Junior Day Recruiting Blog

It was a relatively low-key event Sunday, but the Huskies packed in some punch with their Junior Day attendees; Keivarae Russell, Michael Rector, Cedric Dozier, Zach Banner, Michael Barton, and Jeff Lindquist were on hand to check out UW's football program. So what did they have to say?

Keivarae Russell, RB, Everett (Wash.) Mariner

Mariner RB Keivarae Russell

General Comments: "It was kind of crazy, but it was good. Of course I have been there a few times, but this time there was actually a process to where I could see the academics section of it. And I got to see the whole campus…well not the whole campus, but most of it. You know how big that campus is! I got to see a majority of the campus, the majority that the football players would be at.

"Being from the home state, they showed a lot of factors that could factor into my decision. They showed a lot of good things. I'm going to Cal's junior day this Saturday, so it'll be good to have something to finally compare to U-Dub, because U-Dub has hit me with a lot of things. I learned that they are number-two in football graduates behind Stanford. It feels good to finally get some facts about their academics, as well as their football portion.

"It was great. Just walking around and seeing the people, watching the people that were studying… it was good to be around them. I'm a hometown guy. My mom is from Seattle, my grandpa is from Seattle, my grandma, my brother… half my family lives down in Seattle, so it's home for me, basically. I'm down the street, probably 25 minutes away from Seattle. Even my brother (Keith) who was there, he was like, 'this is so crazy! It feels so homey-like'. He kept telling me that if he had a chance to do it, he'd go to U-Dub. So the family felt good with it, so I felt good with it. It felt like home. Everyone treated me with respect."

On when he plans on making his commitment: "I'm far away from committing anywhere."

On other Junior Day plans: Russell will go check out Stanford unofficially this coming Friday, and then attend Cal's Junior Day on Saturday. "I'm going to miss school on Friday, but it's worth it for a scholarship."
Michael Rector, WR, Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep

Bellarmine Prep WR Michael Rector

General Comments: "I liked it. I've been to Washington before because I don't live too far, but just looking at the football program and getting into the details, it was really impressive. I just liked how the coaches presented themselves, and the academics and all the different programs and stuff they have for athletes…I thought that was cool.

On academics: "I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. I just always wanted to help people when I get older. I've always wanted to be a doctor; it's just what kind I wanted to be."

On what he did during the Junior Day: "We got to interact with some of the players there; I met Jesse Callier. It was cool to get to meet them. They said it's a good program and it's fun to be a part of the team."

On when he plans on making a college decision: "As of now, just whenever feels like the right time for me. It could be tomorrow, or it could be after the season…just whenever I feel like my family and I have made a good decision together."

On college interest: "Washington is my only offer right now, but Stanford has sent for transcripts, and Boise State and Washington State have both sent coaches to school."

On being at the Junior Day event with players like Keivarae Russell, Jeff Lindquist, Zach Banner, as well as at least one out-of-stater, De La Salle LB/S prospect Michael Barton: "Just getting out there and meeting other people, it's cool for me."

Rector added that he keeps in touch with guys like Russell, as well as Banner and another Lakes player - Mane Manaea. He will be participating at the Badger Sports 7-7 Tournament in Las Vegas, representing the state of Washington, starting March 19th.
Cedric Dozier, ATH, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes

Lakes ATH Cedric Dozier

General Comments: "I vibed with one of the coaches pretty well. The DB's coach (Demitrice Martin), I had a pretty good vibe with him. I talked with them before, but it's the first time I actually got to talk to (Martin) a lot. We just talked about the facilities, playing and stuff like that…just a lot of football. He was telling me about his own career, which was pretty interesting. He was recruited as an athlete like myself, but he later found out it was better to just start out at cornerback."

On other Junior Day activities: "We got to see some tutor sites. We hadn't seen that before."

His thoughts on Washington: "I really do like U-Dub personally. If it came down to it, U-Dub would still be in my top-three. I'm just going to wait it out, but I still have a lot of interest in them, but I want to see where the process takes me. I'm not going to make a decision until right by my birthday (February 5th). That's the plan right now, but stuff changes."

Note: 2012 Signing Day is Wedneday, February 1st.

On college interest beside the lone UW offer: "A lot of schools are looking at my highlight film right now and evaluating me. A lot can change in the next three months. Cal and Oregon, they said they want to see me play hands-on, so they'll check out a game. Cal, I've talked a lot with their coaches lately. And USC also. "

The Bears and Ducks are recruiting Dozier as an athlete, while USC is also recruiting him as an athlete, but leaning toward defense.

On if he prefers offense or defense: "At this moment, I really do not know. I love playing offense, but I also know that defense could be my money-maker."

On what he expects to do at Lakes this fall: "I'm going to still play quarterback, but I'm going to be in space more. I might also be playing a little safety."

Dozier plans on checking out Oregon's junior day, and one at California too. He's also participating in the Badger Sports 7-7 Tournament, representing the state of Washington, in Las Vegas starting March 19th.
Zach Banner, OL/DL, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes

Lakes OL/DL Zach Banner

General Comments: "It's always good going to the U-Dub and seeing new things, and I definitely learned a lot more on the academic side instead of the athletic side. We took a tour of the library and around the campus. We're going to end up taking even some more deeper visits this summer and spring, and go watch some practices and stuff.

"Right now I feel like U-Dub is looking very good. It's definitely a school I'm highly considering. It's looking good. Coach Sark and the rest of the coaching staff, coach Romar and them…they really know what they are doing. In recruiting, they are just straight-up with you. Coach (Dan) Cozzetto, I got to hang out with him a lot. He says a lot of good things that I like, and he knows a lot about line form. It's good to know a guy that's been in the league and been in the NCAA's before I was even alive. It's just good to hear that he wants to stay in it.

"We saw the sketches of the new facilities that they are going to have, and even though it was a bad game, seeing coach Romar and talking to him is always good. It was a good experience."

On trying to play two sports in college: "Honestly, people say it's hard for college, but if I can be a high prospect for both sports in high school…and the workouts I'm doing, I'm doing stuff that college, NFL, NBA players are doing. I'm doing workouts they are doing. I'm not staying at the high school level; I'm trying to advance myself so I can get to the next level. If I know I'm able to do stuff like this, and I'm able to work out the way I am now, and handle my AP work, which are college courses…yes, I know it's going to be a lot more difficult to do it in college, but I would more than love the challenge of being able to do it.

"I love both sports. It's something I've done my whole life. For college coaches to tell me that I'm good enough to play both…I haven't heard one college coach tell me that you're coming just for football, and you can forget about basketball. The ones that haven't offered me for basketball yet, the coaches have literally told me that they're going to go to their basketball coaches and tell them about me. To hear coaches say that about me, it makes me feel good.

"I know college is a business. It's straight-up business. They are trying to market me to get me to the NFL for the program. That's the main focus, and I'm down with that. But I want to keep all my options open. If a school is going to give me the chance to do both, I'm going to do it."

Note: UW, Oregon, California, LSU and Georgia Tech are the schools Banner mentioned that have offered for both sports.

On getting a chance to talk to UW Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar before the game: "He said he wants me to get up there…he actually said, 'Hey, let's sit down and me and you - let's watch some of your football highlights. I've never seen you play football before'. He's sitting down with me and giving me some basketball tips. He came to my game the other day and I asked him how I did, and he said I did good. We're building up a relationship…me, coach Romar and coach Sark are building up relationships we can't break…coach Cozzetto too. It's getting better and better."

On his conversation with Steve Sarkisian: "He's selling more the academics to me right now. Every time I go there, we usually talk about football, and we'll talk a little academics. But this time, it was all…we talked more about how good a school U-Dub is. It was good."

Banner said he will go to Oregon's junior day, but right now he's focused now on winning a state hoops title for Lakes. "We have three more games, then I'll be a state champion." Their tournament run starts Thursday against O'Dea at the Tacoma Dome.
Michael Barton, OLB/SS, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle

De La Salle OLB/SS Michael Barton

General Comments: "I just got back this morning. It was great. They are close to my heart, because the first offer is always the best. But the state of the program, they are hungry. They have a lot of good stuff going on. They have turned that program completely around since 2008, so I wanted to see what the buzz is in Washington, see what it's like up there. Going up there, I liked what I saw a lot. I was really excited about it.

"The first thing I noticed is that it was a beautiful campus. Everything was nice. Seattle is such a beautiful city; it reminds me a lot of the Bay Area. I already felt comfortable being up there, and it was my first time in Seattle too."

On why he wanted to visit an out-of-state school so early in the process: "I just want to see what's comfortable for me, and what kind of setting I can adjust to a lot easier. Right now, they are really interested in me, so I just wanted to see it. They definitely set a high standard for colleges."

Note: Barton will attend a USC junior day this Saturday. Later this spring he'll unofficially visit Oregon State, and hopes to also visit LSU.

On what Steve Sarkisian told him about UW: "He said that what they do is set up a lot of programs so that it's really hard to fail. That was one of the things I really liked about the school. The other thing is the position they want me at and how they see me as a potential contributor to the program."

Note: UW is recruiting him as a hybrid OLB/SS type, like a rover.

LSU, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State have offered. LSU offered last week. "I talked to the defensive coordinator, coach (John) Chavis, and he pretty much gave me an offer. He just wants me to talk to coach (Les) Miles as well."

On his feelings toward LSU: "They are a school I always watched on TV when I was younger. They used to be my number-one school, but as I got older and started to put things in perspective, I said that LSU is a nice school, but it's far away from home, and it's in the SEC, which is a whole lot different for me. So I'm just keeping my options open in terms of what's going to fit me and my family and my needs."

On when he would like to make a college decision: "It would be nice to do it before my senior year, just take a lot of stress off. That would be ideal. But we'll see. It's a process. But so far, Washington, they definitely set the bar high, and will be considered highly down the road."

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