Wednesday was a first in the NCAA football recruiting realm: The Dec. 20 early signing period – which gave college programs a chance to get some early commitments on board for its 2018 class, rather than wait until February.

No gridiron star from Arroyo Grande to Santa Ynez signed a National Letter of Intent during this new early date – making things relatively quiet for us here in the Times’ office.

However, that doesn’t mean Feb. 7, 2018 will be a quiet time – we’re expecting lots of signings and maybe a few surprises.

Here are the talents from the 2018 class who will likely sign the dotted lines come February, and the ones who may also sign:

Toa Taua, Lompoc: Expect a big ceremony at Lompoc High – probably similar to what Ainnu Taua had when he signed with UCLA back in 2014. Taua reached the double digit mark with scholarship offers and had Washington State and Cal among the colleges that were trying to court him through its offers. But, Taua has these four schools we’ll keep an eye on when he makes his verbal commitment at the Jan. 20 Polynesian Bowl: Iowa State, Nevada, Utah State and San Diego State. Taua becomes an official member of his school of choice by signing the LOI on Feb. 7.

Gabe Prendergast, Santa Ynez: The three-year varsity star was so dynamic and dependable as a wide receiver and defensive back, that premiere academic universities Cornell and the University of San Diego rewarded him with a financial aid package. He also got Fresno State wide receiver coach Kirby Moore to take a visit to SYHS. Prendergast has been mum on where he’ll go, but I would anticipate he’ll have a ceremony at SYHS come February.

Joseph and Tim Miller, St. Joseph: The Miller twins became instant impact players in their first season with the Knights after crossing over from Mission Prep. Both of them have been courted by NAIA programs like Hastings College, Montana Tech, Kansas Wesleyan and Rocky Mountain College. Tim Miller says he and his brother plan to sign in February.

Keep an eye on:

Nate Guzman, St. Joseph: The Knights’ top wide receiver has emerged as a late blooming NAIA product, with Graceland University trying to court him. Graceland has former Lompoc High standout Justice Clegg on the coaching staff.

Dino Maldonado, St. Joseph: After a stellar and improved senior campaign, Maldonado has gotten on the NCAA Division II radar. Maybe a late offer comes in for the quarterback.

Jelani Henderson, Lompoc: The hard-charging linebacker has shown up on the Big Sky and Mountain West radar lately – making him a potential mid-major target at the NCAA Division I level. Sacramento State and Wyoming are two schools that showed interest in Henderson.

Shemar Savage, Lompoc: The explosive wide receiver was offered by Howard University, San Jose State, New Mexico and also gained late interest from Nevada and Wyoming.


Sports Reporter