Wednesday, February 1, 2012
National Signing Day
Division I college football coaches across the country are waiting by fax machines to receive binding National Letters of Intent from high school seniors. For many who follow high school and college sports, National Signing Day is one of the biggest days of the year.
For instance, Pitt fans claimed a minor victory in landing Sto-Rox linebacker Deasyean Rippy sent a letter to Panthers coaches instead of West Virginia this morning. And they rejoiced yet again when heralded quarterback recruit Chad Voytik sent his letter via fax and Hopewell standout and PIAA career rushing leader Rushel Shell did the same.
The local scene isn't being followed nationally this year because the senior football class lacked major football recruits, but that doesn't mean schools aren't busy sending out faxes. The Varsity Letters will provide occasional updates today.
One of the first to sign today was Fort Cherry senior Jessie Merckle, who is headed to Wake Forest for track. Merckle is a two-time WPIAL Class AA javelin champion and was one of the country's top high school performers in the event the past year.
* Wash High graduate Zach Barnes has signed to play football at Alderson-Broaddus (W.Va.).
Barnes, a 2011 graduate, originally planned to join the football team at West Liberty State last fall but opted to attend community college for a year. Alderson-Broaddus, which is starting a football program this year, offered Barnes a full scholarship.
The school will compete at the Division II level as part of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
* Beth-Center senior Sal Faieta signed to play football at Slippery Rock.
* Three female athletes from Canon-McMillan today signed, two with Division I teams.
Ashley Hull, the goalie for the Big Macs' soccer team, signed with Miami (Ohio), a member of the Mid-American Conference. Hull is a four-year letterwinner and she kicked for the football team too.
Mira Carrozza will join the South Florida track team. Carrozza, like Merckle, throws the javelin,
Becca Veres, one of Hull's teammates on the girls soccer team, has signed with Slippery Rock.
* Washington senior Joe Phillips signed with The Citadel, which competes at the FCS level (formerly I-AA). Phillips chose The Citadel over Army and was recruited to play both sides of the football.
* Peters Township running back Andrew Erenberg signed to play at Fordham. Erenberg was an all-state player as a senior.
* Clayton Evans, who opened a lot of holes for Erenberg during the regular season, signed with Division II Notre Dame (Ohio) College.
* Peters Township midfielder Matt Venanzi signed with Pitt. Venanzi is a two-time all-state selection and a rare four-year letterwinner for PT boys soccer. His father Mark also played at Pitt.
* Ringgold's Alfon Cook signed with Slippery Rock. Cook was an all-conference selection at cornerback and wide receiver and one of the area's premier kick returners.
* A pair of Peters Township softball players - Tara Konopko and Morgan Matetic - signed with Division I programs. Konopka, a pitcher, is headed to Drexel. Matetic, a shortstop, signed with George Washington.
* Peters Township golfer Jeremy Merich signed with St. Francis (Pa.) as the Indians golf program added to its long list of D1 golfers.
* Trinity's Hunter Bigler, one of four left-handed pitchers on the Hillers' roster, signed with IUP. Bigler had received Division I interest.
* Mike Bittel owns one of the few no-hitters thrown in the history of Peters Township American Legion baseball. He accomplished that last June against Elizabeth Forward. A closer on the high school team in 2011, Bittel signed with Seton Hill.
* Courtney Schratz, a member of the Peters Township field hockey team, signed with Robert Morris. Katie Danning, part of PT's girls lacrosse team, signed with Lafayette.
* Charleroi's Mike Kope signed with Slippery Rock to play football. Kope was one of two Cougars to make the All-Interstate Conference team.