Signing day is over.
Which means it’s time to assess.
After the UW announced 15 additions — eight high schoolers and seven transfers — in the 2022 cycle, let’s hand out awards to incoming Huskies. Here are our annual signing day superlatives for the Class of 2022.
Biggest win: TE Ryan Otton – 6-6, 224 – Tumwater High
It could be seen as a controversial move, given that UW has also added veteran quarterback in Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr., soon-to-be starting linebacker as sixth-year senior Cam Bright, and four-star safety in the Sumner product. (and ex-ASU clerk) Tristan Dunn.
But Otton is the biggest winner both because of the way he plays and what his signature means.
From a pure production standpoint, Otton is a physically massive 6-6, 224-pound tight end with soft hands, surprising movement abilities, an incomprehensible catching radius, and already advanced blocking ability. With time in Ron McKeefery’s strength and conditioning program, he’s set to become another complete UW tight end — like his brother, NFL-bound junior Cade Otton.
But beyond those traits, consider UW’s class perception if it does not have include Otton — if a top-notch legacy tight end picked Oregon State or Stanford over the Home State Huskies. Imagine how hard that would have been to swallow for Husky head coach Kalen DeBoer, who is trying to lure the state’s top talent to his Pac-12 school.
Symbolically, statistically, overall, Otton was a player the Huskies had to have.
Honorable Mentions: QB Michael Penix Jr., LB Cam Bright, S Tristan Dunn, RB Aaron Dumas
Biggest sleeper: CB Jordan Perryman – 6-0, 201 – UC Davis
It would be easy to ignore Perryman just because he played his last four seasons at FCS UC Davis.
But that would be a mistake.
With starters Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon declaring themselves for the NFL Draft, UW suddenly has a substantial cornerback hole — and Perryman will be a favorite to fill it. On Wednesday, DeBoer called the former All-Big Sky and FCS All-American first-team performer “pound for pound one of the fastest, strongest guys on our football team. I really like his personality. and how well he adapted.
Jacobe Covington, Mishael Powell, Elijah Jackson, Zakhari Spears and more will be in attendance, but don’t be surprised if Perryman is a starter on Sept. 3. And don’t be surprised either if he takes advantage of the opportunity.
Honorable Mentions: RB Aaron Dumas, LB Demario King, P Kevin Ryan
Most immediate impact: LB Cam Bright — 6-1, 220 — University of Pittsburgh
UW basically replaced a starter with a starter.
When Husky linebacker Jackson Sirmon was traded to Cal this offseason, UW quickly tapped sixth-year senior team captain Cam Bright and Pitt to fill their shoes. Last season for the ACC champion Panthers, Bright had 58 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks.
And on Wednesday, DeBoer’s praise was effusive.
“You talk about an amazing personality,” DeBoer said. “You talk about a guy on a mission to want to do something really big, that’s exactly him. I’m also really excited about what Cam is going to bring from a leadership perspective. He’s just solid like a rock, runs extremely well, plays physically. He’s a team player. He really wanted to understand what our roster was and what our expectations were for this fall. It was a big deal, there was only one left year.
Expect Bright, Edefuan Ulofoshio and Carson Bruener to be part of the linebacker rotation this fall.
Honorable Mentions: QB Michael Penix Jr., CB Jordan Perryman, P Kevin Ryan
Best Drama: WR Lonyatta Alexander Jr. — 6-2, 200 — Arizona State University
In professional wrestling, this is what you would call a “false finish”.
When Lonyatta Alexander Jr. signed with Arizona State in 2021, you thought that was it; he would never play with his Catholic Kennedy teammates, quarterback Sam Huard and wide receiver Jabez Tinae, for the Home State Huskies.
Not so fast.
After a true first season in which he played two games but failed to catch a pass, the effective implosion of the ASU program, and the departure of UW wide receiver Germie Bernard, Alexander entered the the transfer portal and appropriately ended this journey back to where it began.
“I think his output during his high school years is something you can’t ignore,” DeBoer said. “I like his mindset, I like his mentality. He’s exciting to be around and has great energy. And the way he is already, coming on his visit, with the relationships he has already (established) with the guys on our football team, it’s really cool to see.
Honorable Mentions: S Tristan Dunn, DL Armon and Jayvon Parker
The Wait-And-See Award: OL Parker Brailsford – 6-2, 255 – Saguaro (Arizona) High
This award is given to the player ready to excel after a season in the red shirt.
And in Brailsford, UW is getting a nimble, quick offensive lineman who’s already been successful at Saguaro High School, Arizona’s prep powerhouse.
But at the Pac-12 level, 255 pounds just won’t cut it.
This is where a full offseason with the UW strength and conditioning staff should pay big dividends. Plus, UW could fire four offensive line starters this fall if Jaxson Kirkland does ask the NCAA for a final season in Seattle. Left tackle Ulumoo Ale, right guard Henry Bainivalu and right tackle Victor Curne are already in place, and Matteo Mele, Troy Fautanu and Julius Buelow also tout their starting experience.
Given a first season of physical development, Brailsford looks like a multi-year starter. But unless there’s an emergency, it shouldn’t be needed right now.
Honorable Mentions: EDGE Lance Holtzclaw, DL Armon Parker, DL Jayvon Parker
Biggest miss: WR Germie Bernard – 6-0, 199 – Liberty (Nev.) High
If Rainier Beach five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. ultimately lands somewhere else, he would instantly take on that award.
But it’s undeniably painful for Bernard — the UW’s first commitment of 2022, a four-star prospect and Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year — to sign with the Huskies and then resurface in Michigan State after the move of receivers coach Junior Adams to compete with Oregon. The 6-foot-0, 199-pound receiver is an explosive and fluid pass catcher who would have pushed to see the field in his first season.
Numbers-wise, UW isn’t in desperate need of a wide receiver — with the return of Jalen McMillan, Rome Odunze, Ja’lynn Polk and Taj Davis, plus the additions of Alexander and the student freshman Denzel Boston helping in that regard.
But in the Class of 2023, new associate head coach and wide receivers coach Jamarcus Shephard will be tasked with starting to rebuild that room.
Honorable Mentions: CB Benjamin Morrison, DL Ben Roberts, EDGE Tevarua Tafiti, OL Vega Ioane
Funniest Movie: DB Tristan Dunn — 6-4, 188 — Sumner High
Most to prove: CB Jaivion Green – 6-2, 196 – Lamar (Texas) High
Best story: DL Armon (6-3, 284) and Jayvon (6-3, 296) Parker — Fordson (Mich.) High