Coach's Corner - Recruiting

Recruiting is really pretty easy if you remember one thing: It's all about family. That's right; get Mom and Dad in your corner and you usually get the kid. It's also the biggest reason why you pick a school within driving distance if the school has a decent team and well respected university.

I could tell by watching the recent video of Terrence Jones making his verbal commitment to Washington that his mom was special to him. She included and introduced much of the extended family at the occasion. If he had picked any school besides Washington or Oregon, it would have been an admission that having her within driving distance was not important to him. Had he picked Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA or Oklahoma, he would probably see her in person a handful of times in a year.

That is precisely why when I was on the staff at UW, we always felt we had at least an 80-90 percent chance of getting any kid in the Pacific Northwest region. Why would you leave if there was a top flight university so close to home?

If you find a kid who does not have a strong family tie then those are the ones most likely to leave, but why at 18 would any parent think their kid still didn't need the support of the family?

I know with modern technology you can watch your kid on TV, talk or Skype your kid daily, and every kid has a cell phone, but it's not the same thing as seeing them in person. And there is no better feeling in sport than embracing your loved ones after a game, both from the standpoint of a player and of a parent. Most parents still want to watch their kid play and be part of it as well. Getting to games is just as important for parents as their kid getting recruiting attention.

Philosophically, I have always been a proponent of recruiting the region, unless a kid had a support family already living in our area. Again, it gets down to family. For the Huskies, regional recruiting meant the greater-Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest, California, Hawaii and west of the Rockies. Players in those areas were on our recruiting radar. I know Washington landed three kids from Florida years ago but they all came from the same school and once the Huskies landed John Anderson, he helped them get Rich Alexis and Charles Frederick. And Anderson's case was also one where family played a big role, because they made a concerted effort to see him as much as possible despite the distance - something not all families are capable of doing.

But generally speaking, to me it just doesn't seem right to uproot a kid and take him all the way across the continent when there are plenty of choices closer to home and family. It's glamorous to travel, but that's not necessary in college because you usually don't have either the time or the money. Let your travel be with the team. Living all the way across the country for college doesn't make sense from the family standpoint and that's all there is to it. People who don't admit this don't understand that there are a lot of parents who want to know they can be there in a drive in case of emergencies, illnesses, or family situations.

I distinctly recall hearing Jonathan Stewart say that he was so happy his mom could finally drive up for his game final game in Seattle, and he's from Olympia! If he'd gone to Washington, his mom would have seen every one of his games. Duh! Apparently even the drive to Eugene was too much separation.

There are always kids who want to get away, and that is their choice, but having your family and friends be able to stay in your life for college is worth way more than the temporary excitement of a prolonged separation that often times turns into homesickness anyway.

Washington has an obvious need for a basketball player like Jones, and there is no good reason for him to be separated from his family when he can get just as good an education at Washington as he can at Kentucky, and probably better if he has any intention of graduating with a degree. Even if he is only here for a year or two, his mom and family can easily see him play in person at least 10 times. Heck, they can see him twice a year guaranteed without having to leave the state of Oregon! Conversely they may not be able to afford to see him play more than once in Kentucky.

Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are easily the top two football prospects in the state and both are from solid families and both have had their support for their whole careers. Why should their parents not be able to follow their collegiate careers just like they have done from little league on up? Top Stories