Sumner's Connor Wedington signs with Stanford University
Sumner High School’s Connor Wedington said he’s been snowboarding for eight years. He’s been playing football even longer.
But does he know how to operate a fax machine?
“No,” he laughed. “I don’t.”
The world might introduce Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and other things — so athletes can post commitment videos snowboarding down the Snoqualmie summit — but the seemingly archaic fax machine continues to thrive as the most essential networking tool on national signing day.
Dave Miller woke up early Wednesday to get to the Lakes High School fax machine — dusting it off because it’s the one time of the year he uses it. He sent off six letters of intent for his six football players planning to play at colleges next season.
Wedington, The News Tribune’s All-Area football player of the year, got his letter of intent faxed to Stanford by 8:21 a.m. Then he headed to Sumner’s gymnasium to take part in the school’s banner day for a signing ceremony.
Sumner honored eight of its athletes signing letters of intent, including All-Area girls soccer player of the year Jordan Thompson, though she wasn’t there because she has enrolled early at Gonzaga.
“In my 17 years here I’ve never seen anything like this class,” Sumner athletic director Jeff Baines said.
And he hasn’t seen two athletes as talented in their sports as Thompson and Wedington.
“I truly feel like they are once-in-a-lifetimers,” Baines said. “And we happen to have two of them this year.”
Wedington tweeted a video created by Bleacher Report in which he revealed his college commitment as he hit a jump. He had decommitted from Washington in December.
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 it,” 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.
But Wedington won’t need one at Stanford.
“Connor is one of the best all-around athletes in the country,” said Stanford running backs coach Lance Taylor. “He has elite speed and the ability to turn any play into a home run.”
Wedington said he was told by Stanford coaches that they want to use him similar to how they used Christian McCaffrey.
Stanford got Wedington’s fax more than an hour after Foster Sarell’s came through at 7:12 a.m. Sarell, considered the No. 1 offensive lineman in the nation by Scout.com, held his signing ceremony a few hours later at Graham-Kapowsin High School.
Almost 200 high schoolers from the South Sound faxed their letters of intent on Wednesday, including more than 60 local football players.
The NCAA charted that 6.7 percent of more than 1 million high school athletes go on to compete in NCAA sports.
And 2.6 percent go on to compete in an NCAA Division I sport like Lincoln offensive lineman Quazzel White committed to on Wednesday. He waited until signing day to announce that he is heading to Texas Christian University after decommitting from Washington State earlier this month.
“I just knew TCU was the right fit for me,” White said. “I’m a guy who doesn’t like being stuck at home. I like to explore. Not only was it a different state, but the conference they are in — in the Big 12 — and the competition, I think, will help me get better as a football player.”
Thurston County had three players sign to play Pac-12 football next year — River Ridge’s Kelle Sanders to Washington State, Timberline’s Jaelen Bush to Oregon State and Tumwater’s Cade Otton to UW.
Todd Beamer’s Lincoln Liulama was just happy to accept a scholarship to Central Washington. He was the lone football player sitting alongside six other Beamer athletes signing their letters of intent, including Ameera Hussen to play soccer at the University of Washington.
“It was a good experience because I’m the first in my family to go to a four-year college and receive a scholarship,” Liulama said. “It’s just a blessing.”
Eastern Washington cleaned up in the South Sound, getting nine athletes to send letters of intent to play football for Curtis graduate Aaron Best.
Two came from Steilacoom — wide receiver Marques Hampton Jr. was the first to send his in, followed by linebacker/safety Anthony Leiato, whose brother, Fotu Leiato, signed with Oregon two years ago.
Call Steilacoom the wide receiver high school. It had three from its team sign: Hampton, La’Jon Enis-Carter (Western Oregon) and Isaiah Hampton (Linfield).
“We brought something that I don’t think this school has ever had, which was a really vaunted air attack,” said Steilacoom coach Rich Lane, who had never planned a signing ceremony before in his eight years coaching at Corcoran High School in California. “This was an amazing group of kids.”
And call Lakes the linebacker high school. It had Cale Lindsay and Xavier Banner, the younger brother of NFL-hopeful Zach Banner, sign with EWU to play linebacker.
“I dreamed about playing college football when I was a kid,” Lindsay said. “Time flew by so fast and now it’s this moment, right now, happening all at once. It’s a big shock.”
Sumner coach Keith Ross said he left it up to his players’ parents to send off their faxes Wednesday morning. He said this was the largest signing class he’s had in his 16 years as Spartans coach.
So Wednesday was about celebrating.
“Last night I got to sleep and knew today was going to be an exciting day,” Ross said. “It’s amazing that we have so many here at the same time. 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