A former National Football League quarterback and current Pac-10 football coach called John Urschel of Canisius High on Friday and offered him a full scholarship.
But Urschel had to say no to Jim Harbaugh of Stanford.
"Coach Harbaugh called me [Friday] and asked me if I was interested in joining their offensive line as a scholarship player," said Urschel. "He knew I was already committed to Penn State. But I'm a man of my word and I'm committed to Penn State."
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder was an All-Western New York first-team selection and was also a first-teamer on the Class A all-state squad. He won the Trench Trophy as Western New York's most outstanding lineman.
With a 94 academic average and sterling test scores, Urschel was intent on going to the Ivy League or a school like Stanford.
"After my senior season, coach [Brandon Harris of Canisius] make a highlight tape," said Urschel. "I wasn't really looking at too many big D-I programs, I was think Ivy, and he sent my film out. Apparently the big-time programs liked what they saw.
"I'm not even kidding … I never had would have thought to send [his tape] the places he did. I guess he's a better judge of talent than I was."
Urschel committed to Penn State after visiting the storied school at Happy Valley, cavernous Beaver Stadium and legendary coach Joe Paterno last weekend. He chose the Nittany Lions over not only Stanford, but Boston College (which, like Penn State, offered him a scholarship after seeing his tape). The University of Miami and UCLA also expressed interested. Before the tape went out, Urschel was considering Cornell, Princeton, Stanford and the University at Buffalo.
"It's just sinking in," Urschel said. "I'm loving it. ... The trip there was great. I loved it there, the facilities and everything."
In several media reports out of State College, Pa., as well as on college football recruiting Web sites, Urschel is being referred to as an "under-the-radar" recruit, which he totally understands.
"I definitely have something to prove," he said. "I'm a late pick up. I guess you could call me a sleeper. I'm going to be looking at showing that I'm just as good as those five-star recruits and play at that level."
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We google so you don't have to: here are some links about Urschel:
* The York Daily Record calls him "an under-the-radar lineman the Nittany Lions apparently love."
Their story also quotes Bob Lichtenfels of national recruiting service Scout.com: "He's got a lot of upside," he said of Urschel. "He's pretty explosive, but he's not real big, he's undersized. He'll probably be a defensive tackle like Ollie Ogbu, one of those run-stuffers in the middle."
* More, this time straight from Lichtenfels' mouth at Scout.com:
"Urschel is the same type of smaller, more compact, under-the-radar interior lineman that has been successful in the Nittany Lions defensive scheme."
* Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries calls Urschel "a late bloomer who didn't get a lot of attention during the recruiting process."
* A Scranton Times-Tribune reporter wondered aloud if Urschel could be a candidate for a greyshirt, which is a term I'd never heard until today. Thanks to the Web, I've learned it's a recruit who delays entering school until January. Gotta love college programs getting around every rule they can to sign as many players as possible.
taggedHigh school football