This had to be the strangest recruiting season in not only the history of Husky football but maybe the entire sport in general. Coaches from coast to coast when interviewed yesterday showed quite a bit of resentment towards social media, message boards, blogs, and the so called recruiting experts who rate the PSA's.
I was watching the Chicago media interview Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald when I got home last night and this was his take...too bad you couldn't see the smirk on his face. (I don't think I want to be on his bad side.)
Fitzgerald, though, straddles no line when it comes to recruiting services. Asked about Scout.com's rating this class fifth in the Big Ten, the coach responded sarcastically: "Wow. That's awesome. Great. We went to the Rose Bowl (in 1995) with the worst recruiting class in the Big Ten."
Obviously the game has changed and Steve Sarkisian had these comments about the phenomenon during his press conference yesterday.
"Kids are able to express themselves more on twitter. Fans are able to express themselves more on blogs and voice their opinion when they use to have to voice their opinions at the water cooler at the office now they're spreading it to the world. Sometimes those opinions can get expressed from fans that aren't necessarily fans of your program, but act as if they are and can place a negative opinion on a kid, so in my opinion it's an absolute mess and we have to figure it out.''
The Locally Departed
Sark did figure out one thing over the past month and that was how to salvage a recruiting class that was beginning to look a lot like a disaster at New Years with a solid finish in California. I have been watching UW recruiting for over thirty years and I have never seen a rally and finish like that.
The less than stellar results in-state are still troubling because once kids get in the habit of heading elsewhere it is hard to get the fence back up because leaving then becomes the fashionable thing to do. We witnessed this during the post Harshman years (Quinn Snyder) of the basketball program and it took almost a couple of decades to stem the flow.
Josh Garnett and Michael Rector to Stanford. Zach Banner to USC. Cedric Dozier to Cal. KeiVarre Russell to Notre Dame and Walker Williams to Wisconsin. Caleb Smith to Oregon State...wow just wow! You can always lose one or two but to lose that many in-state players in a single year is just mind boggling.
The toughest losses are Garnett and Banner because big time linemen like that don't always grow up in your own backyard. Those are the type of blue chip guys you can build national championship teams around if they are able to stay healthy.
Banner has the perfect wingspan to be an all pro left tackle. Garnett is just a chip off the old nasty block. I expect him to be just as efficient as his father was back in the day before he ends up going to medical school after a long career in the NFL.
"There will come a day when every kid in the state of Washington dreams and hopes of playing for the Huskies," Sarkisian vowed. "We're just not quite there yet."
Down on the Farm
A lot of people attribute Stanford's big run of late solely to Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck but the true key has actually been on the offensive and defensive line. The Cards blew everyone away yesterday by putting together the best OL class I have ever seen.
Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy, Josh Garnett, Graham Schulers, Nick Davidson, Johnny Caspers, and Brandon Fanaika represent just a huge haul of talent. that is two five star, three four star, and two high very three star players if you are keeping track at home.
Arik Armstead was the highest rated recruit in Eugene this year. Picking him up on the next to the last day was a major coup for Oregon. He was the only five star in a class that was ranked 15th nationally. The Ducks continue to recruit Texas hard with four recruits coming from Longhorn territory.
I actually received some choice hate mail (thank you Steve Kelley....lol) from a couple of parties while on vacation for saying earlier this month that it was the coaching staff's fault that in-state recruiting had suffered this season. I have no problem standing behind that statement.
Here is a brief excerpt from one of them.
I disagree with you completely. The coaches are not at fault. YOUR little people who comment on the web site are the most to blame. Not only for ZB but several others. This class will do very well but, if Sark goes 7 and 5 next year all YOUR little people will want to get rid of him.
If not the coaches whose fault is it?
Sark recognized the problem and he did some serious firing and hiring to correct it. The assistants weren't just fired because of the performance of the defense. They were also fired because they weren't getting it done on the recruiting trail and this years final in-state results are proof of that.
That is what I really like about Sark. He knows how to analyze problems and learn from mistakes...quickly. There isn't any BS with this guy which is so refreshing after suffering through that with the past three coaching regimes.
Folks need to realize that coaches like Sark get paid in the neighborhood of $3 million per year. With all that money comes the responsibility for everything (and I mean everything) that goes on in the program. He gets that and is very comfortable with it.
Another email chastised me for lack of moderation due to the language of posters on the site. Keep in mind that while profanity isn't allowed here I don't give regular time outs for it to individuals unless it becomes a repeat problem. I don't like deleting a good thread because one guy used a word that is synonymous for poop...so clean it up!
This is the first time that I can remember not being home in the recliner on LOI day. I want to thank all the guys who covered for me and contributed while I was gone. It just proves that we have built a self sustaining community that can survive without me...not that I am going anywhere anytime soon.
One impression that blew me away was sitting on a beach in Mexico while listening to KJR's Dawgman Show and keeping up on things using my I Pad. You know when I moved to Midwest twenty or so years ago there was no Internet...it was brutal...now you can live in New Guinea and have as much access to the Huskies as someone in Fremont.