SEATTLE — Kyler Gordon is taking his talents to Montlake.
The Archbishop Murphy football star announced Thursday evening during a KING 5 news broadcast that he is committing to the University of Washington, choosing the hometown Huskies over the University of Notre Dame.
Gordon said he committed to Washington on Sunday and signed his National Letter of Intent from home Wednesday, but waited until Thursday’s live broadcast to reveal his college choice.
With his parents standing on either side, the highly regarded four-star prospect began by taking a Huskies hat from his mother and dropping it on the floor. He then took a Notre Dame hat from his father, and dropped it too.
Gordon then unzipped his vest to reveal a Huskies shirt, and said “go Dawgs” while making a “W” with his fingers.
“I felt it in my heart,” Gordon told The Herald shortly after announcing his decision. “I felt I had a better fit at Washington.”
Gordon, a hard-hitting defensive back with blazing speed and elite athleticism, is ranked by 247Sports as the top overall senior recruit in the state. He is the nation’s 12th-ranked senior cornerback and the No. 102 overall prospect.
The 6-foot, 185-pound standout also had scholarship offers from Oregon, Stanford, Southern California, UCLA, Utah, Nebraska and Texas Christian.
He narrowed his choices to Washington and Notre Dame before announcing his decision during college football’s new 72-hour early signing period, which began Wednesday and runs through Friday.
“It means the world,” Gordon said of signing with the Huskies. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity and for everyone who’s supported me, and everyone who’s contributed to helping me get to where I want to go. It feels amazing.”
Gordon joins a Washington program that’s in the midst of back-to-back 10-win seasons under fourth-year coach Chris Petersen. The Huskies reached the College Football Playoff semifinals last season and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl next week.
“The relationships I’ve built there with the coaches — (there’s) something really strong there,” Gordon told KING 5. “The people in the locker room (are) all one. It’s not selfish, it’s not for one person. The mindset’s the right way. I feel really good about (the Huskies). I just love being there.”
Gordon specifically pointed to the relationship he’s built over the past two years with Washington defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake. The two share a birthday on Dec. 17, which happens to be the same day Gordon committed.
“It was kind of like a birthday present to both of us,” Gordon said.
During Lake’s four-year tenure with the program, the Huskies have produced several NFL defensive backs.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters was a first-round draft pick out of Washington in 2015, and a trio of Huskies defensive backs — Kevin King, Budda Baker and Sidney Jones — were second-round picks in this past spring’s draft.
“That was a big thing for me, because my overall dream is to go to the NFL,” Gordon said. “I stood back and was like, ‘OK, which coach is going to give me the best possible chance to do that and give me the technique (and) everything that you need to go to the NFL?’
“And so in my heart, I felt that Jimmy had that.”
Gordon is coming off a spectacular career at Archbishop Murphy, starring on both sides of the ball while helping the Wildcats win the Class 2A state title last season and reach the state semifinals this year.
The lockdown defensive back intercepted five passes this season and returned one for a touchdown. He also forced three fumbles, including two in the state semifinal against Tumwater.
Gordon primarily played safety on defense this fall, but said he likely will play cornerback in college.
“I’m down to play whatever they need me to play,” he told KING 5, “but corner is definitely my main position.”
Gordon also totaled 1,366 yards and 17 touchdowns on offense this season, averaging 19 yards per touch. The star playmaker had 837 yards receiving and 10 touchdown catches, and rushed for 529 yards and seven scores while averaging 13.6 yards per carry.
Gordon said there’s a chance he also could play offense for the Huskies.
“I’ve talked to the wide receivers coach, and he’d be happy to have me playing wide receiver,” Gordon said. “So if they want me to, I’ll do it.”
Gordon isn’t the only highly regarded local football prospect in recent years to decide between Washington and Notre Dame.
KeiVarae Russell, a 2012 Mariner graduate, narrowed his decision to those two schools before choosing Notre Dame. He played three seasons for the Fighting Irish and now is a cornerback on the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gordon said location wasn’t a major factor in his decision, but acknowledged the benefit of playing close to home.
“It means more support,” he said. “Instead of being the lone wolf at Notre Dame and starting over, I already have all the support that’s here to build me up.”
Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen, a former All-Pac-10 linebacker at Washington, said he’s excited to watch Gordon play in college.
“I’m just proud of him to have worked so hard toward something and to be able to achieve that,” Jensen said. “(I’m) happy for him. He’s a good kid.”