Published: Monday, July 30, 2007
Mooney's Beachum and Hill make their choices
Brandon Beachum selected Penn State while Taylor Hill chose Oklahoma.
BOARDMAN The Cardinal Mooney High football team's "Big Four" seniors heading into this season, who last year helped the Cardinals win their second state championship in three seasons, have completed their college commitments for next year.
The final two decisions were announced Sunday when tailback-linebacker Brandon Beachum and defensive end Taylor Hill made their verbal commitments during a press conference at The Youngstown Sports Grille.
Beachum (6-foot, 220 pounds) announced that he will attend Penn State, where he will play running back for coach Joe Paterno.
Hill (6-2 205), a defensive end, declared his commitment to play for Oklahoma and coach Bob Stoops, a Mooney graduate.
Beachum said his final decision came down to Penn State, Wisconsin, Florida State and Nebraska.
"It would have been an honor to play for Coach [Bobby] Bowden [at Florida State]," said Beachum, "or at Nebraska or Wisconsin, with their great traditions.
"But once I met Coach Paterno, I knew that's where I wanted to go."
Beachum is on target to graduate in December from Mooney. He intends to enroll at Penn State in January and will take part in spring practice.
Hill is slated to play inside or outside linebacker at Oklahoma and was told by the coaches there he has the potential to play right away.
Hill also considered West Virginia and LSU. He said he was impressed by the "family atmosphere" at Oklahoma and the connection with Stoops.
Beachum's and Hill's announcements were designed to be a team effort, said Mooney defensive coordinator Ron Stoops, whose brother coaches at Oklahoma.
Beachum will join senior teammate Michael Zordich, a fullback-linebacker, on the Penn State roster. Zordich, the son of former NFL player Michael Zordich, previously had committed verbally to attend Penn State.
Dan McCarthy, a senior quarterback and safety for Mooney, also previously had announced that he was going to Notre Dame.
Beachum said that he had the four schools on his final list but finally selected Penn State after his last visit there three weeks ago with his father, mother and brother.
"My last visit there clinched it for me. I was taking the academic tour and talking to the advisors. I realized that this was the place I wanted to be. It was the academic setting that persuaded me," said Beachum.
"I am going to start out in the business college and then get into the marketing and communications schools."
Beachum said that he "will be playing running back." But, "If they see fit to move me to defense, it is OK with me. I will do whatever needs to be done.