Chat with Mason Kelley
Welcome to HuskyNation! On Friday, reporter Mason Kelley stops by to chat about the state of Washington football.
Kelley joined ESPN.com in 2012 after spending three years as the high school sports coordinator at The Seattle Times. He has written about high school, college and professional sports since 2004, working for newspapers in Florida, California, Idaho and Washington.
Send your questions now and join Kelley Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mason Kelley (2:00 PM)
Wow! That was quite a game last night. From a recruiting standpoint, I think it was a big win for Washington. After the Huskies' 17-13 victory over No. 8 Stanford, recruits were celebrating on the field with fans and players. It was a wild scene and one that should benefit Washington's program. I will be answering questions for the next hour. Fire away.
We've lost two recruits in the last week or so. Is that something we should be concerned with?
Mason Kelley (2:03 PM)
I don't think it is anything to be worried about, to be honest. If there were two players who seemed like candidates to recommit those two players were near the top of the list. The Huskies are still in the mix on Marcus Farria and they will continue to recruit Poasi Moala. However, the program is still recruiting players who are capable of filling their spots in the 2013 class.
What does last nights WIN do for the husky program? Has the program taken the next step?
Mason Kelley (2:06 PM)
If there was a game Washington really needed to win, it was that one. It was the first of a tough stretch that features next week's game at Oregon and a USC's trip to Seattle in two weeks. The win gives the Huskies plenty of positive momentum as it enters Pac-12 play, so there is no doubting the importance of the victory. However, we still won't know if the Huskies have truly taken the next step until after the team has finished this tough stretch.
Myles Jack. Do you think theres been any progress in wooing him, or is he still solid bruin?
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
There has definitely been progress. I will talk to him later today, but he was still committed to UCLA before Thursday's win. After the victory over the Cardinal, though, Tosh Lupoi was there to say, "What are you waiting for?" That was a big win and good timing with regards to Jack. But, only time will tell if Jack flips his commitment.
Did the visiting recruits rush the field last night? how much influence could a game like that have on them?
Mason Kelley (2:10 PM)
All of the recruits at the game ended up on the field last night. Chris Hawkins, Johnny Johnson and Jermaine Kelly all quickly disappeared into the celebration. Dane Crane and Connor O'Brien were in the middle of the scrum and Myles Jack Bishard "Budda" Baker and Sean Constantine were off to the side of the scrum. I think the win definitely had a positive impact.
What did you find most intriguing about the Dawgs last night?
Mason Kelley (2:11 PM)
I don't know if this is intriguing or just impressive, but Washington's defense really stepped up last night. Justin Wilcox did a great job of getting the Huskies ready to play. I wasn't sure if Washington was going to be able to slow down Stanford's ground game, but that's exactly what the Huskies did.
Do we have any news from last nights recruits?
Mason Kelley (2:13 PM)
I will see a few kids who were at the game tonight and I have texts out to the official visitors. I can't talk to kids at the game, so I have to catch up with them the next day and over the weekend. I'm trying to track down updates on all five official visitors.
Mason, love the work you are doing. What happened with Farria's recruitment? And do you think that the Stanford win is going to help us land some new 4-5 star kids? Seems like all the major players are off the board already. Thanks Champ!
Mason Kelley (2:15 PM)
Of the kids who have committed to Washington's 2013 class so far, Marcus Farria was the one I haven't been able to contact. I talked to his coach after he gave his verbal, but I was never able to speak directly with Farria, so I don't have a great answer there. As I mentioned earlier, though, I don't think it came as a huge surprise that he decommitted.
Tomas (lynnwood, WA)
What is the status of Chris Hawkins and Johnny Johnson Jr.? Did they enjoy their trip to UW?
Mason Kelley (2:18 PM)
Based purely on watching their reactions before, during and after the game, I think they really enjoyed the game and their visits. I think, outside of Stanford fans, anyone at the game enjoyed it. Again, like I mentioned earlier, I will be tracking down updates with the visitors this weekend. I will say this, both Hawkins and Johnson were wearing UW beanies.
Mike Jones (Seattle)
Any commitments after the game?
Mason Kelley (2:21 PM)
I haven't heard of any commitments happening after last night's game.
Mason, of the official visitors this week that are not committed to UW (Hawkins, Johnson, Kelly), which do you feel is most likely to flip by signing day?
Mason Kelley (2:24 PM)
Well, Johnny Johnson Jr. hasn't committed yet, and remains open in his recruitment. Kelly really likes UW, but also really likes UCLA, so he will be a player to keep an eye on through the rest of the recruiting process. Hawkins seems to be the most locked in of the players committed to other schools at Thursday's game, so I will be interested to see what he has to say about the trip.
Has Tutogi come out of nowhere? How was he viewed coming out of camp, and do you see him as the clear starter at MLB the rest of the year?
Mason Kelley (2:27 PM)
I think Thomas Tutogi has been a very pleasant surprise this season. He seemed to be all over the field last night, making 10 tackles and finishing with a sack. I'm not sure what his exact role will be moving forward this season, but he's earned some serious playing time, recording double-digit tackles against both LSU and Stanford. The other defensive player who seemed to be all over the place last night was Travis Feeney. He played very well.
Do you think the Huskies have to take one of either Oregon or USC to show they have taken the next step? How important are those 2 games to the program?
Mason Kelley (2:30 PM)
I think they are both important. Every big win the Huskies get in this stretch only makes the road to a bowl game easier. I've said for a while that it seems like this team is really targeted to take a huge step forward next season, but a win against Oregon or USC would certainly put that on the fast track. I think the more likely win, right now, would be USC at home. But a win in either game would definitely show the Huskies have taken a big step forward.
James (Moses Lake)
Mason, Is there any way Max Browne will switch his commitment to UW? or are there too many guys in his way at Washington? Great win last night!!
Mason Kelley (2:31 PM)
I can say with 100 percent certainty that Max Browne will not be flipping to Washington. He is as committed as a player can be to the decision he made.
Im guessing there is a good chance that we are ranked in the twenties going into Oregon. Will we have the worst offensive line play for a team that is ranked possibly ever? That Oline was terrible on pass protection. Some people thorugh the 4th were questioning play calling and I would respond look how hamstrung Sarkisian is calling plays. Price litterly was getting destroyed on 3 step drops or screen passes from shot gun. Huge win and hopefully leads to a huge in recruiting down the line.
Mason Kelley (2:34 PM)
Sure, the offensive line struggled and, sure, the team is dealing with injuries to that unit. But, it is a young group that can only get better. Some of these younger players are talented, so I think it is a group that will continue to improve. It is clear the Huskies need to continue to focus their recruiting efforts on reeling in talent in the trenches, which it looks like they are doing. I'm confident this win helped Washington in recruiting because, if nothing else, college football fans across the country were talking about it last night, since it was the only game nationally and it was broadcast on ESPN.
On Sankey's TD, he finally made a move in the 2nd level! I'm thinking this is what Sark has been demanding from him.
Mason Kelley (2:35 PM)
I liked Bishop Sankey in high school enough to make him a Blue Chip recruit when I was at The Times. I think he is a very good back, and he's young. Like the line that is trying to open holes for him, he will only get better.
Grant (New Haven)
Mason, are there any blue-chip prospects that have the Huskies on their radar for 2013? Especially any from outside the west coast? Thanks for doing this!
Mason Kelley (2:37 PM)
I don't think there are any secret prospects that haven't been mentioned yet. At least, there aren't any hidden gems I have been told about. However, a few more wins against ranked opponents and that could change.
Mike Jones (Seattle)
You still live in the Seattle area? If not, how's life in Connecticut?
Mason Kelley (2:38 PM)
I do still live in the Seattle area and I was at the game last night, wading through the sea of people on the field after Washington's win. In fact, I have yet to make a trip to Bristol.
Oregon's offense is a whole different animal. Do you see last night's positives meaning that much as we prepare for Oregon?
Mason Kelley (2:41 PM)
As far as strategy goes, I don't see this win meaning much against Oregon. But, I think the Huskies revealed an attitude and intensity fans have been waiting for. Washington played with a chip on its shoulder that didn't seem to be present at LSU. The program played with a mindset that was a positive step forward and that should give Washington a chance to keep their major matchups close the rest of the season.
We saw a lot of Peters out there in the backfield last night. Is he slowly overtaking Watson in the depth chart? Peters seemed to be on point in coverage.
Mason Kelley (2:42 PM)
I don't know if Marcus Peters is slowing taking Tre Watson's job, but he has made some plays and did seem to do a good job last night. I think his play simply means the Huskies have more depth at the position and options as it moves through the rest of the season.
Quick question. I am thinking about trading Victor Cruz and MJD for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham. Just want another opinion before i make this move
Mason Kelley (2:43 PM)
Unfortunately, I have spent so much time trying to dive into Washington recruiting, I haven't had much time to study the NFL. And I don't play fantasy football, so I can't really help you there.
Mike Jones (Seattle)
What will the Huskies record be at the end of the season?
Mason Kelley (2:46 PM)
That's a tough question. I think there are at least four more wins out there for Washington and I think a seven-win season is a solid total for this team. Add in another upset and it could hit eight.
Who would you consider the Husky's greatest all time QB? My vote goes for Warren Moon.
Mason Kelley (2:49 PM)
Growing up I was a huge Warren Moon fan when he played for the Houston Oilers. He was my favorite player on Tecmo Super Bowl. He is high on the list of all-time Husky QBs. I think you could also make a case for some other guys. Billy Joe Hobert won a national title. I really enjoyed watching Marques Tuiasosopo play -- he was the QB when I was in school. Washington has been a great quarterback school and it's really hard for me to rank them.
Your dad wrote a great piece about the game with an ugly beautiful win. How much of your success can be drawn by the inspiration your father had. Obviously you have your own ambitions and own style of writing that has led you to a pretty sweet gig. I guess Im saying that guys like me that looked forward to your high school coverage can say we are proud to see your hard work paying off and thank you for your high school coverage that helped so many kids get some exposure who may not have. Hats off to you Mr. Kelley
Mason Kelley (2:51 PM)
Thank you. I really appreciate that. I have drawn a great deal of inspiration from my father. I have been trying to keep up with him since I started, hoping that one day I would find a similar level of success. I'm not there yet, not even close. But I think I have made a little progress. Thanks again!
How come that team last night didn't make the trip to Baton Rouge? Honestly, it was a nice win, but the offense still didn't impress me. How much of a chance do you think they have to be competitive in Eugene?
Mason Kelley (2:55 PM)
A big difference is the Stanford game was in Seattle and the LSU game was in Baton Rouge. I think that's part of it. And, yes, the offense is still having its share of struggles, in large part due to injuries on the offensive line. Before last night's game, I would have said next week's game would probably be a lopsided loss. Now, however, I think thing Oregon has a big edge, especially at home, but I think the Huskies can keep it competitive. It would be fun to see another upset, at least an exciting game.
The lefty was better had a much better pro career Mark Brunell
Mason Kelley (2:56 PM)
I'm just saying he was the QB on a national championship team. I wasn't saying anything more than that.
Mark (Federal Way)
Are the Huskies favorites for any other top tier (4-5 star) recruits?
Mason Kelley (2:59 PM)
Even before the Stanford win, I thought the Huskies would land one or two more surprise names. While I don't have anyone specific in mind right now, I still think Washington will make a splash before signing day and more wins like the one last night will only help that cause.
Mason Kelley (3:00 PM)
Thanks again for stopping by the weekly chat. I will be back at it again next Friday with some updates on this week's visitors. Thank you for the questions and remember you can always ask more for my weekly mailbag. Send them via Twitter @masonkelley and e-mail: masonkelleyESPN@gmail.com.