There he stood, tall and proud.
It was Signing Day. Yeah, Lakes High’s Sammie Long went through his share of unexpected late drama in the recruiting process. In the end, the talented 6-foot-4 receiver felt at ease, home – once again.
Lakes sent six seniors to college programs – maybe not to destinations folks around the program are accustomed to. Quarterback Rhys Gervais is headed off to Western Illinois. Running back Kevin Thompson signed with South Dakota-Mines. Lineman O’Ryan Ethington aligned with New Mexico Highlands. And defensive lineman Gerald Goldwire signed with Wayne State College in Nebraska.
Long thought he had long left the drama behind when the Lancers’ season ended in the West Central District playoffs. He had been the University of Washington’s first commitment – last spring. But communication between Long and the Huskies had become so sparse, he began to wonder what his standing was.
Turns out he was standing in quicksand. The UW was bringing in more receivers, and Long finally got the message.
“It was very stressful because now I had to find a new home – and somewhere I felt comfortable,” Long said. “But that is part of the game. You have to move on and pick up the sticks where they land.”
Montana was the early second choice – where teammate Marquin Russell was going. Lakes coaches suggested he look at other options.
Finally, one huge force intervened. Former Lakes star Zach Banner, now at USC, gave Long a phone call to give him advice.
Long jumped on the chance to visit Colorado State a few weeks ago. And late last week, a new plan began to settle in his head: Heading off to Rams’ country.
“I felt extremely wanted,” Long said. “All they were talking about is how they liked me. They were always checking up on me, so that felt great.”
With a new home at last, Long says he does not harbor any ill will toward the school he once solemnly pledged to.
“Things happen for a reason,” Long said, “so I guess this was a good thing to happen.”