UW fans' aren't likely to suddenly decide that they loved last week's Seattle Times series after all. But at least one of their concerns appears to have been groundless. By all indications, the series on scandals during the Rick Neuheisel era has had no affect on this season's recruiting class, which could end up in the top 10 nationally when letters of intent come in Wednesday.
"I think there's probably fans of other schools reading it and they think it might do that," said Brandon Huffman, West regional recruiting manager for Scout. "But it's not affecting Washington, and it certainly hasn't affected UCLA's recruiting class. Both UCLA and Washington have Top 10 classes on Scout right now and they're the top two classes in the Pac-10, and both have been adding commitments."
Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst from Rivals, agreed: "You've got to figure those kids were 10 or 11 years old (in the Neuheisel era). Kids have very short memories. They are willing to put the past behind them a little more than us older folks, who sort of hold on to things. I think if Washington were on probation or something like that, then I think it would be a different story. But they have the same right as everybody else to go to a bowl game, and Tyrone Willingham is a straight shooter, a very well respected coach. … (The series) hasn't affected the kids to my knowledge. They certainly haven't lost anybody. And they certainly wouldn't think about something like that that happened so long ago. For them, that's a long time ago."
As of Tuesday, Scout projected Alabama with the nation's No. 1 class, UCLA first in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally, followed by Washington 10th nationally, Arizona State at 14th nationally and USC 17th but likely to rise on the basis of a few late deciders.
Rivals lists Florida No. 1 nationally, USC atop the Pac-10 and 10th nationally, followed by UCLA at 12th and Washington at 19th.
Expected to top Washington's class Wednesday are tight end Kavario Middleton of Lakewood, defensive end Everrette Thompson of Burien, offensive lineman Alameda Ta'amu of Seattle, and running back/receiver Chris Polk and offensive lineman Allen Carroll of California.
"The key was the in-state guys, and then they could go grab some out-of-state guys like Chris Polk – who was committed to USC for almost a year and then decided in December to flip to Washington," Huffman said. "It's going to most likely end up a Top 10 class nationally. They did a good job of spreading out both sides of the ball. They did a pretty good job of (filling) positions of need. I would say this is certainly the best class in eight or nine years, maybe going back to (Rick) Neuheisel's class of 2001 that had Reggie Williams and Charles Frederick in it."
By most reports, ASU, Oregon and California are ranked in the upper or lower middle of the league, with Arizona, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State toward the bottom.
Meanwhile, in the other big Huskies news of the day, here is the link to our coverage of UW's plea in Olympia for Husky Stadium renovation funding.