Qwahsin Townsel was the Inquirer's South Jersey Offensive Player of the Year after leading St. Joseph to a 12-0 season as a running back.
Townsel will do more than change levels of competition next season at Villanova University. He also will move to the other side of the football.
"I'm a football player, I'll play anywhere," Townsel said Wednesday after a signing a national letter of intent to attend Villanova on a football scholarship.
The 6-foot-1, 203-pound Townsel was recruited by the Wildcats as a linebacker.
"For me, it's just that I love to play football," Townsel said. "Offense, defense, it doesn't matter to me. I just want to play football."
Townsel was joined at the signing ceremony in the school's cafeteria his mother, stepfather, and other family members as well as the coaches and players from St. Joseph.
"He's been dreaming about this since he was 5 years old," said Katura Marshall, Townsel's mother. "He put in so much hard work. It was just his passion. He would have two-a-day practices and come home and go out and run again.
"When you have that kind of work ethic, you are going to succeed."
Townsel led St. Joseph to the first 12-0 season in program history. The Wildcats won the Non-Public 2 state title and finished No. 1 in South Jersey in the final Inquirer Top 25.
Townsel led South Jersey with 210 points on 31 touchdowns and 12, two-point conversions. He ran for 1,616 yards for the season and saved his best for last, gaining 232 yards with two touchdowns in a 30-14 victory over defending state champion Mater Dei in the state final Dec. 3 at Rowan University.
"It was blessing after blessing this year," Townsel said.
St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said Townsel took a big step forward from his junior to his senior season.
"He became a lot more than a straight-ahead runner," Sacco said. "He improved his speed and showed he could go outside as well."
Townsel said he plans to major in nursing at Villanova.
"When I visited there, it felt like home," Townsel said.
2018 South Jersey high school football recruits
Listed with each player is his high school, position, height, weight and college.
Nihym Anderson Vineland LB 6-2 235 Maryland
Iverson Clement Rancocas Valley 5-11 180 Florida
Alex Desire Burlington Twp. OL 6-5 280 Towson
Shamere Collins St. Augustine DB 5-10 175 Sacred Heart
Kyle Dobbins Timber Creek RB 5-10 185 Temple
Xavier File St. Augustine WR 6-0 175 Army
Taj Harris Palmyra WR 6-2 175 Syracuse
Deion Jennings Timber Creek DB 6-0 180 Rutgers
Devin Leary Timber Creek QB 6-2 185 North Carolina State
Nah'Sir Morgan Atlantic City WR 6-3 180 Maine
Isaih Pacheco Vineland Ath. 5-10 180 Rutgers
Daevon Robinson Shawnee WR 6-4 210 Rutgers
Qwahsin Townsel St. Joseph LB 6-1 203 Villanova
Jeff Undercuffler Holy Cross QB 6-6 210 Albany
Noah Sansalone Vineland OL 6-4 275 Bucknell
Josh Zamot Holy Spirit QB 6-0 180 Stony Brook