DawgmanRadio: Brandon Huffman

BELLEVUE - Dawgman.com's Chris Fetters caught up with Brandon Huffman, National College Football & Recruiting Analyst for Scout and FOXSports, who was at Interlake High School Sunday at a Barton Football/NEI senior showcase. They discussed Washington's recruiting efforts for 2014 and beyond, as well as the perception of Chris Petersen as a recruiter in the Pac-12.

To hear the whole 13-minute podcast, click on the link HERE

Here are some selected quotes:

Initial thoughts on UW's 2014 recruiting haul? - "Obviously the biggest aspect of it was how they were able to close down the stretch in-state - really how they closed down the stretch in the region - but most importantly in-state. Getting Shane Bowman to kind of start things and then getting Kaleb McGary right before Signing Day and then obviously Budda the night before Signing Day - there you have three of the top-4 players in the state of Washington. It was clear that had become a weakness under Sark, recruiting in-state. So to close with those guys - but then to have luck find their way toward Washington with K.J. Carta-Samuels and to be able to not just get him but get him pretty quickly after he decided to open things up from Vanderbilt and not give Penn State a chance to try and use their relationship with him with James Franklin, not to give Boise State a chance…he took a mid-week visit to Boise State after the weekend visit to Washington…that was almost as close to being a slam-dunk in the Huskies' favor. Getting Najiel Hale to switch right before Signing Day…how they really spent the later part of January leading up to Signing Day was remarkable, especially considering where the class was when Sark left and some of the guys that followed him to USC. To still end up with a top-35 class, if they can do that what can they do in 12 months?"

Was the relative success in closing a good 2014 class a short-term bump for Petersen? Can he recruit in the Pac-12 and consistently go up against the top teams for talent? - "There's no question. They recruited against the Pac-12 schools (at Boise State). They recruited like they were a Pac-12 school at Boise State with the caliber of players they recruited and were in on early. After a while it became clear that players liked Boise State but then the Pac-12 schools came along and he made it clear that he was going to a Pac-12 school they wisely pulled back their resources and shifted back and focused on another kid they thought was a more realistic target, but still a kid that was being recruited by other Pac-12 schools. So they already had all those relationships built; not just with the recruits but they had the relationships with the key schools where they were able to get in there and get a couple more kids to at least consider them. You look at them going into Chaminade, getting Jojo McIntosh and Brayden LeniusChris Petersen recruited Chaminade, they have blue turf at Chaminade. They had a relationship there, they recruited a kicker there 2-3 years ago. Corona Centennial is another school they recruited to, Serra, St. John Bosco - they had done a great job at Boise State establishing relationships…even at Bellevue, who is the lineman…(Marcus) Henry, who went to Boise State. They already had that relationship in the state of Washington.

"So because they have good relationships with key coaches and key programs and key players when they were at Boise, now you're selling a Pac-12 school, a school that just won nine games, a school that's clearly on the upswing the last few years - but most importantly that Pac-12 logo that's on the jersey, that's now on the coaches' polo - that made a huge difference. It's not beginners' luck; it's showing what that staff is capable of doing when they have the full resources, they have the facilities, they have the flagship conference, they have the network - they have all of that stuff going in their favor. Then you see what they did 3-4 days later with their junior day and have all the key in-state kids…how many junior days have there been in the past where some of the key in-state kids didn't come, even though Sark talked about how important it was to build a fence around the state, there were years when those key in-state kids just didn't seem to be that interested. Three days after Signing Day they have almost all the top-tier kids in the state of Washington, plus kids from Oregon coming up…they are showing they know where they need to have their focus. But then immediately they start getting in on some kids in California, getting on some other kids all around the west coach.

"So this isn't beginners' luck; this is what they can do with a full arsenal of weapons."

What's your take on 'OKG' and what will it mean as Washington recruits in the Pac-12? - "I think OKG will become one of those words like the 'Fence'. Everybody will be like, 'The fence! The fence!' At some point you're going to find guys that aren't OKG's in the traditional sense, but they'll go after guys that maybe are a little bit diva. I'm not saying they've signed anyone that were divas, but a lot of the reason why that word took its meaning is, these are the guys that don't really care about recruiting or anything, they don't really care about being offered by a lot of schools. They don't really care about the recruiting process.

"But when you're at Washington, you're going to recruit some kids like that, that do like the recruiting process. Maybe they don't fit the 'OKG', but you are still going to have a bunch of guys that do fit that…even the Alabamas of the world have a few guys that just don't care about recruiting and don't care about the whole process, but still jump on. In a full arsenal, in a full inventory of offers and scholarships, there's not going to be a full, 25-man class of all OKG's. There's going to be some guys in there that may be a little bit diva, there may be some guys in there that maybe you had to put more time and effort in to and really convince them and sell them on the school, whereas the OKG's are easily convinced.

"I think it's a phrase that will be uttered for a year or two, but then when start getting in some really talented kids that they had to put a little extra effort in, it may slowly go the way of the Buffalo."

How is Washington being perceived right now, early on for 2015? - "It's good because they've gone after the same kind of caliber of kids you'd expect a Pac-12 program to go after. They aren't going after no-namers, but at the same time they aren't just focusing on the stars…the elite players of the class. They are being realistic. There's a kid like Iman Marshall, who is the No. 1 player on the west coast who grew up going to USC games, camping at USC…Sark may have chased after him a little bit more and gone after that big-time elite kid, this staff is like - we're going to offer him, we'll recruit him, but we're not going to focus all of our attention on him and then not be able to bring in a top-tier corner.

"The same thing with quarterback. Instead of going after a guy like Josh Rosen or Ricky Town, there are still so many good quarterbacks in this class, so they can focus their efforts on a Jake Browning or a Brett Rypien, who are still top-15 quarterbacks nationally, fantastic quarterbacks. Sark may have gone after the No. 1 or 2 quarterback and really play up the angle of 'I coached these guys at SC, I've coached these guys at Washington, come up here'…the new staff is looking at it, 'Those guys are probably going to end up at another school, let's target some other elite kids, guys that are really taken to us and aren't taking us for a free ride.

"So I think the perception from a lot of players on the west coast is, 'Hey, Washington won nine games last year. They signed Budda Baker. Everybody knows who Budda Baker is. They have a good, young nucleus and core of players that are on that team now that are going to make that team even better in the coming years…they have another guy like Bishop Sankey who has done well at the (NFL Draft) combine, they've got some known names'…so the perception now is, we've got some good coaches that we've known from their time at Boise State that have put players in the NFL. Now they are at a program that has all the resources, so kids are much more open to Washington, I think, then even when they were under Sark. It's a little ironic because of how much time and effort they focused in California, but now I think there's a legitimate amount of interest coming from the Northwest kids, which is a place that had really been ignored by the previous staff. Now you couple that with the kids from California that were already interested in Washington - now you've got a nice little marriage there."

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