My First & Last Post On Recruiting

That’s probably not true.  I’m sure I’ll talk about recruits at some point.  And I’m sure the act of recruiting will draw my ire for one reason or another.  But, for now, I JUST don’t find it that interesting.

By many accounts, the Huskies did pretty well for themselves, all things considered.  Of course, I don’t really see the point in ranking recruiting classes the day they sign on the line which is dotted; seems to me it’s a lot like the NFL draft, where you need a minimum of three years to determine if you’ve actually nabbed a quality haul.

But, that’s where I’m wrong.  Because in the NFL, it’s a little more fair and a little more equal.  It’s not the popularity contest that is bigtime college football.  And, percentage-wise, you’re more likely to do better in your average NFL draft than you are in your college recruiting.

The Huskies signed 20-something players in this 2011 class, but how many of those guys will still be around in 4 years?  And more importantly, how many of those guys still around in 4 years will be productive members of this team?  A handful?  At least with your average NFL draft, you’re usually looking at 3 out of 7 players doing SOMETHING for you (starting, depth, special teams).

I liken the college recruiting process to the MLB draft more than anything.  You like to count on one guy making a major impact right away (Austin Seferian-Jenkins), a few role players, and a whole lotta projects that likely won’t pan out.  Oh sure, every once in a while you find a diamond in the rough, but more often than not you’re dealing with a whole lotta fizzle.

Which is why, if you want to be one of the great teams, you’ve got to reload every single year.  What we’ve been able to do in two short years is nothing short of amazing.  To go from the worst team in division I college football in 2008, improve by 5 games in 2009, then not only make a bowl in 2010, but beat a team clearly superior in talent … that’s a meteoric rise.  A meteoric rise that will see our talent pool increase.

The two things we have to do now is continue this momentum and maintain continuity within the coaching staff.  We can’t regress too far in 2011, fall to 4-8 or 3-9 and become one of the bottom feeders in the Pac-10 again.  We have to show these kids that 2010 was no fluke.  But, to be quite honest, we can’t be too good either.  If we make a giant leap and somehow get into a BCS bowl, that’s just going to make our head coach too hot of a commodity.  Look at Jim Harbaugh.  He’s hired before the 2007 season, turns a down-and-out Stanford team into a major player 4 seasons later, and now he’s in the NFL primed to become the next big college coach bust.

Bigtime college head coaches don’t stick with bigtime colleges very long.  Don James was the last of a dying breed.  The security of being a college coach for life isn’t very tantalizing when there’s an opportunity to try and fail in the NFL.  Or hell, even to try and fail at a place like Alabama, Michigan or Notre Dame.

If this were USC and you could easily retool year after year no matter who’s the head coach, that would be one thing.  They will always be contending for championships and Rose Bowls.  But, this is Washington.  In the grand scheme of things, we’re a better football school than Stanford; but in the last 10 years?  What have you done for me lately?  The standards are just a LITTLE bit lower here than they are in Southern California.  Getting to AH Rose Bowl might be all it takes for the NFL to come sniffing around.

It’s something I dread with every fiber of my being.

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