Gateway senior student-athletes celebrate signing letters of intent

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Sunday, February 11, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Ahmad Harris’ confidence level is off the charts for his football future at Division II Wheeling in West Virginia.

“They had a couple of injuries in the linebacker room, and the coaches said I have a good opportunity to go up there and compete right away to get on the field,” said Harris, who celebrated the signing of his national letter of intent Thursday with family, friends and teammates at Gateway High School.

“It was pretty cool because they talked about me being able to play baseball, too. I am excited to get there.”

The first day of the regular signing period for Division I and II football was Feb. 7, but Harris and fellow football senior Jaquon Reynolds, who will attend Division II West Liberty State in West Virginia, delayed their signings until Thursday and celebrated with classmates Anayla Jordan (La Roche women’s basketball) and Remy Bose (Youngstown State football).

Harris said former Gateway teammate and current Wheeling football player Leonard Sherrod III, a rising sophomore defensive back, was helpful in him arriving at his decision.

“He told me that together, we can help turn things around at Wheeling,” said Harris, who earned his second Big East Conference honorable mention laurel at linebacker after the 2023 season.

Wheeling was 5-5 overall and 4-5 in Mountain East Conference play last year.

Harris finished second with 53 tackles this past season. He added two sacks and a forced fumble for a Gateway team that won the Big East title at 5-0 and ended the season at 5-6 overall.

Harris might meet up with Reynolds on the field as Wheeling and West Liberty are conference rivals.

West Liberty got the better of Wheeling this past season, 31-3.

Reynolds will make the transition to West Liberty after a standout Gateway career which he capped in 2023 by rushing for 657 yards and eight touchdowns on 151 carries while also catching 37 passes for 330 yards and four additional scores.

For his efforts, Reynolds was selected to the Big East second-team offense at running back.

“This is super special,” Reynolds said. “It means a lot to me, to my teammates, my family and the community. I am not satisfied with just making the decision. There is a lot more work to be done.”

Gateway grads Jay Johnson and Malachi Moore also are on the West Liberty roster.

“They said it was a great atmosphere for football up there, and they were very helpful to me. They made sure I knew it was a good school overall.

“I think there are some ’24 commits who can make a big impact on the team right away. I think we’re going to have a good couple of years there.”

It was Anayla Jordan’s turn Thursday after watching her brother, Anez, go through the recruiting process last year and sign with Notre Dame (Ohio) College for football.

“It is a blessing,” said Jordan, the leading scorer for the Gators girls basketball team this season.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to play basketball in college, but I talked to one of the coaches a little bit after my AAU season (over the summer). She said he had been looking at me for a while. She said she didn’t have to come watch a game. She already knew what type of player I was. Things worked out really well, and I ended up committing. I am grateful because not everyone gets this opportunity.”

Anayla was present for Anez’s signing last year. While college responsibilities kept him from returning the favor Thursday, Anez was able to make it home to see Anayla honored during the Gateway girls basketball senior night.

“He’s been so supportive of me,” Anayla said.

“He’s always encouraged me to keep working hard. He made sure that all the decisions I was making were the right ones. I wish he could be here today.”

Gateway football coach and athletic director Don Holl said signing day and all that surrounds the celebration is one of the best days of the year.

“We’ve seen them grow for many years, and this day is always special because we get to celebrate them and recognize all the hard work they’ve put in to achieving their goals and dreams,” he said.

“On one hand, we’re going to miss them, but also we are excited for what the future holds for them.”

Bose signed with Youngstown State during the early signing period for Division I football the week before Christmas.

Holl said the low-key, under-the-radar signing was in Bose’s nature of not wanting to draw attention to himself.

But, Holl added, it was only right for Bose to be recognized with his classmates during Thursday’s signing event.

The signing period for Division I football continues until April 1, while Division II football athletes have until Aug. 1 to sign.

The signing period also extends to Aug. 1 for all other Division I and II seniors.

Holl said that there are a couple more Gateway seniors who should soon be arriving at their decisions to continue in their chosen sport at the next level.

“They just need a little more time to make sure what they decide is the best for them,” Holl said.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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