Dawg Blog - Signing Day

SEATTLE - Well, after over a year of ferreting out information on recruits, evaluating them at camps, combines and the rest, and following them through their official visits and eventual decisions, it all comes down to this day - Wednesday, February 4th. Signing Day is here, and we'll have all the news on the day's events right here.

10:50 am Thursday: One more set of pics, courtesy of Nathan Fellner, including one with him and his grandfather, legendary college football head coach Jim Sweeney. Enjoy!


6:41 pm: Here's two pics of Tustin DT Chris Robinson signing his letter of intent, as well as a picture of he and his mom cutting a cake some friends at school made for the big interior DL.

Reprinted with the permission of Robinson and his family.


2:35 pm: Here's a picture of Keith Price signing his letter of intent. Reprinted permission of Price's family.




2:10 pm: Speaking of the final official signee - that's Punahou's Kimo Makaula. Here is a quick Q&A with the 6-foot-2, 240-pound athlete from Oahu, as well as pictures of his signing with his family and also with Buffnblu teammates Manti Te'o and Dalton Hilliard.

On signing - "I just signed about 15 minutes ago. It feels great. I'm proud to be a Husky. I can't wait until June comes. I'm glad to be a part of the Husky nation. It's a relief for my family and friends. I can't wait to get up there and be a part of that family."

On changing from Hawai'i - "I've always wanted to be an offensive player. So that helped. And the new coaching staff at Washington, they have a great plan to becoming successful and bringing around this Washington team, and I'm so proud that coach Sark and his coaching staff is giving me an opportunity to be a winner."

On talking with the coaches - "I talked with coach (Johnny) Nansen and I told him I officially signed a letter of intent and I'm officially a part of the Husky nation and I can't wait to see him in June."

On position - "Tight end, H-back...the USC offense, coach Sark has a lot of motioning and that's perfect for me.

On what he brings to the field - "I'm going to show them what I'm all about, what Hawai'i football is all about. I want to play my hardest and give my best so that by my freshman year I can make a big impact on Washington."


1:35 pm: I'm back from the radio show, and right now all 18 expected signees are now signed, sealed and delivered. Kim Grinolds and Scott Eklund are on the scene at the Founders' Club right now, talking to Sarkisian and the other coaches. We'll have a lot more throughout the day on their thoughts on this class, outside of what Sarkisian said during the press conference.
11:30 am: The gohuskies list of confirmed signees is growing. They now show 17. TE Marlion Barnett 6-2/220 Corona (Calif.) Santiago
DB David Batts 6-2/205 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College
TE Dorson Boyce 6-2/250 Santa Maria (Calif.) Allen Hancock College (already signed)
DE Talia Crichton 6-4/240 Lakewood (Calif.) Lakewood
S Nathan Fellner 6-0/195 Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
CB Dominique Gaisie 5-10/170 Walnut (Calif.) Mt. San Antonio College
WR James Johnson 6-1/195 Escondido (Calif.) Valley Center
OT Daniel Mafoe 6-4/320 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College
P William Mahan 5-11/180 Bakersfield (Calif.) Bakersfield
QB Keith Price 6-2/183 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
LB Andru Pulu 6-3/250 Federal Way (Wash.) Federal Way
DT Chris Robinson 6-1/270 Tustin (Calif.) Tustin
S Will Shamburger 6-1/187 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
DT Johnny Tivao 6-0/330 Norwalk (Calif.) Cerritos
DT Semisi Tokolahi 6-3/290 Hilo (Hawai'i) Hilo
CB Desmond Trufant 5-11/170 Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson
LB Tim Tucker 6-2/230 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne

Off to go do the Honks show on KJR. I'll be back blogging with pictures and interviews afterward. Tune in to KJR-950 AM to hear me and Scott Eklund talk about this recruiting class!

10:50 am: Kim Grinolds spoke with St. John Bosco QB Keith Price, who is fired up about signing with Washington.

On signing his LOI - "Yup, I signed it at about 7:10. I was just thinking that I'm a Husky. That was my first thought. All this madness is over."

On his signing day plans - "I'm at breakfast with my uncle and we're celebrating right now. I talked to the coaches and everybody's pumped up."

On committing early under Willingham - "When I found out coach Willingham got fired, it was a down moment. I didn't really know what I was going to do, and I talked to my family about what I should do. They felt it was best for me to take trips and start looking at other schools. I promised the university that I was still going to meet the new head coach and see what he was like. When coach Sark got hired, I was the first guy he called. He told me to help him get this thing rolling. I'm ready now."

On knowing coach Sarkisian before - "I didn't know him. USC had Matt Barkley, and Sark said he would start recruiting me if something happened. He said he already knew who I was and I didn't realize he had watched film of me when he was SC. That was a big thing."

On when he found out Sarkisian would be the new coach at UW - "I nearly jumped out of my room! When I heard about that, it was a big step. He's from Cali, which is a big plus. Half of the coaching staff, they know my family. All I could think about was offense, how offensive-minded he is, the quarterbacks that he coached...you can't argue with the success he's had. I hit the bank! After that, they started they hiring all these other coaches. Coach Nussmeier, I call him every day, day-in and day-out. And they brought in coach Michalczik from Cal, and he's an offensive guy too. That was a big hire. We're going to put up some points next year. I'm ready to go right now! We have to get this thing turned around, get it rollin'."

On his game - "I'm a playmaker. I'm pretty balanced in what I do. I have a couple of plays where it's like, 'Goodness. Where in the world did he get that from?' I think you might see a little bit of Dennis Dixon."

On what UW fans should know about Keith Price - "I'm ready to play. I'm ready to play right now."
10:35 am: Gohuskies.com is reporting that Semisi Tokolahi's LOI is in, so the big 6-foot-3, 290-pound DT from Hilo is officially a Husky.
10:25 am: We just spoke quickly with St. John Bosco DB Will Shamburger, who told us about signing with UW after originally committing to Boise State.

"I'm a free safety, that's where they want me at and that's where I'm going to stay," St. John Bosco S Will Shamburger told Dawgman.com this morning. "They do want me to get bigger and stronger and I'm going to be working hard on that to get ready."

Shamburger and his teammate, QB Keith Price, both signed their letters-of-intent today and faxed them in and now it's back to his normal life.

"I'm just heading back to class right now," Shamburger said. "I'm still me, but I know where I will be in the fall and that's cool."
10:18 am: We spoke with Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson DB Desmond Trufant about his decision to become a Husky. Desmond is the younger brother of Seattle Seahawks DB Marcus.

Wilson CB Desmond Trufant sent his letter-of-intent into Washington at 10 this morning at the press conference held at his school.

"It's been a good morning for me," Trufant said. "I'm dressed up a little bit in a button down shirt and I'm treating it real professional and doing what I'm going to do."

With a name like Trufant, one might wonder if he felt any pressure following former Washington State and current Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant.

"I don't really feel any pressure because we are different people," Trufant said. "The only real pressure is what you put on yourself, so I'm just focused on what I have to do to be the best I can be."

Trufant currently measures in at 5-11, 170 and said he's expecting to add strength and muscle over the next few months and get ready for his life as a college football player.

"I'm just ready to get started," Trufant said. "Coach (Steve) Sarkisian and coach (Nick) Holt are both intense guys and they were after me from the beginning and they showed how much they wanted me to go to U-Dub."
10:15 am: Here's a conversation Kim Grinolds had with Federal Way LB Andru Pulu, who signed with UW.

On signing with UW - "I signed it at 7:05. I did it at school and faxed it at the school. I was up all night thinking about it and I was anxious about it. I knew I was making the right decision. I was practicing all week to see how my signature was going to be. I'm finally happy that I got it done. I made it. I'm really excited."

On what it's been like since Sarkisian was named head coach - "I like coach Willingham, but it was time for a change and coach Sarkisian is going to turn things around. I'm excited. I didn't pay too much attention to the search, I was just focused on my school. It was all over the news on TV when I found out. I was happy."

On talking to Sarkisian - "It was good. He's a good man, but he's busy, so we never really talked all that much. We talked about what I need to work on. I need to work on my speed. I don't need to get any bigger."

On talking to coach Holt - "He's crazy! He's a wild guy."

On plans for the rest of the day - "The school is about to hold a little thing for me and my teammate (WSU signee) Andre (Barrington)."

On what Husky fans should know about Andru Pulu - "I'm excited and I'm going to help turn the program around. And I hit hard."
10:00 am: Here is a signing day Q&A with Marlion Barnett. And below are our first pictures of UW signees, courtesy of the Barnett family.



Also, QB Keith Price and DB Desmond Trufant have made their signings official per gohuskies.com, bumping the number of signees to 15. I spoke with Punahou TE Kimo Makaula, and he has faxed his in and I'll have that interview up shortly. Semisi Tokolahi was not able to making the signing day party in Oahu, but he is still expected to sign today.
8:51 am: Here is a story Scott Eklund did for JCFootball.com on ElCo S David Batts and his decision to attend UW over Kansas State.
8:34 am: According to gohuskies.com, Washington is now up to 13 signed prospects for the class of 2009:
TE Marlion Barnett 6-2/220 Corona (Calif.) Santiago
DB David Batts 6-2/205 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College
TE Dorson Boyce 6-2/250 Santa Maria (Calif.) Allen Hancock College (already signed)
DE Talia Crichton 6-4/240 Lakewood (Calif.) Lakewood
S Nathan Fellner 6-0/195 Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
WR James Johnson 6-1/195 Escondido (Calif.) Valley Center
OT Daniel Mafoe 6-4/320 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College
P William Mahan 5-11/180 Bakersfield (Calif.) Bakersfield
LB Andru Pulu 6-3/250 Federal Way (Wash.) Federal Way
DT Chris Robinson 6-1/270 Tustin (Calif.) Tustin
S Will Shamburger 6-1/187 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
DT Johnny Tivao 6-0/330 Norwalk (Calif.) Cerritos
LB Tim Tucker 6-2/230 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
8:18 am: Per Scout.com's Brandon Huffman, Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch CB Brandon Sermons has signed his letter of intent with UCLA, scratching another player off of UW's list. He was thought to be torn between the Huskies and Bruins.
8:15 am: Here's our first interview of the morning, Nate Fellner.
8:02 am: The good news of Johnson's commit was dampened significantly with the loss of Cerritos DE Ryan Davis who re-committed to Cal last and signed his letter-of-intent this morning (Davis story).

Davis was a player Washington wanted to play defensive end and they expect to pair him with senior DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim to be a force off the edge.

News has also come down the Bakersfield P Will Mahan and El Camino OL Daniel Mafoe have both faxed their letters into Washington.

Both of these players will see significant time in 2009 as the punting job is wide open after the graduation of Jared Ballman and the Husky coaches have made it known they want to upgrade the talent and competition along the offensive line.


7:40 am: Nate Fellner, Marlion Barnett, Andru Pulu and Johnny Tivao have all faxed in their letters to UW.

Pulu, who hails from Federal Way, and Wilson CB Desmond Trufant are the two local players that will ink their names with Washington.

Pulu's size (6-3, 250) makes him a perfect candidate to eventually end up with his hand on the ground as a strongside defensive end, but initially he will be given a shot at middle linebacker.


7:12 am: Dorson Boyce, the TE from Allen Hancock, already signed his letter, and that is showing on gohuskies.com. They have officially shown Talia Crichton, the 6-4, 240-pound defensive end from Lakewood, Calif. as their first signee for the class of 2009.

Also, Scout.com's Brandon Huffman is reporting that Josh Moten, Tim Tucker's teammate at Narbonne who was looking at UW and Colorado, will sign with CU. Moten's other teammate, Byron Moore, will sign with USC after recently decommittng from the Trojans.


7:01 am: Right on the dot, Clovis West Safety Nathan Fellner texts Scout.com to let us know that he has faxed in his letter of intent in to the University of Washington. I'll have more from Nathan in a bit.

And in what might be a precusor for great things this Signing Day Wednesday for first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, Valley Center WR James Johnson confirmed with Scout via text that he has verbally committed to Washington. We'll be back in touch to see when Johnson signs and hopefully have more on his thoughts about his commitment to the Huskies. He chose UW over Colorado, Oregon and California.
Midnight: It's never too early to start on signing day, right? Gohuskies.com Signing Day Central is a great up-to-the minute resource to find out more about the prospects UW has signed, including video and biographies, as well as information on past Husky classes.

Dawgman.com will be at the UW Signing Day Press Conference, picking up all the thoughts from new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian on his first signing class, as well as much, much more.

We will also be on with the Husky Honks from noon to 1 p.m. on KJR-AM 950, talking about the signees and what Husky fans can expect from this newest crop of Dawgs.

For this blog, we'll be contacting the prospects, getting their thoughts on signing with the Huskies, as well as hopefully some snapshots on their signings. We'll also be checking in with the UW prospects expected to make their future intentions known.

For those looking for a quick breakdown on those expected sign, here's a list of those verbal commitments that appear to be rock-solid heading into Wednesday's festivities: (16)

TE Marlion Barnett 6-2/220 Corona (Calif.) Santiago
TE Dorson Boyce 6-2/250 Santa Maria (Calif.) Allen Hancock College (already signed)
DE Talia Crichton 6-4/240 Lakewood (Calif.) Lakewood
S Nathan Fellner 6-0/195 Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West
CB Dominique Gaisie 5-10/170 Walnut (Calif.) Mt. San Antonio College
OT Daniel Mafoe 6-4/320 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College
P William Mahan 5-11/180 Bakersfield (Calif.) Bakersfield
DE Kimo Makaula 6-3/240 Honolulu (Hawai'i) Punahou
QB Keith Price 6-2/183 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
LB Andru Pulu 6-3/250 Federal Way (Wash.) Federal Way
DT Chris Robinson 6-1/270 Tustin (Calif.) Tustin
S Will Shamburger 6-1/187 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco
DT Johnny Tivao 6-0/330 Norwalk (Calif.) Cerritos
DT Semisi Tokolahi 6-3/290 Hilo (Hawai'i) Hilo
CB Desmond Trufant 5-11/170 Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson
LB Tim Tucker 6-2/230 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne

There are a bunch of players that are either right on the cusp of signing with UW or are torn between them and other schools: (7)

DB David Batts 6-2/205 Torrance (Calif.) El Camino College (UW, Kansas State) - Batts has told Scout.com that he verbally committed on his visit to Washington, but did not want to announce it until Signing Day. We'll see if he sticks with that pledge.

DE Ryan Davis 6-4/250 Norwalk (Calif.) Cerritos College (UW, California) - Davis previously committed to California, but then verbally committed to UW on his official visit this past weekend. The latest reports have Davis waffling a bit on his Washington pledge.

WR James Johnson 6-1/195 Escondido (Calif.) Valley Center (UW, UO, California, Colorado) - Johnson, according to his comments to Scout.com, has made his decision and wants to announce it on signing day as a 'shocker'.

QB Josh Moten 6-1/180 Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne (UW, Colorado) - Moten earlier verbally committed to UW, but then de-committed after his visit to Boulder.

CB Brandon Sermons 6-1/180 Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch (UW, UCLA) - The word given to Scout.com late Tuesday night is that Sermons - younger brother of former USC RB Rodney Sermons - is torn between the Bruins, who he is verbally committed to, and the Huskies.

DT Branden Warner 6-3/295 Compton (Calif.) Compton College (UW, UCLA) - Warner, who verbally committed to UCLA earlier in the year, was 50/50 after his official visit to Washington, but the latest thoughts have him leaning toward Westwood.

OG Eddie Williams 6-0/330 Walnut (Calif.) Mt. San Antonio College (UW, UCLA) - Another previous UCLA commit, Williams took an official visit to UW, but isn't expected to change his earlier pledge.

And even though we have all these players listed, that doesn't mean there won't be a possible surprise or two, so stay tuned to all the action! It's what Signing Day is all about.


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