West Salem quarterback Brett Smith broke onto the national recruiting scene with an impressive junior campaign. Then again, 2,431 total yards of offense and 29 touchdowns is sure to garner some attention. One school that took notice of the 6-foot-3, 190-pound gunslinger's talents was the University of Washington. The Huskies have been in constant contact with Smith which included a recent visit to his school to watch him workout.
"Coach Doug Nussmeier just came to my school yesterday and watched me throw," explained Smith. "It was a lot of fun and we ran a bit of everything. I threw all of the routes from under center and also from shotgun. Then we talked about the quarterback situation at Washington, what the depth chart looks like and what their plans are for the future."
Although the Huskies have yet to offer, their interest is certainly high. With the recent news of Ronnie Fouch's departure from the program, the need for one and possibly two quarterbacks for 2011 has become even more important.
"I actually asked him if they planned on taking two quarterbacks in the 2011 class and he said they didn't know yet and had to see how things played out."
However, the Dawgs already have a top notch quarterback with a famous last name arriving on campus this spring. Will the arrival of Nick Montana on Montlake deter Smith from picking UW?
"Having Montana at UW won't change anything for me," Smith said. "The one thing about me is that I'm a competitor in everything I do. I love to compete whether it's playing video games, playing pool or playing football. I just want to be at a place where I can become a better quarterback and a better person. I also want big things from my team like championships. I think it would be a great opportunity to compete with a player as good as Montana. I have watched film of him and he's really talented and it will only make me better to compete with him."
First thing is first and Smith is still waiting for that initial offer. But Smith isn't worried and from most people's perspective it's only a matter of when and not if.
"Coach Nussmeier explained to me that quarterback is a premium position and they can't just throw around offers," Smith explained. "I understand that because coaches jobs are on the line and they need to get the right players. They need to know about how a player is in the classroom and the community and not just on the field. But I'm not worried about it because I'm having fun going through the recruiting process and looking at schools. It's in God's hands and he has a plan for me so I'm just going to enjoy the experience."
And Smith is willing to wait and see what the Huskies have in store for him. Although it's far too early for him to form a list of leaders, Washington clearly holds a spot near the top for his services.
"I don't have a set list yet but Washington is certainly near the top," he said. "It's hard right now without an offer to make a favorites list, but UW is up there because I grew up watching the program and know what they are capable of. Besides UW; Oregon, Cal, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Colorado are recruiting me the hardest and I'm interested in them all."
It's easy to see whey they are all interested in Smith. Along with eye popping junior stats that including throwing 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions, completing 63 percent of his passes and averaging over nine yards per carry on the ground, Smith also showed very well at the US Army Combine in San Antonio Texas on January 6th. He was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.72, lifted 185 pounds 14 times and measured 31" in the vertical jump.
The combine not only gave Smith an opportunity to show off his skills, but to also develop a newfound relationship with local standout and fellow UW target Kasen Williams. The two have become friends and Smith admits he would love to throw passes to Williams at the next level.
"I met Kasen on an official visit to Oregon. But I have known about him since he was a freshman because I followed Jake Heaps career and recruitment. I heard about this impressive receiver getting lots of offers after only his freshman season. When I watched him I was blown away by his athleticism, his wheels and his ability to run routes. Then I saw him at the combine in San Antonio and we talked a bunch more about recruiting and other things besides football. He's such a cool guy, and a lot of big-time players like him with so many offers have a big head. But not Kasen, he's a humble guy with a good head on his shoulders. I wouldn't mind throwing him the ball in college."
But Williams isn't the only player from the Evergreen State that Smith admires.
"Jake Locker is by far my favorite player in college football," said Smith. "I model my game after him a bit, but I also model it after a bunch of other quarterbacks. That is what you need because you won't always do everything naturally and you have to learn as much as you can."
Learning as a quarterback is probably the thing that attracts Smith the Washington most. With coaches like Nussmeier and Steve Sarkisian in place, Smith sees an opportunity to reach his potential.
"The coaching staff is the most important thing I'm looking at. I want a staff that is not just focused on football but also making me a better person. I want them to not just care about getting players into the NFL, but ones who I can build a relationship with both on and off the field. I also value education because someday football will end. But in the end it really is about football and I want a staff who wants to and knows how to win championships. A big part of that is recruiting and I pay attention to the types of classes coaches are capable of brining in. I want to play with talented players who have the ability to do special things.
I can see past their record because of the success Sark had at USC with quarterbacks and his offense. I DVR all of the Husky games and have watched him in his press conferences and he's just such a cool guy. So is Nick Holt, they are both such fun and fired up coaches who make you want to play. Players are attracted to that energy and what they are doing for the program. So, even if Washington doesn't go out and win 10 games next season, I can see past it because of the coaches who are in place and the job they are doing with recruiting.
I also think their experience can give them an edge in recruiting. It's attractive to me that they have had so much success at other players and that Sark has put so many quarterbacks into the pros and that Nussmeier also had such great success as both a player and a coach. To play for a couple of coaches like that would be big."
Smith will be a fun player to watch in the future and expect big things from him as a senior. He will be in town on January 30th for Husky Junior Day and UDUBsports.com will catch up with the talented quarterback to see if that first offer will follow his visit.