The Poaching Factor: USC's Sarkisian keys in on UW targets

Stephen Dunn

Who will USC and Trojans Head Coach Steve Sarkisian be recruiting and "poaching" from Washington?

After Kirk summarized Boise State recruits that Chris Petersen and his staff are now recruiting to Washington, I'm going to look at UW recruits that Steve Sarkisian and his USC staff will start recruiting.

First, a summary on current UW commits:

Natrell Curtis, OG, 4 stars - Soft verbal to Washington. Considering his past ties to Boise St.'s staff and his original commitment to Washington, Petersen has a good chance to keep him.

Drew Lewis, S, 3 stars - Committed to Washington. Petersen and his staff showed interest in Lewis after he had committed to Washington.

Matt James, OT, 3 stars - Committed to Washington. James committed to UW for academic reasons so there's good chance he stays.

Lavon Washington, FS, 3 stars - committed to Washington. Former UW secondary coach Keith Heyward, now at USC, recruited Lavon Washington to the Huskies. There's a strong possibility USC is now in the picture for him.

Chase Blakely, TE, 3 stars - committed to Washington. He wasn't offered by Petersen at Boise State, but since talking to UW, Petersen and his staff have said they want him to stay committed to UW.

Now onto some of the non-committed players who Sark and his staff were recruiting to UW:

Budda Baker, S, four stars - Baker is scheduled to go on an official visit to USC on Jan. 17. He made an unofficial visit last weekend to UW with his Bellevue teammate, Shane Bowman. UCLA, Oregon and Washington have been Baker's top three since October, but Heyward and Sark's presence at USC will probably put the Trojans back into serious consideration.

Kaleb McGary, OL, four stars - Oregon State and Washington were at the top of his list prior to the coaching changes, but he's still a long way from formulating his list. Washington St. is still on his radar. Like Kirk said in his earlier post, my feeling is McGary wants to stay close to home and USC wouldn't be an option.

Andrew Mike, OT, four stars - Mike made his official visit to Washington during Apple Cup Weekend and enjoyed it. He visited Arizona last weekend and also has a schedule visited for Arizona. USC had offered previously, so it'll be interesting to see if Sark goes after Mike.

Dalton Schultz, TE, four stars - Schultz's top five consisted of Stanford, Washington, Oregon State, Utah and Notre Dame in the summer. He's made a visit to Notre Dame and is a Lupoi recruit. It's a longshot that UW stays on his radar, but his name is one to keep an eye on.

Michiah Quick, WR/CB, five stars - Has made visits to Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Tosh Lupoi is/was recruiting him to Washington. Petersen had also offered him while he was at Boise St. USC is still on his list as well. If UW could somehow land a visit, it'd be surprising.

Jihad Ward, DE/DT, 3 stars - The JC recruit claimed an offer from UW but has only been on visits to South Florida and West Virginia, with both of those visits happening in December. If he was offered by Sark, it's difficult seeing USC to continue pursuing him. I don't think Petersen will be interested in spending resources on an East Coast JC recruit either.

Summary:

Overall, I think Petersen and the Huskies will have a good chance at securing their commitments from in-state recruits. As for the non-committed players, it'll be a free for all, and Petersen will have to do his best to convince elite recruits like Budda Baker to continue to consider Washington as a destination.

Would it be unethical for Sarkisian's staff at USC to go after a committed player like Lavon Washington? I don't think so, especially considering how drastic a coaching change can change a player's perception of their football future. Again, the recruiting shakeup is dependent on how the rest of Washington's staff will end up. Lupoi is in limbo right now, and is connected to both Quick and Schultz.

I'm thinking everyone but Lavon Washington stay true to their commitments. I'm also predicting Baker will now consider USC, considering his strong connection to Sarkisian and the rest of the former Washington staff.

Baker, McGary and Mike should be Petersen's top priorities – especially Baker and McGary, since they are both local guys.

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