One of the most prolific running backs in New York high school football history ended months of suspense early this evening by announcing his college choice on national television.
North Babylon, N.Y., running back Jason Gwaltney revealed he will sign a letter-of-intent with West Virginia on Wednesday. The 5-11, 235-pound Gwaltney made the announcement on ESPNews at 5:25 p.m. Eastern time.
Gwaltney's final choices were Ohio State, West Virginia and USC.
"I'm going to be going to school at my brother's school, I'm going to be a West Virginia Mountaineer," Gwaltney said.
Gwaltney originally committed to West Virginia, but he backed out and considered other schools. In fact, he said numerous times that WVA was no longer in the running.
“They kept trying," he told ESPN. "Perseverance in my eyes is the biggest thing, whether it’s on the field or off the field.
“It’s the place I want to be. The fans are great. Morgantown has the best fans – the state of West Virginia has the best fans of anywhere in the nation."
Gwaltney does not lack confidence.
“I expect to start game one," he said. "That’s no knock to the other backs there, I just feel that I’m going to work that much harder. My goals, I want to be over 1,500 yards my freshman season. I feel the coaches are going to put me in the position to do that.”
The 5-11, 235-pound Gwaltney is ranked as the nation's eighth-best running back by Scout.com. He is also listed at No. 43 on Scout.com's list of the country's top 100 recruits. He is also the No. 2 prospect in the state, behind QB Greg Paulus and one spot ahead of OSU verbal DE Doug Worthington.
The list of Gwaltney's records and accomplishments as a prep player is fairly long, including:
* His career mark of 7,800 yards on 948 carries (8.2 average) with 135 touchdowns. The TD mark is a county record -- nearly twice as many as the previous record holder.
* His senior season total of 2,882 yards on 358 carries (8.1 average) with 45 touchdowns in just 11 games.
* His junior season marks of 2,601 yards on 295 carries (8.8 average) with 45 TDs.
* His showing in his final game, a 43-14 rout of Garden City in the Class II Long Island title game. He had an interception, a sack and a fumble forced on defense and finished with 237 yards and four touchdowns rushing and one TD catch on offense.
* His New York state record of nine touchdowns in one game.
* His 33 TD runs of 40 yards or longer, including 27 that were 50 yards or longer.