Coach Steve Sarkisian, Washington Huskies building solid recruiting base
Huskies landed three of the top four high-school football players in the state, missing out only on Skyline quarterback Jake Heaps, who chose BYU.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Tom Lemming thinks Washington Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian is on the verge of creating something special.
"If he stays there for the long term and develops a program, he could be the next Don James, because he's got the recruiting smarts, which a lot of people don't have," said Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS College Sports. "To me, he learned under Pete Carroll just the way (Lane) Kiffin and (Ed) Orgeron did. It's all about recruiting, not coaching."
In his first full recruiting season, Sarkisian has taken a large stride toward locking up the Northwest's top talent. The proof is evident in The Seattle Times' annual blue, red and white chip list, which sorts the state's top 100 senior football recruits. National signing day is Feb. 3.
The Huskies secured three of the four blue-chip prospects — Sione Potoa'e (Lakes), Chris Young (Auburn) and Colin Porter (Bothell) — and five of 18 red chips. Blue chip Jake Heaps could be considered the one who got away, but he chose to follow his faith to Brigham Young instead of sticking with the team in his backyard.
"Washington could be on the verge of entering another really good era," Lemming said.
Last year, Washington State made a splash by locking up seven of The Times' 25 blue- and red-chip recruits. One year later, Washington seems to have regained an edge in in-state recruiting, which Lemming said is necessary for any school outside of Florida, Texas or California.
"If you don't lock up your own state, you're not going to stay around very long," Lemming said. "It reminds you of Wisconsin, Minnesota, where there's talent, but not enough to sustain a program."
This year the Cougars secured six red chips, while Oregon State snared Bethel defensive lineman Happy Iona and UCLA landed Bellevue defensive lineman Julious Moore.
"I think it's stacked up pretty well overall," said Chris Fetters, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com, describing the talent in Washington. "You look at the fact that you have the No. 1 quarterback in the entire country, I think that's pretty impressive. Any time you have that kind of situation, it's always a nice feather in your cap for a state that isn't necessarily known for producing a ton of D-I talent."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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