Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Huskies lose offensive guard Porter for his career ; O-line is in shambles

By Kshell

This wasn't supposed to happen this not way. At least not now but the Washington Huskies found out that two year starter offensive guard Colin Porter is going to be forced to retire. This is a huge blow to the Huskies program as Porter has started 19 games already and had emerged as the Huskies top guard the last two seasons. With left tackle Senio Kelemete graduating, Erik Kohler recovering from injuries now working with the second team and Colin Tanigawa still recovering from an ACL injury as his season appears in jeopardy the news of Porter is especially devastating. For Porter he had a bright future as many expected him to play in the NFL someday so this is just a tragic blow to him. For the Huskies their offensive line was set to return four starters but as of right now only one starter remains in center Drew Schaefer. For Steve Sarkisian entering his fourth season his offensive line is such a mess he might not even be able to hold a spring game.

Losing Porter hurts because he was a local standout recruit who was playing great. Porter coming out of Bothell High School was the 9th rated guard in the nation and a 4 star recruit. He started in the middle of his true freshman season against the Oregon State Beavers. He since started every game to end the year and was the key guard pulling on the Chris Polk's game winner against Cal and a crucial 4th and 1 against the Cougars in the Apple Cup. In that same class Sarkisian signed Tanigawa who was only a two star recruit but emerged as a starter last year as a redshirt freshman. He started the first 11 games before getting injured against the Oregon State Beavers tearing his ACL. On paper last year the Huskies appeared set at the guard position since Porter was a sophomore and Tanigawa was a freshman. In 2010 Sarkisian signed seven offensive lineman including three four star recruits. Which is why so many excused Sarkisian in 2011 for signing only two offensive lineman as he had two five star recruits in his backyard to snatch up for 2012.

In 2012 Sarkisian once again failed on the offensive line. He missed out on Joshua Garnett the #3 guard in the nation and 5 star recruit who was from Puyallup, Washington as he went to conference foe Stanford Cardinal. He lost out on Zach Banner the 13th rated tackle in the nation and 4 star recruit from Lakes High School out of Lakewood, Washington. He also lost out on Walker Williams the 40th ranked guard in the country who is a 3 star recruit from Tacoma Baptist high school in Tacoma, Washington. This year Sarkisian did sign five offensive lineman but only three are three star recruits. Since that terrific 2010 class Sarkisian has brought in just seven offensive lineman which has had zero four star recruits and four three stars. Due to Sarkisian not recruiting the offensive line hard enough especially in his own backyard he'll have to play true freshman on his offensive line yet again. In year two when he was playing walk-ons and true freshman it was excused as that should Tyrone Willingham didn't recruit offensive lineman very well but in year four that shows Sarkisian isn't either.

Sarkisian is starting to look more and more like Rick Neuheisel without the Rose Bowl win. If Sarkisian fails at Washington revisionist history will say he didn't understand Washington culture, didn't recruit lineman, didn't keep a fence around the state and always had one foot out the door anyways much like they say bout Neuheisel. Losing a sophomore who had two years of eligibility for his career and a freshman who has three years left for possibly this season is a huge blow for any coach. Still had Sarkisian kept on recruiting lineman heavy like he did in 2010(signed 7 that year, signed only 8 the other three years combined) this wouldn't be such a problem. Injuries are a sad part of the game and Sarkisian in year four has been exposed as a coach who like Neuheisel is into the skill players but not the guys who truly win football games. Sarkisian ignoring the offensive line which is a trademark of great Husky football could be his undoing at Montlake.

When bad stories break there is always something positive to take from it. In this case there is no positive as Porter who had a bright future and was hoping that future would lead him to the NFL was tragically taken away from him. He was a warrior and a good Husky to come in fighting through injuries for two years and step in right away from high school to start is incredible. Hopefully that 2010 class of Micah Hatchie, Ben Rivera and James Atoe can fill the void. Had Sarkisian landed the two main guys in his backyard this past recruiting season this wouldn't be such a devastating blow. For Porter this is a horrible day while for Husky football this is a huge blow. Still in year four for Sarkisian there will be no such thing as excuses. Hopefully this next recruiting season Sarkisian will finally realize how important the offensive line position is and start recruiting it hard like he did back in 2010.

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