Signing day fraught with indecision for many stars
Woodland Hills' Ejuan Price flipped a coin five times.
Every other method for picking a college football program hadn't quite eased his mind.
It was signing day, and this was his last resort. Heads was Ohio State. Tails was Pitt.
Tied at two, the fifth flip was heads.
"I wanted to make sure my decision was solid," said Price, a linebacker, who signed Wednesday with Ohio State after much trepidation and a couple of last-minute calls to coaches Jim Tressel and Todd Graham.
His choice wasn't based entirely on those flips — maybe not at all. But as Price learned, even after recruiting trips and months of thought, signing a National Letter of Intent still can be stressful.
"I'm still kind of shaken up a little bit," Price said with a laugh.
Price wasn't alone. This was the first day high school seniors could sign football scholarship offers. Almost two dozen WPIAL players signed with Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) programs.
Among the surprises:
• Woodland Hills' Lafayette Pitts signed with Pitt, completing a roundabout recruiting process that saw him commit to Pitt, then commit to Rutgers before returning to the Panthers at nearly the last minute.
"When I took my visit down there, it made me realize how ... good I feel about staying home," said Pitts, a cornerback who made his decision two or three days ago. Pitts and his Pitt-bound cousin, Jevonte Pitts, brought an extra Panthers hat to the breakfast signing ceremony organized by Woodland Hills coach George Novak, hoping Price would join them.
"They wanted me to come," said Price, who committed Jan. 17 to Ohio State. "There was a little bit of pressure all week."
Clairton's Desimon Green turned down an offer from Pitt to play defensive end at Texas Tech for Tommy Tuberville.
McKeesport's Branden Jackson, a linebacker, also chose Texas Tech, passing up offers from Oregon, Southern Cal and Pitt. Jackson was considering Oregon or Southern Cal but switched to the Red Raiders hours before signing.
McKeesport's Delvon Simmons, a defensive tackle, surprised some when he signed with North Carolina coach Butch Davis.
Like Price, Jackson and Simmons felt pressure. The two spent hours on the phone Tuesday night. First, they decided to sign with Southern Cal. Later, they decided on Oregon and called a Ducks assistant coach but hung up before he answered. Later they called back, but Simmons decided Oregon was too far.
By 1:30 a.m., they decided on separate schools.
"After that, I laid in bed and called 70 people on my phone," Jackson said. "I wanted to talk about things other than football, but everyone had the same thing on their mind: 'Where are you going to go?' "Additional Information:
Terrific 25 seniors who signed Wednesday:
Bre Ford, Bethel Park DB: Akron
Desimon Green, Clairton DE: Texas Tech
Armstead Williams, Gateway LB: Purdue
Matt McCann, Keystone Oaks DB: Villanova
Austin Miele, Mars DB: St. Francis, Pa.
Delvon Simmons, McKeesport DT: North Carolina
Branden Jackson, McKeesport LB: Texas Tech
Paul Lang, Mt. Lebanon TE: Michigan State
Tim Cwalina, Mt. Lebanon OT: Virginia
Justin Haser, North Allegheny DE: Ohio
Rob Kugler, North Allegheny TE: Purdue
Alex Papson, North Allegheny RB: Gannon
Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette QB: William and Mary
Quinton Jefferson, Woodland Hills DE: Maryland
Ejuan Price, Woodland Hills LB: Ohio State
Lafayette Pitts, Woodland Hills DB: Pitt
Note: Perry QB Greg McGhee and Steel Valley RB Delrece Williams remained undecided and unsigned as of last night.Additional Information:
Others who signed Wednesday to play for Football Bowl Subdivision programs:
Devin Cook, Beaver Falls LB: Pitt
Nick Kwiatkoski, Bethel Park DB: West Virginia
Dustin Pringle, Blackhawk OL: Western Michigan
Dondi Kirby, Gateway DB: Illinois
Bernie Sarra, Greensburg C.C. OL: Navy
Kevin Johnson, McKeesport WR: Eastern Michigan
Mike Caputo, West Allegheny DB: Wisconsin
Jevonte Pitts, Woodland Hills DB: Pitt
James Price, Woodland Hills DT: Akron