Education, defensive system led Gateway’s Josephs to commit to Miami (Ohio)

Friday, April 27, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Gateway junior defensive back Jeremiah Josephs expects to be busy this fall, so he doesn't need the distractions. He and his Gators teammates are locked into trying to win a second consecutive WPIAL Class 5A championship and making a run at a state title so he figured he'd get it his college commitment out of the way early.

The safety gave Miami (Ohio) a verbal commitment on April 14.

“It was huge because I wanted to go into my senior season and try to win a state championship this year,” said Josephs, on why he committed early. “First, it's a public Ivy League school, it's a great education and there's a lot of notable alumni that give back to school. The campus is brand new in areas, nice and modern.”

Jospehs, who pulled in seven interceptions (11 career) and tallied 126 tackles (76 solo) last season, is the first of the Gateway class of 2019 to commit to play football at the next level.

After an unofficial visit in March, Josephs plans to make his official visit the Oxford, Ohio, campus in December. Josephs had offers from Howard and Toledo and received interest from Penn State, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Robert Morris. But missing out on a quality education was too much to lose had Josephs waited for an offer from a Power Five conference team that might never come.

“When you have multiple offers, you have to respect all the coaches that recruited me and I thanked them,” Brisker said. “I didn't have (an offer from) a Power Five school, but, at the end of (next) season, four defensive backs will (have graduated from Miami), and I'll be walking in. They already told me that I'll be competing for a starting spot.”

Part of Miami's appeal was the Redhawks play the same 4-2-5 defense as the Gators with five defensive backs on the field at once, which only increases the hard-hitting 5-foot-10, 170-pounder's chances playing time.

“They run a system that I play in now, and I feel like I can have a huge impact and make it to the NFL,” Josephs said.

Redhawks' coach Chuck Martin also was a big selling point. Martin, who just finished his third season at Miami, spent four years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame leading the defensive secondary. He coached Harrison Smith, a 2012 first-round pick (29th overall) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Josephs said the Redhawks coaches plan to use him at a safety, but nothing is set in stone.

“The (coaches) asked me what I wanted to play,” Josephs said. “They said, ‘You look like a corner, you're built like a corner but you play like a safety.' Whatever it takes for me to get on the field, I'll play defensive end if I have to. I know I can play at whatever position they need me at.”

There's one Power Five school that could make Josephs rethink his commitment — Pitt. He said he would love to play in front of his friends and family.

“I would have to consider them since they are the hometown school, if they came around,” Jospehs said. “I'm honestly set on Miami.”

Josephs is just another in a long line of Gateway defensive backs to commit to a Division I school. Among the more recent are 2014 Gateway grad Montae Nicholson, a former Michigan State standout and current Washington Redskins strong safety, as well as current Lakawanna defensive back JaQuan Brisker, who received an offer from West Virginia last fall.

“I played with JaQuan Brisker, talk to Montae and they all say the same thing and that's to go where you fit in, where you're gonna play and do what you do,” Josephs said. “I felt like I looked good in (red and white) when I went up there.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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