The Valley had several pockets of celebration on Wednesday as National Signing Day played out.
Although not everyone was exactly happy about the hoopla, as about 200 or so Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
students huddled outside the administrative offices instead of attending class while waiting on classmate Andrus Peat
to announce his decision on national television.
"My teacher is going to be mad, but I'll just tell them I didn't hear the bell ring," a student said while waiting on the big decision.
It wasn't long after that no one could hear a bell ring as the surrounding crowd went nuts when Peat announced he chose Stanford over Nebraska and USC. The No. 8 overall recruit (No. 2 offensive tackle) was slick enough to wear black plants and a dress shirt with a red tie that could have indicated any of his top pursuers.
In the end, Palo Alto was the destination.
"I think it is the total package," Peat said. "Academics are second to none. I like the coaching staff. I thought it was a perfect fit for me."
For a long time, it was assumed that the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Peat was going to follow his brother, Todd Jr., and teammate defensive end Avery Moss
(6-5, 250) to Nebraska. Reports were his father, Todd Sr., wanted him to head to Stanford.
"It was nerve wracking, especially the last couple days," he said. "I didn't decide until this morning. I was going back and forth between the two schools but thought I had a better opportunity at Stanford."
While Peat didn't make up his mind until signing day, a couple of notable Arizona top recruits changed their minds in recent weeks.Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.)
strong safety Zach Hoffpauir
committed to Stanford on Wednesday, changing his mind after previously telling Cal coaches he would be a Bear. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder was one of several Cal recruits who re-opened their research when the Bears' recruiting ace Tosh Lupoi left for Pac-12 foe Washington.
Hoffpauir had more than 15 offers but when he took an official visit to Stanford on Jan. 13 it was enough to change up his decision.
"I had to do what was best for me," he said during a local TV broadcast.Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
defensive lineman Jaxon Hood
gave a "soft" verbal to Boston College on Dec. 8. Todd Graham was not the Arizona State head coach at the time. He is now and he has made an impression on some the state's top athletes.
Hood chose Arizona State, joining Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
stud D.J. Foster
(RB, No. 30 overall), Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
long snapper Easton Wahlstrom
and Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.)
tight end Kody Kohl
as local kids staying close to home.
Arizona first-year coach Rich Rodriguez did a nice job of getting the state's top recruits, as Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
defensive end Dylan Cozens
chose the Wildcats over Boise State and Washington.
Others heading to Tucson are Chaparral's Cody Ippolito
(LB), Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.)
running back Anthony Lopez
, North Canyon (Phoenix)
cornerback Jamar Allah
, Chaparral's Lucas Petrullo
(RB), Fairfax (Laveen, Ariz.)
defensive tackle Dwight Melvin
and Chandler (Ariz.)
offensive lineman Zach Hemmila
Chaparral has a handful of players heading to Arizona and they are hoping to get one more in No. 67 overall Davonte Neal
, an athlete who could play on either side of the ball at wide receiver or defensive back. Neal said he plans on taking a visit to Arizona on Feb. 11. Oklahoma is making a late push while Ohio State and Notre Dame are also in the final group.
"I'm a recruiter now," Ippolito said. "I am going to do whatever I can to get him down there with us, but at the same time he has to make his own decision." Jason P. Skoda, a former Arizona Republic and current Ahwatukee Foothill News staff writer, is a 15-year sports writing veteran. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-272-2449.