Here are where some of our local athletes are headed to pursue their college athletic dreams. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
For the first time in 11 years, Delone Catholic has produced a Division I football player.
On Wednesday, senior offensive and defensive tackle Bryce Perkins officially signed with Towson after verbally committing over the weekend. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Perkins is expected to play guard or center for the Tigers, who compete in the Colonial Athletic Conference in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
According to Delone head coach Corey Zortman, Perkins will be the first Squire to play for a program of that level since Gareth Hissong went to William & Mary in 2006. Perkins was a four-year varsity player for the Squires.
"Bryce is a prime example of hard work and dedication and how far it can take you," Zortman said. "He's not your typical high school kid. Any time we had the weight room open he was there and he's always watching film and good at making highlight films. His ultimate goal was Towson and there’s nothing better than to know your hard work has gotten you your ultimate goal."
Perkins, who is also one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in District 3 Class 2A, said it was still sinking in that he will be a Division I athlete. He added the Tigers program was a perfect fit for him.
"It's such an honor for someone from the York-Adams league, let alone Division III, let alone Delone to play Division I," Perkins said. "Right now I'm just in awe. This was always my goal and there were times recently when I wasn't sure if it would happen or not. But I worked hard and I'm just glad they offered."
One of the YAIAA's best two-way linemen the past few seasons, Perkins spent the past year attending football camps and working to develop into a Division I prospect. But because he's undersized by offensive lineman standards, he received mostly offers from Division II schools, including Bloomsburg, Shippensburg and West Liberty.
His dedication eventually paid off, as Towson offered him a scholarship shortly before his first official visit to the school this past weekend. Perkins accepted the offer in person.
While the opportunity to play at the Division I level was a huge part of his decision, Perkins said he also liked the size of Towson's campus and how close it is to his hometown of Gettysburg.
"In my head I pictured Towson as this huge gigantic campus but it wasn’t," Perkins said. "I actually didn’t know for sure if (I would commit) when I got up there. But I was feeling the love and realized it would be the perfect place for me."
For Perkins, the next goal is continuing to increase his size and strength so he can compete against 300-pound lineman. He said he is hoping to gain 15 to 20 pounds, and that it's likely he'll redshirt his first year. He plans to study sports management.
"I'm sure by the end of my first year I'll be able to get to around 290 with the weightlifting and meal plan they have," Perkins said.
Watch: Perkins participated in GameTimePA's feats of strength competition at YAIAA football media day
YAIAA athletes compete against GameTimePA.com reporters in feats of strength. Sean Heisey