Chris Petersen didn’t used to get worried before signing day.
The Washington head coach never stayed awake at night, stressing about the class, wondering if any of his recruits would flip. But that was three or four years ago.
Now, he admits to thinking twice.
“I think as the recruiting situation has … gotten worse, it can be painful,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. “The vultures and the low-down tactics that is going on behind closed doors. So now I think about it a little more than I did.”
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In particular, Petersen criticized the common practice of coaches repeatedly contacting committed recruits.
“Like, why would you be calling those kids?” he said. “They’ve been committed to us forever. But they do. And they’re sending texts and they’re doing all that stuff just to see if there’s any slight chance and if there is, look out. I think it’s hard. These are kids and even the families are going through this stuff for the first time. It’s the nature of the beast these days.”
While almost everything seemed to go right for the Huskies during the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday, four-star safety Asa Turner didn’t sign as expected. Turner instead delayed his signing and is reportedly deciding between UW and Notre Dame. Turner verbally committed to the Huskies in July.
Still, UW ended the day with the No. 15 class in the country and the No. 2 class in the Pac-12, according to 247Sports.com. The Huskies signed 11 four-star recruits and nine-three star recruits. Oregon’s class was ranked first in the Pac-12 and No. 5 nationally.
Washington made 91 offers in the Class of 2019, which was the third-least among Power Five Schools. Only UCLA (76) and Stanford (74) offered less players. The average was 232.
While the Husky coaches don’t have a specific number in mind, Petersen said they do take pride in limiting the number of offers. While that philosophy can sometimes hurt UW during the recruiting process, Petersen said it’s what works for the program.
“We’re trying to make them mean something and guys that we’ve really researched and all that,” Petersen said. “Now once we’ve done our research and been around guys, they might be young. You’re always projecting. You’re always thinking they have more to them on a developmental side.”
Petersen pointed to quarterback Dylan Morris, a four-star quarterback out of Graham-Kapowsin High School that the Huskies offered in 2016.
“We had a chance with Dylan being from the state,” Petersen said. “We were around him so much. Got to see him play in live camps, in camp games, 7-on-7, all kinds of different stuff. We watched so much football and he’s played for a long time. By the time we offered him, we really felt like we had seen him a lot.”
The Huskies signed players from five states: Washington, Hawaii, California, Nevada and Arizona. After going five years without picking up a player from Hawaii, the Huskies signed five on Wednesday. Defensive line coach Ikaika Malloe, who is from Waimanalo, Hawaii, and played for UW, has made a difference in the state.
“(Malloe) did a phenomenal job,” Petersen said. “There’s no question. I think why is he’s just such a great guy and I think people feel that from him the more they get to know him.
“It’s like, OK, this is a really good person that went to Washington that is from the Island. Those are all interesting parallels. He’s been in their shoes so he can speak much different from the rest of us.”
The Huskies aren’t finished with their 2019 class just yet, but Petersen doesn’t have a set amount of players he’d like to add. That number is always fluid, he said.
“Our assistants want to recruit everybody,” he said. “They see a guy they like, they don’t pay attention to numbers. The head coach has to do that. It’s like, ‘Slow down. We’re getting too tight here.’
“So we’re right around close to the number we want to be at. And that’s why I say there could be one or two or three more guys. I don’t know. We’ll just see.”
As for the group already signed, he expects eight to arrive in the winter and possibly three more to join the Huskies in the spring.
“That’s exciting to get those guys here this early,” Petersen said. “It’s also a credit to the kids that we have in this program right now who allow us to do that because you have the scholarships available to bring those guys in. So that means a lot of kids have graduated either last summer or this fall.”
Here is a complete list of the Huskies’ signees:
ILB Miki Ah You (Laie, Hawaii)
DL Jacob Bandes (Antioch, Calif.)
OL Julius Buelow (Kapolei, Hawaii)
ILB Josh Calvert (Oak Park, Calif.)
RB Cameron Davis (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
WR Taj Davis (Chino, Calif.)
S Kamren Fabiculanan (Camarillo, Calif.)
OL Troy Fautanu (Henderson, Nev.)
PK Tim Horn (Honolulu, Hawaii)
OL Nate Kalepo (Renton, Wash.)
OLB Laiatu Latu (Sacramento, Calif.)
OL Corey Luciano (Danville, Calif.)
CB Trent McDuffie (Westminster, Calif.)
QB Dylan Morris (Puyallup, Wash.)
DL Noa Ngalu (East Palo Alto, Calif.)
DL Sama Pa’ama (Waipahu, Hawaii)
OLB Bralen Trice (Phoenix, Ariz.)
DL Faatui Tuitele (Honolulu, Hawaii)
ILB Alphonzo Tuputala (Federal Way, Wash.)
S Cameron Williams (Bakersfield, Calif.)