For Huskies coach Chris Petersen, it was a quiet National Signing Day that ended up with UW retaining all 22 of the recruits it was expected to sign.
This is how stress-free a coach can be the night before one of the most important days of the year in college football: Chris Petersen went to bed Tuesday at his usual time, around 10:30 p.m., and woke up on National Signing Day at 6:15 a.m.
At a time when many of his coaching rivals were no doubt talking and texting and trying to lure recruits in the final hours before their various signing ceremonies, Petersen was sleeping. The Washington coach, like a student so thoroughly prepared before a final exam, seemed confident that he would ace his second recruiting class with the Huskies.
“Really fun day. Really anti-climactic,” Petersen said Wednesday afternoon. “Nothing dramatic happened — and that’s how we like it.”
All 22 recruits expected to sign with UW did so Wednesday, joining two other early signees — star quarterback Jake Browning and junior-college safety Ezekiel Turner — in a class ranked 23rd in the nation and fifth in the Pac-12 by Scout.com. A year ago, Petersen’s first class at UW was ranked 35th.
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The class features 14 players on defense, 10 on offense and eight in-state players. By comparison, Washington State signed one in-state player in this class.
“Everyone wants to talk about taking care of their backyard in-state, and that’s much easier said than done,” Petersen said. “These guys were highly-recruited guys and have a lot of different choices. And everybody with the social media, there’s no hidden guys anymore. That’s hard to do.”
Browning, UW’s most high-profile signee, has been on campus for a month already, and the Granite Bay, Calif., four-star prospect is expected to challenge for the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. Petersen was asked about the comparisons that have been made between Browning and Kellen Moore, Petersen’s star quarterback at Boise State.
“I hate to put any expectations and say he’s going to be just like this and those type of things,” Petersen said, “but I think there’s a lot of (similarities).”
A stat for the star-crossed fans out there: In two classes, Petersen has signed 12 four-star recruits to UW (eight this season and four in 2014). In eight seasons at Boise State, he signed a total of two four-star recruits.
Not that Petersen cares about such guidance.
“There’s just so much hype out there. … I love the kids that I think are underrated,” he said.
There are several of those in this class, including Lynden High defensive end Bryce Sterk, whose best scholarship offers were from Wyoming and Eastern Washington before UW’s formal offer three weeks ago.
Petersen expounded on his recruiting principles, summed up in his ongoing search for OKGs — “Our Kinda Guys.”
“In the recruiting world, everything is the greatest thing ever: The stadium’s the greatest ever … and … This is going to be so much fun,” he said. “No, it’s not going to be so much fun. This is going to be a great process for you to help you grow as a young man, but it’s going to be hardest thing you’ve ever done. And so when these guys fit that mold, that’s what we’re looking for and that’s when we get excited.”
None of the recruits who had made verbal commits to the Huskies switched to another school, a rarity these days.
“I don’t think it’s a secret; I think it’s how recruiting should be done,” Petersen said. “We don’t put pressure on these kids at all. This shouldn’t be a high-pressure thing. … As long as you can (avoid) a bunch of drama at the end you feel pretty good about it.”
About the only intrigue involving the Huskies on Wednesday centered on Rockwall, Texas, running back Chris Warren, son of the former Seahawk back of the same name. Warren, a four-star recruit who listed Texas and UW as his finalists, chose the Longhorns during a signing ceremony — but only after he flipped a coin to determine his destination. It apparently wasn’t a stunt.
“Both schools were pretty much even in all aspects besides distance (to UW), and I didn’t really think too much of distance,” Warren told The Dallas Morning News. “The coin really helped me decide, honestly.”
Petersen deflected a question about the coin flip. “I will tell you this: I don’t even kind of think about that stuff,” he said.
In other words, Petersen wasn’t flipping out.
|Ranking the nation’s 2015 recruiting classes|
|ESPN has UW’s class ranked 27th. A look at the nation’s top 10, and the Huskies and Cougars, according to other online experts:|
|9||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|10||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|23 Washington||30 Washington|
|43 Wash. St.||56 Wash. St.|