Azeem Victor, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete from Pomona, Calif. recently committed to the Washington…
Is Azeem Victor a Husky? (Updated)
"He just committed to U-Dub," confirmed Pomona Head Coach John Brown to Dawgman.com. "When it first happened, my biggest thing was I didn't think he would de-commit. I thought San Diego State took a leap of faith by offering right away and he was happy…but at the same time we don't tell anyone not to recruit our guys. If you can convince them to go somewhere else…take your shot.
"But I'll tell you what - Washington did a helluva job in changing this kid's mind. They spent a lot of time on the phone with him and where he'll fit in their scheme. I think what probably changed the kid's mind is the way they recruited him. The obvious - the Pac-12 and things like that, big program - but I still think it was the way they recruited him. They got in the home before San Diego State did. They came in full force and slammed the door."
There seem to be a few reasons why Victor was lightly recruited to this point by the Pac-12 schools. For one, he had never played linebacker before until this year, his first year at Pomona. Secondly, he gained roughly 27 pounds this past summer, so he went from being a 6-4, 200-pound light edge rusher to a 6-4, 225-pound terror as a linebacker. According to Mike Victor, Azeem finished the 2012 season with 151 tackles.
"Our main thing when we got him to the 'backer spot after that first game…let's give it a few more games and see how he responds," Brown said. "If he can run and hit there's going to be a lot of people banging on his door. He has everything you're looking for in a kid when it comes to the eyeball test. Size-wise he's a kid that could play six or seven different positions on the field. He can do a lot of things."
Brown has been at Pomona for a long time, so he's seen D1 studs like Jimmy Verdon and Eugene Germany go through the system. "I compare him a lot to Eugene Germany, and that's probably because Eugene came to us as well as a d-lineman," Brown said of Victor. "But we knew he was going to play in the box (linebacker). Also a little bit of Jimmy Verdon as well. Jimmy should have probably been a linebacker for us. He was 6-3, 250 and was playing safety for us. He ended up playing D-Line for Arizona State and then got drafted in the last round by the New Orleans Saints and played inside for them."
So what ultimately swayed Victor from SDSU in UW's favor? Brown has an idea beyond the obvious. "The biggest thing in the recruiting game…I think (Keith) Heyward really recruits this area, but (Victor) is getting recruited by his position coach," he said. "Maybe things have changed in the recruiting game, but unless you're a big-time quarterback usually the guy that recruits the area is the one that does the majority of the recruiting. You usually don't bond with the position coach until you take your recruiting trip. But I think the thing that changed everything is the fact that they actually had his position coach recruiting him.
"They had great home visits with coach Sirmon. I went over there for the home visit as well - that's what we do, we as coaches go in on every home visit to make sure everything goes good and ask the appropriate questions. I'm comfortable with it. I know the family is really comfortable with it. I know Oregon has started to come in and are recruiting him. Like I said - they've got a lot of ground to make up."
So what's to say another school like Oregon won't swoop in at the last moment with an even more attractive situation for Azeem? "I said this about San Diego State…whoever comes in is going to have to make up a lot of ground - so I'm going to stick with that for right now," Brown said. "He changed his mind, but whoever comes in now is going to have to make up a lot of ground. And it better not be the guy that recruits the area; it better be his position coach or a coordinator or someone that carries some stripes."
What does Brown think of Azeem's potential down the road at Washington? "I've told people from the beginning that he'll probably have his hand in the dirt," he said. "I just wanted to make sure he goes somewhere where they have a plan in place for him. I've had guys go places and they've said, 'I can come in and play anywhere'. That's not a plan to me.
"But we'll know in a few years. I think he'll be alright."
Azeem Victor Scout.com Profile
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