For the first time in his career, UW coach Chris Petersen took a helicopter to go see the nation's top-ranked offensive lineman from Graham-Kapowsin.
It was a first for Chris Petersen. A first for Foster Sarell, too.
The Washington Huskies coach took a helicopter to Tacoma to see the nation’s top-ranked high-school offensive lineman from Graham-Kapowsin High School, the first time Petersen said he has done that in his coaching career.
If you needed visual evidence of just how big a recruiting target Sarell is for the Huskies, there it was hovering over Curtis High School in University Place during pregame warmups Friday night.
“It was a pretty neat situation,” Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said. “It was nice of them to come by like that. They’re such good guys there … and it worked out nice.”
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UW wide receivers coach Bush Hamdan joined Petersen on the helicopter ride. Kurle said it’s the first time any recruiters have done that in pursuit of Sarell, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound senior ranked by Scout.com as the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2017.
Petersen said the helicopter ride was less about making a flashy statement and more about time management. The Huskies had a team meeting Friday night back in Seattle and there was no way, he said, he would have been able to attend that if he had made the two-hour roundtrip drive (at least) to University Place and back.
“It’s effective, it’s efficient,” Petersen said after UW’s 59-14 victory over Idaho on Saturday. “Any time you’re in private planes or something like that, they’re time machines. That’s really what it is. I know everybody thinks people are doing that to be cool in recruiting and all that, but the only reason we’re going to get on a private plane is if we need to and it helps us.
“It’s a time-saver, is what it is. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the game I went to if we hadn’t had that on Friday night.”
Sarell has scholarship offers from virtually every major program in college football. He’s narrowed his choice to UW, Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama and Nebraska — not necessarily in that order. Scout has reported he has already been academically accepted into Stanford.
“He’s such a big guy and all that, but he’s so nimble and athletic with his feet. He’s just got such great footwork,” Kurle said. “He’s just a great athlete. … I coached him in baseball from when he was 8 years old and up, and he was a dominant baseball player too.”
Sarell told Scout last week that academics are “a big deal, for sure” in his recruitment. He’s also assessing the coaching staffs, the football facilities, the campus layout and fellow offensive linemen he would be teaming up with.
“Who’s there (on the line), who’s going to be there and kind of how that group has gelled together,” he said.
He plans to announce his school choice in late November or early December.
“I’m definitely going to try to keep to myself as much as I can,” he told Scout. “I’ll keep it pretty tight in my family. We’ll just kind of go over everything we’ve seen and experienced and boil it down to where I think I fit best at.”
Since Petersen’s arrival at UW in December 2013, he’s done well to sign most of the state’s top recruit — and, notably, keeping Trey Adams (out of Wenatchee) and Kaleb McGary (from Fife), UW’s current starting offensive tackles, close to home.
Could Sarell be next in line?