Sports

Davis, Dopps sign on National Letter-of-Intent Day

South Kitsap signings

• Isaiah Davis (football, Eastern Washington University, Cheney)

• Riley Dopps (women’s soccer, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle)

National Letter-of-Intent Day was quieter at South Kitsap than some years.

Some of the school’s top seniors, such as girls basketball player Kelsey Callaghan and wrestler Conner Hartmann, said they were still waiting to make their decisions.

But a couple of their classmates, Isaiah Davis and Riley Dopps, both said they were happy to end the recruiting process.

Davis signed with Eastern Washington University, where he expects to play cornerback for the defending Football Championship Subdivision team.

He just returned from an official visit to Cheney last weekend. Defensive tackle Renard Williams, a 2007 South graduate, hosted him during his visit.

Davis said Williams has a piece of the artificial red turf that he uses as a mat outside of his home. Eastern installed the surface at Woodward Field before the 2010 season.

“It’s bright, bright red,” he said. “I love it.”

But Davis said he also enjoyed the “small-town” atmosphere of Cheney during his visit in addition to the coaching staff, which he said received strong reviews from players. Coach Beau Baldwin guided the Eagles to a 13-2 record in 2010 and has a 27-11 mark in three seasons at Eastern.

“That surely doesn’t hurt at all,” said Davis, referring to the prospect of playing for a national champion. “They’re really excited for next year and feel they have a strong group coming back.”

Because of the Eagles’ core of returning players, Davis said he is not sure if he will play or redshirt this season. He had 42 tackles and a team-high four interceptions for the Wolves last year. Davis also has returned punts and kicks in his three seasons on varsity, and he said the Eastern staff has talked with him about playing special teams there, as well.

The 5-foot-10 Davis lacks prototypical height, but is a standout high jumper. Davis’ best mark in that event was 6 foot 8 on March 18 during the South Kitsap Jamboree. He is contemplating competing in track and field at Eastern.

“Hopefully if a quarterback tries to throw it over my head and I can get a few picks,” he said.

But mostly importantly for Davis, the youngest of four siblings, is being the first in his family to attend college.

“Getting to do something I love and have it pay for my education,” Davis said, “it’s bettering my life.”

Dopps’ college decision came much earlier than Davis’. She said after the Wolves’ season-ending 2-1 loss Nov. 6 against Kentwood that she committed to Seattle Pacific. Dopps previously committed to Boise State, but said she was not did not feel as comfortable there after taking an official visit.

“Something didn’t feel right to me,” she said. “I just realized it wasn’t a good fit.”

At SPU, Dopps joins a program that finished 16-2-2 last season and advanced to the third round of the Division-II Tournament. Coach Chuck Sekyra guided the Falcons to a Division-II National Championship in 2008.

“It’s definitely an awesome feeling knowing where I’m going,” Dopps said. “I’ve been to the school and I just love it there.”

Dopps, who scored six goals and five assists in 2010 despite missing time because of mononucleosis, played defender, forward and midfield during her time at South. But she called midfield her “niche” and said that is the position she will play at SPU.

Similar to Davis, Dopps said she knows earning immediate playing time will be difficult in college.

“It’s very intimidating, but it’s also very inspiring,” said Dopps, referring to joining a perennial-playoff team. “I know I can reach my full potential playing with players like this. I like playing under that kind of pressure — I like to have something to prove.”

Dopps becomes the latest South girls soccer player to sign with a college. She follows Christina Boddie (Idaho, 2010) and Alyssa Nystrom (Montana, 2009).

Dopps, who hopes to become child dentist, thanked her family and friends, South coach Julie Cain and Washington Premier club coaches for their support throughout the years.

“They’re the reason why I’m at this point,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all of them.”

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