Bigelow's Recruiting Process a Blur

Washington's tactic of being very aggressive early on with offers to underclassmen paid off last week with the verbal commitment of Brendon Bigelow, a 5-foot-10, 175 pound athlete from Central High School in Fresno, Calif. caught up with Bigelow to talk about his commitment, how it happened, and what his future plans are while rehabbing a knee that went under the knife two weeks ago.

Bigelow, who plays running back for Central, ran for 1000 yards on only 87 carries, an average of nearly 11.5 yards per touch. He also caught 327 yards' worth of footballs, and accounted for 17 total touchdowns. When asked by to describe his style of running, he called it a 'mixture of speed and a little bit of power'.

"I don't normally juke," Bigelow said this week. "I just go forward and try to make plays. And I can catch real good. You can really throw me wherever and I'll make it happen."

He also plays DB for Central, but he feels his future is on offense. "I think I'll fit real good at the running back position," he said.

For a while - at least until he was able to lead by example and show he was tough enough to handle the game of football - Bigelow's calling card came on the track. According to DyeStat, Bigelow was the country's No. 2 sophomore in the 200 meters with a blazing time of 21.29 last year. His fastest 100 meter time is 10.57, which would put him in the top-three of all track athletes in California.

"I just line up in the blocks and go for it," Bigelow said of his running style. "As soon as I hit the track, it's like I'm in a zone. I just go all out."

As well as his junior season went, Bigelow's knee is a constant reminder to him of what could have been. And with most injuries that happen during the run of play, he just never saw it coming. "I didn't think anything was going to happen to me, but I think I might have gambled on the play," he said when asked to talk about his season-ending injury that took place in Central's first-round playoff game against Liberty of Bakersfield. "I was supposed to run a streak, but I ended up cutting it into a post-corner kinda. And when I did that I caught the ball.

"It was 4th and 10. I had to make a play. It was the playoffs, so you gotta do what you gotta do for the team. So when I caught the ball I did a step and the dude hit me up top so I did a spin. And my foot was still in the ground when I spun, and it (knee) just tore. You could hear it. I was laying on the ground, and I was thinking 'Oh my gosh, what happened?' I thought I would shake it off. I got up. I was limping but I thought I would get back in the game. But then I was thinking to myself that something was wrong. I had never felt like that before. I just eased out and left it alone. I let the game play and I sat out.

"I kinda didn't know at the time. They didn't really tell me anything, but they kept asking me if I had heard a pop, and I told them I didn't know. So they told me to get to a doctor as soon as possible, the trainers did. So when I went to the sports doctor, they told me I tore it. I was just like, 'Dang, all that hard work I did, for what? Nothing.' That's what I kept thinking to myself. But I was going to continue to keep working hard."

Bigelow had surgery two weeks ago, and the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery. "They said it went really good. I should be up and running soon," he said. "Right now I'm walking. I don't need a brace. The swelling on my leg has gone down. Right now I feel good; I feel like I'm coming back already."

The doctors have told Bigelow to give his knee six months to fully heal, but he'll be ready for his senior season.

Ironically enough, when colleges hear about speedsters and knee injuries, they pull back a little bit. Their interest is still there, but they approach the player's recruitment with cautious optimism. For example, Central Head Coach Casey Quinn told last week that Texas A&M, Florida, California and Stanford had all been by Central to find out about Bigelow and to get film. But not Washington. The Huskies dove in with both feet, offering Bigelow early in the process. And their loyalty and support has been rewarded with a verbal commitment.

"I had talked to (UW Safeties Coach) Jeff Mills just before I had my surgery done," Bigelow said. "We chatted about the upcoming program and stuff like that and how they just got a new coach up there in (Steve) Sarkisian. And then we touched on my family and stuff like that. He was explaining to me how (my injury) wasn't going to affect me. He told me he really likes me and likes my film. When I got off the phone with him I started thinking about how they are a pretty good program and how I could make their football team a little bit better. The upcoming freshmen for 2010, like (Deontae) Cooper - he's pretty good, I've watched his film. I think me and him could exchange the ball here and there.

"After talking to them about that, I really started thinking about it. So when they did come around with an offer, I was thinking how it was a blessing. I didn't expect it, but I did give them thought. So it wasn't just a decision when I just barely made it right there. I actually really thought about it and gave it a whole lot of thought. I called (Sarkisian) and he touched up on my situation with my injury and told me he was with me all the way. That kind of made me feel good, coming from a head coach. He just threw it out there; I want to give you a full-ride scholarship. I was blown away. I was like, crazy!"

And Sark's reaction? "He was happy," Bigelow said. "He told me to call him the next day just to make it official or whatever. I called him up and told him I talked with my family and I gave it some more thought. I came to the conclusion that I want to be a Husky. I said 'Go Huskies!'. I left him a little message."

There is another piece to this puzzle; Bigelow's mother lives in Washington, and he hasn't talked to her yet about his decision to attend Washington. "I heard there was a guy from Clovis West that's there (Nathan Fellner). I think I played against him two years ago."

With all the things going on, Bigelow could easily hold tight and see what the future holds with the recruiting process - but he's not doing that. "I'm pretty much going to shut it down," he said. "They (UW) came around, and for them to still give me an offer, it's a blessing. Not only that, but knowing a little about me, whoever offers me something, I stick with that. Because I feel it's the right thing to do. So that's basically about it. I'm shutting it down. When the time comes for me to sign, that's what I'll do. I'm going to be a Husky."

In the meantime, Bigelow has been talking to Sark and Mills about visiting Seattle and UW soon. "I've heard that they have a beautiful campus up there. I looked on the internet and it looks big," he said with a laugh.

Does Bigelow have any thoughts for Husky fans?

"I'm going to put on a show for them," he said.

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