When recruiting, new Washington coach Chris Petersen says he targets “OKGs — our kind of guys.” At some point, one wonders if the Huskies won’t have to settle for any kind of recruit for the Class of 2014.
UW’s coaching carousel of the past two weeks has left recruits spinning away from the Huskies. Four recruits have withdrawn their verbal commitments to UW since Steve Sarkisian bolted for USC on Dec. 2, with two of those recruits then committing to join the Trojans.
Such recruiting upheaval isn’t unusual during a coaching transition. But with just seven weeks until the Feb. 5 national signing day, time is running thin for Petersen to try to salvage his first UW recruiting class.
The Huskies have just five committed recruits for 2014, the fewest of any program in a BCS conference. The UW class is currently ranked last in the Pac-12 by the three main recruiting services (Scout, Rivals and 247sports.com) and as low as 101st in the nation.
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Brandon Huffman, a national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, agreed the outlook for UW is “dismal” at the moment. The uncertainty surrounding the rest of the UW coaching staff is further complicating matters, Huffman said.
That doesn’t mean a potentially lost class is a total lost cause for Petersen and the Huskies.
“The best way to look at it is, do you swallow the Class of ’14 and understand that you’ll be in better hands for the program in the long run?” Huffman said. “So you can kind of look at it like that. … With Petersen, eight years as the head coach at Boise State counts for something.”
For perspective, Sarkisian’s first class at UW, in 2009, ended up with 19 recruits who signed in a class that was ranked No. 66 by Scout. Of those 19 signees, just two have spent five years with the program — quarterback Keith Price and safety Will Shamburger (who were teammates at St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif.).
A third signee in 2009, cornerback Desmond Trufant, was a first-round NFL draft pick earlier this year. The other 16 members of that 2009 class left the program for various reasons before completing their eligibility.
Times were different, of course, when Sarkisian arrived in Seattle five years ago. The Huskies were coming off an 0-12 season and they didn’t have the luxury of wooing recruits with a new $280 million stadium and football operations center, as Petersen does now.
At Boise State, Petersen developed a reputation for developing average talent into a dynasty. He had a 92-12 record in eight seasons there despite never having a recruiting class ranked higher than 43rd in the country and never signing a “five-star” recruit, according to Scout. (Petersen inked four four-star recruits during his Boise State tenure.)
“He was the alpha male of the Mountain West Conference,” Huffman said.
The Huskies last year signed 23 recruits in a recruiting class that was ranked No. 13 in the nation by Scout.
“They weren’t going to have a big class to begin with, and now it’s more likely that they won’t fill those spots,” Huffman said. “But that’s OK, because 2015 is going to be tremendous for in-state recruits and tremendous up and down the West Coast.”
Huffman had one idea for how Petersen could salvage his first UW class.
“Budda Baker could make all of this go away,” Huffman said.
Baker, the Bellevue High star safety, is considered the top recruit in the Northwest. He is said to have narrowed his choices to UCLA, Oregon and UW (with USC now making a push, too).
Baker made an “unofficial” visit to Washington this weekend to meet Petersen.
“You can never count out the hometown school,” Huffman said.
Meanwhile, Jalen Greene, a three-star quarterback recruit from Junipero Serra High in Gardena, Calif., made an official visit to UW over the weekend and was hosted by redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles. Greene had been committed to Boise State before Petersen left for UW.
Petersen is reportedly pursuing at least one other recruit committed to Boise State — Jaylen Johnson, a three-star defensive end from Corona, Calif.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @a_jude.