Wood Seniors Sign College Commitment Letters
Seven members of the Vikings' championship football team are headed to Division 1 schools in the fall.
The ink on the letters of intent was barely dry, and already future rivals Nate Smith and Desmon Peoples were ready to test each other on the field.
"I'm sorry that I have to embarass you next year," Rutgers-bound Peoples jokingly said to Smith, who signed with Temple University.
Smith and Peoples were two of seven players from Archbishop Wood's 2011-2012 state champion football team that took the stage Wednesday afternoon to make their college selections official. Each member had a moment in the spotlight as they sat between Viking Head Coach Steve Devlin and their parents and signed commitment letters.
"I just want to thank my parents, my coach and my teammates for helping me get to this point," said Ryan McMullin as he signed his letter to Villanova. "This is such a dream come true for me."
All seven players have been successfully recruited by NCAA Division 1 programs, a new record for Archbishop Wood's football team.
"This is a unique achievement for the school," said Devlin. "I'm glad these guys were on my team. They worked hard, they worked through injuries and they worked their tails off in the classroom, because they knew if they didn't have the grades, they couldn't play. They came in here as boys, and they are leaving as men."
Philly.com reported on Jan. 31 that Smith had switched his commitment from West Virginia to Temple after West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel left the program and joined Rich Rodiriguez at Arizona. Smith will be joined at Temple by Desmon Peoples' cousin, Brandon Peoples.
"We're going to have a great time together," said Smith. "It's good to be close to home so my friends and family can come to the games."
Brandon's father, Charles Peoples, is also excited at the chance to see his son contribute to an up-and-coming team like the Temple Owls.
"We all grew up in Philly," said Peoples. "We're familiar with the program, and Brandon's going to have a boatload of support at each game. Temple is on definitely on the rise and making the right moves. It's going to be a great experience. I can't wait."
With his commitment to Boston College, Frank Taylor made his parents' commute a little tougher, but that won't prevent them from being a presence at every home game.
"We're absolutely thrilled by his decision," said Frank Taylor, Sr. "He had about 25 different offers, and this was the best choice. It's a beautiful campus with smaller, more intimate setting, which I think will make for a better classroom experience for Frank."
Joining Desmon Peoples at Rutgers is Brandon Arcidiacono, who surprised his mother, Mary, with a birthday cake after he signed his letter of intent. Under Armour All-American Colin Thompson has the greatest distance to travel with his signing to the University of Florida.