Juan Garcia trip report

It's not that 6-3, 275-pound Juan Garcia was feeling trepidation, or even anxiousness, to find out more. After all, the lineman from Yakima (Wash.) Eisenhower had verbally committed to the Washington Huskies a month ago Christmas Day, so it wasn't too surprising to see the big man show just a little bit of nervousness creep through his system. What if UW wasn't all that?

"It was great," Juan told Dawgman Sunday night about his official visit to Seattle over the weekend. "It was everything I thought it was going to be and more. It was perfect. On the plane ride over, I was like, 'Man, I hope it's not a dumb place over there,' but I loved it. Now I know it's the place I should be."

Garcia delved into the details of his visit. "I went on Thursday," he said. "We went and saw the Space Needle first and then went to practice and then took a tour and checked out the education side of things. I got to go to history hall. I want to study History in college. I want to be a History teacher."

Khalif Barnes was Juan's host - "He just told me about how he came in as a freshman at 275 pounds and how, after the fall practices, he was 250! He told me how much hard work there is," Juan said. "But he also told me to have fun and how after a while things get good and it turns into family." Juan expects to try to move up to Seattle as soon as he can to get acclimated, which should be sometime in July of 2003.

He caught one current Husky a little off-guard. "Yeah, (Zach) Tuiasosopo was recruiting me," Garcia said. "He didn't know I had already committed, so he was like, 'Man, you've got to come to Washington,' and I told him I already was and he was excited."

Louis Rankin and Sonny Shackelford were two recruits Juan mentioned by name that stood out on his visit. "They were all pretty cool guys," he said. "We just got a chance to joke around and hang out. That was cool."

What were Juan's impressions of practice? "There's definitely a speed difference, but it looked like they were having fun out there," he said. "The atmosphere was awesome! I loved it. I wanted to go put on a helmet and get in there."

His highlight, however, was the tunnel. "I think going through the locker room and going down the tunnel was the best," he said. "I fell in love with that tunnel. I went to the one at Washington State, and that one was ok, but it was nothing like Washington's. On Friday we were at the Don James Center and they had the band playing as we came out of the tunnel. I had goosebumps."

The Husky coaches gave Juan a taste of what to expect next fall. "Coach (Brent) Myers showed me a little bit about my position, center, and the drills they do," he said. "I might be playing a little guard too. They really like how I can move for my size."

Garcia's first stint as a recruiter didn't go without some hiccups. "Well, I wanted to get to know the guys a little, but then the coaches wanted me to help out a little, tell 'em how awesome it would be for them to come here," he said. "I wasn't very good at first, but then I got comfortable. I told 'em, 'You need to come here, but if you don't, that's OK. We'll just beat you, that's all.'"

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