Reilly Hennessey’s early commitment to Eastern Washington put a different spin on coach Beau Baldwin’s recent visit.
“It was a weird feeling, like I was just having a friend over for milk and cookies,” said Hennessey, a dual-threat quarterback from Camas, Wash., who gave an oral commitment to the Eagles last summer and never looked back.
For Hennessey, National Signing Day is a mere formality; he’ll wake up today, sign his name to an agreement to play for Eastern Washington and go to class.
Hennessey is one of 21 high school players who have given verbal commitments to the Eagles, but nothing is binding until they sign letters of intent. In Hennessey’s case, that’s been a sure thing since July 23, when he offered his verbal while attending a quarterbacks camp on the Cheney campus.
Impressed with Eastern’s recent run of standout quarterbacks, Hennessey said, “I hope I can bring more of the same, coming into a very quarterback-rich environment.”
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Hennessey is rated a two-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals. He threw for 3,387 yards and 38 touchdowns to lead Camas to a school-record 13 wins and its first appearance in a state championship game.
Along the way, he was named the state’s Gatorade player of the year, an honor he learned about only after checking his Twitter page. “That was amazing,” Hennessey said.
In the title game, the Papermakers gave up two touchdowns in the final minute of a 27-26 loss to Chiawana of Pasco, but Hennessey has moved on.
Hennessey said there’s plenty to like about the Eastern program, especially the “integrity of the players and the coaches, and the kind of atmosphere that has been built around this program.
“It reminded me of my high school program, which I was fortunate to be a part of,” said Hennessey, who added that the Eastern offense reminds him of the Papermakers’.
“It’s a little more pass-heavy, which of course I don’t mind,” Hennessey said.
Hennessey’s choice of Eastern was confirmed in the season opener at Oregon State. His family has OSU season tickets, and Hennessey tagged along – clad in his newfound Eastern gear.
“Every time they (Eastern) scored, I’d jump up and down, and everybody’s looking at me,” Hennessey said.
After the Eagles’ landmark 49-46 win, Hennessey ran down onto the field and gave Baldwin a hug.
“It shows how far this program has come,” said Hennessey, who attended several Eastern home games, including the Big Sky Conference opener against Weber State.
“I was amazed,” Hennessey said. “It’s not the biggest campus, but coming up there for that game and seeing the amount of tailgating, and how this truly is Division I college football, that’s the most exciting thing.”