The younger Tom Ricketts, who will be a senior lineman at North Allegheny High School, made a verbal commitment to Penn State tonight. He called Bradley on the phone and made his commitment.Ricketts is the second top WPIAL offensive lineman to commit to Penn State in the past two days. Yesterday, it was Fox Chapel's Miles Dieffenbach.
Dieffenbach's decision was a slight blow to Pitt. The Panthers were his top choice until the past month, and the Panthers thought they had a good chance to get him. What hurt the most was Dieffenbach's tie to Pitt. His father, George, is Pitt's womens tennis coach.
Ricketts' decision might have been even a bigger blow to Pitt. Ricketts father, Tom II, was a standout lineman at Pitt in the 1980s. His mother, Sandy (Albright) Ricketts, was a standout swimmer at Pitt. The parents have season tickets to Pitt football games.
"Penn State has always been my secret favorite," Ricketts said. "Growing up, Pitt was a favorite, too. But just looking at the opportunities given to me, Penn State was the best thing for me. ... This past week - and maybe even a little less than that - I was pretty sure Penn State is where I wanted to go. The past three days, I said, 'This is where I need to be.' I love the campus, the coaching staff, everything about Penn State."
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said a few years ago that he wanted to build a fence around Western Pennsylvania and keep top recruits here. But there was no fence in the past, there is no fence now and there will be no fence in the future.
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