Perkins Talks About Commitment

Who would think a kicker might be the linchpin to a great class? Will people be saying that in four or five years when looking back at Washington's recruiting class of 2005? It's possible. The Huskies received a verbal commitment Saturday from Ryan Perkins, a 6-0, 185-pounder from Lacey (Wash.) North Thurston. So how has it come to pass that Perkins just might hold the keys to the kingdom when this class is signed, sealed and delivered next February?

For one thing, he knows where Jonathan Stewart lives. Perkins is friends with Stewart, and teammates with Stewart's next-door neighbor, Brendan Manning. All three headed north to Seattle, where Ryan made his commitment known under sunny skies in Husky Stadium. It's been a whirlwind tour of events for Perkins, who went all the way out to Columbus, Ohio to show coaches what his leg is made of.

"I had really no idea that it was all going to happen this fast," Ryan told Saturday afternoon, just hours after he had pledged his intent to sign with Washington in February. "I just showed 'em what my leg could do and that set everything else up."

Perkins camped at Ohio State, Oregon and Washington State, but it was his camping experience at Montlake this summer that had him buzzing with anticipation. Deep down inside, he knew his dream just might come true.

It did, sealed in a FedEx box.

"I pretty much knew when I went to their camp and kicked, I thought they might offer me and that might be it," he said. "And then they offered me and I was in shock.

"I really like U-Dub and the tradition they have and the coaches are really cool. I like Coach (Scott) Pelluer a lot. It wasn't that hard to choose."

So now all that needed to happen was the actual event, the telling of the coaches. Clearly Ryan was sailing into uncharted waters. How would it happen? What would he say? Fortunately, an opportunity was seized and a pact was struck.

"I knew I was going to do it today, I just had to get there and actually say it," he said. "I mean, how do you do it? Do you just go up to them and say, 'Hey, I commit!'? I just kind of went into it when Coach Pelluer gave me the opening. And once I told him that I was committing, it was boom! Everything was on me.

"I had already talked to Gilby earlier and he said, 'I hope you make the right decision, because you've got a cannon for a leg and you're booting 'em far and high. He kept going on about how strong my leg was. Then he asked me about my scholarship offer and I told him that I liked that a lot.

"He had to go coach the team, so I went around with Coach Pelluer and saw the facilities. He pulled me aside and asked me how far along are you before you make a decision on a school and I told him that I had already made one. I told him that I was going to the U-Dub. He took me back to Gilbertson and he was all fired up. He was really fired up."

Perkins is one of those rare kickers that is equally proficient with both legs. Washington recruited him more for placekicking right now. "I have the power that's more for placekicking, and they know that," he said. "If they wanted me to do more punting than placekicking, I'd start using my left more often. It's good because finding someone that can kick left-footed is hard to find and the spin throws people off."

Current UW punter Sean Douglas had a very solid day kicking the ball on Saturday, something that was not lost on Perkins. "I think we have a really good punter," he said of the sophomore from Bellevue, Nebraska. "He's good. He reminds me of myself when I hit a good punt. Watching him showed me where I'm at. And placekicking? I would have to say my boy Evan (Knudson), the North Thurston grad, he does a pretty good job. He's got good accuracy."

You might think that Evan and Ryan might be close, being North Thurston Rams and all, but ironically enough the two have rarely spoken. "Actually I only talked to him once," Perkins said. "He told me that this is the place to be. We didn't go to school at the same time, but we're like brothers now because of the North Thurston connection."

Perkins has some other intangibles that the Washington coaches felt would fit perfectly with their kicking needs in future seasons. "I'm a competitive person, and that's not normal for most kickers," he said. "That's the one thing that the U-Dub staff liked about me. They said that I'm one of the most athletic kickers they've ever seen."

Are we talking about some future fakes in the UW special teams repertoire? "You might see that," Ryan said with a bit of a laugh. "There might be a couple of tricks in store, you never know."

But back to all this 'linchpin' talk. "They are my friends, and I had them come with me," Perkins said when asked about Brendan Manning and Jonathan Stewart. "The coaches told me to bring whoever I wanted to, so I did. I surprised them a little bit. I wanted to give Jon and Brendan a chance to see what it's like at U-Dub. Everybody knows about Jon, he's big-time. I wanted him to see U-Dub and what it's like, because it's a pretty cool place. I wanted to give him a feel for U-Dub. We had a good time, we were all pretty psyched."

Apparently Ryan never told his traveling companions that he had commitment on the brain. I told him (Stewart) that U-Dub is pretty tight and that I just committed," said Perkins. "He was like, 'No way!' He was happy."

Stewart, whose nickname is 'Snoop', is's number-one running back in the country and also Washington's number-one target at the same position. Ryan offered up some insight into Snoop's current recruiting thoughts, albeit from his vantage point.

"Jon is interested in U-Dub, but he's been to so many different schools and has hung out with so many players that it's all up in the air for him," Ryan said. "Until he figures it out, there's no way of knowing what's in his head. Even Brendan, who lives next door to him and is like his brother, doesn't really know. He's so open-minded right now. He could end up at a school that's not even in his top-ten to begin with."

Is that going to spur Perkins on? It's something the competitor in him can't ignore.

"Basically I've already started on the big guy," he said. "I'm going to be the type of guy with Dan (Winter) and Brendan and Jon to tell them how it really is. I'll tell them that, hey, everyone is thinking that because U-Dub is going to be young right now, they aren't going to be any good. But what about in two years when we are all there? The team will be all grown up by then. I'm thinking positive. I'm competitive and I'll be doing whatever I can for U-Dub."

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