Pitt wanted Jordan Hill. So did Rutgers - in fact, the Scarlet Knights even got a verbal commitment from the 6-foot-3, 292-pound Steelton-Highspire defensive tackle back in June.
When Penn State finally came calling, though, it was a foregone conclusion where Hill would wind up.
''I always wanted to go to Penn State. They were always my dream school,'' Hill said.
Hill made his dream a reality on Saturday afternoon when he informed the Nittany Lion coaching staff that he was making a commitment and intended to sign with Penn State in February.
The 23rd member in the Lions' recruiting class of 2009, Hill decommitted from Rutgers late in the Steamrollers' run to a second straight PIAA Class A championship and visited Pitt. Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson went to Hill's school the week before Christmas, and, after discussions with Steel-High coach Rob Deibler, made a scholarship offer to Hill.
''Growing up, [Penn State] was his team. As a sophomore, he went to camp up there and did some things as a linebacker that got their attention. Then, they kind of backed off,'' Deibler said. ''When Coach Johnson came in, I told him I had a lot of questions for him. He asked me to wait until he said something before I asked my questions. He said they didn't know he'd [grow to] 290. They didn't know he'd develop like he did.
''Pitt and Rutgers really battled back and forth, but when Penn State came in, you kind of knew that was it.''
Hill said he made the decision about five or six days ago, but wasn't ready to go public until he told the Penn State coaches, who were in Los Angeles at the Rose Bowl.
''They [the Lions] were always my leaders up through my junior year. Then I jumped on the first offer I got from Rutgers,'' Hill said.
Hill shared Associated Press Class A player of the year honors with Schuylkill Haven's Zach Barket, a remarkable feat considering Barket rushed for 4,195 yards and scored 66 touchdowns this season.
Hill, though, had some very impressive credentials of his own. In addition to scholarship offers from Rutgers, Pitt and Temple, he made 117 tackles, 12? of them sacks and 41 of them in the opponent's backfield. He recorded 44 tackles in the Rollers' last three playoff games, including 19 in the state semifinal win over Barket and Schuylkill Haven.
''He's such a rare breed: big and strong but athletic,'' Deibler said. ''On offense, he was our tight inside guard. We still pulled him. I felt bad for the defensive end that had to deal with him.''
Although he was recruited as a defensive tackle, Hill didn't play there until this season. He started as a freshman at center and defensive end, then moved to fullback and linebacker while mixing in some time at tight end the last two years, when he was around 260 pounds.
''I liked it a lot more than any position I played,'' Hill said of defensive tackle. ''I liked lining up on a person and going straight at them.''
Also enjoyable to Hill was when he finally got the scholarship offer from Penn State.
''My dad's always been a Penn State fan. He was really excited, and so was I,'' Hill said. ''My junior year, I went to every home game.''
Hill's also played basketball for three years at Steel-High and baseball for two years. Already academically qualified, Hill plans to major in criminal justice to work as a probation officer in his community. He also would like to coach football someday.