HuskyNation mailbag: Dec. 21

At each stop during the final day of this week’s Northern California road trip, I took a minute to check Twitter.

I wanted to see if Lavon Hooks had announced his decision. The defensive tackle out of Northeast Mississippi Community College, rated the No. 15 prospect in the ESPN Junior College 100, had Washington among his finalists.

Each time I checked for an update, his announcement had been delayed. On Thursday, news finally broke the Hooks had picked Ole Miss over his other finalists.

While he would have been a nice addition to this year’s recruiting class, the Huskies have done very well with defensive linemen so far.

Washington currently has five defensive linemen -- three tackles, two ends -- committed, highlighted by defensive tackle Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande), who is rated the No. 212 prospect in the ESPN 300.

The Huskies also remain in the mix for defensive ends Austin Hooper (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland), who are both in the ESPN 300.

So, while Hooks would have been a nice addition to the class, Washington has done a good job of addressing its defensive line.

While the Huskies try to figure out who the next addition to the 2013 class will be, it is time to tackle the mailbag.

Have a question? Need an answer? Send submissions via Twitter to @MasonKelleyESPN or email MasonKelleyESPN@gmail.com.

Here is this week’s HuskyNation mailbag:

Huy via e-mail: Do you have some insight on the struggles at recruiting OL the past few years? It seems like the staff has done a good job recruiting every position group but OL. With rumors of (Sean) Harlow switching to OSU, that leaves us with only two OL commits. Is it (Dan) Cozzetto or just bad luck?

HuskyNation: It has been interesting to follow the offensive linemen Washington has been trying to add to this year’s class.

Before Poasi Moala (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) flipped to UCLA, it looked like the Huskies were doing very well with linemen. They had four prospects committed and were doing well with others.

Without Moala and with talk that Sean Harlow’s commitment isn’t as solid as it once was -- he is still currently committed -- there is growing concern among the fan base when it comes to the offensive line.

Here is one thing I am confident in saying -- Dan Cozzetto isn’t the problem. Dane Crane, Washington’s top-rated line prospect -- raves about his future position coach and I haven’t heard a negative word about him from an offensive line recruit yet.

I don’t think the struggles with linemen have anything to do with the way Washington has recruited the position. If the Huskies end up signing Harlow and if they can find a way to sway Brayden Kearsley (Aloha, Ore./Aloha), the conversation will change to how well the program has done at that position.

So, while there are some question marks right now, there is plenty of time to finish strong with offensive linemen.

@JT_Campos via Twitter: Can Troy Williams (if he signs) compete for the starting quarterback job immediately next year?

HN: I was able to watch Williams throw during Washington’s Rising Stars Camp this summer. He looked impressive. Then he posted big numbers during a successful senior season. He said all of the right things during interviews and has put himself in a position to be a very good college quarterback.

However, it won’t be easy for him to come in and compete for a starting job next season. Keith Price is still the Huskies’ starting quarterback and, with a strong performance against Boise State on Saturday, he will be the starter heading into spring football.

After Price, Williams would have to jump past Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist, who redshirted this season.

So, while Williams has plenty of talent, he will have a tough time earning a starting spot as a true freshman.

@wolbert6 via Twitter: Did UW stop recruiting Caleb Tucker? In your opinion, who will be the biggest surprise to sign with UW?

HN: Since Washington can’t directly comment on recruits and, since prospects don’t tend to talk at length about what happens when they flip, it is hard to answer your first question.

I think Tucker is a very good linebacker prospect. But after he flipped to Houston, the Huskies still have three recruits who project to the same position. Washington also continues to recruit UCLA commit Myles Jack and Danny Mattingly -- he could play either tight end or linebacker -- so the Huskies still have options after Tucker decided to switch his commitment.

Now, as big surprises go, I don’t have any new names right now.

@wolbert6 via Twitter: Any other offensive linemen UW is in on?

HN: The names of offensive linemen Washington is pursuing haven’t changed much recently. The three names I hear the most are Kearsley, Na’Ty Rodgers (Pomfret, M.D./McDonough) and Riley Sorenson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita).