CINCINNATI -- La Salle 2018 tight end Josh Whyle is staying home to play college football.
As a result, the University of Cincinnati is receiving one of its most highly rated area football commitments in the past decade, if not ever.
"UC just makes me feel at home," Whyle said. "Even though it's 10 minutes down the road, Luke Fickell and all the coaching staff - they are great guys. UC is on its way up. Probably one of the biggest factors is I know I am going to get it done on the field and in the classroom."
Whyle, one of the state’s top players in the 2018 class, verbally committed to the Bearcats after watching a morning practice at Sheakley Athletics Center Thursday. He took an unofficial campus visit after that and informed the coaches of his decision.
Whyle told Fickell of his decision and the UC head coach reflected on the news then jumped out of his seat to shake Whyle's hand.
“I think the thing he likes most is that UC is close to home,” La Salle coach Pat McLaughlin told WCPO.com. “He wants to stay close to home so his parents can see him play. I think he also developed a good relationship with Coach (Luke) Fickell. I think he likes the direction they are going.”
Whyle, who is 6 feet 6 and 223 pounds, had several other significant scholarship offers including Louisville, Auburn, Oregon, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee, Duke, Texas Christian, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, North Carolina State, Stanford, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Kentucky and others. He visited Ohio State last weekend.
“He always wanted to make the decision early,” McLaughlin said. “He visited a couple of places. The offers came in so quick. I think he wanted to get (the commitment) done so he can get to the summer and concentrate on our football team and have a great season his senior year.”
Whyle was a first-team all-Greater Catholic League South division selection for the Lancers this past season. UC offered him Jan. 9. Whyle took a Junior Day visit to UC Jan. 19.
"Actually after the first visit I took there I told my parents walking out that I would commit right now if I could," Whyle said. "But, i knew I had to take other college visits and compare and contrast. After my Ohio State visit I knew it was time. No other coaches treated me the way (UC) did. I knew it was a place that I should go."
McLaughlin sat down with Whyle and narrowed the list of schools to 10. La Salle Athletic Director Keith Pantling also helped Whyle in the process.
Whyle and his family considered the style of offense, academics, proximity to home and relationships with the coaching staff.
“All of those were checked for UC,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Whyle, who is interested in studying sports medicine, also played basketball for La Salle and helped that team to finish as a Division I regional runner-up.
His size and agility on the perimeter makes him a coveted prospect from a program that has won three consecutive Division II state titles.
Whyle, who lives in Mount Airy, played wide receiver his freshman and sophomore seasons at La Salle and it’s his ability to catch the ball and elude defenders that allows him to stand out.
Whyle is the second area player to commit to UC in the 2018 class. St. Xavier defensive end Blake Bacevich committed to the Bearcats at a spring practice March 25.
The area’s 2018 class has three verbal commitments including Moeller tight end Brenden Bates (Kentucky) along with Whyle and Bacevich.
Whyle said UC will continue to add more area recruits in the near future.
"I am not going to mention names but I know other guys are coming," Whyle said.
National Signing Day for the 2018 class is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2018. There has been discussion that an early NCAA signing period could be adopted for December.
The Division I Council meets April 13-14 to vote on the NCAA legislative proposals, Susan Peal, Director of Governance for National Letter of Intent, told WCPO.com today.
The Council does not have the authority to vote on NLI signing dates, however the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) governs the NLI so they will make the decision if there will be any changes to the football signing dates. The CCA’s next in person meeting is June 20-22.