College Football

Andrean's Barajas commits to play football at Penn State

2014-03-30T19:45:00Z 2014-04-15T18:36:21Z Andrean's Barajas commits to play football at Penn StateSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

Andrean junior football player Josh Barajas had some concerns, some misgivings, about playing football at Penn State.

The Jerry Sandusky scandal of 2011-12 set the Nittany Lions program back, way back. But on Sunday Barajas called new football head coach James Franklin to verbally commit to the school.

Penn State will not be bowl eligible until the linebacker's sophomore season.

The Valparaiso resident visited the campus two weeks ago.

"Yeah, I was a little concerned about (the scandal)," Barajas said. "But I believe in the direction they're going. I think it will be the old Penn State very soon."

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker led Andrean to the Class 3A state championship in November. He finished the season with 90 tackles. He said the way he played in that game blew the doors open on the recruiting scene.

More than 25 colleges had offered scholarships to Barajas and many were monster programs — Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, among many others.

Andrean coach Phil Mason was pleased with the decision. He believes that Barajas will get much bigger before his prep career all said and done. Mason hopes he gets up to 220 before the high school season kicks off this fall.

"And they'll have him up to 230 in no time," Mason said.

Barajas will play in the Army All-American game in January. Being recruited by so many colleges and with so many scouting websites in the game now, the former Mount Carmel player's phone never stopped ringing.

"I couldn't tell you how many times my phone rang a night," Barajas said. "Oh my God. It'll be nice to be a regular kid again."

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