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)
Welcome to this week's chat. Will there be any new Washington commits by the end of the day? There is a good chance there will be at least one. We'll have the latest information on HuskyNation all day. But, right now, it is time to take your questions. I will be here for the next hour. Let's get this started.
Daniel (San Francisco)
Which Husky recruits are announcing at the high school All-American games?
Mason Kelley (2:03 PM)
Washington targets John Ross and Thomas Duarte are both announcing at the Semper Fidelis game today. Joe Mathis is going to announce at the U.S. Army game tomorrow. Na'Ty Rodgers was scheduled to announce at the Under Armour game today, but said earlier he will not. Based on what I'm hearing and most people are predicting Ross and Mathis are likely to land with the Huskies.
Jeff (Mill Creek, WA)
Do you see any big surprises coming up for UW with recruiting?
Mason Kelley (2:05 PM)
There are always surprises this time of year. It sounds like one might be on the way soon, but no date has been set for that announcement. The biggest surprise would be if Washington can find a way to land a prospect like Eddie Vanderdoes or Reuben Foster.
Jeff (Mill Creek, WA)
With Chip Kelly likely leaving, what will that do with OU recruits? It seems like they are already trying to build up Helfrich as the guy, and that nothing will change.
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
It will be interesting to see what happens. After talking to Danny Mattingly and others that looked at Oregon, they committed to the Ducks knowing there was a chance Chip Kelly wouldn't be there. These days, there is always the chance the coach who recruits you won't be there your entire career, so most prospects are looking at a bigger picture. Now, if Kelly leaves, other programs will contact the Ducks' top targets to see if there is chance they will flip, but I don't see a large number of prospects changing their mind if Kelly decides to jump to the NFL.
How do you feel about UW's odds in getting Hutchings?
Mason Kelley (2:10 PM)
I think Michael Hutchings is solid to USC. He has said the same thing in every interview. When I talked to him, he said he didn't expect to change his mind, he is simply taking a visit to UW, because they were his second school and he wanted to make sure he made the right choice. His decision to visit sounds like more of taking advantage of an opportunity to see what else is out there more than him thinking about flipping. Washington would have to make a very convincing case for him to change his mind.
James (Seattle )
Can these reports of Sark turning down interviews from NFL teams actually help him in recruiting? He can say all these teams want me, but I'm at UW to stay.
Mason Kelley (2:13 PM)
That could be used as a selling point but, as I mentioned with Chip Kelly, the top-tier recruits know coaches leave. They understand college football is a business. Recruits make decisions about their future the same way coaches do. So, while it is a good sales pitch, and it certainly doesn't hurt, I don't think it has that much of an impact. Again, the rumors every year that Chip Kelly is leaving for the NFL hasn't hurt the Ducks in recruiting, so I don't see the opposite helping programs all that much.
AJ (Rochester, Wa.)
Any chance the Dawgs get Priest Willis, Reuben Foster, Eddie Vanderdoes, Myles Jack or any other big O linemen?
Mason Kelley (2:16 PM)
If I had to rank the likelihood of these guys committing to UW, I would list them like this -- Jack, Vanderdoes, Foster and Willis. I think the prospect the Huskies have the best chance with is Jack. But there are always surprises this time of year. As far as linemen go, Washington is still working on Brayden Kearsley, but he seems to be leaning to Oregon State.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
Are you more concerned about Qualls commitment to Washington than you were a week ago?
Mason Kelley (2:18 PM)
If there is one prospect I am not worried about, it's Elijah Qualls. He is solid to the Huskies. I've talked to him quite a few times and he has never once wavered. He will end up at Washington. He wishes he was already enrolled.
Garth (Issaquah, WA)
Is there any chance Reuben Foster actually comes to UW? It sounds to me like he's gonna wanna stay down South. And if he does decide to go to one of the SEC schools, does it really help UW recruiting that he was considering going there even if he decides to go elsewhere?
Mason Kelley (2:21 PM)
When it is all said and done, I think Foster stays in the South. It just doesn't seem like he is going to end up here. Now, to answer your other question, yes, I do think it helps Washington recruiting. Any time a big name talks about a program, other top-tier recruits take notice. Now, at some point, that interest has to turn to commitments. But the Huskies have landed in the top three of a lot of big names and, if the program takes the next step on the field, it should lead more of those names ending up in purple and gold.
How solid is Damore'ea Stringfellow? Seems like he's taking some visits this month.
Mason Kelley (2:23 PM)
Every time I've talked to him, Damore'ea Stringfellow has emphasized he is solid to Washington. Every time any one else talks to him, he says the same thing. So, I don't see him having a change of heart this month. He is one recruit I'm confident will end up signing with the Huskies.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
When will Hooper pull the trigger and let his college decision be known?
Mason Kelley (2:24 PM)
It sounds like Austin Hooper should be making a decision soon, but it doesn't sound like he has a date in mind yet.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Maurice Swain from Georgia is said to be coming to visit. It seems like he is a 3 star whether being ranked as an OT or DT. He has great projectability at 6'6" 290; how big of get would he be for the OL if we can sway him from the south. Another scouting service has him as an Indiana lean........I think we could swing that! Sounds like a diamond in the south that is being overlooked by almost all SEC teams.
Mason Kelley (2:26 PM)
I am hoping to catch up with Swain soon, and he sounds like an interesting prospect. Washington is really trying to land a prospect from that region and he is an interesting name that has popped up recently.
Are there any CB's taking a long look at the Dawgs right now?
Mason Kelley (2:27 PM)
The two defensive backs I hear about the most are Jermaine Kelly and Patrick Enewally. Both prospects visited. Both enjoyed those visits. They would be very nice additions to this year's class.
Is Sean Harlow headed to UW or Oregon State?
Mason Kelley (2:29 PM)
For most of the year, I would have said Harlow will end up with Washington and keep that commitment. However, something changed when he visited Oregon State. At this point, there is a good chance he ends up playing for the Beavers.
Mike D (Seattle, WA)
Do you get the feeling Myles Jack is purposely downplaying the significance of Tui going to UW? Is he (privately) a lot softer to UCLA / warmer to UW then ever before?
Mason Kelley (2:32 PM)
I don't think he's downplaying it. He told me that Tuiasosopo was essentially coach who convinced him to commit to UCLA in the first place. However, Jack is smart about this. He knows Tuiasosopo won't be his position coach. And Jack knows he needs to make the decision that fits him best. So, Jack will make an educated decision after he takes his visits. He has a lot of people pushing him toward Washington, but he really likes UCLA, too. I'm curious to see what he says after his visits.
Ryan Turman tweeted something that made me think Myles Jack was headed to UW. Do you know anything about that?
Mason Kelley (2:33 PM)
I can say with 100 percent certainty that the prospect Turman tweeted about wasn't Jack. The two prospects are close, but that's not who he was talking about.
Why does UW have such difficulty landing elite talent on the offensive line? It seems we are doing well recruiting all other position groups
Mason Kelley (2:37 PM)
I get this question in some form or fashion every week. And, let me start by saying this, it's not a coaching issue. Dane Crane, one of the commits who bleeds purple, loves Dan Cozzetto. Now, at one point, when Poasi Moala was committed and Sean Harlow was solid, it looked like the O-line was a position of strength and the Huskies would only take one more prospect at the position. With Moala committed to UCLA and Harlow's future unsettled, the program would definitely like to land another O-lineman. But, after taking a lot of linemen in 2012 and, with plenty of young players on the line already in the program, I think the Huskies will be fine at that position moving forward.
Mike Jones (Compton, CA)
With 22'ish recruits already committed and the number of recruits considering UW is there a concern that we will go over and might have to cut some guys loose?
Mason Kelley (2:39 PM)
Heading into the weekend, the Huskies have 20 current commits with Troy Williams and Trevor Walker enrolling early, so Washington has some room to work with.
Mr. Triangle (Park, City, UT)
Since Troy Williams is already enrolled, does he count against this class or last years? Also, it said he signed a financial agreement. That is different than a scholarship and if he were to transfer, would he have to sit out like scholarship players?
Mason Kelley (2:42 PM)
Essentially, he just counts against the total number of scholarships the program has to offer. He doesn't count against the 25 Washington can sign on Feb. 6. Since a prospect can't sign an LOI until Feb. 6, a financial agreement serves as the same thing, although the rules between the two are a little different.
% chance Vanderdoes becomes a Dawg? What's your gut telling you Mason?
Mason Kelley (2:44 PM)
My gut is telling me he doesn't end up at Washington. He enjoyed his visit and likes the Huskies. But, if I had to put a percentage on it, I would say, maybe, 40 percent since I don't think Washington is the favorite, but continues to be in the running.
Is the commitment of Daeshon Hall pretty solid? I've read other people think he will not end up at UW. What is your opinion on him coming back to the NW?
Mason Kelley (2:47 PM)
I sat down with Daeshon Hall the day before he committed this summer. And, after talking to him, I think he considers Seattle home. I think playing high school football in Texas was the best thing that could have happened to him as far as preparing him for his future, but it has always seemed like the pull of home would be enough to keep him committed to the Huskies. I think he is solid in his commitment.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Lets say we land Mathis with Hall, Qualls, and Farria. Would that arguably be the best DL class in the west? If Vanderdoes commits as well would that give us the best DL class in the Nation?
Mason Kelley (2:49 PM)
If Washington signs all of its defensive line commits and, if they all get into school, the biggest question would be how to find playing time for the group. Throw Vanderdoes in there and it would be a nice problem for Tosh Lupoi to have. I think a case could definitely be made for that group to be on of the best in the nation at that position based on talent.
Mike D (Seattle, WA)
If you're 40% on Vanderdoes to UW, who is your best bet to get him? He's been tweeting a lot about Bama lately.
Mason Kelley (2:52 PM)
I think the common thought here is that UCLA is the favorite, but Vanderdoes said USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Alabama and Washington are all in play. He's not tipping his hand right now and it sounds like he's not in any hurry to make a decision.
SO WHO IS RYAN TURMAN TALKING ABOUT?!?
Mason Kelley (2:53 PM)
Since the prospect hasn't announced anything, I really don't feel comfortable speculating at this point. Turman isn't giving anything away and the recruit hasn't revealed anything, so there isn't anything I can report at this point.
Have you heard any rumors about the RB coach vacancy? Any chance that Butch Goncharoff would be interested in an assistant position at the D-I level?
Mason Kelley (2:55 PM)
Coach Goncharoff has a very good thing going at Bellevue. For him to take on a new challenge, it would have to be the right job at the right time. I think he could definitely coach at the college level, but it's not something he has been all that interested in pursuing in the past.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Mason come join us at your old stomping grounds with Bob's chat in 5 minutes!
Mason Kelley (2:56 PM)
Maybe Bob will invite me to join one once we get closer to signing day. Those were a lot of fun when we did those the past two years.
Did the NCAA put a stop to Sark's "Woof" tweets every time a prospective recruit gave a verbal? I haven't seen any this recruiting season.
Mason Kelley (2:57 PM)
I don't know why they stopped, but they did. I haven't heard, or read, anything that would lead me to believe he was specifically told to stop doing that.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Chances Mathis, Ross, and Duarte are commits come Monday?
Mason Kelley (2:58 PM)
I feel good about two of those three prospects and their pending commitments.
Are the Dawgs still in it for Na'Ty Rodgers?
Mason Kelley (2:59 PM)
When he was planning on announcing at the Under Armour game, he said he was down to South Carolina and Maryland. In some interviews he continues to list Washington. So, while the Huskies might still be in the hunt, I don't think they're the favorites.
How are Huskies ranked this year in recruiting so far?
Mason Kelley (3:01 PM)
Washington currently has the No. 19 class in the nation.
Gabe (Bellevue, WA)
Will you tell us if the prospect Turman was referring to commits to UW??
Mason Kelley (3:02 PM)
Once there is something tangible I can report, I will be all over it.
Are the Dawgs gonna take another RB this year? Seems like the next couple years might have enough talent to only take one this year...
Mason Kelley (3:04 PM)
If the opportunity presents itself, I think the Huskies would take another running back, especially with the injuries they endured this year. However, you're right, there are some great running backs, especially in state, coming up the next few years with guys like junior Devante Downs and sophomores Chico McClatcher and Austin Joyner.
AJ (Rochester, Wa.)
Does the success of a lesser known back like Bishop Sankey help recruit bigger name prospects?
Mason Kelley (3:06 PM)
I don't know if it helps with bigger names, but it is certainly something the program can sell. However, Bishop Sankey was a pretty good prospect. I rated him a Blue Chip and he's lived up to that. Based on what he did in high school, I was always confident he would be a good player in college. But, back to your question, seeing players develop in a program is definitely something that would impress other recruits.
I love that Bishop is around for 2 more years. What did you think about him during his recruitment? Is he exceeding expectations?
Mason Kelley (3:07 PM)
I always thought he would be good. With defenses focused on him while playing Wildcat quarterback his senior year, he still threatened the state rushing record. That showed me something. He's always had the drive to be great and I think Washington fans are seeing that now. I was a big fan and I continue to be.
Mason Kelley (3:08 PM)
Wow, well, we set another record for questions. This was a great chat this week. If I didn't get to your questions, I'm sorry. I'll try and get them next week. Until then, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the All-American games the next two days.