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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Seven local high school football standouts sign with college programs on signing day

Players from Camas, Evergreen, Kelso, La Center, Washougal among signees

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: December 20, 2023, 4:15pm
8 Photos
Clockwise from top left, Washougal's Holden Bea, La Center's Ryan Kawalek, Camas' Trenton Swanson, Evergreen's Fox Crader, Kelso's Payton Stewart, Camas' Carson Osmus and Evergreen's Arthur Ban all signed with college football programs on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023.
Clockwise from top left, Washougal's Holden Bea, La Center's Ryan Kawalek, Camas' Trenton Swanson, Evergreen's Fox Crader, Kelso's Payton Stewart, Camas' Carson Osmus and Evergreen's Arthur Ban all signed with college football programs on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023. (Columbian files) Photo Gallery

One of the more talented classes of local high school football players provided one of the busiest early signing days for college football on Wednesday.

Seven local standouts made their college choices official by signing National Letters of Intent.

And while many of the commits had been made months ago, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some late drama.

Camas offensive lineman Carson Osmus made his commitment to Washington State official, but the All-Region standout told 247sports.com that Oregon State made a late push for him.

Osmus had several family attend Oregon State and he had grown up a Beavers fan. So when Oregon State made a later offer to him, Osmus said it gave him some pause.

Ultimately, he decided to honor his verbal commitment to Washington State, opted against taking a visit to Corvallis and signed with the Cougars.

“I was a Beaver fan growing up, so the offer gave me something to think about,” Osmus told 247sports.com. “I didn’t want to go there just because of my family. I want to be the next Coug and be the guy who goes up there and embraces the culture.”

After Osmus’ signing, Washington State coach Jake Dickert posted on X (Twitter): “Nothing like in-state (offensive lineman). Can’t wait to see the growth of (Carson Osmus), bringing the power to the Palouse.”

Idaho was the official landing spot for three local All-Region standouts: Washougal quarterback Holden Bea, Camas receiver Trenton Swanson and La Center offensive lineman Ryan Kawalek. All three signed with the Vandals on Wednesday.

Bea threw for 8,561 yards over his career at Washougal and had 106 career touchdowns (passing and rushing).

Swanson was an all-around star for the Papermakers, amassing more than 2,000 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns, five interceptions and more than 100 tackles.

Kawalek, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, was a four-year starter for the Wildcats, the Trico League standout lineman three times and a three-time All-Region honoree.

It was a big week on two fronts for Evergreen lineman Fox Crader.

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The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder not only signed with Oregon on Wednesday, but he also accepted an invitation to the All-America Bowl. The All-American Bowl is an annual showcase of the top high school seniors in the country and will be played on Jan. 6 in San Antonio.

A whirlwind recruiting season came to a happy conclusion for Kelso lineman Payton Stewart, who signed with Michigan State on Wednesday.

Stewart originally committed to Northwestern earlier this year, but withdrew his commitment after head coach Pat Fitzgerald lost his job in the wake of a hazing scandal within the football program.

This fall, Stewart then gave a verbal commitment to Oregon State. But when Jonathan Smith left the Beavers to become Michigan State’s new coach last month, Stewart again withdrew his commitment.

After taking a visit to East Lansing, Mich., earlier this month, Stewart signed with the Spartans.

“A big part was definitely the coaches,” Stewart told the Longview Daily News. “I already knew them all and had a great relationship built with them already.”

Evergreen had another Division I signing on Wednesday when tight end Arthur Ban signed with San Diego State.

Ban shared a heartfelt message of appreciation for Evergreen head coach Christian Swain on social media Wednesday.

“You’ve been much more than just a coach for me throughout this journey, playing the part of a father figure, mentor and leader,” Ban wrote. “There’s no way I could express all my gratitude in words, but I hope you recognize this milestone of an accomplishment (is) for you as well. Love you.”

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