It’s early February, which means football fans around the world are all talking about the sport’s biggest day. The Super what? No you dummy I’m talking about the Late National Signing Day, where high school athletes sign letters of intent to play football for colleges.
It’s a glorious day when your rival school signs a bunch of undersized bums, your school signs their top recruiting class ever (doesn’t matter, they’re all transferring next year), and the top 100 all somehow end up in the SEC. But more importantly than all of that, we’re introduced to some of the newest best names in the sport. Here are some of my favorites from the 2023 class.
Aitor Jr Urionabarrenechea, OT, Colorado State
Gotta give my dad @Aitor09172597 one of his birthday gifts! I am proud to announce that I am COMMITTING to Colorado State University! #RamGrit @CoachJayNorvell @BillyBestOL @giant_skillz @CSUFootball pic.twitter.com/lSTSEgzV0o— Aitor Jr Urionabarrenechea (@Aitoru_75) July 1, 2022
Okay so right off the bat, technically Aitor signed early with Jay Norvell’s Rams, but I love a long name where they have to make the letters tiny and extend it to the shoulders. I did basically no research, but I believe Urionabarrenechea will have one of the longest non-hypenated names in college football come August. Big fan.
Houston Hendrix, DB, Air Force
After careful consideration I have decided to not go to Louisiana Tech. I am committing to the United States Air Force Academy!!#BoltBrotherhood @CoachLamAF @CoachNickToth @CoachTCalhoun @AF_Football @AF_FBRecruiting @HoundFootball pic.twitter.com/0p5SMtYhVk— Houston Hendrix (@houston_hendrix) June 29, 2022
Just an unbelievably cool name, dripping with confidence. I’m can practically see Jimi Hendrix on a rocket ship, intercepting a Fresno State slant and taking it to the house. Imagine Gus Johnson shouting “Houston Hendrix!” It just makes sense.
Rocky Shields, DT, Washington State
✍️— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) February 1, 2023
Welcome our newest Coug, @isthatrocky ‼️
: https://t.co/CD4aGPlqfk#GoCougs | #WAZZU | #ToThePalou23 pic.twitter.com/ebTi1fViN6
A real quick shout out to my beloved Cougs, who signed this defensive lineman from Colorado named Rocky Shields. If the football thing doesn’t work out he’s already got a perfect adult film star name.
Walteze Champ, DE, Texas Southern
MY DM IS A HUNDRED PERCENT OPEN !— Walteze Champ (@walteze4) January 7, 2023
IM LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO CALL HOME! pic.twitter.com/y9ZxaMU735
First thing: what are they feeding kids these days oh my god. Second: if you search “Walteze” on Google Mr. Champ and his highlights are the only result. That’s just good SEO by his parents. I respect savvy planning like that.
Jax Leatherwood, QB, Nevada
New Nevada quarterback Jax Leatherwood is already getting some high praise.— Chris Murray (@ByChrisMurray) December 22, 2022
"I did coach a guy in Oregon named Justin Herbert. I'm not saying Jax is Justin Herbert, but we see a lot of the same tools that I saw in Justin when he was a high school senior." https://t.co/9e9UyPiWCY
There has never, and will never be, a more Mountain West quarterback name in football history. Jax Leatherwood. I’m wishing you all the success in the world kid but you’re named like the bully from a Disney Channel original movie.
Blesyng Alualu-Tuiolemotu, LB, UNLV
And it is official!!! Thank you to everyone who came out today!! I'm truly grateful for everyone's support and the blessings given to me! Thank you @tulitafai for making this day possible! Time for the next level!!! Go REBELS!! @Coach_Odom @unlvfootball pic.twitter.com/kagliStYjA— Blesyng AluAlu-Tuiolemotu (@Blesyng09) December 22, 2022
People love to make jokes about eccentrically-spelled names but I’m here to tell you they rule. I love them. Blessing is a great name. Blesyng is a FANTASTIC name. That’s a Skyrim dragon.
Tell Wade, DE, Wyoming
Playing DE for the Pokes— Wyoming Cowboy Football (@wyo_football) December 21, 2022
✍️ @tell_wade #RideForTheBrand • #NSD23 pic.twitter.com/FmBkKgHEKD
Huge fan of names that work as sentences. Go on, Tell Wade. Tell him.
Cash Turner, QB, South Alabama
COMMITTED @SouthAlabamaFB pic.twitter.com/OeaSVcTMlW— Cash Turner (@CashTurner8) February 1, 2023
I really hope this kid’s career pans out because the Pusha T lines referencing this name would be impeccable.
Rod Orr, OT, Toledo
@ToledoFB pic.twitter.com/zmsy36o5Hq— Rod Orr (@MyNameRod21) January 11, 2023
Mr. Orr technically was a transfer signing from Florida State, but I’m including him because we don’t have enough guys named Rod playing football anymore. We gotta do something about that, it’s a great old man name. And on the flip side from our friend Aitor Urionabarrenechea above, there’s something so chill about a six letter name.
Kivon “Cheese” Wright, EDGE, Boise State
“ ” ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/krW4b0WNUW— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) February 1, 2023
We’ve had a lot of nicknames-as-first-names lately. From Kool-Aid McKinstry to Sauce Gardner, it’s becoming a thing not only because it’s great fun, but I have to assume it helps with the NIL deals tremendously. Which is why I’m shocked Cheese ended up in Idaho. Wisconsin completely dropped the ball on this recruitment.