Chris Petersen and the rest of Washington’s coaching staff sent a message Thursday without saying a word.
The edict? Any college program thinking it can grab a Top 10 prospect from The Evergreen State is in for a fight.
Four-star cornerback Kyler Gordon, the consensus No. 3 player in the state, chose UW over Notre Dame and did it during a live broadcast on KING-5.
“First off, the relationships I built there with the coaches. Coach Pete, (defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake), something really strong there” Gordon said about why he chose the Huskies over the Fighting Irish. “The people in the locker room. It’s all one, it’s not selfish, not for one person.
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“The mindset is the right way. I feel really good about them.”
Gordon, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound star from Archbishop Murphy, becomes the 19th player to sign with the Huskies during the new early signing period.
The entire class signed Wednesday before noon but there was a growing belief Gordon would join what’s becoming the best class UW has pieced together in the modern recruiting era.
UW’s class was rated 10th nationally by Rivals after Gordon’s announcement. The Huskies were 11th in 247’s rankings.
Gordon burst on the scene as a sophomore when he accounted for 1,061 all-purpose yards.
During his senior year, he showed he’s capable of being an impact player all over the field. He rushed for 517 yards while catching 32 passes for 841 yards. In all, he amassed 18 touchdowns.
His offensive totals were matched by his defensive production. Gordon finished the year with 44 tackles and five interceptions.
Gordon told KING-5 he will play as a cornerback in college.
“He’s a tremendous talent and can help you in a lot of ways,” said Brandon Huffman, who is the national college football recruiting editor for 247 Sports. “The perception now is you will have a hard time going into Washington, unless you are Stanford.”
By signing with UW, Gordon is the latest example of how the Huskies are working to keep the state’s best talent at home.
Gordon, per 247’s rankings, is the fifth Top 10 in-state prospect to sign with the Huskies. He joins Bothell quarterback Jacob Sirmon, Gonzaga Prep tight end Devin Culp, Fife offensive tackle M.J. Ale and Emerald Ridge defensive end Mosiah Nasili-Liu.
Sirmon is the No. 1 player in the state while Culp is fifth. Ale and Nasili-Liu come in at ninth and 10th, respectively.
Keeping the best talent within Washington became a factor under former UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who promised to build “a fence” around the state.
Sarkisian, who was at Montlake from 2009 to 2013, oversaw the Huskies for four full recruiting classes. UW’s 2013 class suffered with Sarkisian leaving Dec. 2 for USC and the school hiring Petersen less than a week later.
In Sarkisian’s tenure, the Huskies signed 18 of the state’s Top 40 players over that time. It’s a success rate of 45 percent.
Sarkisian only had one class – 2011 – when he signed the No. 1 player in the state.
Petersen, who is overseeing his fifth full recruiting cycle, has signed 24 of the state’s Top 50 players over that time for a rate of 48 percent.
In that time, Petersen has signed the No. 1 player in the state on three occasions.
Although Petersen has a higher success rate, he’s also gone through some losses. UW missed out on five-star quarterback Jacob Eason in 2016. A year later, the Huskies watched five-star lineman Foster Sarell and four-star prospect Conor Wedington go to Stanford.
“I just love being there,” Gordon said of UW. “The chance to be the local dog there that everyone loves, the support from the fans, it just feels good.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark