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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

June 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM

June answers, volume three

Another round. …
Q: Do you still think that Steve Sarkisian hasn’t done anything with regard to recruiting that is all that different from Tyrone Willingham? I completely disagreed with you before. And now with Nick Montana I am not sure how you could still think that.
A: I think some of you misunderstood what I was saying a little bit. I am in no way trying to denigrate or downplay the recruiting that Sarkisian and his staff have done so far. But there is still a long way to go — and I think Sarkisian would be the first one to tell you that. Ten (or 11 or nine, depending on how you count the soft commits) players does not a class make. They are off to a really nice start and Montana undoubtedly raises it a few notches by guaranteeing the Huskies will get a top-flight QB — a necessity for this class. But my point all along is that it is not unprecedented at all for UW to get highly-rated recruits and highly-rated recruiting classes. I have people sending me e-mails telling me this has to be the best class in school history and Montana the biggest recruit in school history. Absolutely no offense to Montana, but Jake Locker was rated higher by the services than Montana is at this moment. So were Isaiah Stanback, Matt Tuiasosopo and — believe it or not — Casey Paus, all rated among the top 10 QBs in the nation as seniors, just to list a few guys from this decade alone. Montana is currently No. 13. That may seem like splitting hairs, but the point is UW has signed highly-rated big-name QBs before. Again, believe it or not, there was a massive amount of enthusiasm when Paus committed — his brother was going well at the time so there was some name value there, and UW beat out UCLA and Michigan for him. And consider that in the summer of 2006, UW had commitments from what some people thought were the best QB (Locker) and best RB (James Montgomery) on the West Coast. And the Class of 2008 (Kavario Middleton, Jermaine Kearse, etc.) generated all kinds of enthusiasm and was rated No. 14 in the country by Scout — the current group is rated No. 10. So again, I’m not trying to downplay what Sarkisian is doing, just trying to keep it in perspective. This really is what Washington ought to be doing when things are being run correctly — and also shows that for all the gloom-and-doom about what a horrible state the program is in due to the stadium, the losing, etc., that UW still has a lot of natural attributes that have and always will draw recruits. Where I think Sarkisian will do a lot better job than Willingham is in being consistently persistent. Willingham had a few successes here and there — Locker being the most obvious — then seemed willing to let it rest there. Sarkisian will be much more energetic and aggressive in recruiting and I think the biggest difference will be that he will be much more consistent in the classes he puts together. But he hasn’t done that yet — not his fault, he just hasn’t had time — so we can’t give him credit for it yet until we see it.
Q: Will getting a guy with a big name like Nick Montana help draw other recruits to UW?
A: ESPN.com’s Greg Biggins offered his own take on that question in the entry on Friday. I tend to side with Biggins a little bit, though I realize my own story today on Colin Porter gives some evidence that getting one recruit can pull in others. Still, I just think simply getting one guy with a famous last name means only so much. ASU signed John Elway’s kid two years ago and I don’t remember that enticing 20 other superstars to sign with the Sun Devils. I don’t think it’s the name as much as it is the player himself. Certainly, you’d think WR recruits will be apt to look more favorably at UW now knowing there is a highly-rated QB in the class — as they would have if it had been Jake Heaps or Jesse Scroggins. And Montana has personal connections with some other guys UW is recruiting, specifically the Oaks Christian contingent, that should help, as well. But ultimately, I just think there are so many things that factor into why a guy picks a school that if UW does sign 10 more five-star guys from here it would just be too simplistic to say they all came because of Nick Montana. I think it will help, no question about it, and could be something that influences a few guys. But I don’t think it guarantees anything. The coaches still have to go do the dirty work and convince the guys they are recruiting that UW is the best place for them.
Q: It was reported that if Locker did sign with the Angels, he’d have to give up his scholarship, but that the Angels could then pick up his tuition. If that ended up happening, wouldn’t be like a Daniel Hackett situation and we end up getting a starter, but an extra scholarship to give?
A: You’re first part is accurate as Locker would have to give up his scholarship and technically pay his own way — in reality, the Angels would pay it for him. But by paying his own way he would be a walk-on and that would open up another scholarship, which due to the low number of seniors this year would be especially helpful right now (meaning that for all the hurrahs I’ve seen from fans of other teams, this is probably something that would only be a positive for the Huskies since Locker would stay two more years but it would free up a scholarship for the Huskies). Not sure it’s really like the Hackett situation — he was granted a free ride since his dad worked for the team. But that made Hackett also technically a walk-on because of that so he didn’t count as a scholarship so I guess the end result is the same, yes.
Q: If Locker signs a baseball contract, does he HAVE to go do baseball stuff in the summers? Or can he put that off until after he graduates?
A: He apparently wouldn’t have to do any baseball stuff during the summers if he signs. He has already said he isn’t doing anything this year and he said he made it clear to the Angels that he would finish out his college football career. Reports are that the Angels wanted to draft and sign him so they would have his rights for the next six years. And more critically, for the four years after his college football career would end. If football didn’t pan out for Locker from that point and he decided he wanted to play baseball, the Angels would have his rights. That’s what this is about — Locker’s long-term future — not giving up football now or having to play baseball somewhere this summer or even next summer. I think this is all about Locker playing football two more years then seeing where the dust settles and which sport may hold the best option for him. The Angels are betting a draft pick that Locker may pick baseball and then if he does, they’ve got him. Given the vagaries of the baseball draft, 10th round picks have been squandered on a lot worse gambles. The Seattle Weekly had a good breakdown this week of the finances that could be involved here for Locker,
All for now.

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