Bishop Sankey knows he’s got a couple of trips to Pullman to make in his college career. Knows there will be some angry fans waiting for him when he gets there.
But the Gonzaga Prep running back said Wednesday he had to make the best decision for his future, and that he ultimately felt that meant signing with Washington instead of WSU, to whom he had been officially committed for more than a year.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Sankey, who on Tuesday committed to UW head coach Steve Sarkisian during an in-home visit in Spokane. “I knew that before making my decision. It’s just part of the nature of the recruiting process. It doesn’t really bother me.”
In a phone interview, Sankey (pictured right in a Spokesman-Review photo) said there wasn’t any single factor that made him one of the more celebrated players in recent memory to spurn WSU in favor of the Huskies.
He noted that when he committed to WSU initially (reported as Dec., 2009 by Scout.com), that “I didn’t have any other offers at the time.” He also noted that the coach who had recruited him was running backs coach Steve Broussard and that “I had a really good relationship with him and then he ended up leaving.” Broussard took a similar job at Arizona State in Feb., 2010.
He said after he committed, a few other schools came calling, including UW and running backs coach Joel Thomas. He became more intrigued with those schools following the departure of Broussard. Originally from Ohio before moving to Spokane just proir to high school, he said location wasn’t a big factor.
“It was kind of a gradual process,” he said. In the case of UW, he said he got a lot more interested after attending Washington’s spring game last April.
He also had been recruited by Minnesota and Maryland, but each school underwent coaching changes that essentially ruled them out and ended up having him narrow his choices to UW and WSU (Vanderbilt had also been listed as a consideration, including one report of a visit there. But he said he never had a visit to Vanderbilt planned).
He said he was still undecided until a visit to UW last weekend, when his hosts were future teammates and tailback competitors Jesse Callier and Chris Polk.
“This last visit was just amazing,” he said. “It was kind of the last piece to help me make my final decision. … It was just everything, the campus, the coaching staff, what they have to offer academically. It was just a really great visit.”
Sankey said he’s not sure what he wants to major in yet, but that academics were a factor, including UW’s recent reported success at graduating football players (the Huskies were second behind Stanford in the Pac-10 in the most recent stats at 69 percent).
“That really stuck out to me just knowing that when football is all said and done, getting my degree from Washington will say a lot,” he said.
Sankey at the moment is the only tailback in UW’s Class of 2011, the Huskies losing a commitment earlier from Brendon Bigelow of Fresno. It’s not a huge position of immediate need, however, with Polk deciding to return, Callier back for his sophomore year, Deontae Cooper and Johri Fogerson expected to be healthy, and even Zach Fogerson a possible factor.
He might have had an easier road to immediate playing time at Washington State. But he said UW coaches told him he will have a chance to compete for carries, as well as returning kicks, an area where the Huskies have struggled.
“I’m actually looking forward to get in there and compete with those guys that have a lot of talent, like I do,” he said. “I think it will help me grow as a person and a football player and ultimately at the end it will make me a better football player.”
Sankey said he told WSU coach Paul Wulff on Tuesday morning of his decision and said “it was a little bit difficult. It’s always difficult to say not to anybody.” But he said there is no wavering now.
“I wanted to be done with the whole recruiting process and made my decision,” he said.
Sankey has a four-star rating by both Scout.com and Rivals.com and was one of five players named as a Seattle Times Blue Chip player — all five now headed to UW. He rushed for 2,518 yards last season at Gonzaga Prep.
Greg Biggins of ESPNRise said he thinks Sankey is “probably a top five, six running back in the West Coast. I think he’s very good. You look at how he projects, you look at his size, speed, toughness, and obviously he’s productive. You can say ‘oh, that’s the competition’ or whatever. But when you look at his physical makeup and just how big and fast he is and his running style, it all points to him being a pretty solid college back.”