This is one of my favorite parts of the signing day. The day after, when the stories are published of the kids signing their Letter of Intent to attend college on scholarship. It is one of the biggest days, and a day of pride.
For Jaryd Jones-Smith there is more than a little sadness to his day since his father recently passed.
Jones, 58, died on Dec. 22 after a battle with brain tumors.
“It’s been pretty hard on him, because he and his dad were very close. He wanted his dad to be a part of his signing day,” said Jones-Smith’s mother, Shirley Smith. Smith and Jones were not married.
Jones-Smith said his father would be “extremely happy” with Pittsburgh, a decision the senior made less than a month after his father’s passing.
One of Jones-Smith’s last memories shared with both parents was the Burrs’ Senior Night in November, just a few weeks before his father was hospitalized.
While Jones-Smith was a key cog on West’s offensive and defensive lines, his father cheered loudly from the stands. After the game, the three posed for a picture together on the field – the last photograph of Jones-Smith and his parents.
“He was always there for me, especially with football,” Jones-Smith said.
Sorry, it’s a little dusty in here.
Changing gears, Reggie Green is eager and excited. And perhaps given to hyperbole.
“I really fell in love with the area,” Green said. “The coaching staff is really good.
“Whenever I saw the campus I fell in love with it. While I was up there, they
played Virginia Tech and that was the game where they upset Virginia Tech. The
atmosphere that I saw and the way everyone got into it was a really big factor.”
Green had scholarship offers from Boston College, Rutgers, North Carolina State and Michigan State, among others.
“I just want to leave a legacy of always working hard,” Green said. “I want everyone to know
that I’d die on the field for my teammates. … I left it all on the field every time, so I can’t regret anything after that.”
Um, It’s okay Reggie. Last thing football needs is anyone dying on the field.
For Chris Blewitt, it seems like a mere formality.
“I’ve been committed since June or July last year, so it seems like I’ve always been a Pitt Panther,” Blewitt said Wednesday morning. “Now it’s official.”
This story includes a picture of Blewitt signing with his parents. You can just see the happiness in the parents at the idea of having to help on $40-60,000 in college tuition.
Jeremiah Taleni took part in an island-wide signing day event.
One newspaper reporter was there to chronicle the day, and only two photographers showed up — Dorian Johnson’s Aunt Erica and a guy from Leopard Tales, the student newspaper.
Johnson signed his Pitt letter of intent Wednesday morning in a small conference room with no fanfare, not even a microphone.
“I wasn’t really feeling all that,” said Johnson, while sharing the moment with teammate and fellow bookend tackle Collin Woss, who signed with Mercyhurst.
Hopefully there will be some more stories found in the next couple of days.