Husky Coach Rick Neuheisel Comments on UW Recruiting Class
Feb. 6, 2002
General Comments: 'We are excited as is always the case on this day to announce another signing class. Another group of young people who have chosen the University of Washington to not only play football but also get an outstanding education. We feel like we have a great group of guys as is the case often in this because of the added interest due to the Internets ability to get information. There is much more of a quest to find out all these late signings and so forth so there are still some kids out there that haven't made their minds up. There may be a couple of things that can happen here in the next hour that we will be able to talk about at a later date. I think sometimes we over look the kids that have made the decision early on that Washington is the place that they want to be and I think sometimes those are the kids that deserve the bulk of attention.'
On Demar Baisy LB/DE: 'Demar is right here from Seattle. He goes to Rainier Beach high school. He is a kid that the recruiting process started out relatively slow for us because we were concerned if he was going to be able to manage his affairs to the point where he would be eligible to play here. We're confident in our research that he will do the things necessary to get himself academically prepared to compete at an institution with the prestige of Washington. Most importantly he is a neat kid, as you get to know these guys and you get to understand their own personal stories you find out a great deal more and maybe why some of the earlier lack of productivity in the classroom might have occurred. I think we have a great young guy here, a guy that was in our camp last summer and we believe from the outset that he athletically was going to be a sure fire bet to play great defense for us. I look forward to watching Demar Baisy continue to work hard in school and hopefully have a great career here at the University of Washington. There was some mention that he had an earlier commitment to Washington State and that was certainly the case but all along I think he wanted to be at Washington. When we were able to find a way for it to happen he was excited about joining in. We are looking forward to having him join us.'
On Ben Bandel TE: 'He is one of the outstanding tight ends not only on the West Coast but I think in the country. He is a big guy as you can see 6-7 270 pounds. He is a surfer, he has all kinds of athletic ability, and he is very flexible which is something that you look for at that position. This is a guy that I think will have a great career and be another in a long line of outstanding tight ends at the University of Washington. Also a guy down there from southern California.'
On Jason Benn TE: 'He is kind of a legacy in our program. We think there is a tremendous upside for Jason. He is right here from the city of Seattle. It is worth mentioning that we have a strong contingent from Seattle this year that is exciting for all of us. We want to be the school of choice for our kids here in town. He is from O'Dea high school. He is kind of a tight end, defensive end we are probably going to begin his career on the offensive side of the ball but he is certainly a legitimate enough athlete that he could play on either side. We look forward to watching him as everybody knows he is Kyle Benn's younger brother. I think he will understand what it means and what it takes to be a Washington Husky maybe before some of the others having lived in that kind of a family.
On Dash Crutchley LB: 'One of the harder positions for us to recruit is the Sam linebacker because it is a unique position in terms of what it requires. The Sam linebacker is the outside linebacker that plays over the tight end. You are looking for a tall body that can have leverage to handle a tight ends block especially when a tight end is trying to reach you to get a sweep going or something of that nature. You need to have great leverage, you need to have great height, you need to be a person that can rush the passer off the edge so you have to have great quickness and explosiveness. You also have to be a fluid enough athlete to back up and play pass defense in the space and as well as man to man coverage on a body as big as a tight end. So you are asking a lot out of your athletes. This is a guy who has had a great career in soccer prior to starting as a football player a couple of years ago and he has now become one of the more sought after guys. The northwest schools were the first to uncover him, I think he is going to have a tremendous impact and I think the upside of his development will be rather quick because as I noted he has only played a couple years of football. Given his athletic ability I think he is going to develop into a top player.'
On Stanley Daniels OL: 'The next guy was an outstanding recruiting job by everybody involved, Brent Meyers was the lead guy. Stanley Daniels is a highly sought after offensive lineman from down in southern California, Marian Catholic high school. He is a very flexible offensive lineman who also played defensive lineman in the Cal Florida all-star game and was thought of as a real force there as well. He has wavered all along between Washington and Nebraska all the way to the eleventh hour and he was able to convince those around him that Washington is the place. He trusted his own instincts and we're thrilled that Stanley is going to join us. I think that he will have a great impact on our program.'
Matt Fountaine CB: 'He is another legacy, Matt's older brother Jamal was a member of the national championship team, played defensive line for us. Matt is a very athletic young guy. He runs sub 11 flat 100 meters, I think his numbers were 10.7. You can see his numbers here almost 1,900 yards and 28 touchdowns. Definitely a speed guy he is one of those unusual guys that plays tailback but wants to play defense in college. He will line up a corner and I think be an outstanding addition to our corner ranks.'
Dashon Goldson S: 'He is a free safety in the southern California area Narbonne high school. He is 6-2 180 pounds. What convinced me that we really needed to take Dashon was one of his coaches by the name of Bobby Josea. He was a UCLA secondary player who was a senior when I was a freshman there and Bobby Josea told me about this guy obviously we were recruiting a couple of other kids at the school. He told me he had been coaching this guy since the sixth grade and thought he was the next Kenny Easley. So I got involved in watching him and we got all kinds of highlights we will be able to show at a later date that I think will make everybody very excited about what he is going to be capable of doing. I think he is a terrific prospect and I am hopeful that he will do what he needs to do academically to begin in the fall here.'
Eddie Jackson WR: 'He is a junior college wide reciever from Coffeyville. He is an outstanding young guy. We kind of got on him late we realized after the bowl game with Justin Robbins injury that we may have a depth concern at the wide reciever position. We didn't have a really deep board in recruiting for that position so it was important that we get on somebody like Eddie and we were very fortunate to find Eddie himself because he is a great kid. I don't know of a player that blended more quickly with our current student athletes. He was an immediate favorite of the guys and I think he came to get excited about this. You'll note that he's from Columbus, Ohio and one of the turning points is he saw on our schedule in two years that we play in Columbus, Ohio. So all those people who are against tough schedules, here's the reason why you have a tough schedule. You go ahead and play Ohio State because you never know when there is a junior college player that wants to go home and play in that game. This is a great get for us, I think it is going to help our depth and I think he is going to be a big asset to our passing game next year.' As you can see he is another big target for a defense that might match up a tall corner with Reggie, if they don't have two tall corners there is another place we might be able to exploit.'
Kenny James RB: 'Kenny is an outstanding tailback from Dos Palos high school. He is kind of mentioned in reverent tones down in the Fresno area. This is a really neat kid, we are as excited as we can be. Now in that area there is a lot of loyalty to Fresno State, there is a lot of loyalty to the local places and Fresno did everything they could to try to keep him close to home and certainly Washington State tried to encourage him and Oregon was trying to get involved. There were lots of school trying to get involved especially when the Huskies were in the picture but Kenny James is neat young man who stuck to his guns and said what he was going to do to us early then announced it late and we are just thrilled that he is going to come. You can see that as a junior he rushed for 2,400 yards and as a senior 2,900 yards. In my estimation and I don't say this lightly he was the best of all the tailbacks in California. Now there are other more highly touted guys in the recruiting world but this was the best tailback in California in terms of productivity and what he got done on an every down basis and I am thrilled that Kenny James is coming to Washington.'
Robin Kezirian OL: 'Robin Kezirian is an outstanding offensive line prospect. He also has the ability to run well enough to be a defensive lineman so we are going to wait and see. He is going to start on the offensive side of the ball. Robin is obviously an extremely bright kid. He chose us over Stanford. I think that he decided that he wanted to have a great chance to go to the Rose Bowl and didn't want to go through a coaching transition. He just decided that this was the place for him. We are really excited about him as I said he is athletic enough to play on either side of the ball but I anticipate him playing in the guard, center area probably guard because I think Clay Walker will be the center of this particular class. We are thrilled about Robin he lives on a big old ranch where they raise all sorts of crops. His Uncle Ed Kezirian and I coached together at UCLA. Ed still works at UCLA so that is how we got involved and we were able to get him to come and I think we are going to look very smart in the end result that he is here.'
Donny Mateaki DL: 'He is a very highly recruited young guy. He has been all over the country to see different kinds of places and he fell in love with the University of Washington. Donny became an active recruiter for us he wanted guys phone number so he could call other recruits and try to sway their decisions. He is a very neat kid from Iolani high school, which is the same place that produced Willie Kava a year ago. You can see all of the different numbers on him. I think he can have an impact on our team in a real hurry. I think that this the kind of athlete that can show up on campus and really wreak havoc if he is ready to go and I anticipate that would be the case. You have a lot of criteria for evaluation 40 yard dashes, weight lifting measurements, and so forth. The one I like to rely on the most on as much as any is the eye test. You just look at a guy, does he look like he is that kind of a player. Nobody has ever passed the eye test better than Donny Mateaki when you see him for the first time. He is an imposing figure, he will get everybody's attention when he walks into a room. Not only does he have the size to attract your attention he also is an outstanding young good-looking guy. He is a terrific addition to this class.'
Dan Milsten DL: 'I think Dan was the first commitment. Dan is from right here in Tacoma, he is a great kid he came to our camp and we saw all that we needed to see during the camp to know that he would be the kind of pass rusher, defensive line antagonist that you are looking for. I think that he will make a real impact on our program. It is always great to get kids from the state of Washington.
Jordan Reffett DL: 'He is another kid from the state of Washington, Moses Lake another member of the defensive line. I can promise you Randy Hart will have a lot of fun with those two hard charging guys. They will both become players in the near future and guys that will make us a very strong defense.'
Nathan Rhodes OL: 'I think he is one of the top offensive lineman in the country. These rankings are a little arbitrary but in terms of his numbers and his ability to move as a big man 6-7 305 pounds and probably very low body fat. I think that it is safe to say that this guy will have a great career here if he remains healthy. He is the kind of prototype tackle you look for in terms of a guy that can protect the quarterback's backside. I think that when it is all said and done our offensive line is going to be one of the nations best in terms of our recruiting class and Nathan is a huge part of that.'
Nathaniel Robinson WR: 'Another local kid here in Seattle, the son of Jaques Robinson who obviously had a great career while here. The only player ever to be the most valuable player in the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl. Nate is a scat back type player that can play a variety of positions. You know when he is on the field he is going make plays. He is an electrifying player and again when you see the video you will think that this guy is one of those guys where somebody is up there on a video machine, how quickly he moves and sorts through things. It is fascinating to watch and I am intrigued as I can be about all of the ways that we can use him next year. He is also going to participate in basketball here and is excited to do that. He is a point guard on I think that number one team in the state in terms of where they are ranked right now in the playoffs. This is an exciting guy as are all of the other guys. It is important to mention that Eric Shyne, and Francisco Tipoti two kids that are already in school are also part of this class and their scholarships are counting forward. So the number goes from twenty to twenty two with the addition of those two guys.'
Shelton Sampson RB: 'He is another in state kid from down in Tacoma, Clover Park high school. I think he is the fastest kid in the state of Washington. He is an outstanding guy that had choices with either UCLA or Notre Dame. He chose to come to the University of Washington, chose early resisted all of the temptation to keep going and keep tripping as has been the case this year with the long delay between contact periods. I think he is a terrific addition to this and he is going to get a great chance a tailback and I am anxious to see how he does. He is truly a great addition to this class.'
Jordan Slye WR: 'He is a guy we have listed here as a wide recieiver in actuality we have told Jordan that are recruiting him as an athlete. We're not sure yet where he will play because he's so versatile. Just recently Shelton ran in the 60-meter race here in our new indoor facility and Jordan was also in the race and finished fourth and Jordan as you can see is 6-4 1/2. This is a very versatile guy he could be a wide recieiver, he could be a free safety, he can do a lot of things that we are going to toy with as we get him on campus and get excited about going forward.'
Isaiah Stanback QB: 'Isaiah is without question the best quarterback I saw on tape this year. I don't think that it's even close. There are lots of publications that will have you believe otherwise but having done this for a number of years and having coached some guys that I think are pretty good who have gone on to the next level there is no doubt in my mind that Isaiah Stanback in the best quarterback in the country and that is of all the tape that I saw and I saw lots of guys. This guy is special, I don't think he is a finished product. I think that he can certainly learn a great deal and fortunately given our depth at the position he will have a chance to learn and I think you will be raving about his abilities in the very near future. That is my story and I am sticking to it. I believe it and I am anxious to see it come true.'
Clay Walker OL: 'I mentioned him earlier when I was talking about Robin Kezirian. I think Clay will be our center in this class. Clay is a great kid and another guy that resisted the temptation of recruiting. He was pounded upon by UCLA, he was on his way to work and the UCLA coaches came unannounced and made him sit there. He tried to be polite, went to his job and they fired him. Obviously the guy who owned the business was a UCLA guy. The point of the matter is he hung in there and he is coming to Washington. You can see his size 6-4 270 pounds although he is actually up to about 285 pounds right now and he was a hockey player as a kid. This is an outstanding athlete that plays with and unbelievable motor as those of you who will get to see the video will get to see. I can't say enough things about Clay Walker. He will be a great one and you always get excited about those kids who are able to hold off the masses.'
Scott White LB: 'He may be the unsung hero of the recruiting class because he was such a good recruiter himself. This guy wanted phone numbers all the time, he was certainly instrumental in Stanley Daniels, certainly instrumental in lots of guys and I think he will be one of the great members of the class. Not only because he can play either fullback or linebacker, I think he can play either or and is anxious to do whatever it takes to impact the team as quickly as possible. But I think he will be one of the great hosts that we'll ever have because he is so into recruiting. He enjoys the process and yet he didn't get so bogged up in the attention that he kept going around and looking and looking as is the case with a lot of the guys. I just think that were in great shape with this recruiting class. I don't know how it will be ranked nationally and I'm not concerned with that. I know that for the great majority of the cases the guys we wanted we got. There were some highly publicized kids that are unfortunately probably going to get away from us. But as we always say in coaching lets coach the guys that want to be here and we have got some terrific guys who are on their way. I promise you in the years to come that you will look back on this class and say it was another great year. I look back to two years ago, the class wasn't highly ranked and ten guys played as true freshman and we ended up going to the Rose Bowl. Last year our class was nationally ranked I think fourth by one publication at least and almost everybody's top ten and not nearly as many of those guys, although I think are going to have a great run here before it is all said and done, were impact players from the outset. I think this group has great potential and we are just excited about getting them on campus and getting started as soon as August 7, when freshman report and August 34, when we visit Ann Arbor Michigan.'