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South Allegheny lineman signs with The Citadel

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 3:59 p.m.
South Allegheny's Ryan Bednar signed to play football at The Citadel. He is joined by his parents, Bob and Debbie Bednar, along with athletic director Eric Roche, football Pat Monroe and principal Jeff Solomon. Submitted

Ryan Bednar made up his mind a while ago that he was going to play football at The Citadel, but he had some food for thought as national signing day approached when Navy came in with a late offer.

In the end, though, the South Allegheny lineman went with his initial instincts and Wednesday signed to play for the Bulldogs, spurning Navy, Robert Morris and St. Francis, among others.

“It takes a lot of the pressure off and the weight off my back because it got me thinking and I had to think everything through,” Bednar said. “Navy came in and I went down there, but I made my commitment and I want to stick by it. When I stepped on Navy's campus, it was OK, but when I stepped on The Citadel's campus, I knew it was a perfect fit.”

Bednar, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound guard, will have a chance to compete for a spot on the roster as a true freshman when the Bulldogs open camp in August. A two-way starter for South Allegheny, Bednar will try both sides of the ball before The Citadel staff determines whether he will play offense or defense.

“Obviously, I need to get a little bigger, stronger and faster and I have to get more fit for the next level,” he said. “I want to compete from the get-go and try to get on the field as soon as possible. As of right now, the coaches say that I'm going to come in and compete and they'll decide my fate.”

Even if he is redshirted as a freshman, Bednar will have an opportunity to make his goal of playing in the NFL a reality. In 2012 there were two players, Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen and Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts, who played for The Citadel.

And while the Charleston, S.C., military school competes at the FCS level, Bednar will get an opportunity to see the competition from a BCS school when the Bulldogs play Clemson.

“Ryan is one of those kids who was a pleasure to coach because of his self-motivation and the fact that he so wanted to succeed,” South Allegheny coach Pat Monroe said. “He really wanted his buddies to excel and was very supportive of everybody on the team and it was just great to have him around every day and. ... at this point, he's earned the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country.”

Depending on the success of the two programs, Bednar might end up seeing Thomas Jefferson quarterback Joe Carroll on the opposite sideline if their two teams make it to the FCS playoffs. In his first year as a starter for the Jaguars, Carroll threw for 2,407 yards and 37 touchdowns and signed with Robert Morris.

“I just thought that it would be the best fit for me athletically and academically with their football program and their business program,” Carroll said. “It was just a great opportunity to earn a spot and help them to move forward with their program.”

Carroll picked the Colonials from a slew of late-comers, including several schools in the PSAC along with West Virginia Wesleyan. He also won't be the only WPIAL quarterback coming to RMU in the fall as Seton-La Salle's Luke Brumbaugh, who threw for 1,803 yards and 19 scores in 2012, joins him in the recruiting class.

“I'm looking forward to it because competition brings out the best in everyone,” Carroll said. “I just want to get to work once basketball season ends — hopefully it doesn't end for a while — but I'm excited to get to work with all the quarterbacks there.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

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