By David Krueger Herald Writer
Austin Joyner is staying in Washington.
The Marysville Pilchuck star running back verbally committed to play football at the University of Washington Tuesday night, announcing his decision in a tweet.
“May seem early. But feels right! Made my decision to become a Dawg tonight! Couldn’t be more happy with my choice! #Udub #Commit #DawgNation,” Joyner tweeted.
May seem early. But feels right! Made my decision to become a Dawg tonight! Couldn’t be more happy with my choice! #Udub #Commit #DawgNationJoyner is the No. 3 recruit in the state for the Class of 2015 according to ESPN.com and the No. 11 running back in the country. The four-star athlete is also a star defensive back for the Tomahawks, who have made two consecutive trips to the state tournament.
— Austin (@Awstin_joynaaa) November 20, 2013
After rushing for over 2,000 yards his sophomore season, Joyner had 100 carries for 1,521 yards and 21 touchdowns in his junior campaign.
For a look at Joyner’s 2013 highlights, click here.
The numbers were enough to draw the attention of the Washington coaches, who were quick to offer Joyner. During his sophomore season, the Huskies were the first team to offer Joyner a scholarship, which was another major factor in his decision.
“It’s definitely the coaching staff,” Joyner said. “Everybody really did their part in recruiting me. Everyone showed that they really wanted me there that they cared. It’s a different experience when I go there than when I go to other places.
“…They were the first. That was another thing that stood out for me.”
It seems that both the offense and defensive coaches at Washington want Joyner on their side.
“We talked about that on the phone. They’re still not sure where I’m going to play,” Joyner said. “They’re still arguing over what side of the ball.”
Joyner said that the decision will be his, and even he’s not sure yet what position he’d prefer.
“Career-wise, I would want to play corner because they last longer,” Joyner said. “But I like running back. I think I like running back more than corner. It’s a tough decision.”
Verbal commitments are non-binding. An athlete can’t officially sign until the February of their senior year.
However, the junior visited the school and each time said that “there was something that made me think: ‘I just want to go here. I just want to go to this school,’ ” Some of those things included new locker room facilities and a stadium upgrade.
Joyner selected Washington over other Pacific-12 schools such as Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State. He said that his early commitment was in part because he was sure he wanted to be a Husky and also to help the program lure other potential top recruits.
“I’m 100 percent sure I’m going to go there. I’ve been thinking that for a while,” Joyner said. “I’ve been thinking, ‘Is this where I really want to go? It is. It seems right.’ There are other people that have offers from Washington too, and if they see that I’ve committed, maybe they’ll think, ‘I’ll want to go there too.’”