8:30 a.m. – Sumner High School
Jeff Baines and Keith Ross like to think of themselves as the John Schneider and Pete Carroll of Sumner.
They helped build Wednesday’s scene, where the Spartans had their largest and most touted signing class since Baines and Ross arrived at the school – Baines 17 years ago and Ross 16 years ago.
That class included Stanford football signee Connor Wedington, The News Tribune’s All-Area football player of the year, and Gonzaga women’s soccer signee Jordan Thompson, the All-Area girls soccer player of the year.
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“I truly feel like they are once-in-a-lifetimers,” Baines said. “And we happened to have two of those this year.”
Wedington was fresh off of committing to Stanford on Monday. Thompson wasn’t at the signing ceremony because she enrolled at Gonzaga early and is already there – though the players held up photos of her as Baines introduced them.
“They are definitely both of the same build,” Baines said. “Same character, same work ethic – and they can put their teams on their back and they are excited about that. They want that and I think that drives them.”
Sumner had five football players sign, one baseball player and Thompson for soccer.
“It’s so proud of all these guys who signed,” Wedington said. “We’ve all been working for so long to get to here.”
Wedington committed to Washington last February before decommitting following a visit from Stanford coach David Shaw in December.
“That was definitely one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life,” Wedington said Wednesday. “UW – they are a great program with great coaches and great academics. I just felt like the Stanford opportunity – I couldn’t pass that up.”
He said Cardinal coaches talked about utilizing him like they did Christian McCaffrey.
“I’m going to have to work for it, but they see me as an offensive athlete and working in the return game, too,” Wedington said.
Wedington accumulated 2,048 all-purpose yards in an injury-shortened senior season for Sumner. But then he traveled to the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii earlier this month and earned the game’s offensive MVP.
He tweeted a video created by Bleacher Report of him snowboarding down Snoqualmie Summit on Monday, taking a jump at the end which revealed his decision to commit to Stanford.
Wedington wouldn’t say if that was, indeed, him in the air.
“Bleacher Report texted me saying they wanted to do a video and I was fine with hit,” Wedington said. “I’ve been snowboarding for like eight years, so I wanted to do it. It was fun.
“We were up there from like 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., so it was a long day. But it was fun.”
Baines said he offered to be Wedington’s stunt double.
And Keith Ross was only slightly offended he wasn’t asked to be one of the snowboarders.
But that was OK – as long as he got to enjoy Wednesday’s signing ceremony and what it meant for his program.
“It’s a reflection of all these boys’ talent and character,” Ross said. “I’m excited for them to represent what Sumner High and this Sumner town is all about. They are going to go and be ambassadors of Sumner High and that is really exciting.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677