Johnny DuRocher wanted mostly to come home. That he becomes the first recruit of the Tyrone Willingham era at Washington — and figures to have a chance to contend for immediate...
Johnny DuRocher wanted mostly to come home.
That he becomes the first recruit of the Tyrone Willingham era at Washington — and figures to have a chance to contend for immediate playing time at quarterback — just made things that much better.
DuRocher, the state player of the year in 2002 at Bethel High in Spanaway, announced yesterday that he has committed to become a Husky and will join the team for spring practice.
DuRocher originally signed with Oregon in 2003 but transferred to Pierce College near Tacoma last September because, “I wasn’t happy with the situation. Me and the head coach had some philosophical differences.”
He was No. 3 on the depth chart at Oregon.
DuRocher said his plan all along was to transfer to Washington, but he had to wait until the coaching situation was clarified, and until he knew that Willingham wanted to offer him a scholarship. He met with Willingham before Christmas, then again on Wednesday, when Willingham officially made him an offer.
“When I left Oregon, I knew I wanted to come play at Washington,” he said yesterday. “I’ve just been sitting on pins and needles waiting. When Coach offered, I committed right there. I kind of interrupted him and said, ‘I can commit right now.’ He said, ‘You don’t need to think about it?’ I said, ‘No, not at all.’ ”
DuRocher, 6 feet 4, 215 pounds, has been attending Pierce and said he will receive his associate’s degree in March, then enroll at UW. He will have three seasons of eligibility left — meaning he will be a sophomore next season — and will not have to redshirt, making him eligible to play next season.
Given Washington’s muddled quarterback situation and a new coaching staff coming on board, DuRocher, who never took a snap at Oregon, figures to have a chance to earn immediate playing time.
Interestingly, he gives the Huskies the prospect of having an ex-Cougar (Carl Bonnell) and an ex-Duck now vying for Washington’s most glamorous position. Casey Paus, who started eight games last season, and Isaiah Stanback, whose play in the Apple Cup has made him the front-runner for the job heading into the spring in the eyes of many observers, also return.
“Right now, I’m the fourth quarterback on the depth chart and just trying to move my way up,” DuRocher said.
DuRocher said he knows the Huskies are likely to also bring in a high-school quarterback. It is also still unclear who will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach.
But DuRocher said none of that matters, that he was impressed by what Willingham had to say. Willingham can’t comment on recruits until they sign letters of intent.
“He told me he runs pretty much a West Coast offense, that he wants to open it up,” said DuRocher, whose style is mostly along the lines of a classic drop-back quarterback. “Basically everything he told me fired me up. He’s very detail oriented and up front with his players. Nothing goes unsaid. If he feels one way, he will tell you, and I appreciate that. That’s part of the problem I had with the last place I was at.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org