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Signing Day Press Conference Quotes
Release: 02/01/2006
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Feb. 1, 2006

Washington Football
2006 Signing Day Press Conference
Quotes from head coach Tyrone Willingham

General Comments:
"It is important to realize that the signing process isn't just during today. It is something that has taken place over a lot of miles, a lot of phone calls, text messages, emails and etc. I am excited about the 21 guys that we have at this point, with two-thirds of them coming from the high school ranks and one-third of them coming from the junior college level. We have a real diversity there and I think that we have a good diversity with their locations. I think we have five guys from Washington, 15 from California and one each from the states of Nebraska, Nevada and Arizona. This is a group that I think will make this football team a better team and I think that is a process that we set out to accomplish a year ago."

On recruits' rankings:
"You often open up a door for speculation and evaluation, as I will call it. What is a five-star to one guy may not be a five-star to another guy. What we set out to do was not to identify how many stars were behind the name, but who could play football. That is what we have been trying to do over the past couple of years. We have been trying to find guys that are tough, intelligent and want to be here. Hopefully, and I do believe, we have found that in these guys. Hopefully they like the academic opportunity that the Universiry of Washington offers, as well as the athletic opportunity. It is that stuff that is identified on the inside, because you can never identify a player on the outside and decide who becomes a player and who doesn't. Of course they will have the motivation if they are going to be in this program."

On Jake Locker choosing football over baseball:
"I would encourage Jake to play baseball ... here. But it is just exciting for us to have an athlete with the opportunity to be a potential major league baseball player. There is no question that we are excited about it and we are excited to have him here. He has obviously shown himself to be a very good football player, but what excites me as much is that he is an outstanding human being. He will bring as much to the table off the field as he does on the field."

On possibility of Jake Locker starting:
"We have a quarterback that was here last year that was a starter and right now Isaiah [Stanback] is our starter. We haven't even practiced yet, but all of our positions are wide open ... I think the first guy to welcome that would be Isaiah, because I believe that he looks at it as a challenge and believes that it will make him better. That is what he wants to do."

On recruiting strategy:
"What we try to do is always preach the foundations of our program. These are tough young men and intelligent young men with good characteristics that will help them fit into the university. We don't necessarily put a limit on where they have to come from."

On skill positions:
"We have a lot of guys that are skill guys and that will add a lot of flexibility for us. We have a lot of guys that can play numerous positions based on what they might want to do and based on what you want to have them play."

On long snapper Danny Morovick:
"I think that in Morovick you have a guy that has shown himself well so far. He is very accurate in what he does and that is a valuable skill at his position. That is something that you just can't take for granted in football, because not just anybody can bend over and snap the ball between their legs. He does it very well, so it is very much a skill that will very much allow our kicking game to vastly improve. He should help us in all aspects of the kicking game. I am willing to extend a scholarship in that area because it can make a real difference for your football team."

On Ashlee Palmer:
"I think that it was one of those things where we have been recruiting him for some time now. In Ashlee's case, I felt a real strong connection with him. Although, it's not as much of a surprise as it might seem. He did sign a national letter with Nebraska, but he did not enroll. Our compliance office made sure that everything was okay there."

On offensive line:
"I have had the philosophy that one of the most important positions on a football team is the offensive line. Therefore, you need to develop them and pay them a lot of attention and we feel pretty good about the four young men that we have recruited in that area."

On recruiting in the state of California:
"I think our guys going into California did a good job. As we know that is a state that has probably 35 million-plus people and they produce a lot of outstanding athletes. We've just got to look under every rock, every stone and see if we can find the ones that are the right mix for us, and I thought our coaching staff did that. We've said all along: we want to be based in the state of Washington and then we want California to be our second home."

On whether getting five recruits from the state of Washington was enough:
"It depends on what's available in the class. Some years there may be a higher number of prospects in the state, so that number could change - it would be a lot higher. Some years there might be a low number in the state, and then it would be much lower."

On what he likes about Marcel Reece:
"Everything. He is a big receiver, and when I say big, I mean he is big. I think he has sufficient height but also he has sufficient girth. At probably 220-plus pounds, he's a pretty good sized wide receiver that seems to run well and seems to have a knack for doing things when he catches the ball.

On Jordan Murchison playing at City College of San Francisco:
"When you come out of that program - and that is one of the better junior college programs in California, maybe even one of the better programs in the country - you are accustomed to competition and you are comfortable with having success. I think he comes out of a successful program, he's tough, and he should bring us some improved corner play. That to me makes him a very valuable asset to our program.

On which of the recruits will be able to participate in spring practice:
"You've got (Danny) Morovick, who is already here, and you have (Jordan) Murchison. There's a good chance that (Anthony) Atkins will be here for the spring. Wells will be here for the spring. If I'm correct (Aaron) Mason may be here depending on his status, so we've got to clarify that.

On Matt Mosley:
"We'll look at him at wide receiver. It mentions on his bio that he's done a lot of things. He's done running back, he's done cornerback and receiver. He's done a little bit of everything for his high school team and showed himself to be adept at all of those things. For us he'll start out as a receiver. We liked him in camp because we thought he was a real competitor and he had a knack for the ball on either side of the ball. He caught the ball very well with his hands as a receiver, made plays, and yet as a defensive back he had great coverage and had that kind of competitive feel or instinct that you like to see in a guy.

On involving families in the recruiting process:
"You need to cover all bases in recruiting. If there's someone in the community that the young man confides in, you try to involve him in the recruiting. We say we like to ask as many questions of as many people as will answer questions about the young man. So if the janitor knows something, we want to go to the janitor and make sure we know about the young man. So we try to involve as many people as possible. That gives you your best full knowledge of the young man. Then you can really ensure yourself of the product that you're getting."

On whether any of the recruits is ready to play right away:
"I never know. That is the million dollar question - how well they adapt, how developed their skills are. The level of competition increases for most of them. So you don't know. We will say to them that there are opportunities, and based on their abilities, their skills and how quickly and well they adapt, they will determine (what they do with) those opportunities. But I'm excited about the class and probably any of them could see themselves getting time."

On what position Anthony Atkins will play:
"Right now our thought is to give Anthony a look at defensive end, even though for much of his junior college career he was a middle linebacker. Our thought is to see if we can increase our ability to get to the passer. And we think he is excited about that and eager to get involved at that position."

On the possibility of Locker also playing baseball at UW:
"We've done it before. It's just a matter of budgeting time. Is it difficult? Without question. It's a little bit easier if he were another position - outfielder, infielder or something of that nature is much easier because then you don't have worry about the throwing arm. But you can balance that out."

On how the walk-on process works:
"Anyone that gets into this university has an opportunity to start the process. There are some young men that we have tracked as football players and would like to encourage them to walk-on and start the application process to get into school. But once they get into school, that is the most defining mark. Then they are able to talk to us about the possibility of walking on. We are limited in our numbers. We are not unlimited in the number of walk-ons that we can have. So what you have to do then is decide which guys you need and which guys offer you the best athletes possible."

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