Dawg Blog - Signing Day

Kurt Mangum signs (Lisa Licano)

SEATTLE - The University of Washington football program is expected to sign 25 players to letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period. As such, we'll have news of their signings from Montlake, thoughts from their coaches, pictures from their celebrations, and more. Keep checking the blog all day long for the latest news!

2 AM: We're back to 2AM, and it's time to wrap up the Signing Day Blog. And we'll do it with a bunch of photos from the Lakes Signing Day event, featuring Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse. The pictures come courtesy of Kavario's Mom Tamera. Thank you Tamera!






















7:22 PM: Scout.com's Southwest Recruiting Analyst - Jason Jewell - was on hand to take part in Arizona's 2008 Signing Class Party in Chandler, Ariz.

Majerle's Sports Bar and Grill, owned by former Phoenix Suns player Dan Majerle, put an an awesome event today in Chandler for all of the Arizona guys that signed and committed to college programs from across the country. Washington signee Kurt Mangum took part in the festivities, and Jason (as well as his photographer, Lisa Licano) was there to capture all the fun.

So thanks to Jason and Lisa for these photos of Kurt!








7:05 PM: Got a late chance to talk to Prosser WR Cody Bruns about the process, why he felt UW was the best place for him, and also about Wes Welker. Click on the link below for the full interview.

Signing Day Interview - Cody Bruns


6:30 PM: 12 hours later, and still going strong...

Scott Eklund may be playing hurt, but he stepped up to the challenge with a 2500-word piece on the Coaches' reaction to the signing of this class. Click on the link below to read the full story.

Husky coaches talk about recruiting class


6:15 PM: I spoke Tuesday with Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft Head Coach Matt Kerstetter, and I asked him if he was going to take any pictures of Craig signing his letter. He said he would and he did - literally! Here's Craig signing his letter right next to the fax machine and then sending it just after 7 AM this morning. And a big thanks to Coach Kerstetter for all his help.








6:00: The photos keep trickling in! These are sent courtesy of Jordan Polk's Mother, Loretta Smith. Thank you Loretta!








5:00 PM: Just spoke with Caldwell (Idaho) OT Terence Thomas, and he was eager to talk about his day, signing with the Huskies and what he's currently doing to keep his 6-foot-8.5, 311-pound frame in shape. Click on the link below to listen to the whole interview.

Signing Day Blog Interview - Terence Thomas


4:10 PM: Here's some more pictures, courtesy of Eastlake Head Coach Gene Dales. Here's Drew Schaefer signing his letter of intent to play for Washington.






3:37 PM: This shot comes courtesy of Doris Sullivan and the PIAA over in Honolulu. This is UW Signee Mykenna Ikehara signing his UW Letter of Intent during a Signing Day event hosted by city Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Thank you Doris!




3:19 PM: Just starting to wrap things up after Coach Willingham's press conference. Kim Grinolds was there and will have news from Hec Ed, and Scott Eklund will have a wrap of Coach Willingham's thoughts on the 2008 class.

The pictures keep rolling on in! This group of shots is sent to us courtesy of Daylene Boehm and Shaun Tarantola of Evergreen High School. These shots feature UW signees Senio Kelemete and Luther Leonard. Thank you guys!












1:48 PM: Here are a couple more pictures! A huge shout out to Simi Strickland of Ultimate Edge for allowing us to show you these great pictures from this morning's Signing Day event that featured Everrette Thompson (Kennedy), Alameda Ta'amu (Rainier Beach) and Johri Fogerson (O'Dea). Take a look! Hopefully we'll more tonight from the event.






1:37 PM: Less than an hour to UW's Signing Day press conference. To help pass the time, here's another audio interview we just did, this time with Portland (Ore.) Lincoln WR Jordan Polk. This is is EXCITED to be a Husky, and excitable in general. Take a listen.

Jordan Polk Signing Day Interview


12:51 PM: When you are close friends with the Husky offensive coordinator's son, it would seem a fait accompli that you would end up committing to Washington early on. While Eastlake OL Drew Schaefer did commit early to his hometown school, it wasn't because of his relationship with Tim Lappano or his son Taylor.

"It's different," Schaefer said shortly after sending in his letter-of-intent. "Me and coach Lappano and his son have a good relationship. They didn't put any pressure on me. It was strictly recruiting with U-Dub but when I was with Taylor it was just about hanging out, but I am blessed to have a relationship with that family."

Schaefer is currently tipping the scales at a relatively lean 283 and he said he's hoping to show up at no more than 286 when he arrives on campus this summer.

"I don't plan on weighing in at more than 286," Schaefer said. "I expect them to mold me and help me put on the weight when I get there and into their program."

Schaefer and his parents faxed in his signed letter-of-intent early this morning and you can imagine the emotions running through an 18 year-old's head.

"It's pretty exciting," Schaefer said. "It feels good to get the recruiting process done and know where my future is headed and a lot of confidence that going to the University of Washington and get a great education, the chance to play for coach Willingham and be part of Pac 10 football.

"I was a little nervous because it's a big commitment, but it was a fairly easy decision and it was comfortable for me to do it so it was more of a sigh of relief for me just to get it over with."

Schaefer, who grew up a Husky fan, also had a parting shot for Husky fans: "We're going to the Rose Bowl."


12:47 PM: Things have slowed down considerably, but as far as Washington is concerned, that's a great thing. Here is their official press release, announcing their 26 signees - including Chris Polk.

UW Football Class Includes 26 New Dawgs


11:57 AM: Playing out on an island like teams ask conerbacks to do can be tough, but apparently sending his letter-of-intent through the fax machine proved to be a more daunting task for St. Bernard CB Adam Long.

"My fax machine wasn't working so I had to send it a couple of times," Long said with a chuckle. "I called the coaches to make sure they got it and they did so it's good. "I was on the phone with them to make sure. I'm officially a Husky now and I can't wait."

Most people say leaving high school and entering college is like closing a chapter on one's life, but Long isn't looking back with any regret.

"It's exciting," Long said. "It helped me realize that high school is pretty much over and now it's time to start focusing on college.

"I just can't wait to get up to Washington and start at my new school over the summer and I'm positive it will be a great experience for me." Long committed to Washington relatively late in the process and made it clear to the other schools recruiting him that he was set on being a Husky.

"I called all the schools that I had connections with and they knew I had my mind set on being a Husky and they all honored my decision and left me alone," Long said.

Now he'll turn his focus to track before he heads up to Seattle for the summer. Playing out on an island like teams ask conerbacks to do can be tough, but apparently sending his letter-of-intent through the fax machine proved to be a more daunting task for St. Bernard CB Adam Long.

"My fax machine wasn't working so I had to send it a couple of times," Long said with a chuckle. "I called the coaches to make sure they got it and they did so it's good. "I was on the phone with them to make sure. I'm officially a Husky now and I can't wait."

Most people say leaving high school and entering college is like closing a chapter on one's life, but Long isn't looking back with any regret.

"It's exciting," Long said. "It helped me realize that high school is pretty much over and now it's time to start focusing on college.

"I just can't wait to get up to Washington and start at my new school over the summer and I'm positive it will be a great experience for me." Long committed to Washington relatively late in the process and made it clear to the other schools recruiting him that he was set on being a Husky.

"I called all the schools that I had connections with and they knew I had my mind set on being a Husky and they all honored my decision and left me alone," Long said.

Now he'll turn his focus to track before he heads up to Seattle for the summer.

"I want to run a 10.3 100 this year and I have a couple of other goals too, but that's the big one for me," Long said.


11:54 AM: Carson QB Dominique Blackman was a big commit, literally, when Washington got his verbal pledge this past summer. He stands 6-5 and tips the scales at 240, but he's got surprising athleticism for a young man his size.

He signed his letter of intent this morning and faxed it in shortly after 8 a.m. and he said his nerves contributed to a mistake on his letter-of-intent.

"I was real nervous this morning as I was signing it, I put February 8th and my mom had to go and change the date," Blackman said with a laugh. "It's all good though. My mom faxed it in from work when she got there."

Blackman's commitment to Washington didn't stop schools from trying to convince him to still give them a look.

"It's been pretty hectic around here," Blackman said. "A lot of coaches have been calling the last couple days.

"Oregon made a real good push on me and wanted me to take a look at them again and Washington State and Arizona wanted me to come and look at them, but I told them I was comfortable where I was committed.

"It was tough to turn down Arizona because they didn't have a young guy who had established himself so I knew I could go in there and have a good chance of starting, but I felt the Washington coaches were loyal to me and I felt so comfortable with them and what they brought to the table."

And what will Blackman bring to the table when he arrives at Montlake in May?

"I'm going to come in and compete and help lead this team to a Rose Bowl," Blackman said confidently.


11:44 AM: Here are pictures from Bradly Roussel's press conference, down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.












11:25 AM: Here are the first three interviews Softy did with the newest UW signees on KJR.

Lakes TE Kavario Middleton

Lakes WR Jermaine Kearse

Evergreen QB Luther Leonard


11:06 AM: Here's our morning conversation with Evergreen QB Luther Leonard.

Washington has been thin at the quarterback position the past three years so this year the staff went out and garnered two commitments from signal callers. One was from local standout Luther Leonard, arguably the top senior QB in the state this past season, and he talked about his morning so far.

"I faxed in my letter at 7:02 this morning," an excited Leonard said. "I was excited to know that all my hard work paid off.

"Since eighth grade year I've been working for this and it's exciting that all that hard work paid off. I bought in to working out hard and working as hard as I could."

According to Leonard, Willingham was in at his Montlake office at 4:15 this morning and the two spoke while his fax was coming in.

"I talked to coach Willingham while he was waiting for my paperwork to come through," Leonard said. "We didn't talk much about football. He just said congratulations on this and he's really happy to have me in. I have four or five years to listen to him talk about football so we just talked about how this was a big day.

"Eastern Washington tried to get me to come there and he tried to hit me with the ‘Jake is at U-Dub, but you could start four years here at Eastern', but I told them thanks, but I'm a Husky."

Leonard is a confident player, who will come to Washington hoping to prove to people he was worth the scholarship.

"I'm looking forward to showing everyone that coach Willingham made a good decision in offering me and I'm excited to be a Husky," Leonard added.


11:00 AM: Here are pictures - these are from Justin Glenn's Signing Day Celebration.






10:47 AM: Kavario Middleton's fax is in - which means that the 2008 class should be complete. If anything, any additions would be considered mild surprises.


10:32 AM: We've been able to confirm that Demitrius Bronson from Kentwood, has faxed in his letter of intent to Washington. Their No. 1 prospect - Kavario Middleton - appears to be the only one left on the board.


10:24 AM: Per gohuskies.com, it appears that only Demitrius Bronson and Kavario Middleton are left on the board when it comes to expected commitments that haven't officially signed their letters of intent yet.


10:20 AM: Here's a conversation we had earlier with new UW signees Everrette Thompson (Kennedy) and Johri Fogerson (O'Dea).

Kennedy DE Everette Thompson, O'Dea RB Johri Fogerson and Rainier Beach DL Alameda Ta'amu all attended different high schools, but all three will be Huskies next fall and the three local standouts attended a signing day event together this morning.

"It feels great to have it all over with," Thompson told Dawgman.com shortly after the event finished. "I felt relaxed coming in to the day. Cal and Oregon called to check and make sure I was set on Washington and I told them I was."

Fogerson signed and faxed his letter to Washington from his high school and then headed over to the event to spend time with his two future teammates that he's known for several years.

"Me and Alameda went to the same middle school and we played little league against each other," Fogerson said. "I've know Everette since my freshman year so I think it worked out real good.

"There is a lot of camaraderie between all of us because we've pretty much grown up together."

Thompson noted he's tipping the scales at 6-5, 255 and that Washington wants him at defensive end.

"They told me they are excited to get me in to see what I can do at defensive end," Thompson said.

Fogerson is targeted for the other side of the ball.

"They want me at running back and to come in and make an impact on the offensive side of the ball," Fogerson, who had almost 300 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort in the state championship game, said. "That game was on T.V. so everyone got to see it, but that's what I had been doing all season long.

"I'm coming to make an impact so, Go Huskies!"


9:10 AM: Our first pictures of the day!

These are courtesy of David Freeman and the Inglewood football staff. Thanks guys!












9:49 AM: Per gohuskies.com - and based on the expected number of commitments - there are only three commitments that have not officially signed their letters of intent - Demitrius Bronson, Greg Walker, Jordan Polk, Anthony Gobern, Johri Fogerson and Kavario Middleton.


9:42 AM: Just spoke with Everrette Thompson and Johri Fogerson, and they have both sent in their letters to Washington. Alameda Ta'amu was also at their Signing Day event. We'll have more from Thompson and Fogerson a little bit later.


9:38 AM: We spoke this morning with DT Craig Noble from Taft HS in Woodland Hills, Calif. This is what he had to say.

One of the bigger coups of the early recruiting process for the Huskies this year was when Taft DT Craig Noble decided to commit to Washington sight-unseen and he couldn't have been happier with his decision.

He pretty much had his day planned out when he spoke with Dawgman.com earlier this morning.

"I'm going to fax my letter off and then I have a California exit test and then at 12:40 I have a radio interview with KJR and that's pretty much my day," Noble said.

Even though he ended the process early, Noble continued to hear from several schools and four made late pushes to get him to look their way.

"Oregon, UCLA, Utah and Florida International were the four recently that have made a late push on me," Noble said.

In fact, the Bruins actually stepped forward with an offer in the last week.

"I thought it was disrespectful to offer me so late," an incredulous Noble said. "I was like ‘you should have offered me earlier' so it's their loss."

Noble said he's been hitting the weights and is a relatively cut 300 pounds on a 6-4 frame. "I'm going to play this year, but it's just going to be the question of whether I'm going to start or not and that's where I'll be competing," Noble said and then added, "We're going to bring a Rose Bowl championship back to Washington."


9:10 AM: We spoke earlier this morning to Vince Taylor, and this is what he shared to us.

When Eastside Catholic ATH Vince Taylor got offered by Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham he didn't take long to think about things.

Now that National Signing Day has arrived, Taylor has his plans all set up.

"Today my friends and family are going to meet me down at school so they can take pictures and watch me sign," a tired, but excited Taylor told Dawgman.com. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

Just because players commit to a school, that doesn't mean other programs won't keep calling and that's what happened when Cal came calling last week.

"They were making sure I was serious about committing to UW and I said I was," Taylor said. "I talked to coach Willingham and coach Denbrock a lot over the past couple weeks and assured them I was coming."

Taylor said he's open to playing wherever the staff wants him to play but he will start out at the safety position.

He also had a parting thought to send to all Husky fans: "I'm excited to come play at U-Dub and these next couple years should be very exciting."


9:02 AM: A lot of people have been very interested in finding out more on Prosser WR Cody Bruns and why Washington would go on a 2A talent from the middle of the state. So we went right to the man - Prosser Head Coach Tom Moore - for some insight into what makes Bruns tick.

Prosser Head Coach Tom Moore on WR Cody Bruns


8:35 AM: According to gohuskies.com, the official UW athletics site, they have received LOI's from Chris Polk, Cody Bruns, Allen Carroll, Terrance Dailey, Justin Glenn, Jermaine Kearse and Senio Kelemete, Luther Leonard, Adam Long, Craig Noble, Bradly Roussel, Drew Schaefer, Alameda Ta'amu and Terence Thomas.


8:22 AM: Dawgman.com has been able to confirm that Chandler, Ariz. LB Kurt Mangum has sent in his letter of intent to Washington.


8:11 AM: OT Drew Schaefer from Eastlake has confirmed to Dawgman.com that he has faxed in his letter of intent to Washington.


8:06 AM: Have been able to confirm that letters of intent have been sent to Washington by Playa Del Rey (Calif.) DB Adam Long and Vacaville (Calif.) RB Terrance Dailey.


7:56 AM: Fair Oaks (Calif.) Del Campo CB Anthony Gobern has confirmed to Dawgman that he faxed in his letter of intent to Washington.


7:51 AM: The Mother of Prosser, Wash. WR Cody Bruns confirmed that they faxed in Cody's LOI to Washington 10 minutes ago.


7:47 AM: We have been able to confirm with the father of Inglewood, Calif. RB David Freeman that David has his letter with him and he is set to fax it in as soon as he gets to school.


7:42 AM: Also able to confirm quickly with Rainier Beach OL Alameda Ta'amu that he has faxed in his letter of intent to Washington.


7:39 AM: We've reached Carson, Calif. QB Dominique Blackman, and he confirmed that his mother has faxed in his letter of intent to UW from work. He added that Oregon WSU and Arizona made hard pushes at the end for him and that he plans on being up to Seattle in May.


7:29 AM: Grinolds was able to confirm with McClymonds OL Allen Carroll that his father faxed in Carroll's Letter of Intent to Washington at 7 AM.


7:22 AM: Kim Grinolds has been able to confirm that Evergreen QB Luther Leonard has faxed his letter to Washington. Leonard said Eastern Washington made a late push saying he'll sit behind UW QB Jake Locker and at EWU he would be a four-year starter there.


7:15 AM: For those UW fans interested in what's going on nationally with the top recruits still left on the board, check out this link. It's for our special National Signing Day Blog.

Live Blog - Scout.com Updates Signing Day


7:01 AM: The Fax machine is officially up and running! We'll see who the first one received is...

In other quick news, word on walk-ons will be sporadic, but Evergreen Head Coach Shaun Tarantola did disclose Tuesday night that one of his receivers - Vincente Cordova - will be walking on at UW. Cordova, according to the Seattle Times, had eight catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns for Evergreen last year. Cordova will probably be just a regular walk-on, as opposed to a preferred walk-on, which means he'll have to be admitted into school as a regular student.


6:45 AM: Took some time yesterday to talk with a sampling of the high school head coaches involved with this expected class. They were kind enough to give some sound bites on their guys. Here they are.

Lakes (Lakewood) Head Coach Dave Miller on Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse

Evergreen (Seattle) Head Coach Shaun Tarantola on Senio Kelemete

Evergreen (Seattle) Head Coach Shaun Tarantola on Luther Leonard

Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) Head Coach Matt Kerstetter on Craig Noble

Former Homedale (Idaho) Head Coach and current Caldwell Coach Tom Thomas on Terence Thomas

Kamiak (Mukilteo) Head Coach Dan Mack on Justin Glenn

McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) Head Coach Eric Culberson, Jr. on Allen Carroll

Damien (Honolulu) Head Coach and OL coaching guru Brian Derby on Mykenna Ikehara

Inglewood (Calif.) RB Coach Khalid Ali on David Freeman

Eastlake (Redmond) Head Coach Gene Dales on Drew Schaefer


6:30 AM: Just taking a quick look around the papers to see what they've come up with for Signing Day. Here's a sampling.

Seattle Times

Success in the state key to UW's class


Seattle P-I

Willingham wraps signing season with class

Huskies' recruiting class sparks good old days feel

Ty put his heart into UW bonanza
Tacoma News-Tribune

On Paper, Huskies look good
Everett Herald

Washington state's '08 class of football recruits 'very deep'


2 AM: We're starting early today, but I still plan on getting a couple of hours sleep before I crank things up again.

Just wanted to link all the relevant big 'lists' that usually come out on the west coast.

Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West
Contra Costa Times' Cream of the Crop - Top Bay Area prospects
Seattle Times' Blue Chips - Top in-state talent
Tacoma News-Tribune's Northwest Nuggets
Tacoma News-Tribune's Western 100 - Western 100 is included as .pdf file in story.

Here is Washington's list of expected signees - 2008 Signing Class

Dawgman.com Recommended Stories