It wasn’t the grandiose ceremony athletes imagine when thinking of signing a National Letter of Intent, but pandemic or not, it was a big day for Palmer Ridge seniors Kaden Dudley and Luke McAllister as they both signed to continue their football careers in the Mountain West Conference.
Dudley, a wide receiver and safety, signed to Boise State, while quarterback McAllister will stay in his home state, repping the Colorado State Rams.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Dudley said. “I’ve been committed for a while, but it doesn’t really mean anything until the pen hits the paper.”
Palmer Ridge held a small ceremony Wednesday in front of immediate family and media to celebrate Dudley's and McAllister’s official signing. The two will enroll early at their respective institutions to try to make an immediate impact as freshmen.
And if all goes according to plan, they’ll be on opposing sidelines next fall.
“Being able to play on the same team in high school and against each other in college is an awesome story and I’m definitely looking forward to playing against him,” Dudley said. “He will be able to watch me play, and I’ll be able to watch him play, which will be awesome.”
McAllister, who is ranked as the top pro style quarterback in the state by 247Sports, committed to CSU over a year ago, and said he is excited to play for a program that reminds him of his home at Palmer Ridge.
“Really, the brotherhood they have up (at CSU), they play for each other, and I see that at PR,” McAllister said. “There are a lot of similarities and I want to play for something like that again. Palmer Ridge has set me up for success in every way possible from the coaching staff to the players, everything, it all falls into place and I can’t wait until the next level.”
McAllister’s arm and Dudley’s speed and ferocity were a deadly combination for the Bears, which helped Palmer Ridge to a fourth consecutive state title game appearance in 2020.
McAllister finished his career at Palmer Ridge with 4,514 passing yards, 53 touchdowns and a 126.4 quarterback rating through three seasons. Not to mention an MVP trophy from the 2019 state championship.
But McAllister is excited for a new challenge.
“It’s great to know the time has finally come,” McAllister said. “It’s long overdue and I’m super excited to be going to this program. They’ve been committed to me and I’ve been committed to them and I can’t wait to see what I can do up there.”
As a three-year starter Dudley has a pair of state championship rings and more than 1,500 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns plus 143 tackles and 14 interceptions.
Dudley wasn’t on the team when Palmer Ridge won its first state championship in 2017, but moved into the district in February 2018. A day that he says changed his life forever.
Dudley’s mom, Rachel Frey, was in a horrific car crash the day Kaden and his father, David, moved into District 38. After she woke up from a lengthy coma, Frey found out she would be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
“I felt my world would crumble, and I had no control over this situation,” Dudley wrote a year later in a letter to his coaches.
But he used his fear and anger and transformed it into drive and determination to become a Division I athlete. And along the way he found a brotherhood.
“When I first got to Palmer Ridge that was when my mom got into her accident, and it really showed the family I have here,” Dudley said. “Having people there for me and having brothers I can rely on and can trust to help me get through the hard times was huge for me. It did take a while to get where we are, hard work and summer camps, obviously this year is different, but I’m thankful for my teammates and coaches and hopefully I left the program better than I found it.”