Football: Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas commits to Penn State
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or email@example.com Twitter: @MikeHuttonPT March 30, 2014 7:34PM
Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas (44) is one of nine defensive players in Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2014 7:39AM
Late last week, Andrean coach Phil Mason told a recruiting site he believed that Notre Dame was the team to beat for Josh Barajas’ services next year.
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Barajas, a 6-foot-3 210-pound linebacker for the 59ers, committed to Penn State on Sunday morning. He announced his decision via Twitter.
Barajas admitted to being overwhelmed with the recruiting process. His recruiting profile blew up after he had a monster game in Andrean’s 35-27 victory over Brebeuf in the Class 3A state championship. Barajas finished with eight tackles, 21/2 tackles for losses and four pass breakups.
His first offers came from Purdue and Illinois. Soon thereafter, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Notre Dame followed. He holds offers from just about every major Division I program in the country. He’ll play inside linebacker for the Nittany Lions.
“It felt right,” Barajas said of committing to Penn State. “I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to hop on board.”
Barajas hopped on board with first-year Penn State coach James Franklin, who replaces Bill O’Brien as Nittany Lions coach. O’Brien left for the NFL’s Houston Texans after two years at Penn State.
Franklin, formerly the coach at Vanderbilt, is off to a fast start. Rivals.com lists Penn State with 11 verbal commitments, ranking second behind Texas A&M for the 2015 season.
Barajas visited Notre Dame, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. He said he wasn’t necessarily a Penn State fan growing up, but noted he was surprised by how much he liked the campus and the coaches when he visited.
Ultimately, it came down to Notre Dame and Penn State. He committed early so he could get the decision out of the way and move on with his senior season.
Barajas realizes coaches won’t stop recruiting him until he signs his National Letter of Intent in February.
“They can do what they want but I am going to put my foot down,” he said. “I gave coach Franklin my word, and that is where I am going to go.”