Composure key for early enrollees

SEATTLE -- When recruits make the decision to enroll early, they face a tough task.

They make a quick transition from high school to college. They trade weightlifting sessions with high school teammates for training time with players who have spent years in the system.

They go from living at home to taking care of themselves. And then, right when they start to develop a routine, spring practice starts.

“For the guys that enroll early, they don’t get that summer to get acclimated with the campus and college life and used to living on their own,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “They jump on campus and, bang, they’re plopped right into classes with every other kid on campus. They’re going to workouts with our veterans right off the start. And then they get thrown into spring practice.”

This is the challenge Washington freshmen Troy Williams and Trevor Walker face this week.

The four-star quarterback out of Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne and the three-star safety from Arlington (Texas) Mansfield Timberview started their college careers in January when they enrolled at the university. Now, after two months in Seattle, the two prospects are practicing with the Huskies.

When asked about what the freshmen face this week, Sarkisian said the biggest challenge is finding a way to keep from getting too “wide-eyed.”

“For Troy and Trevor, I would just like to see them stay composed, keep their competitive nature and not be too hard on themselves,” Sarkisian said. “They’re going to have some ups and downs in the spring. That’s all part of it.”

Williams and Walker didn’t enroll early to stand on the sidelines and watch. The recruits want to find ways to contribute early in their careers.

As a safety, Walker fills a position of need for the Huskies and will get a chance to earn a spot to play in his first season.

“He’s a natural guy who is going to have some opportunities,” Sarkisian said. “That’s why he chose to come here, for the opportunities at that position.”

Williams will be thrust directly into a quarterback competition, one of several players who will get the chance to push senior Keith Price.

The goal is for the competition in the spring and fall to get Price to the point where he can regain his sophomore form. But Williams will get his share of snaps in spring practice and fall camp.

Back in 2010, running backs Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier enrolled early. Then in 2011, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins decided to get a head start on his college career. After watching those players go through the experience, Sarkisian said he wants to see the freshmen maintain their composure through the good and bad.

“They’re going to have some really flashy, high-flying plays that we’re all going to want to talk about and then they’re going to have some rough days where they aren’t at their best,” Sarkisian said.

“That’s all part of the process.”