Heading into the last weekend before the NCAA Dead Period, Washington’s 2024 recruiting class was … thin, to say the least. With only one verbal commitment – from four-star California offensive lineman Paki Finau – the Huskies had the fewest commitments of any Power Five program as of last Friday. It had been a tough start to Kalen DeBoer’s first full recruiting class, even after he breathed new life into the program with an 11-2 season and Alamo Bowl trophy.
However, things changed after a dramatically successful weekend of visits for Washington.
Washington’s Recruiting Class Turns Up the Heat
June looked to be a down month for the program, with local three-star QB EJ Caminong and three-star Nevada WR Landon Bell decommitting within days of each other on the 12th and 14th, respectively (both may have had their offers pulled, and both have since committed to other Pac-12 schools: Caminong to Cal and Bell to Arizona).
Four Husky targets committed to other programs in the past week, three of them to Pac-12 rivals: WR Emmett Mosley (Stanford), EDGE Keona Wilhite (Arizona), CB Santana Wilson (Texas), and S Kingston Lopa (Oregon).
Through all that, however, remained a glimmer of hope. Eighteen recruits were scheduled to visit Montlake over the past week after four high-end recruits visited the week before, a stretch that DeBoer and company had to hope turned interest into precious commitments.
So it did – nine recruits committed to the Huskies between Saturday and Tuesday. That catapulted Washington from 95th to 50th in 247Sports’ 2024 rankings, leapfrogging them over six of their conference foes.
Let’s get to know the new faces on Montlake.
Washinton’s 2024 Recruiting Class Recent Commits
Jason Robinson, four-star WR, Long Beach Poly (CA)
Jason Robinson, a four-star WR from Long Beach Poly (CA), was the headliner of the weekend and also the first to commit on Saturday. At 5’11” and 160 pounds, he has primarily played on the outside for Long Beach Poly.
Although he may be slightly undersized for that position in college, Robinson possesses strong route-running skills and the ability to make plays after the catch, which could make him a dangerous slot receiver at the very least.
He chose the Huskies over Syracuse, Cal, and Utah, with additional offers from USC, Miami, Florida State, Georgia, and several other top programs.
Justice Williams, three-star WR, Oaks Christian (CA)
Justice Williams, a three-star WR from Oaks Christian (CA), committed less than twelve hours after Robinson, filling the void left by Landon Bell’s decommitment. Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 195 pounds, Williams possesses the prototypical size for an outside receiver and has consistently showcased impressive skills in California’s Southern Section.
While he is currently rated as a three-star recruit, his talent combined with a commitment to a Power 5 program could easily boost his status by the time he joins the Huskies.
Decker DeGraaf, three-star TE, Glendora (CA)
Decker DeGraaf, a three-star TE from Glendora (CA), solidified his commitment to the Huskies despite offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, and Utah. With his 6’4″, 230-pound frame, DeGraaf appears to be an ideal fit in DeBoer’s 12-personnel offense.
He demonstrates potential as both a route runner and a run blocker, bearing some resemblance to the current Husky, Jack Westover. Since Washington failed to sign a tight end in the 2023 class, DeGraaf’s commitment carries even greater significance as Westover and Devin Culp approach the end of their eligibility.
Omar Khan, three-star DL, Bridgeland (TX)
Omar Khan, a three-star DL from Bridgeland (TX), excels not only on the football field but also in wrestling at Bridgeland, a foundation that has historically yielded success for linemen on either side of the formation. Despite receiving 22 offers primarily from Pac-12 and midrange Texas schools, Khan did not appear on 247Sports’ composite list until he committed to UW.
This scenario bears a striking resemblance to the commitments of Armon and Jayvon Parker a year ago. Jayvon ultimately played in eight games as a true freshman for a defensive line that underwent some changes.
Khmori House, three0star LB, St. John Bosco (CA)
Khmori House, a three-star LB from St. John Bosco (CA), fills a void at linebacker where the Huskies have resorted to short-term solutions over the past two seasons. Edefuan Ulofoshio, a fantastic player when healthy, has been limited in his availability. Alphonzo Tuputala has shown development consistent with the expectations of modern-era Husky defenses but still has room to grow. Other recruits have not met expectations due to various reasons.
Under DeBoer, the Huskies have addressed this issue by adding players through the transfer portal. Graduate transfers Cam Bright (Pitt) and Kris Moll (UAB) joined the team for the 2022 season, and Ralen Goforth, a transfer from USC, is set to join in 2023. This approach has provided solid contributions on the field but has come at the expense of future building.
Enter House, another seemingly underrated player among this weekend’s commitments. He becomes Washington’s second linebacker commit from St. John Bosco in two years and chose the Huskies over Texas and Auburn. House can be seen as the understudy to Ulofoshio, who is expected to enter the NFL after this season.
Noah Carter, three-star EDGE, Centennial (AZ)
Noah Carter, a three-star EDGE from Centennial (AZ), defies the norm as he possesses the athleticism to play wide receiver in addition to his edge rushing abilities. Carter’s exceptional quickness around the edge makes him a challenging player to contain throughout a game, especially in critical moments.
With Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Bralen Trice likely heading to the NFL after this season and former five-star recruit Sav’ell Smalls now at Colorado, there’s an opportunity for early playing time for someone like Carter.
Ratumana Bulabalavu, three-star EDGE, Army and Navy (CA)
Ratumana Bulabalavu, a three-star EDGE from Army and Navy (CA), continues Washington’s success in recruiting from the San Diego suburb of Carlsbad, following in the footsteps of alum Asa Turner, a safety. With Turner set to depart after the 2023 season, the Huskies hope that Bulabalavu can maintain the Southern California flair that has proven beneficial in the past.
During his junior year, Bulabalavu recorded a state-leading 22.5 sacks, but he has received only seven offers thus far. Notable among them are Arizona and Oregon State, aside from UW. With his ability to play on the outside and inside, it’s possible that Bulabalavu could transition to the 5-tech position at Washington, providing the Huskies with three pass rushers on every down.
Dermaricus Davis, three-star QB, Etiwanda (CA)
Dermaricus Davis, a three-star QB from Etiwanda (CA), adds clarity to Washington’s quarterback situation beyond 2023. With Michael Penix Jr.’s impending departure and Sam Huard’s transfer to Cal Poly, the Huskies were left with only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster until the arrival of 2024 recruit Austin Mack, who reclassified to join the team this fall.
Davis has emerged as a target for UW, and despite not receiving a composite grade on 247Sports until his commitment on Monday, he possesses the mobility and strong arm required in DeBoer’s offensive system. While he may need to add weight to compete in the Pac-12, a redshirt year in 2024 appears likely with Mack and Dylan Morris as the favored contenders to start after Penix’s departure.
Elias Johnson, Unranked CB, Jesuit (OR)
Elias Johnson, an unranked CB from Jesuit (OR), is expected to receive a composite ranking soon, as 247Sports already rates him as a three-star recruit and the seventh-best player in Oregon. Following his commitment to the Huskies on Tuesday evening, Johnson is likely to see his ranking updated shortly. He chose Washington over Washington State and Oregon State.
Opinions on Johnson’s projection vary: some experts see him as a potential safety convert, while others view him as the latest long-armed corner in the lineage of former standout UW players. His versatility aligns well with the Huskies’ defensive scheme, which has historically used hybrid players to great effect in the secondary.
Who is Next for Washington?
These eight commits may not be the only ones from UW’s busy weekend of visits. Three-star Arizona EDGE Deshawn Warner is set to commit on July 1 and is friends with Noah Carter. Warner has previously been linked to Kansas, but his visit to Montlake may have swayed him.
Three-star Texas safety Dontae Carter fits the prototypical Husky DB mold. Washington has had a strong recruiting presence in Texas since the Chris Petersen days and could be poised to swipe Carter from Texas Tech.
Armijo (CA)’s Jericho Johnson is the biggest target left on UW’s board, both in stature and status. The four-star defensive tackle holds some big-time offers from Georgia, Miami, and Oregon but seems to still be in the earlier stages of his recruitment.
Peyton Waters, a four-star safety from Van Nuys, CA, is set to announce his commitment on Thursday. Washington is in his top seven, along with Northwestern, Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, Utah, and USC. The Huskies secured the last official visit with him.
Three-star OT Ikinasio Tupou reportedly spent a lot of time with fellow Californian lineman Paki Finau on his official visit last weekend, and that connection could end up paying huge dividends for the Huskies. The 6’6” tackle would be a huge get for a Washington squad as they’re likely set to lose at least one of Troy Fautanu and Roger Rosengarten to the NFL after this season.
After Elias Johnson committed on Tuesday, Ohio defensive lineman Dominic Kirks seemed to be intrigued. The four-star recruit is set to commit on Friday, with a final five of Washington, Pitt, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. The Huskies rarely venture outside of the west coast and Texas, but Kirks would add another huge piece to a defensive line DeBoer and company have put a strong emphasis on in the 2024 class.