Hats off to UCLA.
No, literally. Hats. Off.
Less than a week after returning from an official visit with the Bruins, Brush Prairie three-star 2020 athlete Sawyer Racanelli sat behind a table cluttered with two state championship trophies and two hats at Hockinson High School on Friday. Wearing a nondescript gray hoodie zipped nearly to his neck, he rocked back and forth and read a prepared statement.
“Thanks to my family for always supporting me in everything I do,” Racanelli said. “Special thanks to all the coaches and teammates I’ve had over the years for pushing me to be the best I can be. I would like to thank all of the colleges who believed in me throughout this recruiting process.
“With that being said, I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at …”
With that, he leaned back, unzipped the hoodie and revealed a gray T-shirt with a block “W” on the chest. As the crowd cheered, he picked up the accompanying purple UW hat and pulled it low over his wavy blond locks. Racanelli grinned, basking in the persistent applause and throwing up the dubs with both hands.
And, as if his commitment wasn’t already clear, he leaned forward and swiped the suddenly irrelevant UCLA hat off the table.
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete and Washington’s latest commit, Racanelli has starred both as a wide receiver and a linebacker at Hockinson. In the 2018 season alone, he recorded 101 catches for 1,764 yards and 21 receiving touchdowns, rushed for 207 yards and 11 scores, threw three touchdown passes and piled up three return scores as well. On the defensive side, he finished with 83 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, seven sacks and two interceptions, according to MaxPreps.
Ranked as the No. 25 athlete in the country and the No. 8 2020 prospect in the state of Washington by 247Sports, he chose the Huskies over offers from UCLA, California, Michigan, Oregon State, Washington State, Boise State, Kansas State and more.
“He’s actually the highest-rated three-star in the state of Washington, and I think he’s going to have a very good chance to end up being a four-star,” 247Sports national editor Brandon Huffman told The Times this week. “I love him. I’m on record already saying he’s probably already my favorite football player in this class in the state of Washington. The way I waxed poetic about (2019 UW linebacker signee) Josh Calvert last year, that’s how I feel about Racanelli.”
And for good reason. In Hockinson’s 42-37 2A state title victory over Lynden on Dec. 1, 2018, Racanelli had a role in all six of his team’s touchdowns, rushing for five scores while also throwing for a touchdown — and setting a 2A record for touchdowns in a title game in the process. He finished with 85 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards and 27 passing yards in Hockinson’s second consecutive state championship win.
“If you saw the highlights from the (2018) state championship game, you saw a guy who literally carried the team on his back on both sides of the ball,” Huffman said.
Racanelli is the Huskies’ fourth verbal commit in the 2020 class, joining quarterback Ethan Garbers, tight end Mark Redman and offensive lineman Gaard Memmelaar. He’s also the program’s first 2020 commit from the state of Washington. With roughly seven months until early signing day, UW’s class is ranked 42nd nationally and fourth in the Pac-12 by 247Sports.
UCLA’s class, by comparison, is ranked eighth. That’s what happens when too many hats take a tumble off the table.