Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making it official: Hitchens leads off busy signing day with a memorable ceremony

In front of everyone that mattered, Clearview’s Anthony Hitchens made his commitment to The University of Iowa official.

As his coaches, family members, teammates and fellow students looked on, the two-time All-Ohio football player signed an official letter of intent to play at Iowa and continue his football career with the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference.

“It takes a lot of stress off of me,” Hitchens said. “I don’t have to worry about it at all anymore. Now I can concentrate on playing basketball. It’s one less thing that I have to worry about. I’m happy to make my commitment to Iowa.”

Hitchens made visits to Kansas, Indiana and Toledo, before Iowa showed how serious it was about him last week. Eastern Michigan also was interested in Hitchens.

“They took me on a tour around the school and showed me the facility,” Hitchens said. “I met some football players and the coaches. They showed me a good time for the weekend. I’ve always wanted to go to Iowa from the get-go.”

Hitchens’ older cousin, Don, made something else official at the ceremony held in the auditorium at Clearview High School. “From one Hitchens to another,” Don Hitchens said as he passed Anthony a plaque with the Morning Journal sports page from a memorable day for both men. The headline read “Hitchens runs wild,” from the Oct. 2 game where Anthony ran for 354 yards to break Don’s 35-year-old career rushing record of 3,265 yards and the single game record of 352 yards previously held by David Dorinski, who reached that mark in 1976. He now holds the career rushing mark with 3,864 yards.

Hitchens received a call from Iowa last Wednesday and the school flew him out there on Friday to discuss everything.

“It was way more than I expected, it was really nice,” Hitchens said. “From the beginning, I’ve always wanted to go there. Originally, something came up and I wasn’t able to make it out there, but in the end (Iowa) came through with the scholarship.”

Defense is where he’ll find a home at Iowa whose defensive back coach Phil Parker is also from Lorain. Parker is an Amherst graduate (1983) and was inducted into the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame last year. Hitchens, who was an offensive star in high school, will be tabbed to play safety in college.

“It might be a little difficult at first,” Hitchens said. “But I think I’ll adjust to it. When I played linebacker, I was more of a run-first guy, but now that I’ll be playing safety, it’s more pass first. I think I’ll get use to it and hopefully I’ll be a pretty good safety.”

Hitchens will have an improved chance to play right away at the safety position, as Iowa’s All-Big Ten cornerback Amari Spievey made himself eligible for the NFL draft and strong safety David Cato is transferring.

In his high school career, Hitchens finished with 166 tackles, including 13 for loss, 12 sacks, five interceptions, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

“It really didn’t matter to me if I was going to play offense or defense,” added Hitchens, who will head to Iowa on June 12. “I just really wanted to play at the next level.”

Hitchens leaves Clearview with a host of accomplishments. Not only is Hitchens, a two-time All-Ohio player, but he also won Lorain County’s Golden Helmet award. He was also named the Division IV offensive co-player of the year, along with Clearview’s Scholar Athlete award, the Captain’s award and the Offensive Player of the Year.

“I accomplished a lot in high school and not just on the field, but off the field as well,” Hitchens said. “I’m happy with my high school career and ready to move forward.”

This season, he finished with 1,428 yards rushing along with 26 touchdowns. On defense, he led the Clippers with 76 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles.

For his career, Hitchens had 519 carries for a 7.4 yards per carry average.As a receiver, he had 213 yards on 16 catches, which includes four touchdowns.

He also scored a total of 62 touchdowns, which include four defensive touchdowns.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home