Washington coach Steve Sarkisian working on a great recruiting class
Coach Steve Sarkisian has a good recruiting class going, after receiving a commitment from Gig Harbor tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Adding Skyline receiver Kasen Williams and quarterback Brett Hundley, of Chandler, Ariz., could make this a great class.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Steve Sarkisian was named as Washington's football coach in December 2008, carrying a reputation as a good recruiter.
Still, some who follow that activity closely said questions lingered.
"You wondered, 'Was that him or was that USC?' " said Greg Biggins, who writes ESPN.com's West Recruiting Blog.
Biggins, however, says that question has been answered emphatically as the Huskies have begun to reel in high-profile recruits under Sarkisian, a former offensive coordinator at USC.
The latest commitment for UW came Monday from Gig Harbor tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 tight end in the country, and is a consensus top-100 recruit overall.
"You're just seeing that Sark is a really, really good recruiter," Biggins said. "He's a high energy guy with a great personality that can relate to parents and kids alike. And he likes to recruit aggressively."
The commitment of Seferian-Jenkins was the 15th for UW for the Class of 2011 (players cannot sign letters-of-intent until February) and moved Washington up to 20th nationally in Scout.com's rankings.
Still, much work remains.
Some recruiting analysts have referred to UW's "big three" recruiting targets that will determine just how highly rated this class will be, of which Seferian-Jenkins was the first.
The others are Skyline receiver Kasen Williams, who is expected to announce his decision Aug. 27, and quarterback Brett Hundley of Chandler, Ariz.
Biggins unabashedly says he thinks Williams — whose father, Aaron, played receiver at UW from 1979-82 — will become a Husky.
"I expect Kasen to commit there," he said. "It would be a shock if he goes anywhere else."
If Williams commits to UW, that would give the Huskies the top two recruits in the state and reestablish Washington's dominance with in-state recruiting, long considered a key to success for the Huskies.
Allen Wallace, the national recruiting editor for Scout.com, says it will be little surprise if Williams ends up a Husky and perpetuates Sarkisian's recent recruiting success.
"You just get the general feeling that Washington is going to win these battles now," he said. "For the last decade or so, you never really had that feeling that Washington was going to get the best guys."
The truest gauge of UW's newfound recruiting prowess, however, might be Hundley.
Williams and Seferian-Jenkins are each locals, and even in the down times of the Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham eras, UW often signed the best area players. Consider Willingham's class of 2008 that included highly-touted local players such as Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse, or Gilbertson's class of 2004 that netted Matt Tuiasosopo and Keauntea Bankhead.
Hundley, however, is a more regional recruit, the son of a former Arizona football player who has said he has whittled his list down to UCLA and UW, an intriguing recruiting battle of Sarkisian and former Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel.
Hundley is expected to make unofficial visits to each school in the next two weeks then possibly make a decision.
Washington doesn't have a quarterback yet for its class of 2011 after earlier losing out on Cody Kessler of Bakersfield, Calif., who committed to USC.
Hundley is a 6-foot-4, 217-pounder who is rated by Scout.com as the No. 6 quarterback in the country. He was the Arizona Player of the Year last season after throwing for 16 touchdowns against two interceptions and also rushing for 1,208 yards, making him the perfect fit for the Jake Locker-style offense the Huskies currently have in place.
"If they bring in Hundley, that will be a huge victory," Wallace said.
Biggins says that if UW doesn't get Hundley it might go after Adam Pittser, a 6-1, 187-pounder from Richmond, Ill., who had a surprisingly good showing at the Elite 11 quarterback camp a few weeks ago.
But the big prize is Hundley.
"It's a very good class so far," Biggins said. "For me, those are the big three (Seferian-Jenkins, Williams, Hundley) and if they get all three, that's huge."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|UW 2011 commitments|
|TE||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||6-7||260||Gig Harbor|
|TE||Jarett Finau||6-3 ½||232||Juanita (Kirkland)|
|OLB||Scott Lawyer||6-2||200||Oak Grove (San Jose, Calif.)|
|WR||Josh Perkins||6-3||200||Gahr (Cerritos, Calif.)|
|WR||Jamaal Jones||6-2||180||Graham Kapowsin (Graham)|
|DE||Connor Cree||6-4 ½||220||Skyline (Sammamish)|
|OLB||Matthew Lyons||6-2||190||Dorsey (Los Angeles)|
|DE||Taniela Tupou||6-2 ½||260||Archbishop Murphy (Everett)|
|CB||Kameron Jackson||5-10||175||Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic|
|DE||Aubrey Coleman||6-6||215||Walnut, Calif.|
|DT||Maataua Brown||6-5||295||Paramount, Calif.|
|FB||Elijhaa Penny||6-2||240||Norwalk, Calif.|
|S||Evan Zeger||6-2||204||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)|
|RB||Brendon Bigelow||5-10||180||Central High East Campus (Fresno, Calif.)|
|Source: Scout.com for heights and weights|