Will Georgia, Alabama Shut Down Washington's Momentum in Race for Reuben Foster?

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 14, 2013

Sep 15, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian waits in the tunnel with the players prior to the Washington Huskies introduction during the game between the Washington Huskies and the Portland State Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Both Georgia and Alabama have a lot of ground to make up in regards to the recruitment of 5-star inside linebacker Reuben Foster.

As it stands, it looks like Steve Sarkisian and his staff really impressed the elite recruit during his official visit to Washington.

The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide will both have their chance to have official visits with Foster, but they'll have a lot of work to do if they want to shut down any of the momentum that Washington gained from this last trip.

The 5-star athlete shared his feelings about the Huskies with Kipp Adams of ESPN.com:

They have a very high percentage of getting me on signing day. That is how much I like them.

I spoke to Coach [Tosh] Lupoi throughout the trip and Coach [Steve] Sarkisian some, and it was a chance for us to bond even more. The relationship I have with them is amazing. They come to my school and hit me up, it is just crazy.

Foster goes on to explain how Washington set itself apart, per Adams:

With most staffs, they always say they want me, but only two staffs have really let me know they need me. Auburn did that before, and Washington did that too, during my official. I talked one on one with Coach Lupoi about how I could grow up there and just the ups and downs of life. Coach Sark showed me how many linebackers they had and how they would use me. He really showed me that I was needed, not just wanted.

At this point, it's safe to consider Washington a serious contender for Foster's commitment. 

He also talked about how much he enjoyed Seattle (per Adams), so any geographical advantage Georgia or Alabama could have had looks to be null and void.

Need versus want seems to be a huge sticking point with many elite recruits, and in this case, Washington's deficiencies on the field—at least when compared to Alabama and Georgia—may be actually be helpful.

Does Nick Saban need Foster to be successful? The answer to that question is a rather obvious no. The same could be said for Mark Richt and the Bulldogs—although to a lesser extent.

Those two programs are elite enough to be able to go on and compete despite the absence of a recruit like Foster in their lineup. Actually, they're elite enough to go out and find another player of Foster's caliber.

Frankly, Washington doesn't have that luxury. Losing out on Foster's commitment would be a monumental loss for Sarkisian and his program. The very fact that the Huskies are in the running for a 5-star linebacker from an SEC-first region should be a huge deal.

For Georgia and Alabama, it's just another day on the recruiting trail.

Remember, Foster is a player who's used to being the best. He's used to being the star player, and he's used to being needed. He could go to Washington and be the marquee player for the program.

Conversely, he could go to Georgia or Alabama and be just another great player on a very long list of great players. In fact, at Alabama, he'd be overshadowed by the popularity of the coach.

Call it what you will, but some athletes just feel more comfortable being "the guy" and having everything ride on their shoulders. Also, it's not as if Washington is some unknown school with zero draw or potential—the Huskies' program has a lot to offer Foster.

The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will have their chance in the coming weeks, and I don't doubt either program's ability to land elite recruits (don't count out Auburn either, but they don't have an official visit planned, yet).

One would be naive not to acknowledge the major swing in momentum that seems to be favoring Washington though.

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