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Signing day fraught with indecision for many stars

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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
 

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:

Local recruits

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:

FBS recruits

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

 

 

 
 


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