There are not many elite football players that come from the state of Washington each recruiting cycle so Chris Petersen has made it a priority to keep the top players in the state from leaving home. He's done an outstanding job of doing that with the 2015 recruiting class and that's been capped off by today's commitment from defensive lineman Benning Potoae.
What kind of player are the Huskies getting in Potoae?
Benning Potoae - 4 star defensive lineman
Potoae has rare hand violence for a player at this stage of his football career. He has a great first step and can bring a strong punch along with it. That makes him not only a strong player at the point of attack, but also a disruptive player and that's what makes him an elite defensive lineman in this recruiting class. Even when he is playing inside and taking on a double team, he shows he can be stout. That's not something that is seen very often from a prospect who is considered an edge player by most recruiting sites.
His strength and athleticism shine through because he struggles with technique issues either, other than him sometimes not playing the edge of his man. He can overcome this because he moves so well laterally, but it's something he needs to improve on. His pad level is consistently good though and it's a big reason why he wins versus the run.
He is way ahead of the curve in terms of his pass rushing technique because of his hands. He is very good at swatting away the punch of an offensive lineman and is natural at converting speed to power. It's almost unfair that a player his size (270) can bend around the edge like he can as well. His initial pass rush moves and lateral movement make him one of the better pass rushers I've seen from this recruiting class.
I've seen it in places that where Potoae has been projected at BUCK for the Huskies (the same position where Hau'oli Kikaha led the nation in sacks last season), but that might be a temporary home for him. Although I think he shows enough potential as a pass rusher, he may outgrow the position and I think he has the natural hand violence and great first step to succeed as an interior defensive lineman.
Time will tell where exactly Potoae's future lies for the Huskies, but I know this, Petersen and company landed a very good one that has the tools to develop into an outstanding player in their front seven.