Granite Bay High School football players, from left, Evan Tattersall, Ryan Smith and Will Craig signed national letters of intent on Wednesday morning during college football’s new early signing period. Courtesy of Granite Bay High School
Granite Bay High School football players, from left, Evan Tattersall, Ryan Smith and Will Craig signed national letters of intent on Wednesday morning during college football’s new early signing period. Courtesy of Granite Bay High School

Joe Davidson

A unique perspective on sports in the Sacramento region, from high schools to the pros

Joe Davidson

Big day comes early for area football recruits eager to end the process

By Joe Davidson

jdavidson@sacbee.com

December 20, 2017 02:56 PM

Wednesday’s early signing period was something of a regional bonanza as 11 high school seniors and eight community college stars signed national letters of intent.

This is the first year of an early signing period for college football, designed to ease the pressure of prospects who are ready to sign without having to endure some six more weeks of intensive recruiting. The early signing period runs through Friday; national signing day will be in February, as usual.

Granite Bay led the local high school contingent with three early signings, including two to a resurgent Cal program.

Lineman Will Craig and fullback/linebacker Evan Tattersall will head to Berkeley after powering the Grizzlies to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship. Teammate Ryan Smith, a tight end, signed with Nevada. The student-athletes were surrounded by family, friends and coaches during a morning signing.

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“Particularly for me it was fun to see two guys that I have been playing with for almost eight years to sign right next to me,” Tattersall said. “And we all put in the work together, which made it all worth it and special as well.”

Whitney stars Nick Eaton, a linebacker, and Justin Kraft, a receiver, signed with UC Davis.

It was a dose of feel-good news for a Wildcats program that was hit with a one-year playoff ban on the eve of the season for improper practice drills/equipment.

Offensive linemen were in demand, but none had as stunning a backdrop for their big day as Andrew Cokley of Vista del Lago. He signed with Cal Poly during a family vacation in Maui. Oak Ridge’s Bryan Catchings signed with UNLV, the first of what could be several Trojans who could sign with four-year programs. Del Campo’s Jordan Ford signed with UCD after helping the Cougars to a 12-1 season.

Elk Grove defensive back Da’von Frazier signed with UCD and Grant linebacker James Fotofili with Nevada.

Jesuit running back Lorenzo Burkes signed with San Jose State after missing the second half of the regular season and the playoffs with a torn knee ligament.

Four American River College players signed, each a critical piece to a Beavers team that reached the Northern California championship game and finished ranked sixth nationally by JCGridwire.com. Two were offensive linemen: Diego Cervantes of Elk Grove with Old Dominion and Moses Landis of El Camino with Nevada. Defensive tackle Kaleb Meder of Wheatland signed with Nevada. Defensive back Lenny Nelson of Woodcreek signed with North Dakota State of the Big Sky Conference.

Sierra College had three sign, including quarterback Justus Spillner of Nevada Union and Colfax, who played in Week 1 and Week 10 as he labored through foot injuries. He signed with Quincy in Illinois. Safety Felipe Chambers of Del Campo signed with Division II national champion Texas A&M-Commerce. Safety Cheapell Jones-Morris of Foothill and Highlands signed with Liberty of Virginia.

“These are the really good days of the job,” Sierra coach Ben Noonan said. “You feel so good for them because it’s not always easy.”

Sacramento State, coming off a bounce-back 7-4 season, signed four players, three on defense and a quarterback with a familiar name in Hornets lore. Hamish McClure of Crespi High in Encino signed and will compete for backup duty behind Sac State star Kevin Thomson. McClure is the son of UCLA recruiting coordinator Angus McClure, who played on the Hornets offensive line in the 1980s and later coached with the program.

Sac State also signed defensive tackle Josh Lee of Canyon Springs High in Moreno Valley and cornerback Tykee Woods of Clovis West in Fresno.

Send signing updates to jdavidson@sacbee.com.