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High School Sports Recruiting: Hopewell LB follows family tradition to BYU

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

By Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Grant Nelson is following family tradition and is heading to Brigham Young University.

Nelson, a senior linebacker at Hopewell High School, has made a verbal commitment to Brigham Young. Both of his parents, two older brothers and an older sister all attended Brigham Young, a Mormon school in Utah. The Nelsons are Mormons.

Brigham Young had been recruiting Nelson, but didn't offer a scholarship until yesterday. Nelson (6 feet 3, 215 pounds) immediately accepted.

"One of their assistants [Barry Lamb] called to say they were offering," said Nelson, who led Hopewell in tackles the past two seasons. "I said, 'OK, what do I do now?' He said, 'This is where you say, I'd like to play for the BYU Cougars.' "

Brigham Young was the only Division I school to offer a scholarship. Nelson will attend Brigham Young for one semester and then fulfill a two-year mission requirement.

"I don't know if I'll redshirt that first semester or not," Nelson said. "Some players redshirt after they come back [from the mission]."

Pitt gets TE

Rob Agnone (6-5, 220) of Red Land High near Harrisburg has never played tight end, but that is the position he will play at Pitt. Agnone committed to the Panthers Sunday night. He played receiver as a junior and quarterback as a senior.

"I feel like I have great potential as a tight end, and obviously Pitt's coaches see that, too," Agnone said.

Agnone chose Pitt over James Madison and Akron. He visited James Madison this past weekend. James Madison recruited him as a quarterback.

Tucker to UConn

Rochester defensive end Nate Tucker (6-5, 240) committed to Connecticut. Toledo was his other top choice.

"He was a little disappointed that Pitt never came around to recruit him," said Rochester coach Gene Matsook.

"I think Connecticut being in the Big East and the feeling that its program is coming up a notch is what he liked."

Tucker was recruited by Connecticut assistant Todd Orlando, a Central Catholic graduate.

Tucker is the second Rochester senior to commit to a Division I school.

Running back-defensive back Nate Waldron chose Bowling Green. This is the first time in Matsook's 18 years with the program two seniors have gone Division I.

Bacco to Mercyhurst

Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Baldwin's Fred Bacco runs the ball against Gateway.
Click photo for larger image.

Baldwin's Fred Bacco (5-10, 205), the WPIAL's leading rusher during the regular season, committed to Mercyhurst. Slippery Rock was his other top choice.

"I think I fit in better at a private school," Bacco said. "Plus, I'd rather be a big fish in a small pond."

Bacco was disappointed no Division I colleges recruited him, despite rushing for 3,219 yards the past two seasons in WPIAL Class AAAA.

"I thought I was the top running back in Western Pennsylvania," Bacco said.

"I actually had a few college coaches tell me I was the wrong color to be a running back. I was surprised some coaches actually came out and said that."


Woodland Hills running back Joe McDaniel (5-11, 215) committed to Akron. McDaniel played fullback at Woodland Hills and rushed for 521 yards on 89 attempts as a senior.

Pine-Richland kicker Pat Humes turned down a scholarship offer from Connecticut and decided to walk on at Penn State.

Wilkinsburg receiver Jonathan Hughes committed to Villanova. Hofstra was his other finalist.

Erie McDowell's Kyle Mitchum, ranked among the best offensive tackles in the country, committed to Ohio State.

(Mike White can be reached at or 412-263-1975)

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