No stress this signing day for athletes who opted to sign early

The traditional signing day for high school senior football players in picking colleges is Wednesday, but six Clark County athletes took advantage of the early signing period and signed in December, ending the recruiting process, ending the stress.
The traditional signing day for high school senior football players in picking colleges is Wednesday, but six Clark County athletes took advantage of the early signing period and signed in December, ending the recruiting process, ending the stress.

Arthur Ban (Evergreen), Holden Bea (Washougal), Fox Crader (Evergreen), Ryan Kawalek (La Center), Carson Osmus (Camas), and Trenton Swanson (Camas) signed in December

Paul Valencia
ClarkCountyToday.com

Signing Day used to be the first Wednesday of February for high school football players, the day a Division I athlete officially signed with his college choice.

That day remains important, and it is still the traditional signing day.

However, for many years, there has been an early signing period for high school seniors, for athletes who wanted the recruiting process to be done, for athletes who wanted to end all speculation.

This week, with that traditional signing day upon us, we talked to six Clark County football players who opted to sign in December.

Seven weeks later, they are thrilled with their decisions.

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

“I wanted to have peace of mind,” said Carson Osmus, an offensive lineman from Camas who signed with Washington State. “OK, I’m done. I don’t have to worry about it. I just wanted to get it over with.”

Trenton Swanson, a wide receiver from Camas, just felt so at ease with his decision.

“I did early signing because I just knew it was my home, really,” Swanson said of his decision to play for Idaho. “There was no question for me. I didn’t feel like I needed to wait and weigh other options. I just knew this is where I wanted to be.”

Ryan Kawalek, an offensive lineman from La Center, is also going to Idaho. He wanted to be part of the program as soon as possible.

“Once I signed, I got the playbook and stuff and started working out,” Kawalek said.

Yes, Kawalek has the strength plan that Idaho coaches want their linemen to be executing in the offseason.

“I’m getting more familiar with everything,” Kawalek said, “to get me ready for when I go out there this summer.”

Holden Bea, a quarterback from Washougal, is also going to Idaho and agreed with Kawalek. Signing early gives the player a seven-week head start on any athlete who signs in February.

“Why wouldn’t I sign? It opens up more doors,” Bea said. “I’m able to get film (from the team) and start preparing myself for when I head there in June. It’s a cool opportunity to be part of that earlier than most. I want to be the most prepared that I can be when I head there.”

Evergreen teammates Fox Crader and Arthur Ban signed in December, too, and have had fewer anxious moments during this basketball season, playing for the Plainsmen.

“Me and Arthur both just wanted to get the weight off our shoulders,” said Crader, an offensive lineman who has signed with Oregon. “Signing is a big relief, finally putting pen on paper. It’s finally a reality. We wanted to lock it in with our schools.”

Ban, a tight end, signed with San Diego State. That program had a coaching change, too. Ban wanted to show the new coaches he was committed.

“There were a lot of things in the air. I wanted to finalize everything,” Ban said. “It was a stress off my shoulders. I don’t have to worry about all the factors that are going around college football these days.”

National Letter of Intent regulations on Division I and II scholarships have dates for all sports. Most people do not realize that the regular basketball signing day is in April. That’s because most basketball players sign during basketball’s early period, which begins in November. The early period for football this academic year started Dec. 20. The traditional signing day is Feb. 7. For all DI and DII sports other than football and basketball, signing day is in November.

With that said, many area high schools have opted to celebrate signing day for all of their athletes, regardless of sport, during the traditional February football day. Schools such as Camas and Skyview, and others, are holding ceremonies Wednesday for many athletes.

For the Division I football players who signed in December, or for the basketball players who signed in November, these ceremonies are more of a celebration than anything official.

With that said, here is more on the six Clark County Division I football players who signed in December:

Arthur Ban, Evergreen, tight end, signed with San Diego State

rthur Ban of Evergreen talks to friends and family in December after he signed to play football at San Diego State. Photo courtesy Ryanne Elaine Visuals
Arthur Ban of Evergreen talks to friends and family in December after he signed to play football at San Diego State. Photo courtesy Ryanne Elaine Visuals

“God has been a big part of my decision during this recruiting process,” Ban said. “It was always the school that felt right with me.”

Ban noted that the Aztecs have had several players reach the NFL in recent years, including tight ends. 

“That is the best landing spot (for me),” Ban said.

San Diego State coaches have told Ban that they will be sending him workout plans and more once the high school basketball season ends. Ban said he appreciates that his college coaches respect multi-sport athletes who are still competing in high school. 

That also was another benefit of signing early for Ban. He wasn’t worried about anything “crazy” happening, but what if he was injured playing basketball? For the last seven weeks, he has been able to play hoops without that stress.

He said he was “very, very grateful” that the recruiting process ended for him back in December.

Holden Bea, Washougal, quarterback, signed with Idaho

Holden Bea of Washougal is all smiles, signing with Idaho in December. Bea is one of several Division I football players who opted to sign in the early signing period rather than the traditional signing day, which is Feb. 7 this year. Photo courtesy Jada Bea
Holden Bea of Washougal is all smiles, signing with Idaho in December. Bea is one of several Division I football players who opted to sign in the early signing period rather than the traditional signing day, which is Feb. 7 this year. Photo courtesy Jada Bea

Idaho was the first team to recruit Bea. He was visiting there often, anyway, as he has two sisters and a cousin who are very familiar with Idaho athletics. Older sister Beyonce shined at Idaho before transferring to Washington State this year in women’s basketball. And sister Skylar Bea and cousin Jaiden Bea are still members of the Idaho basketball team.

For Holden, it was a great day when he was offered by Idaho football. Still, he kept his options open. 

“I wanted to prove I could get a different offer, one that wasn’t connected with my last name,” Holden said.

Sure enough, he did land other offers. 

“I still knew Idaho was the place I wanted to be,” he said.

He called it a relief to sign in December. He played basketball for Washougal this winter, but with that season over, he is all about becoming the best football player he can be for Idaho.

“I don’t want to just be a college football player. I want to be a college football impact starter,” he said. “Just going to grind and prove that I can be an impact college football player.”

He also has enjoyed the last seven weeks, knowing his recruitment is over while helping friends. He has teammates who are still trying to figure out where they will play, and he has been giving them advice.

“I know where I’m going,” Bea said. “Now it’s about helping them out.”

Fox Crader, Evergreen, offensive lineman, Oregon

Fox Crader of Evergreen said he believes he will become a better football player and a better person by playing for the Oregon Ducks. Photo courtesy the University of Oregon
Fox Crader of Evergreen said he believes he will become a better football player and a better person by playing for the Oregon Ducks. Photo courtesy the University of Oregon

Crader liked that Eugene is close to home.

“It’s somewhere I see myself improving, mentally, physically, as a player, as a person,” Crader said. “The coaching staff and the family aspect is definitely up there for one of the reasons why I’m going there. I feel like I’m going to be happy there, and get the best out of myself every day.”

Soon after signing in December, Crader spent a week in Texas to play in the All-American Bowl, the national high school all-star football game.

He called that experience “super fun.” 

He also met players there that had not committed yet.

“With the way the college football landscape is changing, it’s a relief to say you’re locked in,” Crader said. “There are tons of (college) guys sitting around waiting in the portal who might not find a place to go, or schools might not be looking at high school players. Being a high school player who is locked in with Oregon is most definitely a blessing.”

Ryan Kawalek, La Center, offensive lineman, signed with Idaho

Ryan Kawalek of La Center said the recruitment process was not too stressful for him because he knew right away that Idaho was the place for him. Photo courtesy La Center athletics
Ryan Kawalek of La Center said the recruitment process was not too stressful for him because he knew right away that Idaho was the place for him. Photo courtesy La Center athletics

“The second I stepped foot on campus, I knew it would be a great fit for me. I wasn’t really talking to anybody else,” Kawalek said.

There were other options, of course. But Kawalek gave a verbal agreement with Idaho very early in the process.

“It worked out good for me and my family,” he said. “It felt right.”

He loved getting Idaho’s workout plan almost as soon as he was officially a Vandal. 

“It allowed me to laser-focus on what I have to get done. I feel great about it,” Kawalek said.

He said he understands that for some, the recruiting process can be difficult.

“I never felt stressed,” Kawalek said. “I’ve always felt confident with my decision to go to Idaho, and I never had second guesses.”

Carson Osmus, Camas, offensive lineman, signed with Washington State

Carson Osmus of Camas is all about loyalty. Washington State was the first big school to believe in him, and while other programs wanted him, he stuck with his promise, signing with Washington State. Photo courtesy Osmus
Carson Osmus of Camas is all about loyalty. Washington State was the first big school to believe in him, and while other programs wanted him, he stuck with his promise, signing with Washington State. Photo courtesy Osmus

“They were the first Power 5 school to offer me,” Osmus said of the Cougars. 

Interestingly, Washington State is not technically a Power 5 team anymore, with no Pac-12 in the immediate future. Still, for all of the recruits, and for all the players who are on the team right now, they still feel like a Power 5 team.

“They built a relationship with me when every other school was half-in, half-out,” Osmus said.

Osmus did have other programs trying to get him to change his mind, but nope.

A Washington State assistant coach witnessed Osmus in a workout in the weight room, and told Osmus that it was one of the best workout sessions he had ever seen. That mattered to Osmus, who prides himself on his work ethic.

Osmus had surgery on an ankle in November. By signing in December, he was able to rehabilitate the injury without a weight on his shoulders, he said. 

“I’m grateful that it’s over,” he said of the recruiting process. “I kind of got back to normal.”

And no matter what the schedule is or the affiliation for Washington State football, it’s still big-time football.

“I’m going to a Power Five school, a place with a great culture, and a place I know I can fit in,” Osmus said. “I know I want to be there. This is the move.”

Trenton Swanson, Camas, wide receiver, signed with Idaho

“Even before considering athletics, academically, it’s the school I wanted to go to,” Swanson said. “With the coaching staff, I built great relationships with them. I sprung at the opportunity.”

Swanson will continue to apply for academic scholarships but he does not have to worry about applying to go to college. He found his home. 

“It’s nice knowing where I’m going to end up,” he said.

And he appreciated that chance to sign in December.

“It’s really nice that for this last month, month-and-a-half, I haven’t had to deal with anything,” Swanson said. “No extra thoughts put in. It’s been over and done with. I see everybody else grinding out their recruiting process. It feels good to have it all done.”


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