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Originally published Monday, August 16, 2010 at 6:41 PM

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Gig Harbor tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins chooses Washington

Gig Harbor's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, rated the top tight end in the country by Rivals.com, had narrowed his list to the Huskies and Texas.

Seattle Times staff reporter

GIG HARBOR — Austin Seferian-Jenkins admitted he was nervous, standing at the podium at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club on Monday.

"Did you see me shaking?" the 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end said.

But once he pulled the University of Washington hat and football out of a silver bag, the nerves shifted to excitement.

"Coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian), and the players there, it's going to be a national championship soon," said Seferian-Jenkins, who picked the Huskies over the University of Texas. "I want to be a part of that, that hometown guy, that local guy to help bring them back up. I think I can do that. I know I can do it. We're going to do it."

With more than 100 people watching, Seferian-Jenkins sat in a chair while Gig Harbor coach Darren McKay handled the introductions. Once he was standing at the podium, Seferian-Jenkins, rated the top tight end recruit in the country according to Rivals.com said, "I'm a little nervous right now."

He towered over the podium and a Tide Pride sign hung behind him as he thanked family, friends, coaches and the other colleges that recruited him before choosing the Huskies.

"I wanted to get it out of the way, because I knew what I wanted to do," he said.

When asked why he picked the hat out of a bag instead of selecting from several hats on a table a popular method for commitment news conferences — Seferian-Jenkins said he talked with his sister, Michaela, and mother, Linda, and decided he didn't want to add any more suspense.

People began arriving more than an hour before the announcement with Seferian-Jenkins waiting around in a black, short-sleeved, button-down shirt and gray slacks with Stanwood's Dexter Charles, also a Washington recruit.

"It's nice to know we're getting more of the top recruits in my class," said Charles, who was on hand to lend support. "We know it's going to be more secure, and those roses with coach Sark are going to be more secure."

Seferian-Jenkins took a visit to Texas earlier this month, but once he returned and talked to his family, he decided to stay home.

"Texas is a great program," he said. "The respect they gave me was amazing. It was a great program. It felt great when I was there, but when I got home, I just sat down. I looked at my mom. I looked at my family and I just said I couldn't leave them. I wanted to play for my state."

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He is considered one of the top two prospects in the state with Skyline wide receiver Kasen Williams after catching 62 passes for 1,152 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Williams will make his decision later this month.

"We're going to go get Rose Bowls and national championship," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I firmly believe that."

Before breaking off for various media interviews, Seferian-Jenkins walked over to McKay, leaned in and said, "Thanks a lot. Thanks for everything."

"It is pretty special and it doesn't happen very often," McKay said after that moment between coach and player.

Seferian-Jenkins stressed that he wanted to get the decision over with early, so he could focus on the upcoming football and basketball seasons.

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