Azeem Victor (FoxSportsNEXT.com)
It was a family affair this weekend for the Victors as they left Pomona, Calif. for a packed 48 hours in the Emerald City. Azeem Victor, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker, his father Mike and his grandmother took in the sights, saw Seattle and the University of Washington, and couldn't have been more impressed with their UW official visit experience.
"It was great, I loved it," Azeem told Dawgman.com Sunday night. "It was something I've never seen before, so it was a cool experience for me."
"They try and kill you up there, man," added Mike when asked about UW's jam-packed 48-hour official visit. "It's non-stop. I think…maybe we had an hour break at some point, maybe and hour-and-a-half cumulative during the course of the whole day. There's always something going on."
According to Azeem, the UW coaches told him to expect to have some fun. "They told me to enjoy the visit, because once I get up there it's going to be work," he said. "I understand that."
So what was the visit like? "We got there Thursday night and we didn't do anything," Azeem said. "We just sat in the hotel room. Friday we woke up and had breakfast and then went to the school. We saw Paccar Hall and the HUB. Me and coach (Peter) Sirmon drove around for a little bit, we went to go see the stadium just me and him. Saturday we did a lot of the same things because some of the recruits came in late. They wanted the school tour too. And then we went to see the track meet a little bit. We hung out with our hosts too."
Dad and grandmother also took part in the tours, especially the ones that involved academics. According to Mike, that was most of UW's presentations - and he was suitably impressed. "To start, I think it exceeded…I know it exceeded my mother's expectations," he said. "She didn't necessarily know what to expect, but it definitely exceeded her expectations. Some of the stuff, I think they…you know what, and to be real honest? I hope I'm saying this right, but I think they undersell the University of Washington. From a support standpoint, there's a lot more…it's much more layered than meets the eye or when you initially talk about it.
"They invested $15 million in a diversity center…nowhere in America to they do that. At some schools you have to fight just to get a multi-cultural dormitory. For somebody to go out and spend $15 million? Come on man. That's a lot of money. That was impressive.
"There were 10 professors in yesterday morning's session, and that's their day off. And what they said was uniform. That says a lot when you can get 10 full-time professors to show up on a Saturday for the athletes. That says a lot. And the same thing with Paccar Hall…they had three people there that had a clear, concise number on how many student-athletes they had…I mean they were able to rattle off everything. There was no fluff in anything they were saying. I think Sark (Steve Sarkisian) and everyone undersold everything to me. Seeing it first-hand, it's a lot. And it's much more detailed than I initially thought.
"I'm beyond reasonably comfortable that Azeem is going to get his degree, I'm beyond that. I'm certifiably comfortable that if he does what he's supposed to do he's going to get his degree. I already knew the city was fly as hell, but the whole support system there - phenomenal. From Mrs. (Gertrude) Peoples to Abner (Thomas), to all the way through…the whole nine."
Azeem's UW player host was fellow linebacker Cory Littleton. "He likes it, and he was telling me that I'm going to enjoy myself," Azeem said when asked about the talks he had with Cory. "He said it's fun but it's hard work at the same time. So that helps me understanding, because I know I have to go in there prepared."
The weather caught some of the prospects off guard, but not Azeem. "I kind of like the cold," he said. "It's better than the heat. I can deal with it."
"The first day was hard, the first day was a little cold - but then it became commonplace," added Mike. "It's only 10 degrees warmer right here (in Pomona) now."
Victor, who is currently committed to Washington, was there at the same time as five other commits - David Ajamu, Cameron Van Winkle, Andrew Basham, Lavon Coleman and Andrew Kirkland. "Those guys were cool," he said when asked about hanging out with his future teammates. "They are some cool people. I ended up staying in David's hotel room. Me and Lavon Coleman were hanging out…we were all hanging out together. Our hosts separated us but we all ended up coming back together so it was pretty cool to get to be with everybody."
Sirmon is not only Victor's recruiting coach, but he'll be his position coach in college. What did they talk about? "We mostly talked about expectations once I get there, what he expects from me," Azeem said. "Coach Sirmon is my guy. I really like him. He's a cool person and I believe he's a really good coach and he can take me somewhere far."
Victor also talked about the time he spent with FoxSportsNEXT.com's number one middle linebacker, Reuben Foster, who also officially visited Washington this weekend. "I was with Reuben Foster and the other guys from down there…I was with the linemen," he said. "They were all down to earth and it was cool to hang out with them. I had a fun time. I enjoyed myself and I'm sure everyone else did."
Foster is considered the nation's top middle linebacker, and Azeem is coming in to get a shot in the middle as well. "There's always going to be competition but I think we pretty much understand," said Victor. "Once I get there I know what position I'm actually going to be playing. But it doesn't matter. I just want to play and I'm going to work my butt off to start and stay there."
Azeem also had some words for Husky Stadium. "Oh man, it was amazing," he said. "It was something I've never seen before. And it's crazy because our stadium is bigger than the Seahawks Stadium (CenturyLink Field). I think it's better. It's crazy that they are digging the field down so that the fans can be over the top of us."
And then there's the city of Seattle. Mike Victor earlier said only a degenerate fool would think Seattle is not dope. "When I saw it before I saw it in passing, coming and going," he added. "But to sit down for a couple of days and get to see the whole thing? Come on, man. You know what it is? It's Los Angeles, in a sense, but it's very clean. It's a very clean city. You look across the water, and…it's not LA, because LA comes off a little dusty because of the air quality and all that stuff - but that place is clean."
"It kind of a weird place in that it's hard to remember where you're going," Azeem added with a chuckle. "It's weird."
When asked from 1 to 10 how he rated his official visit, Victor was clear in his assessment. "I'd say 11."
Azeem isn't done visiting Seattle and UW before signing day. "I'm going to be doing school, working out - and then I'm actually going to be taking another trip with John Ross (to Seattle) on February 1st," he said. "I just want to come back on my own and be with the guys again and more of a feel for it."
He added that he was unsure if there were going to be recruits in that weekend.
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