Josh Patrick will be part of a change in Villanova football, but the Wildcats won’t be totally different.
That gave the Salesianum linebacker comfort, so he committed in early December and signed with Villanova on Wednesday in a brief ceremony at Sallies. Patrick was one of dozens of high school senior athletes to make their college destinations official across Delaware on the first day National Letters of Intent could be signed in several sports.
Villanova is coming off a 9-4 season that saw the Wildcats reach the second round of the Football Championship Series playoffs. Andy Talley retired after 32 seasons as Villanova’s coach, but his replacement is Mark Ferrante, who served on Talley’s staff for 30 years.
“Nothing is really changing as far as schematics go, and just the overall feel of the program,” Patrick said. “That’s why I was comfortable… It feels good to know that I could be the start of something a little new, but at the same time I’m just another stepping block in something they already have great going on.”
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior was a first-team All-State selection at linebacker last fall.
“We’re really excited for him, and we’re really excited for Villanova,” Sallies coach Bill DiNardo said. “There aren’t many kids that we’ve had that have even been offered by Villanova before. For a super program like them to offer to Josh, we’re proud… It’s close by, so everybody can still watch him and support him.”
Patrick was among 13 Villanova signees in Ferrante’s first recruiting class. He also considered Monmouth, Massachusetts, and Albany and received some late recruiting interest from new Delaware coach Danny Rocco, but held firm on his commitment.
“It just seemed to be a great fit,” Patrick said. “The coaches, the players I’m going to be going there with, it just seemed like home when I went for my visit.”
The Sals also had another signee in Zebulon Wright, a 6-2, 310-pound two-way lineman who is headed to Division II Shippensburg (Pa.). Wright was first team All-State as a guard, but he said the Raiders want him to play on the defensive line.
DiNardo said Wright blossomed during his senior season.
“He figured things out,” DiNardo said. “He became a dominant lineman for us. He was really good, and I think he’s got an incredible upside.”
There were many other football signees across the state, including four from Smyrna. The two-time DIAA Division I champions saw quarterback Nolan Henderson sign with Delaware, along with linebacker brothers Josh and Eli Hutchinson going to Shepherd (W. Va.) and offensive lineman Jerren Carter headed for West Virginia Wesleyan.
St. Georges also had a big day. Tight end-linebacker Jason Stewart and tight end Doug Phillips are both headed to Wesley, and lineman Charles Lamborn will play at King’s College. Former Hawks running back Gary Brightwell, who transferred to St. Frances (Md.) for his senior season, signed with Arizona. Linebacker Jiare Hicks, who spent a year at Lackawanna College, signed with Prairie View A&M.
Caravel had three linemen sign – Curtis Linton with New Hampshire, Keith Medley with Lincoln University and Damon Callis with Lock Haven.
Wilmington Friends fullback Andrew Jaworski signed with Colgate. Two players – Glasgow receiver Michael Credle and Newark lineman Tyreek Booker – signed with Delaware State. St. Elizabeth offensive lineman Mickey Henry signed to join Henderson at Delaware.
Tatnall lineman Karl Holler will play at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Glasgow linebacker Dasan Henderson will play at Hudson Valley Community College.
There were also dozens of non-football signees, led by Padua with a whopping 17. Soccer players Julia Detwiler (South Carolina), Arryana Daniels (Winthrop), Emilia Ryjewski (Seton Hall), Anne Brush (DeSales), Sarah Embley (Ursinus) and Abigail Houseal (Belmont Abbey) are all headed to the next level, along with Darby Deutsch (Wake Forest) and Taliah Cintron (Delaware) in track and field.
Other Padua athletes signing were Abby Cunningham (Shippensburg) in softball; Gabriella DiMarco (Temple) and Madison Heitz (Fairfield) in rowing; Madelyn Judge (Delaware), Meghan Patterson (Philadelphia University) and Gabriella Walsh (Southern Connecticut) in volleyball; Hailey Power (Sacred Heart) and Jill Sherman (Queens University of Charlotte) in field hockey; and Emily Pfeifer (Tampa) in swimming.
Smyrna’s Casey Bell signed to play soccer at Shippensburg, and Sierra Duman is headed to Wilkes for lacrosse. Wilmington Friends swimmers Sean Cochran (Washington College) and Blair Atkins (Franklin & Marshall), volleyball players Alyssa Nathan (Swarthmore) and Alex Musi (Dickinson) and field hockey player Simone Veale (Williams) will also continue to compete in college.
Charter of Wilmington’s Eamon O’Connor will play soccer at Bucknell. The Force will also have Shannon McNulty at Stevenson for women’s soccer and Rebecca Dolan at the Coast Guard Academy for lacrosse. St. Elizabeth’s Hunter Wesley will run track at Stevenson.
Tatnall’s Oliver Campbell will play baseball at Dartmouth, Savannah Pankow will run track at the United States Naval Academy and Alex Browning will play lacrosse at McDaniel College.
A.I. du Pont’s Lauryn Griffin will play basketball at Bentley University. Sydney MacDonald is headed to Eastern University for volleyball, Brady Kalafut will play lacrosse at Potomac State and Luke Wilhelm will play baseball at Delaware Tech.
Three Caravel soccer players will play in college – Macie Pennington at Caldwell, Deanna Cameransi at Elms College and Cole Lewis at Goldey-Beacom.
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ