National Signing Day is Feb. 3.
But not for everybody.
Fifteen 2021 recruits — including five-star Kennedy Catholic quarterback Sam Huard, the Huskies’ headliner — signed with Washington during the early signing period in December.
Yet the best player in the state, and the nation, remains conspicuously uncommitted.
Eastside Catholic defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau — a five-star prospect and the No. 1 player in the 2021 class, via 247Sports.com — will not sign a national letter of intent next Wednesday and will more likely bypass that step entirely, The Seattle Times has confirmed. Instead, the top recruit will likely sign a financial aid agreement sometime in late April, 247Sports national editor Brandon Huffman reported on Thursday.
Tuimoloau’s finalists are Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, USC and Washington, though Alabama and Ohio State remain the heavy favorites. Of the final five, the 6-foot-5, 277-pound defensive lineman has visited every school but Ohio State.
“J.T. will not be signing next Wednesday,” Tuimoloau’s father, Ponce Faletoi, told 247Sports. “He won’t be making a decision until at least April. He still wants to take visits. Whether those are officials when the NCAA opens it up, or us going out and checking those schools out, he still wants to visit a few schools.”
Tuimoloau, a standout in football and basketball at Eastside Catholic, recorded 64 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 2019, according to 247Sports. His senior season was postponed last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former UW defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Pete Kwiatkowski, who was involved with recruiting Tuimoloau, accepted the same job at Texas last week. Should the Huskies fail to sign the in-state standout, they are not expected to add further recruits to their 2021 class — which is ranked 33rd nationally and sixth in the Pac-12 by 247Sports.
That class did include a trio of three-star defensive lineman in early enrollee Kuao Peihopa, Voi Tunuufi and Siaosi Finau.
In perhaps the most talent-stuffed cycle in the history of the state, Washington signed four of the state’s top eight players: Huard, O’Dea offensive lineman Owen Prentice, Kennedy Catholic wide receiver Jabez Tinae and Bethel linebacker Will Latu. Five-star Steilacoom wide receiver Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State), four-star Lincoln outside linebacker Julien Simon (USC) and four-star Kennedy Catholic outside wide receiver Junior Alexander (Arizona State) all decided to leave home.
Which leaves only Tuimoloau, the most coveted target of them all.
Staff reporter Jayda Evans contributed to this report.