Dawg Blog - Signing Day

Jake Locker signs (Courtesy: Locker Family)

Here's the Dawg Blog on our busiest day of the year - Signing Day. Expect at least one twist or turn on a day that typically is uneventful...it's now just a matter of the faxes rolling in. But when you are dealing with high school and juco players and emotions and all the rest, it can be a volatile mix, and anything is possible.

6:30 a.m.: I wake up. Not used to alarms, frankly. Walk to the office, and immediately see an instant message from Steve Ryan - pub of Scout.com's Nebraska site. He is hopping. Apparently there's word out there that Ashlee Palmer is going to Washington. Hey, isn't that what Signing Day is all about? But is it that Palmer has simply decided to pick the Huskies after not qualifying to go to Nebraska, or that he's actually going to sign? It's certainly doubtful he signs. The timetable seems iffy to me. You can't sign with one D1 school in December, flunk out and then re-sign with another D1 school in February, doesn't seem like the NCAA would go for that...a possible loophole in the rules that is ripe for the taking? Doubtful. We'll have more on the Palmer saga later in the day...

7:30 a.m.: Now it's 30 minutes past the earliest prospects can fax in letters of intent. No calls yet. The anticipation is the fun part, but the wait can be grueling. The Palmer story is gaining legs, so to speak, as another network is running with the story. Too bad it's actually the same story. Palmer's cell isn't taking calls. Not a shocker there. But that's always the fun of the job...tracking down leads, seeing what's real and what's BS. All I know is that the Nebraska boards are going nuts and at this time in the morning there's not much you can do but wait for a reasonable hour to start making calls. It's all starting to kick in...but without caffeine. No coffee for me.

7:37 a.m.: Confirmation on the first letter sent in - Matt Houston. And Ironically, one of the last players to call UW his home for the next 4-5 years. A 6-2, 210-pound linebacker from Dos Pueblos HS in Goleta, Calif. His comment this morning sounded like he was signing with Alabama - 'Let's Roll!'.

7:58 a.m: Just got an email from 'Huskies Head Coach Tyrone Willingham'. Was he going to reveal all? Invite me to play golf with him at Washington National? Nope, just a promo mail inviting me to the signing day press conference. Why coach, when I can watch it on TV? And more on the Palmer saga...nothing from Ashlee, just friends and coaches. Why is that? And from the Nebraska end, sounds like a possible unscheduled meeting with their compliance folks is happening. Can that be a good thing?

8:05 a.m: We reach Palmer's teammate - Anthony Atkins. Atkins, a UW signee already, says that he's 'heard' that Palmer is going to UW. Well, I've heard that I'm getting a bonus from Dawgman for doing this blog too. I sure hope it's true...

8:30 a.m.: Leilyon Myers faxed it in a little while back, but couldn't update it because I was on the phone with a mother of a 2007 recruit. From the sounds of it, Leilyon isn't used to being up this early either. Welcome to the real world, Mr. Myers. Always making contacts... Jake Merrill just faxed in his letter and told us that he was going to call Matt Houston. "I'm gonna yell and scream at him to get him all fired up," said Merrill. Sounds like the two are going to be roommates...

8:32 a.m.: Marcel Reece is the newest Husky. "It hasn't quite hit me, but I'm excited to be a Dawg!" Reece said. In related news, we spoke with Scott Locker Tuesday night, Jake's father. He informed us that there is no school for Ferndale Wednesday, so Jake may not be sending his LOI in right away. Sounds like he'll be having breakfast with his family and then will take care of business...

8:48 a.m.: That didn't take long...Locker is officially a Husky. And regarding the Palmer saga, it appears from what we are hearing that Ashlee Palmer is going to be a Washington Husky. He can't sign an LOI, but it appears as if he has signed and sent in scholarship papers allowing him to transfer in the spring and be available for spring football. Hopefully we'll find out more from Ashlee as the day goes on.

9:20 a.m.: After the initial rush, things have slowed down a little bit. Paul Homer confirmed with us through his father Tuesday night that he's a go to sign and fax his letter in. Paul isn't about the media at all, and just wants to keep things low-key.

9:25 a.m/: A bit of news on Brandon Jefferson. Haven't confirmed his LOI yet, but in talking with Kevin Lustgarten of JCFootball.com (http://www.jcfootball.com), he spoke this morning with Robert Taylor, Jefferson's former coach at Santa Monica College. Jefferson played there before transferring to West LA College. Taylor believes that there's a bit of a dispute over grades for Jefferson, but if it's PE credits it won't matter for Washington and he'll be on track to graduate in June with his AA and then transfer directly to UW. More with Taylor in a bit...

9:30 a.m.: Just got word from Scout.com's ASU publisher Hod Rabino that Matt Mosley will not sign with Arizona State. It was between ASU and Washington, so it appears that the WR/DB from Corona Del Sol HS in Tempe is going to be a Husky. Waiting for confirmation obviously on the other end, but it sure sounds like it's a done deal. Mosley does have a connection with UW, has he's related to former GA Luther Carr. Carr is now coaching at Montana.

9:33 a.m.: Sir Aaron Mason is in. And yes, it's on his birth certificate - SIR Aaron Mason. "I just sent my letter in and I excited. I'm glad to be a Husky and to get this all behind me," he said. The Huskies are looking at Mason to fill a tackle spot.

9:44 a.m.: Here's Jake Locker signing with Washington, courtesy of his family:


Also have a funny anecdote shared to us by Cameron Elisara's father this morning. Cameron has yet to fax in his letter, but he has a late start this morning. The night that Cameron formally committed to Washington, the Washington coaches were in-home, including Tyrone Willingham. Cameron said, 'Coach, you know I'm entitled to five visits....can I take all five of them to U-Dub?'...

9:50 a.m.: Ryan Tolar just faxed his letter in. When asked what it meant to him, he said, 'It means that I've given them permission to kick my ass for the next five years.' Smart kid...

9:57 a.m.: We spoke with Jason Wells last night and he let us know that he signed a few weeks back as a mid-year guy and will be here for the spring. A nice coup by UW Recruiting Coordinator Chris Tormey to get this young man into school well beneath the radar.

10:10 a.m.: Matt Sedillo is in. "I'm excited to be a Husky. I know I'm going to have to start from the bottom and work to the top, but I can't wait to get up there," he said.

10:18 a.m.: Put a quick call into Carl Parrick's cell at Bonita Vista. No late changes with Marshane Haynes, he's headed to Nevada. Starr Fuimaono signed with UNLV.

10:22 a.m.: Got to love internet chat rooms on Signing Day. Over 125 packed in and all sorts of rumors flying. De'Shon Matthews, Taylor Mays...who is next? Because you know there's always going to be a 'next'...

10:30 a.m.: Another batch of photos. Here are a couple from Jake Merrill:


And here is Jake with his parents after signing:


10:38 a.m.: Got confirmation on Matt Mosley coming to Washington. Letter already faxed in. Really weird story on him. Silent ASU commit for months, easier to track down DB Cooper than to reach him. Rumored that he committed to Willingham on his in-home, but we could never confirm it. Talked to the mom, very nice, but never the son. They never revealed any information. Well, they are having a press conference at 1:30 PST to announce Matt's choice. Sorry Matt - the internet beat you to it. Maybe one of these days he'll allow us to talk to him. We're hopeful.

11:12 a.m.: Things are starting to slow down a little bit. Still rumors about guys - Montgomery, Matthews, Mays...but that happens. It'll all get sorted out in the coming hours. Hopefully. In the meantime, here's a picture of Cody Habben signing his UW LOI along with teammate Jason Harris, who decided not to walk-on at a Pac-10 school and instead chose to sign with Eastern Washington University. Congrats to both!



11:20 a.m.: Feel pretty good about calling Ashlee Palmer a Husky now. With confirmation from multiple sources, that's about all you can ask for on signing day. Both Atkins and Palmer will be available for spring ball when they graduate from Compton College with their AA's. Getting back to Brandon Jefferson for a minute, speaking of AA's. With Kevin Lustgarten getting a hold of Robert Taylor today - Brandon's former coach at Santa Monica - it sounds like Jefferson's got a good chance of getting his academics in order. That, and it appears that SMC's OC is a prime candidate to take over the head coaching job at West LA, so that bodes well for someone in Jefferson's corner to help guide him through the rest of the process.

11:24 a.m.: Got confirmation on Matthews from his coach at Laguna Creek - Lewis Lassiter. "He's excited and happy to be going to Washington," said Lassiter. Look for Lassiter to have a new crop of guys for 2007, including Bryson Littlejohn, Bryan Hilliard and LT Thomas. Remember those names, because there's no question UW will be making the rounds through Laguna Creek this coming spring.

11:34 a.m.: Over 160 in chat right now. Total chaos. I love it. And of course, rumors all over the place. That's what happens when 60 conversations are happening at once. But it's the best part of the job, no doubt about it. Making sense of nonsense...

11:53 a.m.: As per usual, information is always developing. Another twist in the Ashlee Palmer saga - sounds like Nebraska may be getting ready to dispute some things. Looks like they believe his original LOI he signed with the Cornhuskers is still valid. Will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Also, Kim Grinolds will be on soon with Softy, Dick Fain and the KJR guys as they continue their 'Seven Days of Detroit' - prologue to the Steelers-Seahawks Super Bowl showdown. So tune into KJR 950 AM!

High Noon: Three hours until Willingham gets to talk about his new class. We have confirmed that everyone has sent in their LOI's, with one exception - Brandon Jefferson. We'll see what he has to say. Earlier this morning he told us that he had sent transcripts this week to UW. What that means, we don't know yet - other than it could mean that if Brandon Jefferson does sign with UW, it may not be on Wednesday. We were also able to confirm that Ashlee Palmer has signed a scholarship agreement, not a letter of intent.

12:22 p.m.: The Nebraska folks have come back with a response on the whole Ashlee Palmer situation. Looks interesting, to say the least. Read on... Signing Day goes off without a hitch?

1:25 p.m.: Things are settling in...Kim spoke briefly with Jake Locker about the signing day experience. I was hoping to put the audio file up on the blog, but I'm never that lucky. Instead, here's the transcript of the conversation:

Dm.c: Jake, you signed your letter of intent today.  
As you watched it go through the fax machine, any 
thoughts? 

Jake Locker: Yeah, kind of relief.  We've been waiting a long 
time to making this a concrete deal, so today was the day and 
I'm looking forward to going down there and starting to 
work out with the team.

Dm.c: An unusual morning for you - no school

Jake Locker:  Yeah, yeah. (laughs)

Dm.c: What did you do this morning?

Jake Locker: Woke up about 7:30, went down to the school and 
met up with coach down there.  Signed the stuff and my Dad 
wanted some pictures, so my Dad took some pictures and 
we sent those off.

Dm.c: Did you talk to any of the Washington coaches today?

Jake Locker: Yeah, I made sure they got all my stuff.  I 
talked to Coach Willingham.   

Dm.c: Talk to me about that conversation.

Jake Locker: He was pretty excited about everything going 
on, all the letters that had been signed.  He was in a very 
good mood this morning.  He's pretty excited about the guys 
that are coming in for next year.

Dm.c: How does it feel to be a Husky?

Jake Locker: It feels good.  I know I made the right 
decision.

Dm.c: What do you have going on the rest of the day?

Jake Locker: I've got basketball practice in the afternoon.  
And then one of my Dad's really good friends is a huge Husky 
fan, so we're going to his house for dinner and then I'm 
going to go watch my sister play basketball.  After that 
we're going back for some dessert and hang out with some 
people.  

Dm.c: How the basketball coming along?  How's the jumpshot?

Jake Locker: It's coming along pretty good.  We've had some 
tough games, but it's not too bad.


2:17 p.m.: Scott Eklund got a call back from Ashlee Palmer. Here's the story, as Palmer described it to Scott - he unknowingly needed a class to graduate that he wasn't aware of. When he went to graduate, the counselors at Compton College told him of it, so that's what he's doing right now, taking the one class he needs to graduate. To his mind, that invalidated Nebraska's letter of intent. After the initial confusion, he called the Washington coaches up and then the Washington coaches reciprocated. "Then we talked about it," he told Scott. "I'm officially a Husky today. I'm not going to be playing for the Huskers next year." He then went on to say that he's expecting to be up in Seattle spring quarter and available for spring football. Has he told the Nebraska coaches yet? "No, but they have a pretty good idea," Palmer said. "They've tried to call me, I just haven't called them back yet."

3:15 p.m.: Wanted to tune into CSTV to watch the press conference via the 'net, but got there too late, it appears. But for those that can't get enough and want a national perspective on signing day, click HERE to listen live to a Signing Day Radio Show w/ the Scout.com Recruiting Experts and Publishers. I will be on at 4:45 PST, talking about the Northwest and the Pac-10. Here's the full lineup:

6 PM Bob Lichtenfels--Big East/Big Ten
6:15 Chris Pool - Great Lakes/Big 10
6:30 Miller Safrit - ACC/SEC
6:45 Jeremy Patterson - Texas
7:00 Clendon Ross - Texas publisher
7:15 Brandon Huffman - PAC 10
7:30 Scott Kennedy - SEC and National
7:45 Chris Fetters - PAC 10
8:00 Jamie Newberg - National
8:15 Allen Wallace - National
8:30 Steve Helwagen - Ohio State publisher
8:45 Bob Redmon - Florida Publisher
9:00 Dean Legge - Georgia Publisher
9:15 Garry Paskiewicz - USC Publisher
9:30 Mark Murphy - Auburn Publisher


Again, click HERE to listen live to all the Scout.com regional recruiting analysts and a national smattering of Scout.com college publishers. I will also be on with Ian Furness of 1080 The Fan in Portland at 5:30 PST to talk UW recruiting.

4 p.m.: Tidbits from the press conference, courtesy of Scott Eklund - who will have a complete wrap-up later tonight, including thoughts from Willingham and OC Tim Lappano:
**Matt Mosley will be tried at WR first (but Willingham mentioned he "will play a number of positions).
**Leilyon Myers will be a RB to start off.
**Anthony Atkins will be a DE.
**D'Andre Goodwin to WR.
**Johnnie Kirton has a hairline fracture in his foot and is touch and go to play during spring drills. They will know more later.

4:05 p.m.: Scout.com has determined that Florida has won the top spot in the 2006 team rankings. You can look at the full story and more by click on this link: Gators Grab Recruiting Title

5:52 p.m.: Scott Eklund has a nice recap of Willingham's comments on every player that signed with Washington Wednesday. You can view it by clicking HERE. We'll have our own analysis on Thursday.

12:36 a.m: We made it to the next day! To finish the blog off in style, we have a photo of Matt Houston signing his letter of intent. We hope that you had fun checking out this blog!



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