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Friday, April 7, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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UW Football Notes: JC transfers ready to help out

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Washington Huskies' decision to give a scholarship to Danny Morovick wasn't a snap decision.

The Huskies needed a deep snapper; and, for the first time in recent memory, they went out and got a guy who does virtually nothing else.

As a junior at Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School, Morovick took a liking to deep snapping. And though he had been a quarterback as a sophomore for a program that is a perennial Southern California power, he soon decided snapping was all he wanted to do. He figured specializing was the best route to a college scholarship.

Morovick said coaches would ask him if he wanted to play an offensive or defensive position, and he'd say, "I'm fine doing just this."

Though he was rated by one Web site as one of the 12 best deep snappers in the country, he didn't get the scholarship offers he wanted as a senior. So he headed to Saddleback (Calif.) Community College. Once there, he decided not to play football his first year, waiting to see if an offer would come. Finally, one did, from the Huskies, who had offered him a chance to walk on the year before.

Now, six practices into his first spring with the Huskies, he appears on his way to solving what has been a problem position for UW far too often in recent seasons.

"His talents are very obvious right off the bat," said Washington coach Tyrone Willingham. "They don't change from place to place. If you can snap it at one place, you can probably snap it at another place."

Morovick, slated to handle all snaps, is one of seven junior-college transfers Washington signed this year — the most in at least a decade and possibly the most in school history.

It was an indication that the Huskies were looking for immediate help after going 3-19 the last two seasons.

Four transfers are already practicing with the Huskies — Morovick, cornerback Jordan Murchison, safety Jason Wells and defensive end Anthony Atkins.

Three more are scheduled to arrive in the fall, including the two who are the most touted of the group: safety Ashlee Palmer and receiver Marcel Reece. Palmer committed to Oregon briefly and also was set to enroll at Nebraska at one point before academic problems got in the way. He's in town taking classes at a local community college and has watched several UW spring practices.

Also due in the fall is offensive lineman Aaron Mason.

"It's just the way it fell and what was available that we felt would benefit our team," Willingham said of the number of JC recruits.

Defensive coordinator Kent Baer said Murchison, Wells and Atkins "have all shown signs that they can help our team next year." All are still working as backups.

Schools sometimes are reluctant to sign too many JC players, who often carry a stigma as academic risks. But not all of Washington's JC signees went that route for those reasons.

Morovick, Murchison and Wells were all academic qualifiers out of high school. Morovick, who has four years of eligibility left, and Wells, who has three, each went to JCs in an attempt to get better offers. Murchison, an Oakland native, injured a knee three games into his senior season of high school and saw most of his offers disappear. Most of the interest returned after he went to City College of San Francisco and proved he was healthy.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Willingham said free safety Dashon Goldson is getting a serious look at cornerback and could see significant time there this season. If Goldson were to move, Willingham said Mesphin Forrester, a sophomore who made one tackle in four games last year, would have the edge at taking over the starting spot at free safety. Palmer also could figure in the safety mix in the fall.

Baer said Forrester "can run; he's got some range."

Roy Lewis is running as the other No. 1 cornerback right now.

Willingham also said the switch of Juan Garcia from center to guard and Clay Walker from guard to center is fairly permanent. Walker started four games at guard last year and was listed there to start the spring, with Garcia at center. But Willingham said he had planned to try Walker at center and Garcia at guard, and that look appears to have stuck.

Notes

• If the Huskies played a game today, Willingham said Louis Rankin would be the starting tailback, followed by Kenny James and J.R. Hasty.

"But all those guys would probably get some activity," the coach said.

• There's no doubt Morovick has the lineage. Morovick's father, Dan, played safety at USC and was a member of the school's 1978 national-title team. His stepfather, Terry Giblin, played football at Wake Forest.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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