Wait and see for UW football recruits
Keith Price, the first of the Washington Huskies' five football recruits to commit, is a little nervous because he hasn't heard from anyone...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Keith Price, the first of the Washington Huskies' five football recruits to commit, is a little nervous because he hasn't heard from anyone at the UW in the past two weeks.
He wonders who will replace coach Tyrone Willingham, who was forced to resign this week, and said the upheaval on Montlake "shakes things up a bit" as far as his commitment.
Price said he intends to sign a letter of intent with Washington in February, but said he plans to visit other schools and expects to take a trip to the University of Utah in December. Boise State and Washington State have also expressed interest in the 6-foot-2, 175 pound quarterback at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif.
"I want to see who the new coach will be," Price said Wednesday. "I don't know if they're going to keep the same staff or bring in a whole new staff. I don't know what kind of system the new coach will run, and all of that stuff is important."
Price chose Washington in part because the Huskies run a spread offense. If the team changes to a different scheme, Price might choose another school. And he's not alone.
Nathan Fellner, a 6-foot, 190-pound safety at Clovis West High in Fresno, Calif., might also back away from Washington. When asked if he'd visit other schools, Fellner declined to comment.
"We don't know if the next coach will honor that commitment, so we're just waiting," Fellner's mother, Carol Sweeney, said. "Right now, it's time for him to take a break, take a deep breath and we'll figure things out. At this point in time, it's hard to say what will happen."
The Huskies also received commitments from Federal Way defensive end Andru Pulu, West Seattle cornerback Aaron Grimes and cornerback Kenneth Pinkard of South Oak Cliff High in Dallas.
Willingham said he's no longer involved in the recruiting process and the team won't make any visits to potential recruits while they are in Los Angeles for Saturday's game at USC.
"I have the ability to talk to them, but you want to make sure that we're giving the message of the next coach and at this time it's very difficult to do that," Willingham said. "You're kind of caught between that rock and a hard place. We just have to ask those young men to be patient until that direction is established and then that man [the new coach] will be able to speak for himself."
Ana Pulu, Andru's mother, is disappointed Willingham resigned.
"It's unfortunate because he's a great coach and I wish Andru would have had the chance to play for him," she said. "What you saw on TV is what you saw in that office. He is an awesome, awesome guy.
"We feel bad for coach Willingham, but we really want Andru to play at home. We've talked about it and as far as I know, he still plans to play for Washington. Nothing has changed."
The Huskies received one commitment from a member of the Class of 2010, O'Dea High's Zach Fogerson.
Even without Willingham, the 6-foot, 205-pound fullback remains committed to Washington because his older brother Johri is a freshman safety for the Huskies. Despite his family ties to the UW, Tennessee and Nebraska have offered him a scholarship and North Carolina, Notre Dame and Boise State continue calling.
Fogerson's mother, Monique Avery, said the coaching change has not affected his decision.
"It can't get any worse there than it is at Nebraska and Tennessee and they are in turmoil also," she said. "He stands firm with his decision. He's happy with his decision. He welcomes the opportunity to play with his brother again.
"He went to Junior Day and [UW athletic director] Scott Woodward made it public that he had high expectations for that group when he arrives at the University of Washington. So apparently, the AD intends to honor their commitment."
• Cornerback Mesphin Forrester did not practice Thursday. He walked with a slight limp and appeared to favor his right leg. If Forrester is not available, sophomore Matt Mosley will likely start against USC.
• Quarterback Jake Locker will not travel to Los Angeles. He was on the 64-man travel roster that went to Arizona and helped redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch in his first start. Willingham was unsure who would take Locker's spot on the roster.
• Junior Tripper Johnson will start at strong safety in place of injured Victor Aiyewa. Johri Fogerson, who missed the past three games, should also be available.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
Washington State's Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Huskies
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