Wednesday is national signing day.
That’s when pen goes to paper for the fortunate few high school football players who will pledge their commitment for a college scholarship.
The area’s highest-rated recruit this year is offensive tackle Jonah Williams, a five-star prospect who graduated from Folsom High School early last month and already is enrolled at Alabama. Franklin’s Lamar Jackson, considered one of the top prep safeties in the country by some recruiting sites, has narrowed his choices to Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Jackson said he is eager to sign. His options have heightened his angst, in stark contrast to many others just hoping to receive an offer.
“I’m anxious, and it’s constantly on my mind, and I’m ready to get it over with,” Jackson said. “I definitely know it’s a blessing to have offers when so many others don’t have any. But it gets tiring, so many people tugging at you. You get fed up. I’m ready to just ease up. It’s not easy to decide. All the schools are great.”
Those scheduled to sign full athletic scholarships with FBS or FCS schools include:
▪ Quarterback Ian Book of Oak Ridge with Notre Dame.
▪ Offensive lineman Carl Burton-Hill of Dixon with Nevada.
▪ Offensive lineman Jake Capra of Placer with Oregon.
▪ Running back Tre Green of Folsom with Cal Poly.
▪ Defensive tackle Chase Hatada of Rocklin with Boise State.
▪ Offensive lineman Jaelan Lewis of Antelope with Washington State.
▪ Defensive back Christian McFarland of Cosumnes Oaks with Air Force.
▪ Tight end Wesley Preece of Rocklin with UC Davis.
▪ Defensive back Keoni Stallworth of Cosumnes Oaks with San Jose State.
▪ Wide receiver Elijah Trosclair of Sacramento with UNLV.
▪ Wide receiver Trey Udoffia of Del Oro with Colorado.
An example of just how difficult it is to secure a full football scholarship – studies show that about 1 percent of seniors sign letters – consider the area powerhouse programs. Folsom went 14-1 and has just one player, Green, signing on Wednesday in addition to Williams enrolling early at Alabama. Elk Grove went 13-1 and doesn’t have anyone signing. Grant went 10-2 and has no one signing. Del Oro won the CIF State Division II-AA championship and has just Udoffia signing.
Most college football programs have 18 to 24 scholarships to offer each February, and some fewer than that. College coaches and recruiters like athletes who have size and speed combined with qualifying grades and high character.
Recruiters do not emphasize statistics or victories. UCLA recruiting coordinator Angus McClure said D-I programs receive “hundreds of game films every season” from high school coaches and players.
Still, longtime Grant coach Mike Alberghini remains perplexed. He cited Bee Player of the Year Ryan Robards of Elk Grove as a glaring miss. Robards, a 4.3 student, dominated at running back and defensive back and on special teams, yet he hasn’t received an offer (though he will play baseball at Pacific on scholarship). Alberghini also is miffed that Grant running back Deshawn Collins has received only mild interest, despite his good grades, speed and back-to-back 2,000-yard rushing seasons.
The rub, apparently, is that the 5-11 Robards and the 5-9 Collins are a tad too short and deemed perhaps a step too slow for the rigors of D-I ball.
“I’m completely baffled by all of this,” Alberghini said. “You’re talking about two of the best players and people in town with Collins and Robards. Maybe they have too much good character. Maybe they’re too successful. Whatever it is, they’re overlooked. You win at all levels with talent, with people who perform, and athletes are athletes.
“Where does character come in, and taking kids who really know how to play? The intangibles for those two come up all A’s. I talked to one recruiter that was (offering Collins only a walk-on opportunity), and I thought, ‘That’s why you’re 1-9.’ ”
Wednesday is the first day athletes can sign letters of intent, not the final day.
Note to coaches – Coaches of athletes signing full college scholarships – not partials, walk-ons or with non-scholarship programs – are encouraged to notify The Sacramento Bee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bee’s Top 20
With records through Saturday and last ranking:
6. Granite Bay
7. Liberty Ranch
10. Cap. Christian
13. El Camino
15. Elk Grove
18. Nevada Union
19. Bella Vista
2. Oak Ridge
5. Christian Bros.
6. St. Francis
8. Pleasant Grove
9. West Campus
11. Elk Grove
13. Rio Linda
14. Cosumnes Oaks
15. River Valley
19. Cap. Christian