For heaven's sake, why do we continue to resist it? Seriously, people! This is bigger than the Iowa caucuses. It is bigger than the Pro Bowl. Dare I say it? It is bigger than the College World Series.
Yup, its that big, folks.
Official Updates: GoHuskies.com
Chris Petersen Press Conference: Wed, 1pm PT, GoHuskies.com
Player and Coach Availability: To Be Announced
I'm speaking, obviously, of National Signing Day. That one day in the year where high school seniors lucky enough to earn a scholarship offer from a college of their liking are exalted by their fanbase as the next Julius Peppers, Barry Sanders and Andrew Luck all rolled into one. Where everybody has upside and more than a few are labeled as "steals". To borrow an immortal line from the incomparable Garrison Keillor (incidentally, can words be considered truly immortal if their source is not yet deceased? I wonder), "That's the news from National Signing Day where every lineman is strong, every quaterback good-looking and every linebacker above average."
It's a wonder that it isn't yet a national holiday.
The Washington Huskies are expected to sign a highly-regarded if somewhat small recruiting class. As is the norm with Chris Petersen and his "OKG" recruiting style, very little drama is expected with this particular class. As a primer, we've pulled together this article to prepare you (/shifting to best Bill Walton imitation) for what is sure to be a historic day in the annals of a rich and storied Husky legacy.
The Huskies currently have 18 commits to the current class. The strength of those commits as assessed by our crackerjack crew of Googling-experts is as follows:
Locked and Loaded
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, QB (3*)
Taylor Rapp, S (4*)
Myles Rice, DE (3*)
The three players noted above have already signed financial aid paperwork and are enrolled in classes on campus. Though they are technically still free to sign elsewhere, the fact that they are already in school makes such a tactic about as probable as Brad Johnson answering a mailbag question in 100 words or less.
Solid ... Solid as a Rock
While no commitment should ever be considered a lock until a kid is on campus and taking classes, there are certain players whose commitment should be viewed as unwavering. These players were long ago deemed as not "in play" by other programs and whose presence in their communities and in social media have been overwhelmingly skewed towards promoting Washington's football program.
Camilo Eifler, LB (4*)
Brandon Wellington, ATH (4*)
Isaiah Gilchrist, CB (4*)
Sean McGrew, RB (4*)
Jordan Chin, WR (3*)
Van Soderberg, P
Luke Wattenberg, OL (4*)
Aaron Fuller, WR (3*)
Nick Harris, OL (3*)
Jacob Kizer, TE (3*)
I Said "Good", You Said "Mostly Good"
There are a few players in the current class who look like near locks, but who have continued to get looks from other programs and/or who have entertained pitches from other coaches.
Amandre Williams, DE (4*)
Kamari Pleasant, ATH (3*)
Levi Onwuzurike, DE (4*)
In the case of Williams, he has seemed mostly solid though been tempted to look a bit at other schools. Both Pleasant and Onwuzurike are recent pledges from out of state who have each, no doubt, continued to field high-pressure pitches from interested programs.
Leggo my Eggo
Two committed players are expected to be subject of some high stakes 'crootin' over the course of the next several hours as programs who were once thought of as "dream schools" try to get their last pitches in.
Kentrell Love, CB (3*)
Byron Murphy, CB (4*)
Signing Day Surprises
Unlike his predecessor, Chris Petersen seems to abhor signing day surprises just as my children seem to abhor my recipe for sauteed brussel sprouts.
Don't snigger. They are delicious. And nutritious.
Despite his aversion to uncertainty, Petersen will have no choice but to continue his pursuit of a few key prospective student athletes (PSA's!) who are still on UW's "big board". They are:
Devin Asiasi, ATH (4*)
Boss Tagaloa, DT (4*)
N'Keal Harry, WR (4*)
Nate Herbig, OL (3*)
Of the three players noted above, Tagaloa is the one that would seem the highest priority given the lack of a true one or three technique prospect in the current commit list. Unfortunately, Tagaloa is considered a heavy UCLA lean based on the recruiting relationship he has formed with UCLA QB coach Marques Tuiasosopo.
Harry is an interesting prospect to UW fans despite his current commitment to Arizona State. It is rumored that Harry and his family are admirers of the philosophy underlying Chris Petersen's "Built for Life" mantra and that the commitment by good friend Byron Murphy might have him reconsidering his situation. The smart money is on Harry keeping his ASU commitment, but who really knows?
The name of Nate Herbig might be new to some casual Husky fans. Herbig was a Stanford commit who then decommitted a month ago only to re-commit last week. The thing is that he visited Washington last week and, given some attrition on the UW offensive line and some new commits at Stanford, he might still be in play.
The best opportunity for Petersen might be with Asiasi, even if the proverbial deck remains stacked against him. Asiasi, who is a De La Salle teammate of Tagaloa, is a top-notch athlete who projects as a D1 starter on the defensive line or at tight end. To snag him would be a major coup and represent the start of a relationship with a premiere high school.
Surprises of Other Sorts
As it currently stands, Washington has 18 commits to go with just 17 available spots. Rumors have spread concerning where that extra spot will come from, but nobody has any real reliable information. Regardless, any incremental signings will result in either incremental attrition from the existing roster and/or signees agreeing to take a grey shirt season.
It would not be totally shocking to see a player come from out of nowhere and pledge to Chris Petersen on signing day. Keep in mind that there is always a Signing Day scrum as "Plan A" players make their choices and as "Plan B" players either get snapped up or pushed out, as the case may be. Given how close Petersen has been on several players, it wouldn't be completely shocking to see somebody who had UW as a "second choice" have a change of heart at the last second.
The big question is whether or not Petersen would accept a pledge at such a late stage. If the player fills a gap in the class, my guess it that it is entirely possible. We'll just have to wait and see.
If you are a deviant like Ryan Priest, I fully expect you to be distracted (if not fully absent) from work tomorrow so that you can fully absorb the glory of the Fax Machine's finest day. I would hasten to caution you to not expect much by way of the unknown. Despite my best attempt to orchestrate a little Signing Day theatrics for you, one cannot escape the fact that drama is something that Chris Petersen just doesn't do. Nevertheless, I wish you the merriest of Signing Days.
Ladies and gentlemen, let your fax machines roll.