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It's Official

Posted Wednesday, February 02, 2011 by Josh Thomson

Varsity Insider

High school sports in the Lower Hudson Valley


National Signing Day: It’s offical.

Across the Lower Hudson Valley today, the area’s top football players officially signed to accept scholarships to their new college programs. I’ll update this blog post throughout the day with images and thoughts from what is a momentous and relieving event for them and their families.

Above is an image from one of our visual journalists, Matthew Brown, of Tyrell Goodman and Donnie Simmons signing on the dotted line in the Stepinac High School gym.

I have heard from seven of the nine players mentioned yesterday. Here are thoughts from each:

Tyrell Goodman, QB, Stepinac, signed with Akron; Donnie Simmons, DE, Stepinac, signed with Syracuse — The only ceremony that was held today was in the Stepinac High School gym at noon. I was there for the event, which was held before a few dozen coaches, friends and family.

According to Stepinac coach and athletic director Mike O’Donnell, Goodman and Simmons became the first pair of seniors to commit to FBS (Division I-A) schools since he joined the program in 1980.

Simmons was joined by his family, including his dad, Donnie Sr., and his mom, Sylvia.

“It’s probably one of the greatest days of my life, honestly,” said Simmons, wearing a bright orange Syracuse hat. “You can only go through this once and it’s a great opportunity to have this in front of me. It’s too much joy to put it into words.”

Simmons, who weighs about 225-230 pounds, said he expects to play defensive end at Syracuse. He talked to Orange coach Doug Marrone this morning after faxing in his letter of intent.

Goodman also faxed in his letter this morning and talked to Akron coach Rob Ianello, a Stepinac grad, shortly afterward. O’Donnell said Akron has committed to playing Goodman at quarterback and it was obvious the Class A state co-player of the year is thankful to have finished his recruitment.

“During the process, it felt like a weight was on your back holding you,” said Goodman, whose contingent included his mother Anna. “Once you sign that dotted line, it was like, whew, I can just relax. It was a great feeling.”

Because of the significance of the occasion, O’Donnell said he thought it was important to hold the ceremony for the players. He actually drove his wife to work in the Bronx this morning, then picked up Goodman in Yonkers. They met Simmons at the school and faxed the LOIs in as soon as possible.

“Finally we made it,” Simmons said. “It’s a new chapter in our lives right now. We’ve made it to the next level.”

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