Marysville Pilchuck’s Austin Joyner says he’ll play for Huskies

Austin Joyner’s college commitment has come full circle: he’s going to be a Husky.

Joyner, who committed — and subsequently decommitted — from both the University of Washington and Washington State during his recruitment, recommitted to the University of Washington during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl Sunday night.

Joyner chose a UW hat from a bag and placed it on his head as he made the announcement.

“I’m taking my talents to the Huskies,” Joyner said on the broadcast. “Go Dawgs.”

Joyner originally committed to Washington on Nov. 19, 2013, but decommitted a few weeks later when former head coach Steve Sarkisian departed for USC and Chris Petersen took over the Huskies. In mid-April 2014, Joyner committed to WSU, but once again reopened his commitment on Dec. 2 after the Cougars fired defensive coordinator Mike Breske, who had been one of Joyner’s main recruiters.

This time, the senior is hoping the commitment sticks.

“It’s close to home, my family can come out and watch me, everybody I grew up with can support me still — it’s 40 minutes away from where I live,” Joyner said in an interview on television. “It’s just nice. Everything about it.”

Joyner verbally committed during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, California. Joyner was selected to play on the West team in the game, which honors some of the top high school players in the nation. Joyner’s West squad fell to the East 24-3, with Joyner making several tackles on defense.

“I know he was really looking forward to this and getting to compete against some of the best in the nation — with himself being among the best in the nation,” said Marysville Pilchuck head coach Brandon Carson via phone from the Semper Fidelis Bowl. “He did a great job playing corner.”

Washington, along with Washington State and Boise State, were the final three schools Joyner was considering. Verbal commitments are non-binding. An athlete cannot sign a letter of intent until February of his senior year.

“I would’ve been happy for him with any school he went to,” Carson said. “I said this way back when: ‘Whoever gets him is going to be happy.’ I’m glad he’s going to stay close and I can watch him in person a few times.”

As a senior, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Joyner ran for 1,768 yards and 32 touchdowns on 133 carries. He was named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year, selected as The Herald Offensive Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons and helped lead the Tomahawks to the semifinals of the 3A state tournament in his final season at Marysville Pilchuck.

Joyner, a four-star recruit, is ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in Washington and No. 29 in the nation by Scout.com and is the No. 1 recruit in Washington state according to ESPN.com. He’s the No. 9 cornerback according to Rivals.com.

Carson said Joyner is the type of player who could be an impact player for the Huskies as soon as he gets to Montlake.

“I’m sure the coaches have plans for if he could compete right away. Of course I’m biased, but I think he can contribute in one way, shape or form next year,” Carson said. “I think he’s darn good and super competitive.

“I think the sky is the limit for him at U-Dub.”

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