CHRISTIAN CAPLE

UW Huskies continue June recruiting surge: A look at 3 new commits

Jun 30, 2023, 1:43 PM

UW Huskies Oregon Pac 12...

The line of scrimmage between the Oregon Ducks and UW Huskies on Nov. 12, 2022. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

It was clear by Monday afternoon that the UW Huskies had changed the narrative around their 2024 recruiting class.

Caple: A closer look at UW Huskies’ big June recruiting haul

With only one prospect committed as recently as last Friday and about 20 recruits on campus at some point that week for their official visits, the Huskies badly needed to land commitments from several of them.

They did just that, with eight prospects committing to Washington on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

They weren’t finished, though, adding another commitment on Tuesday night, another on Thursday and one more Friday morning.

Let’s take a look at the three most recent additions to UW’s recruiting class. Ratings via the 247Sports Composite where applicable.

Elias Johnson, cornerback

School: Portland (Ore.) Jesuit
Rating: Three stars (247 only, no Composite grade yet)

This was an all-Pacific Northwest recruitment, with the Portland product taking his official visits to Oregon State, Washington State and then Washington. Johnson announced his commitment to the Huskies on Tuesday night, just a few days after wrapping up his Seattle trip.

There aren’t a ton of cornerback prospects with Johnson’s height — he’s listed at 6-3 and 175 pounds — though 247Sports is the only recruiting service to even rate him so far. Johnson’s junior-year highlights show him playing a lot of press coverage and using his length to stick with opposing receivers, and he comes from one of the top high-school programs in the state of Oregon. He’ll look to build on his growing profile as a senior in 2023.

Peyton Waters, defensive back

School: Van Nuys (Calif.) Hamilton
Rating: Four stars, No. 393

A two-way star at Birmingham, Waters led his team in receiving with 60 catches for 1,077 yards and 11 touchdowns, added 491 yards rushing and another 11 touchdowns on the ground, and logged 51 tackles, four interceptions (including) a pick-six, a fumble returned for a touchdown, four tackles for loss and four passes defended. He also returned a punt for a touchdown. It’s no wonder, then, that 247Sports classifies him as an “athlete,” though UW recruited him to play defensive back. At 6-2 and 170 pounds, Waters will need to bulk up some to excel at safety in college, but his athleticism isn’t in doubt — and he’s versatile enough to play cornerback if that’s where coaches think he fits best. Waters’ junior-year highlights show him at cornerback quite a bit, though he appeared to move all around the secondary. Expect him to at least start out at safety once he gets to UW.

Waters also took official visits to Northwestern, UCLA, Stanford and Utah, but his final trip was to Seattle during UW’s big visit weekend and he announced his UW commitment on Thursday. He’s one of four composite blue-chippers committed in UW’s 2024 class.

Dominic Kirks, DL/edge

School: Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio)
Rating: Four stars, No. 393

UW’s most recent commitment, Kirks announced for the Huskies on Friday morning. He also visited Pittsburgh and Wisconsin, and his final trip was to Seattle on the weekend of June 16. Nebraska and Kentucky also made his final five. While Kirks’ recruiting profile lists him as a defensive lineman, UW edges coach Eric Schmidt recruited him and it seems most likely Kirks will line up on the edge in college.

His high-school film mostly shows him lining up at defensive end, but at 6-5 and 250 pounds, Kirks has the type of body that could someday fit anywhere along the defensive front. He’s long and noticeably athletic for his size, using both power and speed to overwhelm opposing tackles as a junior.

It’s rare for UW to dip into the state of Ohio in recruiting: the Huskies have only had five lettermen, ever, who listed hometowns in Ohio, and none since 2002. But while UW established early in coach Kalen DeBoer’s tenure that it would mostly recruit within its traditional West Coast footprint, the staff has leveraged connections in other parts of the country where it makes sense. Twin defensive linemen Jayvon and Armon Parker signed in the 2022 class from the Detroit area. Another d-lineman, Elinneus Davis, became the rare Minnesota recruit to sign with UW in 2023, and the Huskies also signed four-star cornerback Curley Reed from Louisiana in that class — and had a commitment from four-star quarterback Lincoln Kienholz, a South Dakota product, before he flipped to Ohio State.

This column from UW Huskies football insider Christian Caple is exclusive to Seattle Sports. Subscribe to OnMontlake.com for full access to Caple’s in-depth Husky coverage.

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