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! I've got a pair of dogs playing in my living room, so it's a bit loud in here, but I will fight through the noise and answer questions for the next hour. Ha! Shoot anything related to this week's game against USC or things you are curious about recruiting-wise and I'll do my best to answer what I can.
Do you get the sense of who the Huskies respect more between Woods and Lee? Seems like Lee is much more dangerous, even for our guy Trufant.
Mason Kelley (2:03 PM)
Just looking at the stats, I would say shutting down Marqise Lee has to be a priority. He has 52 catches for 649 yards and seven touchdowns. Although, that being said Robert Woods is an incredibly tough cover as well. The secondary certainly faces a tough task this week.
russ (spokane wa)
Do the dawgs have a disadvantage in recruiting because of the school's location as opposed to schools in cal. i.e. the major recruiting area/population is in LA. and do you think they need to go outside the coast to a place like texas more.
Mason Kelley (2:06 PM)
Every recruit I've talked to since taking this job raves about Seattle. In fact, Dane Crane is actually excited about the change in weather. So, sometimes, kids from California want a change in scenery like kids from Washington want to go somewhere warm. Washington's coaching staff has deep connections to California, so they recruit that area hard. They are building their brand in other areas, but I don't think they need to shift their recruiting areas. The next step for this program is winning. If the Huskies take the next step to the top half of the conference, the recruits will follow.
Do you see the huskies adding another running back to the class? Cameron Artis-Payne, Terrell Newby, or Khalfani Muhammad?
Mason Kelley (2:09 PM)
I know the Huskies definitely want to add another running back. I think they need another running back. I've heard nothing but good things about Lavon Coleman, but considering the program has guys recovering from knee injuries, adding depth at the position is important. I think Khalfani Muhammad would be a nice, speedy complement to Coleman's power run game.
Any chance Myles Jack will flip to UW?
Mason Kelley (2:10 PM)
There is definitely a chance Jack flips. He really appreciates the attention the program has paid him recently. Now, will he flip? That I can't say for certain. I do know he remains committed to UCLA, for now. I think a lot will depend on the success the programs have over the course of the rest of the season.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Give me hope Mason that we can stick SC and beat them.....Hope?
Mason Kelley (2:12 PM)
I think there is plenty of reason for hope. The Huskies absolutely have to play well in the secondary. They have to get Keith Price untracked and, overall, the defense has to play like it did against Stanford. If Washington comes out and plays like it did against the Cardinal, the Huskies definitely have a chance.
I hear that Mattingly is visiting this weekend. Any chance they can flip him?
Mason Kelley (2:15 PM)
While there is definitely a chance that Notre Dame commit Danny Mattingly attends Washington's game against USC this weekend, I haven't heard that. As far as if the Huskies can flip him, I think there is definitely a chance, but I haven't had a chance to really sit down and talk with Mattingly, so I can't really make any predictions on where he ends up. I do know that the last time I talked to him, he really wanted to honor his commitment to the Irish.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
What can Sarkisian do to jump start the offense. It is very troublesome that the ofensive line seems to be coming together and the running game is working but our best asset QB Keith Price is not playing up to the standards that he set. I hope this is the game the offense starts to move the ball.
Mason Kelley (2:18 PM)
Steve Sarkisian has tried to take the pressure of Price. The quarterback knows this season has been a struggle and he has admitted to putting too much pressure on himself. Sarkisian said this week that Price needs to find the fun in football again. So far in 2012, he has treated the game more like work. If Price gets back to being who he was last season, the Huskies offense will get on track. He just needs to find that feeling, which is easier said than done.
How many games do you think the Huskies will win this year?
Mason Kelley (2:19 PM)
I think the Huskies win at least seven games this season.
Do you expect the Huskies to compete for a Big East title this year post Calhoun?
Mason Kelley (2:20 PM)
If I covered UConn I would be more than happy to answer that question. Since I cover the Washington Huskies, though, that is a question I can't answer.
Keith (Seattle, WA )
Do you think the Dawgs will pull the second big upset at home? Which top recruits will be attending the game? And will a victory result in a big commitment over the weekend in your opinion?
Mason Kelley (2:23 PM)
There is definitely the potential for the Huskies to pull off a second upset at home this week but, again, the defense has to play like it did against Stanford and the offense has to get going. There is only one scheduled official visitor this week -- LB commit Caleb Tucker. Commits Sean Harlow and Elijah Qualls are supposed to be here on unofficial visits as well. Outside of the usual local suspects, I haven't heard of any uncommitted unofficial visitors. While a victory could spark a commitment, I haven't heard of any verbals that are imminent.
Any news on UCLA commit Deon Hollins?? I know he visited our camp and was being heavily recruited by Coach Lupoi....
Mason Kelley (2:25 PM)
I haven't heard anything on the Huskies potentially flipping Hollins. But Washington and UCLA have been battling over many of the same recruits, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Huskies were still recruiting Hollins.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
Do you think Mike Leach can return Washington State to the competitive level they enjoyed during the Mike Price Era?
Mason Kelley (2:26 PM)
Judging by Leach's track record, I think he can definitely get the program back to the competitive level the Cougars enjoyed under Mike Price. It might take time, but I think it will happen. In fact, I hope it happens. I think it's great when both in-state programs are successful. It's good for football in the state with the Apple Cup means something.
Which 2013 recruits seem to have the best chance of ending up at UW?
Mason Kelley (2:30 PM)
There are a few players who have expressed interest in Washington to the point where it seems a commitment is definitely possible. Two players who fit that mold are WR John Ross and OL Riley Sorenson. Both players have the Huskies right at the top of their list.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who will be next Husky commit? Which recruit does Sarkisian need a commitment from the most if it's a different player for each of my questions?
Mason Kelley (2:32 PM)
To be honest, I can't predict which player will be the next to give Washington a verbal commitment. We're talking about teenagers here, so just about anything could happen at any moment. As far as which players Washington needs the most, I would focus on positions. Offensive line is a definite need, so I would refer back to Riley Sorenson, who I mentioned in the last question. Running back also continues to be a need, so landing a commitment from either Khalfani Muhammad or Terrell Newby II would also help the Huskies' recruiting effort.
Do the Huskies have a shot at Priest Willis?
Mason Kelley (2:37 PM)
While Washington doesn't appear to be the favorite right now, but the Huskies are still in the mix with Priest Willis. They haven't been ruled out by Willis yet.
Are the Huskies still in the mix for Tahaan Goodman????
Mason Kelley (2:39 PM)
Washington would love to add a player with Goodman's talent. He is an impressive safety prospect. However, I'm not quite sure where the Huskies fit on his list.
Will we offer Joe Mixon? Who is a better prospect, him or Downs?
Mason Kelley (2:42 PM)
I think the Huskies are likely to offer 2014 running back Joe Mixon, who is teammates with Washington 2013 WR commit Darrell Daniels. Mixon is very high on the Huskies are really wants an offer. From people I have talked to about Mixon, he is going to be a very good player. Based on what I know about Mixon and Devante Downs, who Washington offered this week, they are different backs. Mixon is 6-1, 190 pounds, while Downs is 6-3, 240. Downs is more of a power back. Considering the need at the running back position, I think the Huskies would like to add both prospects.
Econ Dawg (Seattle)
Any rumblings on potential Tight Ends that the Dawgs might pick up? It's a glaring hole between this and last year's classes. Any chance they sway Mattingly?
Mason Kelley (2:45 PM)
Danny Mattingly likes the tight end position. If he flipped, he might get a chance to see if he fits on offense. The Huskies continue to recruit Thomas Duarte and they are working on some 2014 tight ends in Chase Blakley and Bryce Dixon.
Do you think crowd noise will play a factor in tomorrow's game? Rain, biggest crowd of the season....should make the UW crowd loud.
Mason Kelley (2:46 PM)
Crowd noise at CenturyLink always seems to be a factor, whether it's for an NFL game or a college game. It will benefit the Huskies, but I'm not sure how much. The rain would typically be an asset, however, the Huskies haven't had to practice in the rain this season, because of extended run of nice weather Seattle has experienced, so I'm not sure if the rain will help that much. We'll see Saturday.
Mike jones (Seattle)
What can you tell us about Devante Downs....the 2014 kid from Terrace the Huskies just offered?
Mason Kelley (2:49 PM)
I think it's great that Downs received an offer. I think it's a good sign that the Huskies have invested so much time into local kids recently. As far as Downs as a player, he's a big, physical back. He's 6-3, 240, but he moves well for his size. Washington was his dream school and he wants to be an offensive player, so it's a good fit all the way around. However, I wouldn't expect a commitment anytime soon. He wants to take his time and make sure he makes the right decision.
Todd (Rockwall, TX)
How will the Huskies fit a full class into the roster with such a small senior class? Who might be roster casualties?
Mason Kelley (2:51 PM)
I would expect the program to take a full class. There is always attrition and the Huskies will find a way to make room for all their prospects. If Washington signs a full class, it has time to find the room, having until the recruits arrive on campus in the fall to sort that out.
Do you feel recruiting is more of a skill or something that can be made up for in sheer will and determination by a coach???
Mason Kelley (2:54 PM)
In some ways having that skill and determination is a skill. To be a great recruiter it takes charisma. It takes persistence. It takes a certain amount of salesmanship. And it definitely takes dedication. There are certain things that can be taught, but good recruiters just seem to get what it takes. There's an ability to relate to prospects that comes naturally to the guys who are really good at it.
Who besides Baker is a legit prospect on Bellevue's junior squad? Any 2014 in state big time QBs?
Mason Kelley (2:57 PM)
Bishard "Budda" Baker is definitely the Wolverines' top junior. He will be the state's top 2014 prospect next year. The other player I hear great things about at Bellevue is OL/DL Henry Roberts. He's a sophomore and will be a prime prospect in 2015. Now, as far as 2014 quarterbacks go, the two names that come to mind are Mount Si's Nick Mitchell and O'Dea's Pierre Le Dorze. But when it comes to QB's, the young prospect to follow is Bothell sophomore Ross Bowers.
Will Reuben Foster be taking any visits to udub during the season?
Mason Kelley (2:58 PM)
I haven't heard anything concrete that Foster will take an official visit to Washington. There are plenty of rumors out there about that. It's definitely possible. He really enjoyed his unofficial visit. I'm guessing that if that becomes a reality the news won't be a secret very long.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much does a high profile sport like football help recruiting in other sports?
Mason Kelley (3:00 PM)
If you have a successful football team, I think it helps other sports. How much, I'm not sure. A strong football team is something to show off to recruits, the same way facilities and academics are major assets. However, I would say it's just part of the package, not something that would sway any final decisions.
Mason Kelley (3:01 PM)
Well, it's noon and I've got a big game between Bellevue and Mount Si to get ready for, so that's it for this week's chat. I will be back next week. Feel free to send any questions I didn't answer in the chat via Twitter @masonkelleyESPN or e-mail: masonkelleyESPN@gmail. Thanks for stopping by the chat.