Losing out in the end were top schools
Ohio State, Stanford and Michigan.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN — With a crowd of reporters in front of him, Mooney senior Danny McCarthy took a seat at a table on the Cardinals’ practice field, looked up at the throng and said, “I’m a little nervous, so bear with me.”
The kid who looks so comfortable on a football field had just finished a 10-month process of choosing a college and it was clear he was ready to get the weight off his shoulders.
Minutes later, with his parents sitting on either side of him, McCarthy smiled, put on a Notre Dame hat and put an end to the speculation that has had Internet chat rooms abuzz the past year.
“I couldn’t be more excited to announce that I’ll take the field with my brother Kyle at the University of Notre Dame,” McCarthy said, adding his decision is “final and firm.”
McCarthy (6-2, 190), who played quarterback and safety on the Cardinals’ Division IV state championship team last season, had narrowed the decision to four schools in recent weeks: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and Michigan, although the decision was ultimately between the Irish and the Buckeyes.
Brother plays there
Because his brother Kyle plays at Notre Dame — and his older brother, Brian, graduated from there in 2006 — most fans figured McCarthy would choose the Irish.
They were right, but not for that reason.
“I’ve said it before, I was going to go to the place that I felt was the best fit for me, whether Kyle was there or not,” said McCarthy. “I feel like this is the place.
“It was a difficult decision, but everything led me back to Notre Dame.”
Thanked Tressel for offer
McCarthy informed Irish coach Charlie Weis of his decision on Sunday night and went out of his way to thank Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel during Tuesday’s press conference.
“I can’t say enough about Coach Tressel,” said McCarthy. “I wish him continued success.”
McCarthy, who plans to major in something involving business, is the 18th verbal commitment for the Irish’s 2008 class, which is ranked No. 1 in the country according to some national scouting services. He is the second Mooney senior to commit this summer, joining linebacker Michael Zordich, who committed to Penn State in June.
He is also the fourth straight Mooney quarterback to land a Division I scholarship, joining Ron Stoops (who signed with Michigan State but did not play for the Spartans), Kyle (who played safety and quarterback on the Cardinals’ 2004 state championship team) and Derrell Johnson (who led the Cardinals to the 2005 state final and now plays at Iowa).
McCarthy’s choice was the subject of rumors for months. There were even reports that he had committed to Notre Dame as long ago as last November. But McCarthy insists he didn’t make up his mind until recently.
“From the beginning, I tried to have a totally open mind,” said McCarthy. “I tried to listen to what each of the coaches said.
“It was a very difficult decision.”
It was also an added bonus for McCarthy’s parents. When asked how they felt about having another kid go to college for free, McCarthy laughed.
“Yeah, I hope I get a little treat for that,” he said.
Can focus on season
The decision allows McCarthy to focus on defending last year’s title. The Cardinals return several skill players but must replace most of their line due to graduation losses. They also face one of the toughest regular season schedules in the state.
“We’re going for history this year,” said McCarthy, who could help the Cardinals win back-to-back titles for the first time in school history. “We’ll see how it goes.”