COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Sunday was a birthday to remember for Ivan Pace Jr. and the Miami University football program.
Pace Jr., the standout Colerain linebacker/running back not only turned 18 years old Sunday, but he announced his verbal commitment to the RedHawks on Sunday night.
Pace, the Ohio Division I defensive player of the year this past season, announced his commitment on Twitter. Pace, who is 6 feet and 220 pounds, also had scholarship offers from the University of Cincinnati and Mid-American Conference programs during the recruiting process.
Pace rushed for 1,441 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Division I state runner-up Cardinals (14-1) this season. He also had a receiving touchdown. He had 80 tackles including six sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
"There is no quit in him," former Colerain coach Tom Bolden said in late November, prior to the state semifinal. "He's 1,000 miles per hour constantly. I've said it over and over again, but in terms of what he can do offensively, defensively and special teams -- in terms of a complete football player – he's the best one in Ohio."
Bolden accepted the Lakota West head coaching position last week. On Sunday, he rhetorically asked the last time Miami received a commitment from the state's defensive player of the year. Pace's commitment was a cause for celebration in Colerain and in Oxford.
Pace was the Southwest District Division I defensive player of the year and the Greater Miami Conference defensive player of the year.
Pace is the fourth Colerain player from the 2019 class to verbally commit to the RedHawks. He joins Colerain senior running back Syncere Jones, offensive lineman Rusty Feth and linebacker Luke Bolden (Tom's son) – all of whom have given their pledge to Miami.
The NCAA early signing period starts Wednesday. The four players are expected to sign with Miami on Wednesday.