Whirlwind is over for this CM quartet
The whirlwind recruiting adventures of four Catholic Memorial athletes finally came to an end yesterday with signatures on national letter-of-intent day.
North Easton’s Cam Williams, South Easton’s Armani Reeves, Lakeville’s A.J. Doyle, and Sharon’s Donovan Henry officially put pen to paper to declare their college destinations. Williams and Reeves will play football for Ohio State, Doyle will be a quarterback at UMass-Amherst, and Henry will run track at Northeastern.
All four had verbally committed to other schools before making their final choices yesterday.
“It’s a blessing to be in the spot that I’m in,’’ said Reeves, who ran for more than 1,000 yards and scored 16 touchdowns for CM. “If you asked me a couple of years ago, I didn’t think I was going to be here. To be able to do this in front of my family and friends, and do it alongside three teammates, is unreal.’’
Williams and Reeves, both Globe All-Scholastics in the fall, originally declared their intentions to play at Penn State next fall. But the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, which cost longtime coach Joe Paterno his job, changed matters for both players.
“It was shocking, to say the least,’’ Reeves said. “When Coach Paterno got fired, it really hurt me because I had known him for a while, before he even started recruiting me. I had a great relationship with him, and to see everything spiral out of control was really sad.’’
For Williams, the subsequent changes in Penn State’s coaching staff ultimately caused him to change his mind.
“It was all about the coaching staff, and losing coach Bill Kenney, who recruited me since I was a sophomore, definitely hurt my relationship with the Penn State coaching staff,’’ said Williams, who recorded 119 tackles at middle linebacker for the Knights last fall.
Williams said the reputation of the coaching staff at Ohio State - which includes head coach Urban Meyer, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, and defensive back coach Everett Withers - was the main factor in his decision.
“The superstar coaching staff they have going is really exciting, and they’re really excited to coach a great team, get some great players in, and hopefully go for a national championship,’’ Williams said.
Williams and Reeves said their decisions to decommit from Penn State and sign with Ohio State were made independently.
“We said at the beginning of this process we wanted to go to the school that was best for us individually, best for me and best for him,’’ said Reeves, who chose Ohio State over Michigan. “It just works out for both of us, Cam at linebacker and me at cornerback, that we’ll have a chance to play right away.’’
Doyle, who threw for more than 1,200 yards and tossed 16 TDs as a senior, had verbally committed to play at North Carolina State. When the Wolfpack added another QB recruit and asked Doyle about becoming a linebacker, the 6-foot-3-inch slinger looked elsewhere.
“It just came down to, ‘Do I want to play quarterback or not?’ ’’ Doyle said. “At the end of the day it was, ‘I want to play quarterback.’ ’’
The opportunity to remain in-state and play at Gillette Stadium, where the Minutemen will begin playing as they transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision level, was a major factor in Doyle’s decision.
“How many people say they get to play on the same field as Tom Brady every week? This opportunity was too good to pass up,’’ he said.
Henry, who played defensive back for the Knights in the fall, decided not only to change schools but also to change sports. The speedster had verbally committed to play football at Boston College but instead will pursue a track-and-field career at Northeastern.