At one point during the recruiting process, it looked as if Jason Gwaltney from North Babylon High School in North Babylon, NY was all but signed and sealed to the 2005 recruiting class of Southern California. And he may still be. But Gwaltney, arguably one of the top two running backs to perform in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game, is keeping his ultimate destination from the public until Wednesday, when he said he would announce his decision on ESPN.
And after having a solid all-around performance in the All-American Bowl, the speculation and anticipation are as great as ever regarding which school it will be when Gwaltney makes known that final decision.
“I think an all-star game is really more of an individual thing for fans to watch certain players and see what they can do, and I felt that I proved to myself and others in the nation that if you give me the ball 35 times (a game) then I’m going to do something with it,” Gwaltney said. “I felt that I showed that I can pass block, I showed that I can catch and I showed that I can run and get them nice yards and finish plays. And that’s what I came here to do and that’s the type of back that I am. I played with the nation’s best players today and I showed everyone, and I represented from New York, Babylon, Long Island.”
The entire week in San Antonio was a great experience for Gwaltney.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “I had fun and I got to meet kids and I got to help recruit kids to the college I’m going to. And we got treated like kings. I want to thank the U.S. Army, Reebok and everybody here. They did a great job with the game and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
So why didn’t Gwaltney announce his commitment during the all-star game like many of the other players from both sides did?
“I’m making that announcement on Wednesday,” said Gwaltney after the game on Saturday. “There was no reason that I didn’t, I know where I’m going to school.”
Until just recently, his decision was to be made from three schools who he has said were all equally in the running for obtaining his services, but he seems to have already eliminated West Virginia and now only two remain in the contest.
“Well, now it’s Ohio State and USC, they’re both even,” he said while repeating his usual public stance on the issue whether three schools are involved or just two. “I’ve made my decision and it’s going to be on ESPN. I’m going to be doing it at the ESPN zone.”
Even more elusive than ever with his delivery, Gwaltney gave no hints on which way he’s leaning, one way or the other, but he did have a comment that was directed toward Ohio State fans.
“I go on Bucknuts.com and I see the fans posting their little messages, so I hope that today I proved some of the fans wrong on what they said about me,” Gwaltney said. “But I still don’t have a bad vibe with Ohio State and I really like Ohio State a lot, and I want to do big things wherever I go.”
Gwaltney specifically stated that distance did not factor into making his final decision and he made his decision final before he arrived in San Antonio.
“I decided Saturday when I took my visit to West Virginia and now I just know,” he said. “I’m just going with my heart and I hope I made the right decision.”
So was Gwaltney successful in his efforts to try and help recruit other players to the school that he will attend?
"Yeah, I got a couple of kids to go to the school that I want to (go to),” he said. “So I hope that don’t give nothing away.”
Actually it didn’t because now everyone is just as confused about Gwaltney’s intentions as they’ve been all along.