While today is the first day of the fall signing period for high school athletes to sign with four-year colleges, it really just begins a recruiting journey that will last until the spring and even beyond.
But there should be several local athletes signing with colleges today, among them Carson High's Nicole Scott. The 6-2 CHS post player will sign a letter-of-intent today to play women's basketball at Division I Eastern Washington, which competes in the Big Sky Conference.
Scott's stock rose considerably during the summer, based on her performance with Jam On It in the Northwest. Among other schools who contact Scott were Oregon State, Washington State, Pepperdine, Long Beach State, Manhattan and Miami.
Scott said she chose Easter Washington a strong program in athletic training and physical therapy, which she wants to study. Schools were attracted to Scott's size and athleticism and her ability to run the floor. Scott also has the ability to play inside or outside.
Eastern Washington will also be hit hard by graduation at the post positions. "They need someone to be able to come and play right away," Scott said. "When I was young I never every thought of going to college to play basketball."
Another Carson athlete who could be going onto a Division I school is Logan Parsley, who has essentially verbally comitted to play baseball at Saint Mary's, an up and coming Division I program in Moraga, Calif., that competes in the West Coast Conference.
Parsley, who plays second base for Carson, is considered one of the top Northern Nevada players in this year's senior class and is arguably Northern Nevada's top position player.
He had a simple reason for his decision to commit to St. Mary's. "Because they wanted me," Parsley said.
Parsley's attending St. Mary's is contingent on him earning high enough SAT scores to receive admission into the school. He plans to take the SATs in December and January and if his scores are high enough, Parsley said he will sign with the school in February.
Galena also has several athletes who will be going onto the four-year level. They include Julie Burgarello, the NIAA 4A state singles champion in girls tennis, who will be attending Sacramento State.
There's also outside hitters Julia and Lydia Mailander in volleyball, who will realize their dream of attending an Ivy League school, Yale.
"That was their ultimate goal to go to an Ivy League school," Galena volleyball coach Teresa Burrows said.
Yale and Harvard are generally considered the nation's top two universities. "It depends on who you talk to and which side of the street you're on," said Burrows about which school is considered No. 1. "But they're definitely going to get a world class education."
Another Galena athlete who is just a sophomore is already receiving a great deal of attention from major college programs. Luke Babbitt, who is 6-7 and likely projects out as a small forward in college, is already receiving attention on a national level. "He's getting big-time attention," Galena boys basketball coach Tom Maurer said.
Babbitt is receiving the attention as a result of his play with the Las Vegas Prospects during the summer in tournaments Las Vegas and Atlanta.
"They say during the summer he just picked it up," Maurer said. "He had a great, great summer. Everybody's talking to him."
Among the schools asking about Babbitt are the Pac 10's Washington, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Arizona, the Big 12's Iowa State and Kansas State, the Big East's Georgetown and UConn, the ACC's North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Due, the Big 10's Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan and the SEC's Kentucky.
Arizona coach Lute Olson and UCLA coach Ben Howland have already come to watch Babbitt play.
Maurer's main concern now is to make sure that Babbitt keeps his head on straight and continues to improve - which he expects him to do.
"All this kind of attention can get into your head," Maurer said. "He's a driven kid. He's done exactly what we're asking of him so far."
Galena will also play a schedule this year that should give Babbitt plenty of exposure. Among the schools that Galena will play include three of the West Coast's top teams in Modesto Christian, Calif., Orem, Utah, and Bishop Gorman.
All four sophomores on this year's Western Nevada Community College baseball team should also move on.
Catcher Trent Smith, outfielder Aaron Henry of Carson High, pitcher Arnold Toombs and shortstop Jerahmie Libke should all move on. WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said Henry, Toombs and Smith all have the potential to play at Division I.
Whittemore said Libke will likely end up lower than Division I, but should be able to move on somewhere.
"He's going to definitely find a four-year college," Whittemore said. "He'll contribute whereever he goes."
Whittemore said Smith's best option may be the Major League draft. Smith is a left-handed hitting catcher with power, with a release time to second base of 1.9 seconds, which is better than the Big League average.
Henry has been timed in 6.47 seconds in the 60-yard dash. "I think he's on a lot of radars," Whittemore said.
Whittemore said junior college players are used to fill immediate needs, so JC players normally don't sign until the spring or summer.
"It's going to depend on what kind of season they have," said Whittemore about where his four sophomores will land. "All of these guys are going to garner some attention."
As far as his own recruiting, Whittemore has received one commitment from Spanish Springs pitcher Kyle Smit, who pitched in the Area Code Games. Whittemore said Smit should be another player taken high in the Big League draft. "In my estimation he's the best pitcher in the state," Whittemore said.
WNCC also recently held a workout for Northern Nevada's top seniors at Carson High. Among those who stood out Whittemore said were Carson's Kevin Schlange and Royal Good and Douglas High's Roman Davis and D.J. Brady. WNCC will hold another workout for Southern Nevada's top seniors on Nov. 19 at Basic High.
WNCC signing period is in January and Whittemore said he expects to sign six to 10 players. Whittemore said he expects to have the bulk of his commitments by Christmas.