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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 7, 2010 at 9:03 PM

April answers, volume three

Another round. …
Q: As of last Saturday’s practice, how many of Steve Sarkisian’s recuits have beaten
out Tyrone Willingham recruits?

A: Not sure you can necessarily quantify it quite that directly to say a Sark guy beat out a Willingham guy. For one, how do you classify Nate Fellner, who committed under Willingham but signed under Sarkisian, and at the moment is a starter? If you count Fellner as a Sarkisian guy, there would be five Sarkisian recruits in the starting lineup — Fellner, Desmond Trufant, Talia Crichton, Will Mahan and James Johnson. But whoever Sarkisian brought in was going to punt since there was no one left so not sure you say Mahan “beat out” a Willingham recruit. I don’t even know if that’s really meaningful as Sark’s first recruiting class was put together in two months, small anyway, then hit hard when four of the JC guys didn’t get in.
Q: Who coordinates the UW’s recruiting? Can you give us any insight into the process used in identifying and evaluating high school players?
A: A pretty meaty topic that’s hard to do justice in a forum like this, but I’ll try to pass on a few things. Recruiting is so important that it’s way more than a one-person job. The coach who has the title of recruiting coordinator is defensive line coach Johnny Nansen. But there are several behind-the-scenes people who also have heavy roles in it, such as Matt Peterson, a former sports reporter for the Seattle Tiumes who is the recruiting program coordinator, which means he handles things such as travel arrangements for official visits.
I saw the answer that a reader gave and he had it pretty right on. All of UW’s coaches are assigned a specific geographical area to recruit — some in California, some up here. They build relationships with the HS coaches in their areas and get tips on players —- that’s much of what the May evaluation period is, when they hit the road and start doing the real heavy lifting on the next year’s class. HS coaches will tell them about underclassmen at their school, or at rival schools, and then UW coaches take a name down and start investigating, etc. If they find out there’s interest in UW from the player, then it really gets serious. Tips on players can also come simply from media reports, friends, any way you can imagine.

As for evaluating, it again starts with the coach who has that specific area. They talk to HS coaches, look at film. Then they bring back what they’ve learned to UW. At some point, the position coach of the player in question gets involved if he isn’t the coach handling it geographically and will do the same — watch film, talk to HS coaches, etc. The coaches usually meet as a staft to discuss recruiting at least once a week during the season and non-vacation or on the road times, as well.
Not sure how much that helps you or not. I would say if you’re really interested to check out the book written a few years ago by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman called “Meat Market,” in which he spent a year with Mississippi’s staff following their recruiting when the head coach was Ed Orgeron, who is now an assistant at USC. There are only so many ways to do this stuff so much of what’s discussed in that book is pretty universal throughout college football. And Orgeron worked a few years at USC alongside Sarkisian and Nick Holt.
Q: When will the pre-season rankings come out? I am interested where UW will fall. What do you think? Where do you see Oregon landing in that poll due to their QB situation/change/incident/rap sheet. How many/which Pac 10 teams do you see ending up in the Pre-Season Top 25?
A: The two official rankings — AP and Coaches Poll — won’t come out until mid-to-late August. It wouldn’t surprise me if UW got some votes in each but I’d be really surprised if they were ranked in either. The Pac-10 media poll will come out in late July at Pac-10 media day. I think UW will be somewhere in the 4-6 range. Oregon still has an awful lot back and a lot of people think highly of Daron Thomas, who may step in at QB, so while there will be much more doubt about the Ducks than there would have been, still wouldn’t surprise me to see people pick them first. I think those who don’t go with the Ducks will pick USC. Oregon State has had some issues this off-season, as well, but I still think people will look at their overall talent and what the Beavs have done the last few years and put them in that 2-3-4 range, probably landing as a consensus No. 3.
Those would be the only three Pac-10 teams I think have a chance of landing in the national polls. The rest of the Pac-10 is a real jumble and I think the general feeling is there isn’t a huge amount of difference in teams 4-9. But Jake Locker returning may give UW the upper hand over teams like Arizona and Stanford among those who do the prognosticating, one reason I think they could be a consensus No. 4. And I won’t be surprised if UW lands a spot higher in some rankings. I could see some people picking them third. The main magazines — Lindy’s, Athlon’s, Sporting News — tend to come out in late May or early June.



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