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Huskies’ makeup changing

Players look to turn around hometown team

SEATTLE – If the Washington Huskies are going to get back on the national map in college football, it’s likely that they’ll do so with national recruits.

New Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian’s first recruiting class included 18 players, and only two of them were from Washington. While eight of the 16 verbal commitments for the class of 2010 are from this state, most of the top prospects from that group are from California and Oregon. Sarkisian’s best ties are in Southern California, which is considered one of the prime hotbeds of prep talent in the nation.

But an ever-dwindling group of current Huskies who grew up in driving distance of the UW campus are doing everything they can to bring their hometown team back to prominence.

“For all the local guys, we want to represent as the top school in our state,” said junior safety Nate Williams, a graduate of Seattle’s Kennedy High School. “We want to work harder to get us back to where this program was in the ’90s.”

The Huskies’ projected 22-man starting lineup includes 13 players from the state and 10 from the Seattle area. That number is likely to dwindle over time, should the Sarkisian era prove to be successful.

“We grew up in Washington, watching these guys over the years,” said sophomore defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, who went to Seattle’s Rainier Beach High. “We want to get back on that map and get back to winning national championships.”

•After seeing his first-team units for an extended period of time in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, Sarkisian has a better idea of what to expect from his Huskies.

“What I like about them is they keep getting better,” Sarkisian said after the scrimmage at Husky Stadium. “That’s what you hope for. You never want them to take a step back.”

Quarterback Jake Locker led two long touchdown drives, culminating one with a scoring pass to Jermaine Kearse, to give Sarkisian optimism as the team begins the final week of training camp.