Commitment Impact: Austin Joyner

It took a while to happen, but Austin Joyner’s recruiting process came full-circle Sunday when the athlete from Marysville, Wash. verbally committed to Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies during the third quarter of the 2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. Joyner had committed to Steve Sarkisian before Sark left for USC.

Joyner is Washington’s 22nd known public verbal commitment for the 2015 recruiting class. Below is Joyner verbally committing during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.



What is UW Getting in Austin Joyner? - For those looking for senior highlights, click on the link HERE. As a senior, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Joyner ran for 1,768 yards and 32 touchdowns on 133 carries. He was named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year, selected as The Everett Herald Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year and as a senior helped lead the Tomahawks to the semifinals of the 3A state tournament.

Here is what Scout.com’s Brandon Huffman had to say about Joyner and what Washington is getting in the versatile athlete from Marysville. “Joyner is one of the top football players in the West. Not just a top running back or top cornerback, but one of the best football players in the region. While Joyner wants to play cornerback in college, he’s still so good as a running back that it would be a shame to see him give up dreams of carrying the ball. That said, Washington did a great job this past fall in letting one of the best football players in the conference, Shaq Thompson, get some carries, (and in some cases, be the running back). Joyner looks most comfortable playing safety more than corner, just physically, he projects more to corner. But he’s got such a good football IQ and a physical nature to his game, that safety isn’t out of the question in college. I would anticipate he’ll get a couple of touches on offense, and the toughness in which he runs would be an added bonus. More importantly, he’s an in-state prospect that is a major-talent, and just getting him on the roster, and honing in on his specific position down the road, is a good problem for Chris Petersen to have."

What Does This Do For Washington’s Numbers Going Forward? - At the publication of this story, there are 12 defensive backs on scholarship for Washington: Budda Baker, Brandon Beaver, Brian Clay, Darren Gardenhire, Naijiel Hale, Sidney Jones, Jermaine Kelly, Kevin King, Brandon Lewis, Jojo McIntosh, Ezekiel Turner, and Trevor Walker. That’s not enough to even put together a true three-deep, which is what you should be able to do at every position on offense and defense, at the very least.

Joyner’s signing will make it an even dozen, and getting Jordan Miller, and Quinten Pounds as well will help boost the ranks further. Breaking it up by safety and corner, it means seven safeties and five corners return. The Huskies need two solid corners to start to even up the distribution, and Joyner and Miller give them the two they require.

With the overall 85 number at a reasonable state and the ability to get a few more players for 2015, Washington could look for another corner if they needed to, and that’s why they are holding out a spot for a top player like Dechaun Holiday. But getting Joyner was essential, and now that they’ve secured his verbal commitment a player like Holiday can now be seen as the ultimate luxury, instead of a make-or-break recruit.

What Does This Do For In-State Recruiting Going Forward? - Joyner’s commitment is huge for a couple of reasons. The biggest is that Washington’s best recruiting classes have been ones that have taken the best the in-state class could offer and then supplemented those players with others from California and beyond. A great example of that would be Sark’s 2011 class. It was built with a foundation of four-and five star in-state studs like Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey, and other in-state standouts like Danny Shelton, Tani Tupou, Dexter Charles and others were included to make it one of the more productive classes in recent memory.

2011 is the only other year where we’ve seen such a domination of in-state commits by UW like we have this year. Joyner, Henry Roberts, Trey Adams, Myles Gaskin, and Chico McClatcher, make up five of the top-7 in-state targets, as determined by Scout.com. Only Brett Rypien and Benning Potoae stand in the way of a clean sweep, and Potoae is choosing soon between UCLA and UW. Rypien’s case is well known; had Jake Browning not verbally committed to Petersen and the Huskies first, the Spokane native would have committed to UW instead of his eventual commit to Boise State.

Of course there’s going to be in-state players that don’t measure up, or find out quickly they are in the wrong situation, but if attrition is going to happen you’d rather have it with in-state players that were given a legitimate chance to play in front of friends and family. With Petersen’s reputation for not playing favorites and giving everyone an opportunity to make their mark, hedging your bets on the local players makes the most sense - in the short and long term interests of the program.

Secondly, it’s never a bad thing to beat out Washington State for the top in-state studs. It happened in 2011 with Sankey, and that paid off handsomely. No doubt if Joyner has the same amount of success Sankey had during his time on Montlake, he will quickly become a fan favorite.


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