Signing day ceremonies in Northern Nevada will typically feature anywhere between two and five athletes.
The group of winter signees at Reed was atypical.
Nine Raiders signed national letters of intent Wednesday afternoon in Reed’s gym in front of approximately 350 family members, friends and media.
The group featured four athletes signing at NCAA Div. I schools, two for football and two for softball. Four total members from Reed’s defending state champion softball team signed on Wednesday.
Reed softball coach Jon Wunder said it was the largest group of players from one class “in recent memory” that he’s sent off to play collegiately.
“It’s just a testament to the strength of our program and the commitment these girls make, here while they’re playing for me and in the offseason,” he said. “I’m really happy for them.”
Shortstop Kenzi Goins highlighted the list. She made her commitment to Nevada official after verbally committing months ago. Second baseman Alexis Gonzales also signed at a Div. I school, Coppin State. Located in Baltimore, the Eagles play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Ryia Grant signed a NLI at the Academy of Art University, an NCAA Div. II affiliate in San Francisco, and Alysha Imperato will play at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
All four softball signees will play their senior seasons this fall.
Among the three Reed football players, two signed at Div. I schools.
Defensive tackle Nick Gregg committed to stay home and play at Nevada while tight end Parker Houston is headed to San Diego State.
“The dream has become a reality,” Houston said. “It’s something you can’t explain, when you work so hard for something and you finally get to achieve it. So it’s unexplainable.”
— GoAztecs.com (@GoAztecs) February 3, 2016
Houston verbally committed to SDSU in the summer and said feedback from the local Nevada fan base has been overwhelmingly positive, although, his family members have been asked why their kin is ditching the mountains for the surf.
Parker will play a hybrid tight end/full back in the Aztecs’ system. He does not know if he will redshirt next fall.
Gregg was the first verbal commitment of Nevada’s 2016 class after announcing he would be staying home nearly a year ago. He said a few schools tried to lure him out of his verbal commitment but he “had his heart set on” Nevada.
— Brian Polian (@BrianPolian) February 3, 2016
The two-time DI North Defensive Player of the Year said he’s received plenty of support the past year from the Wolf Pack faithful.
“There have been a bunch of people I’ve never even met before, they’re just showing support,” Gregg said. “I didn’t expect it so early on. It was definitely cool.”
Gregg is also unsure if he will redshirt his first year at Nevada. The 6 foot, 300 pound tackle said that will be determined by his performance in spring ball. That doesn’t mean he’s refrained from pondering the first time running into Mackay Stadium after watching so many games as a fan.
“I can’t even explain the nervousness I’ll fell,” Gregg said. “But it’ll be worth it.”
Quarterback Matt Denn had the option to walk on at Nevada as an athlete but instead opted to play for the Coast Guard Academy, an NCAA Div. III affiliate located in New London, Conn.
He said the opportunities away from the field are what drew him to the Coast Guard.
“The experiences that the Coast Guard can give me (convinced me),” Denn said. “Like in the first summer, I sail for a week to the Mediterranean. All the experiences look really cool.”
Denn was one the best statistical quarterbacks in Nevada large-school history and will have the opportunity to stay at that position for the Bears. He said that didn’t have any say in his decision, however.
Denn will likely play backup this fall behind a returning senior quarterback. That doesn’t mean he won’t find a way onto the field.
He was in the same situation at the start of his junior year at Reed and got onto the field as a punt returner. He even returned a punt for a touchdown before eventually winning the starting quarterback job.
“If I can’t start at quarterback, maybe go punt return, receiver, somewhere,” Denn said. “Just something.”
Two girls soccer players rounded out the list of Reed athletes making their college commitments official.
Alondra Perez will join Imperato at Southwestern Oregon Community College and Isabel Vega will attend Peninsula College, a community college in Port Angeles, Wash.