UW coach Steve Sarkisian: Signing day a big success
Sean Parker, a safety from California, gave a big boost to the 30 players expected to put the Huskies back on the college football map.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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One of the biggest recruiting classes in Washington history was also the longest in the making, fullback Zach Fogerson becoming the first commitment in September 2008.
And when it finally was completed Wednesday, UW coach Steve Sarkisian agreed with the analysts who said the class of 30 players should begin to put the Huskies back on the college football map.
The class is the biggest for UW in at least a decade (Sarkisian said records were inexact on how long) and all are high-school players, giving the team not only an immediate infusion of depth but also a long-term foundation.
"All in all, this day is a big success," Sarkisian said. "It's a very complete class from front to back when you talk about 16 players on offense and 14 on defense. It's one that can help us immediately and have an impact this fall for us in 2010 but also when we look at 2011, '12, '13 down the road."
Sean Parker was the spotlight player Wednesday. Regarded as one of the top 50 players in the nation and among the best six or so safeties, the 5-foot-10, 204-pounder announced on ESPNU shortly after 7 a.m. that he would come to UW.
Asked why he picked the Huskies, Parker said: "Just the program, the family atmosphere and the beautiful city of Seattle."
He said "it was hard" to turn down hometown school USC but said, "You've just got to dig deep within your heart and do what your heart says."
Parker turned out to be the last member of the class as other players who had been uncommitted and were considering UW signed elsewhere, such as linebacker Josh Shirley (UCLA) and DT Ricky Heimuli (Oregon).
Still, it's a class that figures to end up ranked among the top 20 in the nation and top three or four in the Pac-10. As of Tuesday, Scout.com had it at No. 12 nationally and third in the conference behind UCLA and USC.
"It's a really, really good class," said Greg Biggins, a recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. "It's almost better than you thought it was when you actually study it."
The class includes nine players from the state of Washington, led by defensive tackle Sione Potoa'e of Lakes High, whom Sarkisian said the Huskies had to compete for to the end — he took a visit to USC after committing to UW and also had interest from UCLA.
"He could have that instant impact for us, which is huge," Sarkisian said.
Potoa'e was one of three Lakes players to sign, the others being safety Jamaal Kearse and linebacker Darius Waters. Washington signed 16 players from California, 15 from the talent-rich Southern California area, led by Parker and the Oaks Christian duo of quarterback Nick Montana and offensive tackle Erik Kohler.
Biggins pointed to players such as Kevin Smith, whom he called one of the top five receivers in the state, and Andrew Hudson, whom he said was one of the top three defensive ends, as further proof of UW's inroads into California.
Sarkisian said Montana measured 6-3 and 191 pounds when he was on his visit to UW two weeks ago — he had been listed at 6-1, and some questioned his size. Sarkisian said Montana, son of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, had offers from many schools but "he chose to come here to create his own legacy."
It was one of the largest collection of California athletes to sign with UW in years, something that also earned praise from recruiting analysts. Sarkisian, who came to UW last year after seven years as an assistant at USC, said it was critical to make an impact in California.
"We went into Southern California and did the damage we needed to get done," he said.
Washington also made one of its biggest swaths through Hawaii, signing four players, whom Sarkisian called "the top four players out of that state."
Running back Deontae Cooper has already enrolled and Montana, running back Jesse Callier and linebacker Victor Burnett will enroll in time for the beginning of spring practice, which starts March 30.
John Timu, a safety from Jordan High School in Long Beach, Calif., is likely to enroll next January while rehabbing a knee injury.
The other 25 are expected to enroll in August. One player expected to sign, running back Melvin Davis of Narbonne High in Harbor City, Calif., did not due to academic concerns and is apparently headed to a junior college.
Also, the school said a decision could come from the NCAA as early as Friday on an appeal for a sixth year of eligibility by linebacker E.J. Savannah.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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