Sark In-Home Spells Difference for Wooching

Psalm Wooching made a fairly early commitment to UCLA because they were the first school to really go after him. But once Rick Neuheisel was fired, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete from the Big Island of Hawai'i had to take a second look. And Washington was that second look. spoke Saturday morning with Psalm's father Paulo, who was nice enough to provide some insight into the recruiting process of his son, which seemingly has been put to bed with a verbal commitment to Washington during his official visit Friday night.

"It came down that those would be the top two he had (UCLA and UW)," Paulo said. "The Huskies came to our house, coach Sark and coach Nansen came to our house, and that made a big deal to Psalm. Somebody who really wants him was at our house and tell him what they want him to be part of."

That in-home visit, two weeks ago Wednesday, was the key moment in the Huskies' recruitment of Wooching, who scored 18 touchdowns and ran for roughly 1000 yards for Kealakehe High School, despite missing two early games due to a possible transfer to a high school in Utah that didn't materialize. It was that sit-down, where Sarkisian and Nansen talked to Wooching about playing running back, that completely changed the complexion of their recruitment.

Wooching still had early interest in Washington, even going to their Rising Stars camp in the summer and earning top linebacker awards. But offense was his heart, and it was that subtle switch in UW's recruitment of Wooching that made all the difference.

That, and family. Wooching has grandparents on his mother's side that live in Tacoma, and the family also has other relatives and friends in the area. That contrasted to UCLA, where they really didn't have that same support structure available.

"That really helped make his decision, knowing that family is there," said Paulo. "We have a whole village there. I know the grandparents there are over the roof. We called them last night and they are very excited."

The most recent in-home visit - this past Wednesday with Nansen and running backs coach Joel Thomas - just reinforced Wooching's thoughts that the Huskies were deadly serious about playing him on offense.

"We kind of knew," said Paulo. "Earlier this week, we asked him - 'What are you thinking?' So we kind of knew he was leaning on the Dawgs' side. We kind of knew when he goes there, but I think he just wanted to take coach Sark aside and talk to him about it. But when coach Thomas came in and told him about all the things they have planned for him, he kind of said that he's going to know when he gets there and he's going to make it known."

There's a chance Wooching may take his final official visit - to UNLV - this next weekend. The Runnin' Rebels have also recruited Wooching as a running back, but at this time it's 50/50 as to whether or not he'll follow through with that visit. We should be able to update that by the time Wooching gets home.

But in the end, it was coach Sark's visit that turned Wooching's recruitment. "I think the one thing that really kind of changed things for Psalm was when the head coach came in and visited our home," Paulo said. "That really spoke volumes of him. The others really didn't. To have a head coach come in and visit, that speaks big volumes that we need you in our program and for him, there's nothing better than hearing the top guy say they want you."

Paulo also added that Washington will have one more in-home visit this next week, and he's not aware of any other visits from any other schools at this time. And Paulo added that Psalm is very much on track to graduate and qualify for enrollment this summer at UW.

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