By Joe Scalzo
Boardman senior linebacker Evan Croutch doesn’t think he needs to play in the Mid-American Conference to be on a MAC-level team.
That’s why Croutch verbally committed to Youngstown State on Friday over an offer from Buffalo.
“I feel like Youngstown State can compete easily in the MAC with any of those type of schools,” said Croutch, who attended YSU’s scrimmage Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium. “I know the tradition here. It’s the hometown school, nothing better than playing for it.”
Croutch, a second-team All-Federal League selection last year for the Spartans, received an offer after competing in YSU’s linebacker camp this summer, although the Penguins started recruiting him last summer.
YSU’s linebackers coach, Ron Stoops, was a longtime teacher at Boardman High and Croutch said he has a good relationship with head coach Eric Wolford and defensive coordinator Jamie Bryant.
Croutch is the third Mahoning County player to verbally commit to YSU this year, following Cardinal Mooney kicker Zak Kennedy and West Branch lineman Jacob Zinni.
Croutch, who will also play tight end for the Spartans this fall, said he wanted to commit before the season so he can focus on his senior season.
“Getting this out of the way was the best thing possible,” he said. “I can focus on this season and getting my team better.”