First off, I reminder that as I post this, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim is playing in the East-West Shrine Game, which is on ESPN2 Saturday from noon-3 p.m. Seattle time (he’s wearing a blue 66 jersey).
Now, on to a few questions. …
Q: Why don’t the Huskies recruit Florida anymore like they did back in the Rick Neuheisel era?
A: While the Huskies did have three Florida players on the roster throughout the Neuheisel era, it wasn’t the result of any concerted effort to recruit in that state. Instead, it was pretty much a fluke. In Jim Lambright’s last season, in the fall of 1998, the Huskies basically sent out a national call for a kicker — that was the season they ended up using WR Joe Jarzynka to handle field goals (and he was better at it than people may remember, hitting a 46-yarder in not great conditions in the Apple Cup, for example).
John Anderson, a kicker from Bonyton Beach, Fla., was looking for a school where he could come in compete immediately and maybe hold the job for four years, and after having been initially headed to Georgia Tech, heard about UW and committed to Washington instead (all while Lambright was coach). His high school featured two other good players — Rich Alexis and Charles Frederick — and he and his family were close to each player, so after Anderson spent a year at UW and liked it, he encouraged each to consider Washington, as well. Alexis likely would have gone to Miami except the Hurricanes wanted him as a DB and he wanted a shot to play RB. Alexis, who was a year behind Anderson and a year ahead of Frederick, signed with UW, had a good year in 2000 when the Huskies won the Rose Bowl, and that led to Frederick, a highly-rated WR, signing the following season.
But there really was no real “Florida connection” per se. It was pretty much three kids from one high school. Neuheisel didn’t really try to recruit in Florida again, and no other coach has since, either (and I don’t really remember Lambright or Don James doing it prior to that and James had lots of ties to the state having played and coached at Miami) as I don’t think any of them felt it was worth the effort. If, as happened in the case of Anderson, there’s a specific reason why a kid would be interested in UW, I’m sure UW would pursue. But to just blindly go down there and try to convince kids to come up here, not sure that makes much sense.
Q: Does the PAC-10 still self-govern like it did with the DAWGS in 92/93? If so, why are they silent on the U$C scandals?
A: Yes, but not sure they are being silent. I think they spoke rather loudly in making it clear they were encouraging of USC’s self-imposed basketball sanctions. And as has been well-reported, they have spent years investigating the various football issues and USC is scheduled to go before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions next month. It is expected that penalties will be announced within a few months of that meeting. For now, I think everyone should wait to see what comes of that before passing judgment. Most rumblings are that USC is likely to receive some significant penalties.
Q: The Pac-10 is super-deep next year, no doubt about it and I’d imagine the Huskies will be picked to finish 6th or 7th by the media. But don’t you think they have the biggest “up-side” in terms of it’s their second year in the system and they’re more comfortable with it?
A: Probably, and I think if you really look at what is being written about UW going forward, I think that’s being acknowledged. I think everyone realizes that with Jake Locker coming back, UW could be one of the breakthrough teams in the conference, and maybe the country, next year if things break right.
As for having the most upside in the conference — if you define that as the ability to place better than predicted — I think most would agree with that, as well. UCLA might be the other candidate for that. ASU and WSU look like they’ll probably be the ninth and 10th picks in the pre-season, and there seems little reason to think the Cougars can make much of a move. There’s lots more hope for ASU if the Devils can find a QB as there’s a pretty good defense being built there. But not sure anyone is positioned as well as the Huskies to make a significant jump (in part because so many teams like Stanford and Arizona are already there and will pretty much just be trying to maintain).
No doubt, it will be interesting to see where UW is picked when the pre-season rankings arrive. I’m betting that some magazine goes out on a limb and picks the Huskies higher than you’d think. And again, I think just about everyone will peg UW as a team to watch.
All for now.