Tyrone Willingham Signing Day Quotes

Feb. 2, 2005

Opening remarks:
'As I can imagine this is a much anticipated moment. Not just for you, our fans, but also for myself. Trying to get your first class in place. I claim this class as a first class. I am excited about this group. The things that we went out to do to supplement our football team in terms of character and athletic ability. Those are the two things that you really shoot for: character and athletic ability. Get the young people that are a match for your program. Young people that can do the things athletically that you need to do. I'm usually asked as the coach to rank the class. I can't, I wish I could. I think in the years we'll see how good, but there is no question there are some good football players in this group. I am very confident that it is a very sound group that in time will be a very good group in addition to the young men we already have on campus.'

Can you run down the list of guys and comment on each?
'Tyrone Davis: Interesting that when you look at him size-wise you don't see necessarily a defensive man. What we see is a young man that will grow and has amazing explosiveness. He has shown himself to be energetic and we are excited about that.

Johnny DuRocher: John is coming to us by way of Oregon University. He is a quarterback and I think that he was ranked extremely high when he first came out his freshman year and has done nothing to sour my taste on what he has to offer this football team. I think he will offer us a lot of competitiveness right off the bat and John will be joining us for our spring practice, which is a real plus to have him step in at that time.

Qwenton Freeman: Cornerback from Pasadena City College. Qwenton will give us speed, aggressiveness, and toughness. If I had to say one thing that I look for in a heavy football player is toughness. We want tough guys that can handle the college landscape and the college game.

Chris Handy: Cornerback also. Chris comes to us originally from Nevada. He had a big interception in a ballgame here. We think that he will add some defensive toughness and some athleticism.

J.R. Hasty: I don't think there is much I need to say about J.R. His stats sort of speak for themselves. I think that one thing that jumps out at me and I'll jump down the list to his teammate E.J. Savannah: I think that they had like 50 plus wins and maybe two or three losses. That is a winner. We want guys jumping into the program with that kind of background.

Darrion Jones: Defensive/linebacker for us. He played primarily in high school a defensive man type position. I like his ability to stand on his two feet.

Ben Ossai: Who will be the offensive lineman for us. Hopefully what we found in Ben is the tackle type. It usually takes them some time to develop the skill for a college offensive lineman.

Ryan Perkins: Ryan will be a kicker and I expect him to come in and compete for the kicking position from day one.

E.J. Savannah: I believe that I mentioned him earlier.

Chris Stevens: Kind of a surprise. He's out in Mojave. That isn't a place on most people's circuit. I think that he has some speed and some size. I think that he has excellent growth potential.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: Daniel comes to us from Hawaii. I think that he is an explosive young man that will grow and be an outstanding defensive man for us.

Tim Williams: Something that I feel that we need to add to our program is more physical tightends and I think that he has great potential.

Marlon Wood: Marlon comes to us as a defensive back, but he also has skills as a wide receiver. We are excited about his speed.'

On if the problems that the University of Washington were used against them by other coaches in the recruiting process:
'When have you not seen an opposing coach use that against you? That is part of the business for some and that is part of the segment that we call negative recruiting and yes it is out there. I think that we have some very positive answers for what's out there, but I am quite confident that we did well this year. I think there are some Pac-10 teams that would be on the men that we got this year and some national teams that would be on them. I look for an even better future from our recruiting.'

On working with the limited time for recruiting and was it a blessing that you had few scholarships:
'I think there are two things there. Yes it was a plus because a larger class, some would say, you have to do a better job at evaluating them and some would say with a smaller class, the better the job you have to do. I think the limited number of scholarships was a plus, but I also think that having a football team that returns a lot of people is a plus. If we can go in and create the right synergy I think that we can get some things done.'

On watching film of last year's team and judging talent:
'I did not watch film on last year's Washington team. I watched what was necessary for us to be prepared. I really start watching last year's team after we finish this recruiting. Once we complete that then I will start look at this team and assess all the things that we look forward to. I am always asked that question to judge talent and it is one that as a coach I cannot understand why a coach would answer that question. I say that because whatever is said I have to go back to the locker room and explain what was said. I think from a coaching perspective I would tell our football team that I am a firm believer that you have to have talent and the more talent we have the more talented we can be. But I am a firm believer that it is not necessarily the most talented team that wins, but it is the team that plays the best. Usually talented teams do play better. At the same time I want our football team to focus on being the best team that Saturday afternoon. If we can do that 11 or 12 times it takes us where we want to go. My focus is on what we have and making it the best it can be.'

On trying to get the best 13 guys:
' I looked at it as trying to match up positions. I think there were some things within this class that we needed some help on, and some places we felt like we got some clear answers, and some other places we could still use some help on. One of those places is we need a breakaway receiver, somebody who can really stretch the football field. I think with the young man Marlon Wood we've got someone who can add some speed and breakaway, but I don't know if I have enough of that yet, so I think we could get some more. That would be something that we try to create within the structure of our football team. Maybe there is someone that can help us along those lines. We want to try to solve some problems, provide some remedies for situations that we think are hurting us.'

On what impressed you about the character of J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah aside from football:
'Even if you take the football portion out of it you're still talking about young men who are winners. I still think that shows through on a lot of the things they do, how their community and how their schools are responding to them as people. It's not just about football but about how they walk and talk and how they do other things.'

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