Nov 15, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; Washington Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian during the game against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
University of Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian accepted the head coaching job at USC on Monday afternoon. The Trojans fired Lane Kiffin from the head coaching job after a 3-2 start this season, Kiffin was fired after a 62-41 loss to Arizona State. USC then had Ed Orgeron as their interim head coach where he went 6-2 overall. The hiring of Sarkisian is coming after he went 34-29 overall and 24-21 in the PAC-10/PAC-12. The Huskies are bowl eligible this season and will go to a bowl game even though that hasn’t been decided where they will go.
How does this affect the recruiting process? Trust is one of the biggest factors in a players decision to go to a school. If a player doesn’t trust the head coach then they feel uneasy about going to the school. There is a friendship and a connection between a player and a school. As a player you expect the guy who is recruiting you to go to school there will be at that school for as long if not longer than you are going to be there. When that guy who recruits you leaves you feel a little upset. Like that coach doesn’t really care about you. It’s not a good feeling. Players don’t like to go to a school that they don’t know who the coach is, and right now Washington doesn’t have a head coach for next year.
Rahshead Johnson is the first player to decommit from Washington after it was announced that Sarkisian would leave. Johnson decommitted a few weeks ago and later that day re-committed back to Washington. One can only wonder, will there be more decommittments in the next few days in wake of the news?
Johnson, who has been committed for nearly 2 years to the Huskies has Washington State, Utah, Arizona State, and Arizona on his list of schools he is interested in.
In a lot of cases when a coach goes to another school he tries to bring players he recruited at his previous school with him to his new school. This is something that could happen with Washington and their commitments. Especially since they don’t have a coach for next season. There were rumors of Sarkisian taking some of his current staff at Washington and taking them to USC with him. If a player had already committed to the coaches at Washington there is a possibility they would commit to those same coaches at USC.
Washington has 7 commitments for the 2014 class left after Johnson decommitted. 2 of Washington’s commits are 4-stars and the other 5 are 3-star’s. Running back Drew Lewis out of Eastlake High School in Sammamish, WA is Washington’s only in-state commit remaining.
Troy Williams, Washington’s freshman quarterback tweeted Monday “Don’t ever commit cus of a coach. Faker then a 3 dollar bill” he later deleted that tweet.
Washington freshman defensive end Joe Mathis also tweeted Monday saying “Well if its true bout sark looks like Im opening up my recruiting process” he later deleted that tweet as well.
How does Washington State benefit from this hiring in the recruiting process? With Mike Leach recently signing a 5-year extension it gives a sense of stability and allows players to trust the coaches and trust that they will be there for their years in college. An in-state player who was going to go to Washington but doesn’t know who the head coach could look at Washington State and know that Leach will be around for a while.
There is no doubt that Sarkisian talked about what the recruits and the coaches would do in the future and inferred that they would be there together, those players no longer have that coach to be there with and are looking for a coaching staff that will be there in the future and Washington State has the ability to say that about themselves.
Mike Leach has taken this Washington State team way above where most thought they would be in year 2 and because of that the recruiting is taking a big jump for the Cougars. With Sarkisian leaving it only adds more stability and trust in Leach.