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Local athletes sign on dotted line

December 20, 2018

Craig Young has changed his mind.

Not about signing with Ohio State : the Wayne senior tight end, like many of the area’s top football prospects, signed his letter of intent to play college football as planned Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. 

But instead of focusing exclusively on preparing to join the Buckeyes or enrolling early at Ohio State, Young said he will remain at Wayne through the end of the school year and compete with the basketball and track and field teams.

“I had to focus on the biggest part, and the biggest part is not all about me,” said Young, who has accompanied the basketball team to games but has not played this season. “I came in with the guys, and I feel like I should leave with the guys. I was being a little bit selfish, leaving the guys here. So I thought to myself, be a man about it and stay here and let’s win, and that’s what I’m planning on doing.”

Young averaged 17.4points and 7.5 rebounds last season. The Generals are 3-3 without him. 

And while Young recommitted himself to his high school classmates, he said signing day also felt like a birthday he’d been waiting for for a long time. 

“I made the decision all the way in the summertime, but I knew when I first got the offer it was my dream team, my go-to team,” explained Young, who said he’s been watching the Buckeyes since he was about 7 years old. “I had it in my head I wanted to go here anyway.”

Across town at Bishop Dwenger, offensive lineman Joe Tippmann and linebacker T.J. McGarry signed with Wisconsin and Columbia, respectively. 

“The recruiting process was crazy; I was going on visits every weekend,” said Tippmann, who decided he was going to Wisconsin about a year ago. “It was kind of overwhelming. So when I decided and realized I wanted to commit to Wisconsin, that was a good feeling.”

Tippmann said he knew Wisconsin was the school for him when he compared every other school he visited with the program in Madison.

“I realized, if Wisconsin is the common denominator, that’s where I wanted to go,” he said. “I know I’m getting redshirted, and I’m excited for that. I’m excited for my redshirt year, and I’m excited for the years after that.”

McGarry said he chose Columbia because the Ivy League school would give him the best chance to continue playing football while excelling academically.

“I kind of made the decision in the summer, even before I committed,” said McGarry, who plans to study biochemistry. “I was weighing the options, talking to my family, my friends. Getting advice from my mom and my dad, my stepdad, my grandparents. Everyone played into my decision, giving their advice.”

A number of other athletes in the area also signed letters of intent Wednesday, including Huntington North lineman Damon Kaylor, who joined the Michigan State football team. His teammate, Chandler Beaty, signed with Taylor. At Snider, tight end Simon Dellinger signed with Army, and defensive back Ethan Hoover officially committed to Indiana State. At Homestead, offensive lineman Porter Haught signed with Ball State, offensive lineman Max Ruble and slot receiver Brayden Layton both signed with Taylor. and Cooper Crist officially joined the Trine track team. 

The other signing day for football for the class of 2019 will be Feb. 6. The December signing period gives players who had made their decision early a chance to close the recruiting process and turn their sights to their freshman seasons, a prospect that is both exciting and a little scary. 

“Honestly, there’s a lot I’m nervous about,” McGarry said. “There’s uncertainty about the future looking ahead, how my classes are going to be. How hard are they going to be? How well am I going to do on the field, off the field? And even the environment of New York City, being a such a big city compared to Fort Wayne, all those people and places I’m going to be exposed to. But at the same time, I’m excited for the new experience.”

And while Columbus, Ohio, is significantly closer than New York City : and a place that he has dreamed about being since he was a kid : Young said he worries about being away from his family. 

“I’m very nervous about being away from mama,” Young said. “I’m a mama’s boy, so I’m very nervous about that. But I’m more excited than I am nervous. I believe I’ll do great. All I have to do is keep my head on straight, and by the time (I’m done) I’ll be a successful man.”

vjacobsen@jg.net

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