Seven high school players officially signed with Eastern Washington on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday.
More are likely to do so on national signing day Feb. 2. But Eagles head coach Aaron Best indicated that lower numbers of new signings may be the norm of the next few years as football players work through the extra year of eligibility granted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point, the Eagles are going with quality over quantity. Of the seven signees, five are regarded as three-star recruits by 247Sports.com. That includes safeties Bryce Brown-Johnson and Drew Carter, defensive tackle Justis La’ulu, cornerback Amani Pressley and wide receiver Miles Williams.
Offensive lineman Dylan Conner from Orange, California, and Richland linebacker Elijah Rodriguez also signed. He and Carter – who is from Lake Stevens – are the two Washingtonians who have signed with the Eagles .
Wide receiver Jaelin Green was set to sign at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle on Wednesday, but that was postponed due to a shelter-in-place order at the high school, according to a Twitter post by football coach Corey Sampson.
Green also posted on his Twitter account that he was “100% committed” while tagging Eastern interim offensive coordinator Pat McCann.
Graham-Kapowsin quarterback Joshua Wood announced his oral commitment to the Eagles in October but did not officially sign Wednesday. Last week, Wood was named the MaxPreps Washington Football Player of the Year.
Presumably the Eagles will sign more linebackers to bolster a corps that will be without its top four from last fall: Ty Graham, Jack Sendlebach, Cale Lindsay and Jusstis Warren. In a news release, Best said linebacker is a “high, high position of need.”
Last year at this time, Eastern signed 17 players to letters of intent and added five more the following February.
After the 2019 season, the Eagles signed 15 players in December and two months later added another 12.
“I don’t think for the next four or five years we’ll be in the mid-20s as far as signing classes go if we do it right in terms of experience for our student-athletes,” Best said.
High school: Orange Lutheran (Altadena, California)
Head coach Aaron Best: “He’s moved around between safety and corner and is a multidimensional player that can fit into our system in the safety role with coach Zach Bruce.”
High school: Lake Stevens (Washington)
Best: “He is a high school camp kid that we’ve been fortunate enough to get an up close and personal look at. Especially from a team camp setting, we’ve seen him play on both sides of the ball.”
Position: Offensive Line
High school: El Modena (Orange, California)
Best: “We need length and athleticism, and that’s what stood out on film. We pushed that arena more in recent years, being more athletic up front on the offensive line world.”
Position: Defensive tackle
High school: Vista Ridge (American Samoa)
Best: “We set our sights on Justis early and he fell in love with us just like we fell in love with him, and we’re excited about him bringing more than just the football aspect to the team because he has a presence that is certainly rare to most.”
High school: Inderkum (Sacramento, California)
Best: “We were honest up front that we were only going to take one corner, but we weren’t going to go after the wrong one, we were going to go after the best one and we found that in Amani.”
High school: Richland
Best: “He will help us provide depth in the linebacker position, which is something that we coveted from the get go.”
Position: Wide receiver
High school: Clackamas (Happy Valley, Oregon)
Best: “Knowing that there are going to be a ton of opportunities throughout his career to do what he does best and that’s to run pristine routes, to get open in tight spaces, to catch the ball and then get up field after the catch. He’s going to be a good one.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.