BURIEN — Sure, they had other reasons.
Tyrone Willingham's straight talk. Jake Locker's quick feet. Washington's football legacy.
But as three of Seattle's highest-profile recruits held a joint news conference Wednesday morning at Kennedy High School to announce they had signed with UW, their most significant reasons for becoming Huskies surrounded them.
About 20 family members, most with cameras in hand, filled the room around O'Dea running back Johri Fogerson, Rainier Beach lineman Alameda Ta'amu and Kennedy lineman Everrette Thompson. They represented one reason so many of the area's top prospects chose the UW this year: a chance to stay close at home.
"Family plays a big role in my life," said Thompson, a lineman rated as high as No. 2 in the state. "That was the pulling factor for me. Why leave something that's good?"
If the three didn't develop carpal tunnel from pretending to sign the papers for three minutes — they actually signed and faxed their papers first thing in the morning — partial blindness was a possibility.
They posed for pictures as if it were a wedding — with different combinations of coaches, parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins. And a half-hour later, after most of the cameras had been put away, they pointed to their families as the main reason they wanted to be Huskies.
"The people who helped me get to the level I'm at now," said Ta'amu, a Parade All-American. "I want them to be able to watch me play. That's important to me."
Wednesday brought relief. Each of the three committed to the UW by Christmas, but that didn't put a halt to recruiters' calls.
"Actually, I think they started calling a little bit more," Thompson said.