Commitment Impact: Troy Williams

There's an old saying in college football recruiting; you always recruit one quarterback for each recruiting class. Steve Sarkisian got off to a good start in that regard at Washington, signing Keith Price to his 2009 recruiting class, his first at UW, and bolstered the ranks with touted Nick Montana in 2010.

But fast forward to the summer of 2012 and Montana is gone and two more true freshmen - Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles - are set to compete for his place in the lineup.

This past Friday, Troy Williams - a 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif. - verbally committed to Washington over Arizona, as well as scholarship offers from programs like Arizona State, Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, Hawaii, SMU, UCLA, Washington State, and Wisconsin.

Sarkisian can recruit quarterbacks - With Williams' commit, it's pretty clear Washington's Head Coach knows how to stockpile signal-callers. While at USC, Sarkisian made a habit of it; in 2003 Matt Cassel, Brandon Hance, Billy Hart, Matt Leinart, John David Booty were the Trojan quarterbacks. In Sarkisian's last year at USC - 2008 - Mark Sanchez, Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain were the quarterbacks, and he had successfully recruited Matt Barkley to Troy before his departure for UW.

A dismal decade for QB depth - With the inclusion of Lindquist and Miles this fall, the Huskies have arguably the strongest stable Probably the best top-3-4 since 1989, which had Cary Conklin, Mark Brunell and Billy Joe Hobert. When you put Williams now in the mix for 2013, you're arguably talking about the best overall quarterbacking lineup in thirty years (Price, Lindquist, Miles, Williams and Derrick Brown), when the Huskies had Steve Pelluer, Chris Chandler, Hugh Millen, Paul Sicaro, Stefan Derrick, Greg Andal and Ric Lindvall for the 1983 season. And that was during an era without the kind of scholarship restrictions you see today.

Just to show how far the quarterback depth had fallen, you have to go back 10 years to find any collective group of signal-callers worth talking about. That year there was Cody Pickett, Taylor Barton, Casey Paus and true frosh Isaiah Stanback. Even then, they won't come close to matching the depth of this projected 2013 class. Just to add emphasis to this point, here's a sampling of a few groups since: In 2005, Tyrone Willingham's first year at Washington, his quarterbacks were Isaiah Stanback, Carl Bonnell, Johnny DuRocher and Felix Sweetman; in his last year - 2008 - his quarterbacks were Jake Locker, Ronnie Fouch, Luther Leonard, Taylor Bean and Dominique Blackman - who never made it to Montlake. And this past season Steve Sarkisian had Keith Price, Nick Montana, Derrick Brown, Thomas Vincent, Wil Smith and Erik Wilson.

Looking for the next Keith Price - Price, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior from Compton, Calif. threw for 33 touchdowns last year, a school record. So it's not surprising Sarkisian is looking for more production like that - and Williams has been very prolific in his days at Narbonne, combining for nearly 6,000 yards, 60 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his two years as a starter for the Gauchos. Ironically enough, both Price and Williams have reputations as being very athletic quarterbacks who are as likely to scramble and make plays with their feet as well as their arms - but make no mistake; both quarterbacks are absolutely pass-first players. They'd much rather sit in the pocket and pick apart secondaries with passes than run - although they can definitely create some big plays with their legs.

Scouting Report - This comes from Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman, who has seen Williams over the past couple of years as much as anybody. "The first thing about Troy is he's a winner. Whether it's during the offseason and leading his 7on7 team to a National Championship, or more importantly, leading Narbone to the City Section title, he wins. He's not the flashiest quarterback, not the biggest guy, not the fleetest of foot- but he's a quarterback who is good in every facet. Whether it's game management, command in the huddle, feel for the pocket, he's got the intangibles and just gets the job done. He's got a cool confidence with a quiet edge to him, wanting to prove he's better than everyone, but will never be a guy that is going to be loud and outspoken. Yet players love playing with him."

Recruiting the Top Dawg in California - Per Scout.com, Williams is ranked as California's top quarterback prospect for the 2013 class. He is ranked as the No. 14 quarterback nationally, beating out Cal commit Jared Goff (Kentfield Marin Catholic) by four spots and LSU-bound Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles Cathedral) by nine places. It's the first time Washington has done that, and if you go all the way back to Scout.com's rankings with the class of 2002, it's never really been close. Nick Montana was the closest as part of the 2010 class, as he was rated the fourth-best quarterback behind Jesse Scroggins (USC), Bryan Bennett (Oregon) and Brett Nottingham (Stanford). Just to compare, Scout ranked 13 quarterbacks ahead of Price in the 2009 class: Matt Barkley (USC), Richard Brehaut (UCLA), Tate Forcier (Michigan), Derek Carr (Fresno State), Josh Nunes (Stanford), Allan Bridgford (California), Clark Evans (Colorado), Joe Southwick (Boise State), Cody Vaz (Oregon State), Jordan Wynn (Utah), Austyn Carta-Samuels (Wyoming), Sean Schroeder (Duke), and Taylor Martinez (Nebraska).

Will Williams be able to lure top talent? - Typically with quarterback recruiting, schools recruit one per season and they try to 'get them in the boat' as soon as possible for a few reasons. The first being that the sooner they identify the guy they want the better the odds are that they get a jump on the rest of the competition, and secondly that once that quarterback is verbally committed they become an additional recruiter for the staff. Usually top quarterbacks are charismatic and are great leaders, and usually they will do everything they can to attract top prospects to play with them. It happened with Montana, as players like OL Colin Porter specifically mentioned the commitment of Montana as a sign that Washington 'meant business' when it came to taking the program back to where it belonged. Can that happen with Williams? Early returns are inconclusive, but he mentioned in a radio interview with us that he definitely plans on talking to the top prospects he knows in California with the sole idea of getting them to join him at Washington. Players Williams mentioned were Narbonne teammate A.J. Richardson, Santa Monica (Calif.) ATH Sebastian LaRue, Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande ATH Elijah Qualls, and Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan WR/DB John Ross. Expect that list to expand as recruiting moves into its second season after the 2012 regular season is complete and December and January official visits take place.

How this impacts future quarterback recruiting - When Price graduates after the 2013 season, we have to assume at this point that UW will have at least four quality scholarshipped quarterbacks available - so will Sarkisian make it a priority to recruit another one for the following year? History says he will, as top quarterbacks like K.J. Carta-Samuels, Keller Chryst, Manny Wilkins, Brandon Dawkins and Eban Jackson from California, as well as Tanner Sanders from Oregon and Pierre Le Dorze from Seattle's O'Dea High School, are lurking for the 2014 recruiting class. Sarkisian offered Williams as a sophomore, and so far he hasn't offered any quarterback that we are aware of for the 2014 class, but there is still plenty of time for that to happen. And if we assume all the quarterbacks stay through 2014 (a decent assumption given Sarkisian's track record at USC, but not 100 percent as he's already had one QB transfer in Montana), that means there will be four field generals with at least two years of experience behind them. Now THAT is depth. For the 2015 class, Bothell's Ross Bowers is a very early shout, as well as West Salem (Ore.) QB Cade Smith - but we'll see if Sarkisian decides to skip a year depending on depth and attrition.

Keeping the Narbonne pipeline alive - The Narbonne Gauchos have been good to the University of Washington. Just in the last decade the Huskies have received commitments from players like Dashon Goldson, Roy Lewis, Melvin Davis, Sean Parker and Tim Tucker. And right now Narbonne has A.J. Richardson, Paulo Lepua and Keishawn Bierria on colleges' radar, and UW could be a factor if they decide to seriously recruit one of Williams' teammates.


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