Irish senior Louis Irizarry signed with Ohio State and the Brubaker brothers chose Clarion.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Terrence Graves wanted to choose a college close to home.
"But not too close," he said with a laugh.
So, after considering Louisville, West Virginia and North Carolina, the Ursuline senior visited Toledo last Sunday -- and found his new home.
Graves, wearing a Rockets hat and a big smile, was one of 18 area seniors who signed letters of intent to play Division I football on Wednesday's signing day.
"I'm glad it's over," he said. "Now I can sit in the weight room and get bigger, get faster and get ready."
Graves, who plans to major in a science field, will either play strong safety or running back. Toledo has several running backs, which doesn't faze Graves.
"That doesn't matter -- I like the competition," he said. "I like contact, so I'll be fine with either position."
More than just sport
Football wasn't his only consideration.
Graves has Type 1 diabetes, which causes his body to stop producing insulin, a hormone enabling the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. He must take three shots of insulin each day and eat snacks and meals regularly.
"They were great about it," Graves said of Toledo. "The coaches said they'd set me up with the doctors and that I'd be all right to play. That's one of the reasons I didn't want to be too far away. If I got sick, I didn't want to have to fly back home."
More than 20 family members surprised Ohio State recruit Louis Irizarry by attending Wednesday's signing. They wore Ohio State shirts with Irizarry's name and number on the back.
"This is just 1/105,000th of the support I'll receive," the Ursuline senior tight end said, referring to the number of fans who attend OSU home games.
Irizarry wore a big smile as he posed for pictures with his cousin's baby, Daniella Gonzalez, on his lap.
"She's my prop," he joked.
Headed to Clarion
Twin brothers Colin and Kyle Brubaker signed on to play at Division II Clarion. They considered other schools, but never considered going to separate ones.
"From the start, we were going together," Kyle said.
They decided on Clarion on Tuesday night.
"We went up there and it was real nice, real comfortable," Colin said.
Both will play defensive line, and they expect their experience in the Steel Valley Conference to help them adapt.
"When you've played against the Maurice Claretts, the Prescott Burgesses and with guys like Louis Irizarry, you've already played the best around," Kyle said. "They set the standard."