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Redskins players remember National Signing Day with stories from Denny's, prom dates and family

Redskins players remember National Signing Day with stories from Denny's, prom dates and family

As the college football world obsesses over high school seniors sending faxes on National Signing Day, some of the Redskins players remembered their declaring moment. Below are texts from a number of Redskins players about their signing day. For some, it was a big deal. For others, it wasn't. If there is any lesson in this, remember, some current NFL players were not highly recruited, so don't go freaking out if an 18-year-old picks the wrong hat.

  • Mason Foster - University of Washington - "I remember waking up super early and sending it in before they could change their minds."
  • Martrell Spaight - University of Arkansas - "I remember the significant feeling of accomplishment and I remember my parents crying, just knowing their sacrifices are paying off in me going in the right direction."
  • Will Blackmon - Boston College - "My recruiting was wild, but I decided to end it, probably around December. I didn't have the big reveal with the hat or anything."
  • Will Compton - University of Nebraska - "Announcing on a Nebraska radio station and the celebratory song being 'Straight Outta Compton'."
  • A.J. Francis - University of Maryland - "I remember I wore a red sport coat, and I remember that when I sent the paper through the fax machine I knew I did everything I needed to in my life up to that point to be successful. I also remember being salty my teammate Cam Johnson had TV stations come see him sign to UVA and nobody cared I signed at UMD (lol)." 
  • Nick Sundberg - University of California - "I didn't get recruited in high school so I honestly didn't even know when signing day was."
  • Trent Murphy - Stanford University - "I committed to Coach Harbaugh. I just remember being pretty excited to go with my parents to signing day and put on that Cardinal S. Was a no brainer for me."
  • Tress Way - University of Oklahoma - "I was just thankful Oklahoma wanted me to play for them so I had my family there with me. Oh yes, I asked the hottest girl in school to go to prom with me in front of the whole school after I signed and she said yes (haha)."
  • Dustin Hopkins - Florida State University - "I remember being so honored to be in such select company not only within our school, but across the country. Our school allowed all the players committing that day to come to the gym and take pictures with our families, our coaches, and together for the media. Directly after pictures, I remember sneaking off with my folks to a Denny's across the street from school for a celebratory long lunch!"
  • Nate Sudfeld - Indiana University - "Nothing too special for me that day, just had a little ceremony in our basketball gym. It was pretty cool to have classmates, coaches, and teachers there who somewhat felt like they had a hand in my development (which they did) and then I could tell moving forward how they all were living vicariously through me!"

And one for good luck from a former Redskins player.

  • Fred Smoot - Mississippi State University - "It's nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. You are happy because it's one step closer but you are also afraid about if you made the right decision. It's an emotional roller coaster."

Smoot is generally the coolest dude in the room, so if the emotions of signing day even got to him, imagine what the high school kids are feeling now. The coverage is unprecedented. So remember college football fans, before you send that @ tweet, take a deep breath. 


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Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan had to know the question was coming, and for the most part, his answer was perfectly polite and diplomatic. Until a nice, little elbow at the end, that is.

The 49ers coach was asked on a Wednesday conference call how he'll avoid making this Sunday's game against the Redskins personal. Shanahan was with Washington from 2010-2013 along with his dad, Mike, but the end of his tenure in D.C. was very messy.

In his response, he explained how he'll try to treat the Burgundy and Gold like any other opponent, but then he dropped one comment that indicated he is in fact looking for some major revenge.

"It's not my first time back there," he said. "I've been in three buildings since. I've moved on with my life in many other ways and I think my family has also. I think it's pretty easy not to make it personal. The guys it'd be personal with don't play in the game."

That last portion was no doubt directed at the Redskins' front office, with whom Kyle and Mike had plenty of issues with. It wasn't the only part of the call where Shanahan slighted the Redskins, either. 

At one point, the 39-year-old was pushed to describe how he's gone about rebuilding San Francisco's culture since he took over. He stressed having a united vision with the decision-makers above him and sounded quite pleased to be in a place where he feels like that's happening.

"To me, culture's based off the type of people you have there," he explained. "I knew, during the interview, meeting the owner, then being able to get a general manager like John Lynch, we knew we had the people, the right people with the right intentions that were in it for one thing, and that was to win. And we also could be very honest with where we were at at the time."

"We've got people who live and die football and they know how to treat each other," he added. "It's one of the more fun groups and higher-character groups that I've been around."

So, that wasn't as direct as his first jab, but it still got the job done. Don't worry, though. He found time for one more obvious remark about his old employer before facing them in Week 7.

Near the end of the discussion, Shanahan was given a hypothetical where a young, up-and-coming coach approaches him about possibly working with the Redskins. What would Shanahan tell that person? After a quick chuckle, he played along the best he could.

"Just look into it. See what the situation is, who you want to work for," he said. "Anytime you get opportunities, you've got to look into it. But I'm not there, I don't know how it is right now, so that would be up to that person."

Then came the kicker.

"I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice."


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Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

While the Redskins 2019 campaign has not gone as expected, news from Wednesday's practice should give the fanbase a glimmer of hope for the future at the quarterback position.

Starting QB Case Keenum was held out of Wednesday's practice to rest his body. With Keenum absent, rookie Dwayne Haskins took all of the first-team reps. Callahan was impressed with the Ohio State product and pleased with his development.

"Dwayne took all the reps today and it’s invaluable for a backup to take starting reps," Callahan said. "Especially at the beginning of the week in terms of putting your plan together and laying it out there and making all the adjustments, whether it’s new communication, new formations, handling the shift-motion game.

"I thought he did a really good job today, so his growth is starting to show in practice and also in his preparation," Callahan continued. "He’s in earlier, he’s out later, so it’s all coming to fruition. It’s going to take a little time, but it’s good to see him take a major step today in practice."

Keenum wasn't the only veteran to be held out as practice, as running back Adrian Peterson missed Wednesday's practice, too. Interim head coach Bill Callahan held out both players simply to rest their bodies. It's not atypical for veterans to miss Wednesday practices, especially as it gets to the deeper portion of the season.

"Definitely just veteran guys, backing them down and just trying to take care of their bodies a little bit better," Callahan said of why he held them out.

When Callahan took over as interim head coach last week, many expected the team to turn to Haskins as their starting QB. At the time, Washington was 0-5, and both Keenum and Colt McCoy had been largely ineffective under center.

Although Callahan did not immediately turn to the signal-caller, he's at least given a plan of action to develop the rookie, something that was unclear while Jay Gruden was the head coach.

"He will be [the starter] at some point in time,” Callahan said on Haskins during his introductory press conference last Monday. “We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process, try to get him on schedule so he is prepared."

Gruden had Haskins running the scout team. Even when Keenum does practice, Callahan has given the rookie at least a few reps with the starters.

"We've got to be conscientious in getting him some repetitions during the course of the practice," Callahan said last week. "So that will a little be a shift in philosophy moving forward."

When Callahan ultimately pulls the trigger to move to the rookie remains uncertain. But with Haskins improving by the day, and Keenum continuing to turn in subpar results on Sunday's, that move could come sooner rather than later.