An announcement had been planned for early August by Austintown (Ohio) Fitch running back William Mahone, but as the date drew closer the four-star prospect realized he was not ready to make his college selection.
With his top list of schools in place, Mahone goes into the fall aiming for a new announcement timetable.
"I hope to make a decision before the playoffs," Mahone said.
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The top four schools on Mahone's list are Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pittsburgh. He has plans to attend a game at each university this fall before announcing his decision.
"I plan on taking a Notre Dame official for the Michigan State game [Sept. 17]," Mahone said. "I'm not sure if I am going to make the Alabama-Penn State game an official because I have the ACT in the morning, but I will definitely be up there for that game. I plan on making an official [to Penn State], but I need to talk to Jay [Paterno] about that.
"Hopefully I can make officials to Michigan State and Pittsburgh. I'm not sure if I am going to make those two, but I definitely want to try to make a Michigan State official because I have been to Pitt about six times and really know what is going on over there."
Mahone's mother has taken several recruiting trips with the four-star back, and is already on record with her son about her top choice.
"Notre Dame is definitely No. 1 in her eyes," Mahone said. "She just loved it when she was up there… the beautiful campus and everything.
"She really liked Michigan State when we went up there before Notre Dame, and I really liked it too."
Two of Mahone's Austintown Fitch teammates, Chris Davis and Demitrious Davis, have already made commitments to Pitt and are advocating on behalf of the Panthers.
"They want me to come there, of course, but they know we've got to do what's best for us," Mahone said. "Pittsburgh is a great school. They are up there on my list and we could possibly all be there together."
Even if Mahone does not schedule an official visit with Pitt, he does expect to attend a game there this fall and could time it up with the Davis twins' official visits.
A late season decision timetable means Mahone will have to juggle recruiting responsibilities along with his senior football season. The four-star back is clear, though, that his primary focus and top priority is his team's success on the field this fall. They have embarked on an ambitious pre-season schedule that involves scrimmages against a couple of the top teams in Northeast Ohio.
"I think we had a humbling experience last Friday," Mahone said. "We played Mentor and didn't come out as well as we thought we would. They kind of gave it to us a little bit.
"I think it was a good experience for us to come out and struggle a little bit because we haven't had that since our last game against Solon last year."
As one of three captains for Austintown Fitch this fall, Mahone took it upon himself to rally RivalsHigh's No. 93 ranked team in the country.
"After the game I huddled up with the team and told them what was on my mind," Mahone said. "I just felt like I needed to say something and talked about staying humble and working hard. I told them even I maybe thought we were too good and didn't need to practice hard. I think a lot of things got to our head when we found out we were 93rd in the nation, but we just need to block that out and play like we did last year."
Austintown Fitch will be tested again this Friday when they scrimmage last year's state runners-up in Division III, Akron Buchtel. Mahone knows that with the No. 78 ranking national ranking on his résumé, teams will be game planning around him and observers will have high expectations for his play.
"I feel like I can handle all that," Mahone said. "I don't think about it too much. I know my abilities and what I can do for my team. My coaches keep me humble and our players keep me humble. They don't treat me any different than they used to. I probably put most of the pressure on myself. I know what I have to do and plan on doing it this year."