Four-star athlete A.J. Alexander made his decision yesterday. The Altoona, Pa. prospect surprised a few by picking Pittsburgh over one time favorite Penn State as well as offers from Tennessee, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and numerous other colleges.
"I did commit to Pittsburgh yesterday," he said. "I talked to Coach Wannstedt, Hill and Gattuso. They welcomed me to the family and said they had been waiting a long time."
The 6-foot-0, 180-pounder discussed what made him select the Panthers.
"I'm really close to my mom, so I wanted to be close," he said. "Pittsburgh is far enough away where I won't see people all the time, but it is close enough to home too.
"In addition, I like the chances I get to play early and compete for a spot. I also like their recruiting class. They have one of the best ones in the nation and I know they are a team on the rise. Coach Wannstedt is a really cool coach and I just felt wanted there."
Pittsburgh plans to utilize the Rivals250 prospect in a number of ways.
"They want me as a slot receiver, but are also looking at me as a punt and kick returner," he said. "They want me to enroll in May, a bit early because they feel I'll have the best chance of playing early. I can only hope for the best."
Early on it seemed likely Alexander was headed to a number of schools, most notably Penn State. What changed over the recruiting process?
"I don't really know," he said. "If you told me last year when I was getting offers that I'd go to Pitt, I probably would have laughed in your face. I've been to all those other places and it really isn't that much better. I just saw myself at Pittsburgh."