3 Penn Hills players sign with college football programs

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Saturday, February 10, 2018 | 12:21 AM


Since the NCAA instituted an early signing period this year, national signing day lost some of its excitement. Most of the top talent already had committed.

However, that doesn't mean local WPIAL athletes didn't make some exciting decisions on signing day.

Penn Hills had three seniors put pen to paper.

Linebacker Darrell Mason, safety Keivonn Pasch'l and running back Tim Smith made their college decisions official. Mason signed with Robert Morris, Pasch'l signed with Slippery Rock and Smith signed with Fairmont State.

The trio joins wide receiver Julian Major, a three-star recruit, who signed with Michigan State on Dec. 20 during the early signing period.

Mason, who is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, also received offers from Slippery Rock, West Virginia Wesleyan, Seton Hill and West Virginia State.

“It's exciting to be an alum from there. I'm looking forward to them getting back on track,” coach Jon LeDonne said. “I think Darrell is going to be a heck of a player for them. I believe that he can help get it turned around there.”

Pasch'l, 5-10 and 175 pounds, also received an offer from Seton Hill. The all-conference pick last season will major in accounting.

“I'm more like an inside-the-box safety. I can play back, but I would like to be in the box coming down being on the edge, setting the edge and making tackles. I can play coverage, but I'd rather be tackling,” Pasch'l said.

Pasch'l, who was recruited for his tackling ability, loved the Slippery Rock environment.

“When I went up there, I just liked the vibe. They had the energy of winners,” Pasch'l said. “Every year, they want to compete for championships. Seton Hill is in a rebuilding process.”

The 5-9,175-pound Smith was part of a three-headed rushing attack. Smith, who shared carries with junior Terry “Tank” Smith and senior Jaquay Sears, finished with 499 yards rushing.

The thing that appealed to Smith at Fairmont State was the ability to get in the starting lineup immediately. Smith, who will major in physical therapy, had one other offer — from Clarion.

“They expect me to have an immediate effect on the team. They expect to insert me into the lineup at running back,” Smith said.

“They also told me it's going to be hard work to get that spot. I told them I'm ready for anything. I'm ready to go in and play.”

After having four seniors committed and signed, LeDonne hopes for five other seniors to make their final decisions soon.

Sears is undecided about his college choice and will be joined by linemen Christian Weis, Deshawn Butler and Elijah Robinson as well as tight end/defensive end Damion Brady.

The seniors feel they have made their impact on Penn Hills and left the team in a better place than it was when they were freshmen.

Next season, the Indians will be led by juniors: quarterback Hollis Mathis and wide receivers/cornerbacks Dante Cephas and Daequan Hardy.

“I feel like Penn Hills is back to their prime and greatness,” Smith said. “I feel like the class coming up that we were guiding on this journey we just had is going to be great, and they will end up bringing a ring home next year.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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