Friday, December 6, 2013
Petersen to UW intrigues recruits
By Erik McKinney
There has been a distinct difference in the reaction of two particular groups when it comes to USC's recent hiring of Steve Sarkisian and Washington's subsequent hiring of Chris Petersen as head coach. When it comes to media members and recruits, things couldn't be much different.
The Sarkisian hire at USC was met with very tempered expectations -- if that -- by national media, but recruits immediately reacted positively to the news, with many of them saying it was a slam-dunk hire and "Sark" would immediately reap the benefits on the recruiting trail. Petersen moving from Boise State to Washington, meanwhile, is being hailed by media members as perhaps the best hire of all the Pac-12 coaching moves in recent years -- and there have been many -- but, at least early on, many recruits seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the hire, although a number are definitely on board with the new coach.
Washington commit Chase Blakley (Coeur D'Alene, Idaho/Coeur D'Alene) is one of three prospects from the state of Idaho committed to the Huskies, and he was pleased to see Petersen take the job.
"Coach Petersen is a great coach and I'm excited to see him at UW," Blakley said.
Three-star offensive tackle target Kaleb McGary (Fife, Wash./Fife) had Washington among his top group before Sarkisian left for USC, and the Huskies are still a legitimate option for him now.
"I think UW has gotten a good coach," McGary said. "I think Petersen is walking into a good setup should he choose not to change much of it."
There are still some questions as to whether Washington assistant coaches Justin Wilcox and Tosh Lupoi could eventually join Sarkisian at USC. If Lupoi leaves, it could be damaging to Washington's recruiting efforts with several important prospects, including 2015 ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jacob Daniel (Fresno, Calif./Clovis North). Daniel said he wasn't sure what would happen if Lupoi leaves, but for now, he is content with Petersen taking the job, despite not having spoken with him during his Boise State tenure.
"I really do like the hire," Daniel said. "I kind of figured they would hire him."
For some prospects still involved in the playoffs, the hire comes on a day where college recruiting is the furthest thing from their minds. ESPN 300 safety Budda Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) said he is "glad they got a coach," but added that with the state championship being played Friday night, he isn't spending any time thinking about college today.
Boise State commits Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Jaylen Johnson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) added similar sentiments. Green tweeted early on that he would be shutting his phone off for the remainder of the day. Johnson said, "It is big news indeed. A little surprising. However, today I just want to focus on beating Vista [Murrieta] so my team can win another CIF Championship."
Neither Greene nor Johnson hold offers from Washington, but would likely be toward the top of the list of Boise State commitments who could earn offers with Petersen now with the Huskies.
One recruits whose head is spinning with the move is offensive guard Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch). Delp originally had an official visit set to Washington this weekend, but cancelled it when Sarkisian made the move. He hosted Boise State coaches for an in-home visit recently and set up an official to see the Broncos on Dec. 13.
"I'm pretty shocked because I just had an in-home visit with them and have an official trip set up with them next week," Delp said. "I'm kind of having second thoughts and doubts about visiting next week, since my official trip was cancelled to Washington this week, but I'll sort things out tomorrow with them."
ESPN 300 wide receiver Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) decommitted from Washington after Sarkisian left, and said Petersen's arrival wouldn't change his mind immediately.
"Not really," Johnson said when asked if this hire put Washington back in the mix. "I mean, I will see how the players feel about him."
Petersen will also be forced to do some re-recruiting of a former 2015 recruit, as ESPN Junior 300 running back Austin Joyner (Marysville, Wash./Marysville-Pilchuck) took to Twitter with an announcement following the hire.