Committed to Vanderbilt for about a year and a half, quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels opened his recruiting last month and then made a verbal commitment to Washington on Jan. 22. A 6-foot-2, 227-pound, four-star recruit out of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, Calif., he plans to sign a letter of intent with UW on Wednesday, which will make him the fourth quarterback on the Huskies’ roster.
Here’s a Q&A with Carta-Samuels from Sunday:
So why Washington?
“It was a good combination of all the things I was looking for. It was pretty much an easy decision there. … I can’t wait to be part of it.”
Did you know Coach Petersen before he started recruiting you to UW, or was this a new relationship?
“It definitely new. I didn’t talk to Petersen at all prior to me opening my recruiting. But I had just seen him from the Fiesta Bowl in 2007 and everything he’s done with Boise. … He kind of looked like a cool guy from the TV.”
Did his reputation hold up once you got to know him?
“Definitely. He’s the same kind of guy you see on the TV. He’s really charismatic; not really a fiery dude, but he’s passionate … and he’s just a really cool guy. Same with the staff. That was a big part of it for me.”
Did the coaches lay out of vision or plan for you in the offense?
“We talked about that a little bit. But they’re kind of going to base their offense around who their quarterback is and who gives them a best chance to win. So it’s going to be kind of up in the air. They’re going to do whatever they have to do to put their players in the best position.”
You’ll be the fourth quarterback on the roster as it stands now. The idea of that kind of competition didn’t turn you off?
“The way I looked at it, I’ll have to compete no matter where I go. And I guess competition brings out the best in you, so I’ll be playing my best if I do get the starting job because I know the guys below me would be nipping at my heels. At the end of the day, the best guy’s going to start and if it’s not me, then good for the other guy — because he’ll be the best.”
Have you been keeping tabs on how this class is coming together?
“Yeah, a little bit. I’ve been trying to talk to a few guys like Kaleb McGary and Budda Baker.”
Didn’t you run a double wing offense in high school? What was your role in that as the quarterback? Yeah. I think I started to build into that. It wasn’t really (ideal) for my skillset. I’m more of a pocket guy, but in that offense I did a lot of the running; I probably had 10-12 carries a game, so that made me work on my quickness and my athletic ability to be able to evade (the rush). So that helped. I can always improve as a passer, obviously, because I don’t have that same experience that other high school kids do in their offenses where they throw a lot. (The double wing) will benefit me because I was able to stretch plays and all that, but I am looking forward to the other side of the game and being more of a pocket passer.
What kind of influence did your older brother have on you with? It sounds like you have quite the football family. (Austyn Carta-Samuels was the starting quarterback at Wyoming for two years before transferring to Vanderbilt, where he was the starter last season.)
“Definitely a family football growing up. I think half the things we talk about is football (laughs). My dad’s brother was a quarterback at Utah State and my dad was a tight end for him, his twin brother. My cousin was a quarterback, I’m a quarterback, my brother’s a quarterback. It definitely is a family thing. It’s just something we learned growing up, so it’s natural for us. I didn’t even like football, to be honest, when I was younger, but as soon as my body developed freshman to sophomore year, then I really liked it and fell in love with it.”
Did you take anything away from your brother’s college experience, transferring from Wyoming to Vanderbilt?
“What I’d take away from it is that change is inevitable. You just gotta deal with it and reaction in the appropriate manner. … That’s why I picked an academic school like Washington, because football can change like that at any moment, so you have to have that academic background if that does go down. … I feel like I have a good environment there at Washington where if something happened with football, I could still have the academics to back me up.”
Have academics been a focal point for you and your family?
“Yeah, definitely. I’ve always been the more academic kid in my family. … My cumulative GPA I think is 3.66.”