By David Krueger Herald Writer
A ripple effect of Steve Sarkisian’s departure from the University of Washington for USC has trickled down to Marysville Pilchuck.
Less than two weeks after committing to the Huskies, four-star recruit Austin Joyner said that the head coach’s departure has definitely impacted his commitment to Washington.
“It’s murky right now,” Joyner said. “I’m not making any decisions at the moment. We’ll let it all play out and see what happens.”
The junior, who was recently named The Herald’s Offensive Player of the Year, was excited to attend Washington upon his graduation.
A big reason for that excitement was due to Sarkisian.
“It’s a very huge part of why I was going there,” Joyner said. “I’m not really sure what I’m going to do yet. It’s too early to tell. It depends on who the new coach is. … Now everything depends on who gets fired and hired on the Washington staff, so my commitment is shaky right now.”
A verbal commitment is non-binding. Players can’t officially sign with schools until their senior year.
Joyner is the No. 3 recruit in Washington state and the No. 11 running back in the country for the Class of 2015, according to ESPN.com. He rushed for 1,521 yards and 21 touchdowns this past season and has ran for over 3,800 yards in his Marysville Pilchuck career.
Sarkisian and Washington were the first to offer Joyner a scholarship during his sophomore year. He was also being recruited by other Pacific-12 schools including Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State.
The running back talked to Sarkisian a few days ago and said there was no reason to believe the coach was thinking about leaving Washington
“I was really surprised,” Joyner said. “You wouldn’t be able to tell. I was talking to him a few days back and there were no signs he was going to leave. I was kind of blindsided. It came out of nowhere.”
Joyner said now he’s going to wait and see who Washington hires to replace Sarkisian and how the rest of the Huskies’ coaching staff shakes out.
He added he is not automatically following Sarkisian to USC.
“That’s not how I think,” Joyner said. “Just because the head coach goes there, doesn’t mean I automatically think of going to USC.”