February 8, 2012
National Signing Day: Some overlooked and some gems

Some odds and ends to cap football National Signing Day.
Last Wednesday was the first day athletes could sign binding letters of intent but not the only day.

So for every Shaq Thompson and Arik Armstead, there are plenty like Charlie Vue and Brendan Keeney.

Vue is the superb kicker with the perfect grades from Grant who could be close to signing with someone such as San Jose State.

Keeney is the terrific quarterback leader for Granite Bay with excellent grades, poise and size - and no offers even now. He has visited UC Davis and San Jose State and both have told him he could walk on. He very well may wind up at a junior college, and in this state, that means the best JC ball in the country where the accomplished tend to move on to the 4-year ranks by the truck load.

Other thoughts...

* Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper on the mystery that is Keeney, "By far, the biggest 'overlook' by recruiters in my career; he can flat out play, and he has the size and arm and know how to go with it. He'll land on his feet."

* Elk Grove lineman Steven Moore is still numb about his recruiting experience. He's headed to Cal to play left tackle, adding, "I'm really surprised by all of this. I just got better (in football)." Moore will wind up being a terrific pick up for Cal.

spencer.jpg* Granite Bay tight end Spencer Briare (left) will walk on at Cal at tight end. A year ago, Granite Bay tight end Matt Kasner walked on at Stanford.

* Del Oro defensive back Russell Smith (below) will gray shirt at Nevada and then become a scholarship entry next December, where he will join Del Oro teammate Alex Bertrando, The Bee's Defensive Player of the Year.

* Nevada Union linebacker/safety/fullback Gabe Humphers will head off to West Point for a five-year commitment, and you could feel and sense the pride all the way from Grass Valley. It's not easy playing for your dad - in this case NU coach Dave Humphers - but son made pops proud as a terrific player, student and leader.
Said Coach Humphers, "It's not easy (being coach's son). My boys (Gabe and Hank) have always had to prove themselves, that they're playing because they're good player not because of their dad."
Said Gabe, "I'm ecstatic, excited because this is a big honor, a dream."

* UCLA-bound tight end/defensive end Nate Iese of Sheldon on working out in front of Pac-12 football coaches during this basketball season, "It's a good thing I stretched out!"

* Cosumnes Oaks cornerback Marcus Rios said the most exciting part of going to UCLA is that his twin sister will be on campus as a student-athlete - in rowing. And guess who will wind up with the better 6-pack stomach? "Oh, she will, easy," Marcus conceded.

russell.jpg* Charles Faraimo of Grant is another nice find for Nevada, a defensive lineman who gutted out a tender-to-the-touch ankle the first part of this past season. Said Faraimo, "I'm so proud, so excited to get a scholarship because it means so much to my family, to me, to this school."

* The relief was clear in the expression and tone of Grant's Thompson, off to Washington, a school he said he liked very much from the start. He summed up Signing Day for the fortunate few who did sign this way, "It's a big load off my back."

* Armstead amid laughter on the first school to recruit in any sport, "Cal sent me my first letter, and they spelled my name Eric, and I remembered that. No, Cal is a great school."

* Sometimes the highlight of Signing Day is the expressions of the parents. Maaka Letuligassenoa is the father of Elk Grove High lineman Josh, who will join brother Lefi in the trenches at Cal Poly. But guess who will wind up doing the laundry - still? Mom. By the van load.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

For more interviews, insight and regional highlights, check out The SureWest Sports Show on www.surewestsports.com

Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty break down prep sports in Sacramento each week in a big-picture view on Saturday mornings from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 (ESPN1320.net)

PHOTO CAPTION (Spencer Briare): Grizzlies #5 Spencer Briare and Justin Ramirez celebrate following Briare's touchdown run in the 2nd quarter of a football game between Del Oro and Granite Bay at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California. October 21, 2011

PHOTO CAPTION (Russell Smith): Running back Russell Smith turns up field against Spanish Springs. August 26, 2011

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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