University of Washington

Kyler Gordon’s wearing a golden helmet next year. Will it be Notre Dame or UW?

As one of the best high school football players in Washington, there’s a lot of interest in Kyler Gordon’s future
As one of the best high school football players in Washington, there’s a lot of interest in Kyler Gordon’s future

The most intriguing part of Chris Petersen’s press conference was the roundabout attention given to a player who he hasn’t even signed.

At least, not yet.

“Well, there’s still another guy or two we have our eye on,” Petersen said Wednesday after UW inked its entire 18-member recruiting class. “That we feel pretty good about and just kind of see how it goes and go from there.”

Petersen cannot talk about an unsigned prospect by name but one of those players is Everett Archbishop Murphy cornerback Kyler Gordon.

A four-star prospect, Gordon is announcing at 7 p.m. Thursday on KING-5 if he’ll sign with Notre Dame or Washington.

The 5-foot-11 and 180-pound Gordon is considered by 247 Sports and Rivals to be the consensus No. 3 player within the state of Washington.

Gordon broke through as a sophomore when he accounted for 1,061 all-purpose yards and seven interceptions.

He’s the sort of athlete Murphy used to terrorize opponents in a variety of roles. As a senior, Gordon rushed for 517 yards and caught 32 passes for 841 yards.

Gordon accounted for 18 touchdowns. Ten came through the air, seven on the ground and he also threw for one.

On defense, he was just as dominant. He finished with 44 tackles and five interceptions.

And if that wasn’t enough, he can be a weapon in the return game. Between kickoff and punt return duties, he accounted for 163 total yards.

Every Pac-12 school offered Gordon but his final options came down to the Huskies and the Fighting Irish.

Brandon Huffman, the national college football recruiting editor for 247 Sports, predicts Gordon will select UW.

“Closer we’re getting, more confident I am getting in that the will go to Washington,” Huffman said. “There are Notre Dame fans and guys who cover Notre Dame who are waiving the white flag.

“Then again, he could shock everyone tomorrow.”

UW already possesses what some recruiting serves deem to be the best Pac-12 recruiting class for 2018.

Adding Gordon only strengthens the class but it also allows UW to send a message about keeping in-state talent at home.

The Huskies, per 247’s rankings, have signed five of the state’s Top 10 players. Should Gordon join the class, that number moves to six.

“This would solidify Petersen’s return to the idea of building a fence around the state,” Huffman said. “It’s what Steve Sarkisan said he was going to do, and failed to do.

“It’s what Petersen tried to do when lost Foster Sarell, Connor Wedington and Jacob Eason the year before.”

Eason is the most high profile recruit to escape the state since Petersen took over the program in 2014. The five-star recruit was the No. 1 player in Washington and the No. 4 prospect in America.

The former Lake Stevens High star was snapped up by Georgia.

In 2017, the Huskies grabbed six of the state’s Top 10 players but losing Sarrell and Wedington was tough to swallow.

Sarell was the No. 1 player in the state and the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle. By his senior year, the Graham-Kapowsin superstar was the most recruited player in the history of the Northwest.

Wedington committed Feb. 2016 to the Huskies. A four-star prospect, he was the state’s No. 4 player who showcased his skills at Sumner.

They each went to Stanford.

“Losing Eason, Wedington and Sarell hurt,” Huffman said. “So going out and getting Kyler Gordon when the rest of the Pac-12 offered him and Notre Dame prioritized him, it’s getting one of the best players in the state.

“He’s a tremendous talent and can help in a number of ways.”

Huffman said if Gordon chooses UW, it would send a message to other programs.

The edict? Enter Washington at your own peril.

It’s what makes Thursday even more interesting. Huffman said Gordon’s announcement could mirror that of Budda Baker.

Baker, who starred at Bellevue High, was initially committed to Oregon and backed away from the Ducks that January.

He went on KING-5 and chose UW over UCLA. Baker would go on to be one of Petersen’s greatest recruits and a two-time All-Pac-12 selection. This week, Baker was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

“That to me was the ultimate ‘I’m staying’ home commitment. That’s one of situations where if family is that important, it shows me that family is important for the long term,” Huffman said of Baker. “This isn’t the South when a kid from Athens commits on Atlanta TV.

“Why pick against the home school this late?”

Come Thursday, one of two things will happen.

Petersen, his staff and UW’s fans can tune in to see a local kid choose to stay home.

Or they could all watch Gordon become the latest one to get away.

“UW is back to being a national brand,” Huffman said. “And in-state kids are going to be next to impossible to pull away.”

Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark