Signing day always produces its share of surprises, but one stunner came early this year.
Cottonwood quarterback Alex Cate, who had a record-breaking performance in the Class 5-A championship game last season, verbally committed to play quarterback at LSU on Sunday night.
The decision raised some eyebrows in both Louisiana and Utah because the Tigers are loaded at quarterback. LSU has three Parade All-Americans on its roster. Sophomore JaMarcus Russell, a former big-time recruit and part-time player last season, returns. Incoming freshman Ryan Perrilloux, who originally gave a verbal commitment to Texas, is also expected to challenge for playing time. Also in the mix is Matt Flynn, who played sparingly last season.
But even with the stiff competition for playing time, Cate said he's "not really" nervous about stepping into LSU's crowded backfield.
"I wanted to go where I could challenge myself," Cate said. "It will be fun to go and compete with those guys every day in practice."
Cate will graduate from Cottonwood in December and enroll at LSU in time for the spring semester in 2006. As a mid-term graduate from Cottonwood, he'll be able to participate in spring football drills with the Tigers. He'll sign a national letter of intent on Feb. 1, 2006.
Cate went on what his father, Scott, called "the whirlwind of all whirlwind tours" last week in trying to make a decision on where to play. He visited the campuses of LSU, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Arizona in a span of one week. He returned home Saturday night and chose to sleep on his decision.
On Sunday, Cate decided Baton Rouge was the place to go.
"I thought it was better to see the schools all at once so that they would be fresh in my memory and so that I could see the differences," Cate said. "I love the coaches [at LSU]. It's a big program and a big conference."
Cate said the relationship he's developed with Tigers offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher was a big factor in his decision. Fisher remained on the staff at LSU when former coach Nick Saban left for the Miami Dolphins in January.
Cate threw for 3,437 yards and 40 touchdown passes last season. He'll get his first chance to play in front of LSU fans in September when the Colts travel to play at Louisiana's John Curtis High.
Scott Cate said his son had 27 other scholarship offers, including ones from Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Michigan State.