Jimmy Lake (center) was named Washington’s new head football coach after Chris Petersen announced he was stepping down. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Jimmy Lake (center) was named Washington’s new head football coach after Chris Petersen announced he was stepping down. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Petersen’s departure not affecting UW recruiting

A number of 2020 recruits have reaffirmed their commitments to the Huskies and new coach Jimmy Lake.

Chris Petersen shocked the college football world last week by announcing he was stepping down as head coach at the University of Washington.

The school moved quickly to replace him, hiring defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake to take over the program.

One of the things Petersen was known for during his six seasons at Washington was his ability to recruit. The classes Petersen signed the past two years are two of the best in school history, according to 247 Sports. The Huskies’ 2018 class ranked No. 16 nationally, and their 2019 class came in at No. 15.

At the time of his resignation, Petersen appeared well on his way toward building two more stellar recruiting classes, including verbal commitments from a pair of five-star prospects from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, linebacker Sav’ell Smalls (2020) and quarterback Sam Huard (2021).

Washington’s current recruiting class is ranked 16th in the country by 247 Sports heading into the early signing period, which opens next Wednesday and runs through Dec. 20.

But will that number hold up in the wake of Petersen’s departure? Will any of the 21 high school seniors who have verbally committed to the Huskies rethink their decisions?

Mark Redman doesn’t think so.

Redman is a four-star tight end from Corona Del Mar High School in Southern California. Both he and teammate Ethan Garbers, a four-star quarterback, are UW commits.

“I haven’t (heard of any decommits), I believe everyone is confident in the change and (I) hope it stays that way for the 2020 class,” Redman said.

As of Wednesday, none of the 21 players committed to the UW had publicly decommitted since Petersen’s resignation. In fact, several reaffirmed their loyalty to Lake and the UW on social media. Many of them received in-home visits from Lake and a few position coaches not long after the coaching change was announced, and posted pictures with their “future coaches” on social media.

Four-star wide receiver Jalen McMillan out of San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, California, caused an online stir when he took “University of Washington commit” out of his description on both Twitter and Instagram. A few hours later, he tweeted, “They trippin’ if they think I’m leaving! GO DAWGS.”

After a coaching change — especially one of this magnitude — it’s not uncommon for players to waiver in their commitments. Redman suggested that hasn’t happened at Washington, in part, because of Lake.

“As you hear more from Coach Lake, he has that more aggressive side to him,” Redman said, “so I think he will bring a bit more (energy) to everything we do, which will be awesome.”

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