good feel for the game. He's a rangy free-safety type, who looked very comfortable out there.

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