Dalvin Warmack and Kaleb Prewett didn't have to worry about shoveling driveways or digging their cars out of the snow left by the city's plows before signing their national letters of intent to play football at Kansas State University.
Warmack, the Blue Springs senior running back and two-time Simone Award winner, spent the night at his teammate's house so they could sign their letters and fax them from a machine Prewett's mother had in her office in the family home.
It was a different story for Elijah Lee, the third member of the back-to-back Class 6 state champion Wildcats, who was also signing with Kansas State.
He had to shovel nearly a foot of snow from his family's driveway so he missed the signing at Prewett's home.
“We all wanted to sign together,” said Lee, a back-to-back winner of the Buchanan Award, which is given to the top lineman or linebacker in the metro area. “But the weather didn't let that happen.
“I shoveled the snow for about 20 minutes or so and drove up to Hy-Vee and got it sent off. It's a real weight off my shoulders.”
His shoulders probably ache after all that snow removal.
“Nah, I'm fine,” a laughing Lee said. “Now, I can delete all the random numbers in my phone. I was getting a lot of calls from coaches, wanting to talk to me about their schools. But all along, Dalvin, Kaleb and I were committed to Kansas State.”
Warmack and Prewett didn't have quite the stressful morning that many area stars withstood.
“We got up, had breakfast, signed our letters with our moms and went to the office in the house and faxed them to K-State,” Warmack said. “It was all done by 8 a.m., and it felt good.
“A lot of schools were coming on strong – some really great schools with great football programs. But from day one, the only school I was thinking about was K-State.”
Warmack is the first two-time winner of the Simone Award, which is given to the top football player in the metro area. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards each of the last two seasons and was The Examiner's Offensive Player of the Year and the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 in addition to garnering first-team all-state honors.
Prewett, also a Class 6 first-team all-state selection like Warmack and Lee, enjoyed a breakout year at defensive back and wide receiver, where he played a big role in the Wildcats’ success on both sides of the ball.
“A lot of fun last year, and now, we can all look forward to new challenges,” Prewett said. “We all basically signed our lives away, and we know we're going to be teammates again on another great football team.
“We didn't have all the ceremonial stuff you think about on signing day, but just doing it at home made it a little bit extra special. And we'll still have the signing day at school where we can take all the pictures.”
TWO SIGN WITH COLORADO STATE: Josh Watson – the Suburban Big Six Defensive Player of the Year who led Blue Springs South with 170 tackles – had to wade through nearly a foot of snow and dig his car out from the drift left by the snowstorm to fax his letter to Colorado State University Wednesday morning.
But he didn't mind.
“Nothing was going to keep me from officially becoming a Ram and getting my letter faxed to Colorado State,” said Watson, who continued the long line of great Jaguar linebackers. “I had to shovel the driveway to get out to my car, and it was covered with snow from the snow plow. Then I went to my stepmom's office to fax the letter and had to walk through some three-foot snow drifts – but it was all worthwhile.
“You don't imagine going through all this on signing day, but that's all right. I just want to give credit where credit is due – to God and everyone who helped me get to where I am today. I just thank God that officially, I am a Ram.”
So is Jordan Benson, an offensive lineman from rival Blue Springs. Colorado State announced Wednesday afternoon that Benson had honored his verbal commitment and signed with the Rams.
Watson’s teammate at South, tight end Kendall Blanton, also signed Wednesday with SEC East champion Missouri. He was one of 12 Eastern Jackson County players to sign with FBS schools.
Lee’s Summit West offensive lineman Kevin Pendleton and West defensive back Logan Cheadle also joined Blanton in signing with Mizzou. West receiver Monte Harrison signed with Nebraska but is expected to be an early-round selection in the Major League Baseball Draft in June. The Class 5 state champion Titans also sent Dale Brown to Northern Illinois and Evan Martin to Navy, and Raytown South linebacker Casey McDermott signed with TCU.
FORT OSAGE STAR SIGNS: It was a unique morning for Fort Osage High School standout Nathan Iloilo, who signed his letter to attend Illinois State University, an FCS school in Normal, Ill.
"My dad sent us out in shifts on Tuesday night to shovel the driveway so we could go out and fax my letter to Illinois State," said Iloilo, the Suburban Middle Six Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team Class 5 all-state selection. "We had emailed the school a letter we had signed with a stylus, but our signatures did not show up, so we had to fax a letter.
"We spent a couple more hours cleaning the driveway and then clearing about 10 feet out into the street and my mom Becky took the letter to SunFresh in Independence to fax it."
But she arrived too early, and had to wait a half hour for the store to open.
The university was then receiving so many faxes, she had to wait nearly an hour and kept sending her son's letter until it went through.
“I owe her big time – a very brave woman," Iloilo said with a laugh. "It was all kind of anticlimactic for me. I'd been thinking about the big signing day at Fort Osage, and I wake up at 7 a.m., sign the letter, shovel the driveway and street and my mom takes it to fax it for me.
"But I am so excited to be playing Division I football at Illinois State University and I can't thank my family enough for all they have done for me."
Other area players signing with FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) schools Wednesday were Blue Springs receiver Darrius Shepherd with defending FCS champion North Dakota State and Oak Grove linebacker Skyler Hulse with Missouri State.
DIVISION II SIGNEES: Several area high school players signed Wednesday with NCAA Division II schools in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Van Horn tight end Kylan Alexander signed with Missouri Western, along with Blue Springs South’s Brandin Dandridge and Lee’s Summit North’s Justin Lovelace, Naim Muhammad and Josh and Jordan Caldwell.
Central Missouri’s class included Oak Grove defensive back Tanner Kanak and Lee’s Summit North quarterback Matt Brumfield. Others signing with Division II schools included Fort Osage defensive back Koida Ejire (Pittsburg State), Oak Grove linebacker Ethan Fugitt (Pittsburg State), Grain Valley receiver Hunter Ramirez (Northwest Missouri State), Blue Springs defensive back Antwon President (Lindenwood) and Blue Springs South defensive end Wyatt Parker (Fort Hays State).