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High School Recruiting

Penn Hills receiver Major selects Michigan State

| Saturday, July 29, 2017, 10:45 p.m.
Penn Hills wide receiver Julian Major takes part in a workout Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, at Penn Hills.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills wide receiver Julian Major takes part in a workout Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, at Penn Hills.

Julian Major has been dreaming of playing NCAA Division I football, and now he is one step closer.

The Penn Hills receiver verbally committed to Michigan State on July 29.

Major, a three-star recruit according to Rivals, was mulling offers from Virginia, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Iowa State before verbally committing to Michigan State.

“The coaches were showing love, and I like the campus. The players made it feel like home,” said Major, who officially visited Michigan State in May.

At 6-foot-2, 164 pounds, he finished his junior year with 433 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 31 receptions.

As soon as Major visited Michigan State, he knew he wanted to be a Spartan. Initially, he wanted to announce his commitment on his birthday, July 11.

However, he decided to make his announcement on the birthday of his late friend and teammate, Donovan “Donnie” Baynes, on July 29. Baynes, who was a senior last year, passed away in car accident in January.

“It was very important because coming into high school I didn't have a lot friends like that. He was one of the friends I grew close with,” Major said.

“Basically with me committing on that day is paying tribute to him, and I just got to do my thing this year for him.”

Major is excited for the prospects of playing against the top programs in the nation, including Big Ten foes such as Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“It's an honor and blessing, but at the same time you just have to keep working hard and just hope everything works out the best way it can,” Major said.

Michigan State is coming off a 3-9 season, including a 1-9 Big Ten record.

Major was one of four WPIAL players selected in May for the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The group also included Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, Aliquippa safety Kwantel Raines and Belle Vernon lineman Blake Zubovic.

The Indians offense, along with Major, includes first-year starting quarterback Hollis Mathis, wide receiver Dante Cephas and running backs Tim Smith and Terry Smith.

Penn Hills will be led by first-year coach Jon LeDonne, who takes over for John Peterman. Peterman, now athletic director at Kiski Area, compiled a 27-32 record and led the Indians to four playoff appearances in his six seasons.

This is the second year in a row Penn Hills will have a Division I recruit; safety Rick Squires will play his first year at Buffalo this fall.

“I'm going to keep working hard at practice and keep an eye on the players,” Major said. “Hopefully, we will make a trip to Heinz this year.”

Andrew John is freelance writer.

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