By John Schlaerth
National Signing Day, an annual event which occurs on the first Wednesday of February, marks the first day that selected high school seniors who play football and soccer can sign their financial aid agreement and national letter of intent to attend their chosen college. This year, four senior athletes signed to play collegiate football: Kelly Blake, David Long, Kevin Quisumbing and Noah Utley. Seniors Joseph Celo and Elliot Smith-Hastie signed for soccer, as well.
Senior Kelly Blake, a receiver and strong safety, signed with Stanford University. Blake was named to CalHi Sports’ All-State honorable mention team earlier this year. Commenting on his decision, Blake said, “Stanford meets all the requirements that I wanted in a college, so that is where I ended up.”
Senior David Long, one of the top cornerbacks in the country, signed with the University of Michigan. He said, “Michigan has a great balance of football, school and social life. I think all three of those are very important, and should be catered to equally.”
Long is thankful for all of the support he has received at his time here at Loyola. “My teammates and coaches have been very supportive over the last few years. Ultimately, Sanders helped guide me through this process, and my teammates have been there to congratulate me along the way,” he said.
Senior Kevin Quisumbing, another football commit, signed with Tufts University, an NCAA Division III school. He said he took a visit to meet the coaches and players before officially committing. Quisumbing said, “I was looking for a school that is academically and athletically competitive; [Tufts University] was perfect.”
Senior Noah Utley is at the moment still deciding on the college to which he will sign. “I have a scheduled visit to West Point this weekend and plan to make my final decision by Monday night.” Aside from West Point, Utley is considering the University of San Diego, UC Davis, Army and Rice University.
Senior soccer players Joseph Celo and Elliot Smith-Hastie signed with UCSD and Boston College, respectively.
Speaking about his commitment process, Elliot Smith-Hastie said, “I knew I wanted to go to the east coast, so I tried to figure out regions. I knew I wanted a big city, and I knew I wanted to go to go to a Division I school, so I narrowed down my options and took some visits and talked to coaches, and Boston College seemed like a very good fit for me with its city, size and soccer program.”
After committing to play football or soccer at the collegiate level, these six athletes will join a large club of Loyola alumni who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level, and some even professionally.