Archbishop Wood senior Kyle Pitts wanted to blaze his own college trail, and perhaps step No. 1 will happen Wednesday when the 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end signs a national letter of intent with the University of Florida.
Among his other suitors were Alabama and Georgia, which is already home to former Wood star receiver Mark Webb and former St. Joseph's Prep standout D'Andre Swift.
Pitts, however, planned his own path.
"I wanted to go somewhere else and start my own legacy," he said. "I wanted to go somewhere I could say I didn't follow anybody."
But the path wasn't exactly unpaved.
Pitts, who transferred from Abington after his sophomore year, sought counsel from former Wood tight end Colin Thompson. Thompson, currently a tight end for the Chicago Bears, began his college career at Florida before transferring to Temple. Pitts talked to Thompson about the "Swamp," its atmosphere and its people.
Even after new Florida coach Dan Mullen replaced Jim McElwain, Pitts still thought Florida was the place for him. Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida when Tim Tebow led the team to national championships in 2006 and 2008.
Pitts caught 21 passes for 377 yards and five scores on an offense led mostly by the fleet feet of Nasir Peoples, who is expected to sign with Virginia Tech.
"It's a blessing being able to play this position at the size I am and the speed I have," Pitts said. "And in Coach Mullen's offense, I should be able to fit in pretty well."
Other Wood standouts include Matt Palmer (Delaware) and Bill Shaeffer (Lafayette).
Malvern Prep’s Bucknell bond
When Ryan Betz arrived at Malvern Prep for football camp the summer after eighth grade, the first person he met was Cole McCabe.
"I stuck with him the last four years. He's one of my closest friends," Betz said. "It's just crazy how life works."
That's because the duo is set to sign national letters of intent with Bucknell this week.
Betz is a 6-3, 255-pound defensive tackle, while McCabe is a 5-11, 210-pound linebacker and tight end. The pair helped the Friars win sole possession of the Inter-Ac title this season after they shared the crown with Germantown Academy last year.
"I've been playing football since I was four," Betz said. "This has always been the goal."
Later, he added: "I'm just very lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love for the next four years."
Other Malvern standouts include Joe Basiura (Penn) and O'Shaan Allison (Ohio).
Division I Football Commitments from Southeastern Pa.
Player School Pos. Ht. Wt. College
O'Shaan Allison Malvern Prep RB 5-10 205 Ohio U.
Joe Basiura Malvern Prep OL 6-3 295 Penn
Ryan Betz Malvern Prep DL 6-3 255 Bucknell
Massimo Biscardi Down. West PK 5-10 190 Coastal Carolina
Leddie Brown Neumann-Goretti RB 6-0 210 West Virginia
Ryan Bryce St. Joseph's Prep DL 6-4 245 Army
Rovny Dasilva West Catholic LB 6-2 220 Kent State
Dawson DeIuliis St. Joseph's Prep DB 5-9 195 Princeton
Rahsul Faison Pottsgrove RB 6-0 190 Stony Brook
Amir Gillis Simon Gratz ATH 5-10 190 Temple
Justis Henley North Penn ATH 5-11 175 Delaware
Colin Hurlbrink Haverford School DE 6-2 225 Lafayette
Oshea Jackson Imhotep Charter DL 6-6 240 Old Dominion
Oliver Jervis Pennridge OL-DE 6-6 250 Monmouth
Khan Jamal North Penn DB 5-11 205 Delaware State
Justin Johnson Neumann-Goretti OL 6-7 345 Oregon
Adam Klein Episcopal Ac. OL 6-5 265 Temple
Tanner Long Germantown Ac. LB 6-1 225 Penn
Cole McCabe Malvern Prep LB 5-11 210 Bucknell
Jordan Mosley Haverford High LB 6-1 200 Maryland
Tim Moulton Archbishop Ryan DL 6-4 255 Massachusetts
Phil O'Connor St. Joseph's Prep LB 6-0 200 Richmond
Matt Palmer Archbishop Wood LB 5-11 190 Delaware
Anthony Paoletti Marple Newtown QB 6-2 200 Delaware
Nasir Peoples Archbishop Wood DB 6-0 185 Virginia Tech
Kyle Pitts Archbishop Wood TE 6-5 235 Florida
Matt Rosso Pennsbury OL 6-6 260 Rutgers
Brandon Sanders St. Joseph's Prep WR 5-10 175 Bucknell
Bill Shaeffer Archbishop Wood DE 6-4 220 Lafayette
Darryle Simmons St. Joseph's Prep WR 6-2 200 Virginia Tech
Nick Tarburton Pennridge LB 6-3 240 Penn State
Owen Thomas North Penn TE 6-4 210 Villanova
Liam Trainer La Salle LB 6-2 230 Delaware
Avery Young Coatesville DB 6-1 175 Rutgers
Garrett Zobel La Salle DL 6-3 285 Villanova