By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — John Reid thought about it, and thought about it some more. The stellar St. Joseph’s Prep 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior cornerback’s original plans were to make his college commitment after the football season. But he felt like he was being yanked in myriad directions throughout the recruiting process and wanted it to stop at a good destination.

It looks like Reid, a rare talent who was CBS Philly’s 2013 Player of the Year and returns as the best player in Southeastern Pennsylvania this season, found it at Penn State. Reid made an oral commitment to Nittany Lions coach James Franklin on Friday night to a football scholarship.

Reid, one of the area’s biggest game breakers who had four interceptions and scored 12 touchdowns last year, chose Penn State over Miami, Alabama, Notre Dame and a host of other schools that had made offers.

“It will feel like home being up there and I thought it was Penn State all along, but at the same time I had to make sure,” Reid said. “I thought it was best place for me. I am happy to get this over and focus on the season and my team. They’re projecting me to play cornerback there. Coach Franklin was really excited to hear from me. I wanted to keep everything balanced. Miami was a close second. There was a new addition to my family, and the more and more it’s made me want to stay close to home.

“It was funny, my mom reminded me when I was nine that I always told her that I’d go to Penn State. The Penn State tradition is a big thing for me. And I want to graduate college. It’s more than just football. I want to be the first in my family to graduate college. I wanted to make sure I wanted to go to a school that after football, I won’t have any worries at all.”

The four-year starter was the most prized recruit in the area. He has game-changing ability, and expect more from him this year offensively, though he’s being projected to play cornerback in college. No opposing team will throw his way this year—if they’re smart.

“It was an emotional moment to see a young man like John realize a dream,” Hawks’ coach Gabe Infante said. “I’m very happy for him. This has been a four-year process for John, starting from his freshman year. He’s been through so much and he wrote the book with how to write the book with recruiting with class. I’m just so proud of him. I wanted to focus on his senior year and his team. He’s not like any other kid.

“John was prepared to go away, if it was the right place. In the end, all things being equal, being home was the best situation, and he has a young brother that was just born. The reality is, John did his due diligence. He went where he had to go and in the end, home was the best option. Coach Franklin was great. Coach put John on speaker and the coaching went berserk. They made him feel really special and we’re grateful for that.”

But he’s shown an innate ability to step into big moments. For example, three of his four interceptions in 2013 came in the postseason, with a pick in the Catholic League, District 12 and PIAA Class AAAA state playoffs. He caught a team-high four passes for 83 yards, averaging 20.8 yards a catch in The Prep’s 35-10 state championship thrashing of Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

In the third quarter of the state championship game, Reid’s 59-yard touchdown reception from Chris Martin opened what had been a close game.

Reid, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and squats over 460 pounds, is a true student of the game, devoting countless hours to film study.

In his scarce down time he likes to rebuild hard drives, and is aiming toward a degree in computer science.

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