Photo courtesy of Washington athletics

With the Early Signing Period over, Washington finds itself with 15 new athletes that will hope to contribute to a rise back to the top of the Pac-12.

All eyes are on Jimmy Lake to see what he is capable of as a recruiter and head coach. We break down his first real class.

LOOKING AT THE CLASS OF 2021

The 247Sports Composite ranked the 2021 Washington class at 32nd nationally. While this is an impressive standing when stacked up against the rest of the country, as of right now, this is the Huskies’ lowest-ranked class since 2016.

This isn’t to say that the Dawgs are doomed; the Huskies have proven that they can turn lower-ranked classes into something special. In 2016, Washington reached the College Football Playoff despite not having a class ranked in the top 25 in three years.

The staff, culture, and scheme that former head coach Chris Petersen built is the main reason for this success, however. It will ultimately be up to Lake to determine where this class will take the program over the next few years.

The Kennedy Catholic Connection

Sam Huard has been the main attraction of the 2021 class since his commitment in November 2018. The pro-style quarterback is the 12th-ranked player in his class following a legendary career at Kennedy Catholic High School. He carries a family legacy with him that has dated back to the 1960’s, when his grandfather Vince Lorrain played in the Washington secondary.

Sam’s father (Damon) and uncle (Brock) were both quarterbacks during their Husky careers. Huard will have the help of former teammate Jabez Tinae, who signed with the Huskies as a wide receiver. An established connection will likely help Huard get comfortable in the offense. The Huskies expect Huard and Tinae to compete for playing time as freshmen.

Offensive Line and Running Backs

Up front, the Dawgs add size and talent with O’Dea (WA) offensive guard Owen Prentice and Soquel (CA) offensive tackle Robert Wyrsch. The pair will be adding to Lake’s physical front five that was established as one of the best in the country.

Their size will help lead the way for Lufkin (TX) running back Caleb Berry, whose size and speed will help further the run game that has characterized Lake’s offense.

Tight Ends

The West Coast’s tight end factory will continue its legacy through Eatonville’s (WA) Caden Jumper and Quentin Moore. Moore is the only transfer of the 2021 class (Independence Community College) but is originally from Inglemoor (WA). The two will add depth to an already competitive group.

Front Seven

Bethel’s (WA) Will Latu is the face of the 2021 class on the defensive side of the ball. The local 4-star was listed as an athlete during recruiting, but is now listed as the sole inside linebacker of the 2021 class on Washington’s roster.

The interior is getting a boost from East’s (UT) Voi Tunuufi, Kamehameha’s (HI) Kuao Peihopa, and Renton’s (WA) Siaosi Finau, with the edge rush being strengthened by Maurice Heims out of Santa Margarita Catholic High School (CA).

Defensive Backs

The dominant Washington secondary is getting a huge boost with the addition of California standouts Dyson McCutcheon (Bishop Amat Memorial High School), Zakhari Spears (Loyola High School), and Vincent Nunley (Freedom High School). With some of the best defensive backs in the Pac-12 to learn from, these three will likely be major contributors to the Huskies’ defense in the near future.

THE MISSING PIECE

The entire country is looking to the decision of third-ranked recruit J.T. Tuimoloau at the moment. He was one of the few high-profile recruits that decided not to sign during the early period. Instead, Tuimoloau released his top five list, which consist of USC, Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, and Washington.

Most experts predict that he will be signing with Ohio State, but locals are still hopeful. It is clear that Tuimolau is open to staying on the West Coast, but the appeal of some of college football’s best programs might be too much for him to resist. It certainly was for Emeka Egbuka, who chose Ohio State over Washington and Oklahoma just a couple weeks ago.

If he does land in Montlake, Tuimolau would be the crown jewel of the 2021 class and would help establish Washington as a national recruiting power. It would be the first time ever that Washington lands two 5-star recruits in the same class with Huard already signed. Until Tuimolau signs on Feb. 3, fans in Seattle can only dream.