Playing college football wasn’t a realistic thought for Andrew Pratt when he started attending Green High School in 2008.
Pratt wasn’t even a member of the Green football team, instead focusing on competing for the Bulldogs’ basketball and track and field squads.
His football background included playing as a youth and in middle school, yet Pratt decided to play football his junior season at Green.
After a solid senior season as a wide receiver, he now finds himself in a position to play Division I college football after giving an oral commitment to University of Akron first-year coach Terry Bowden and his staff on Thursday. He will receive a full athletic scholarship.
“All the coaches are great people,” Pratt said. “I definitely think they know what they are doing and they are going to turn around the program. I want to be part of that turnaround.”
Pratt, 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, had 39 receptions for 734 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. He also returned eight punts for 110 yards and one touchdown.
His efforts earned him All-Suburban League first-team honors in 2011. He also was an Associated Press Division I All-Northeast Ohio Inland District second-team selection.
“After I made my highlight tape, I sent it out and Akron got back to me,” Pratt said. “I visited last weekend and pretty much fell in love with the place. With all the facilities and everything, you can’t get much better than that. I went and watched Akron beat Kent State [in a men’s basketball game], which was a lot of fun.”
Green Athletic Director Mark Pfaff and coach Ed Cybak were both pleased with Pratt’s decision.
“I think he is a diamond in the rough and that his best football is in front of him,” Cybak said. “He has played only two years [of high school football]. I am really proud of him. He has really handled himself very well and he is a quality young man.”
Pratt continues to play basketball and compete in track and field for Green. He qualified for the Division I state meet in the 400 meters and has the school record with a time of 49.3 seconds. He also high jumps.
“He is 6-foot-5, but he runs really well,” Cybak said. “He runs like he is a 6-2 or 6-3 kid. He has that height and speed that intrigues them, and he is also good at blocking. He is a physical kid.”
Pratt played varsity football as a junior and senior after not playing football as a freshman or sophomore.
“He literally walked out in the summer time of his junior year and started running some routes and worked at it,” Cybak said. “It took him awhile to figure things out, but he was a contributor that fall and got even better as a senior.”
Pratt also had offers from Ashland, Malone, Edinboro and Ohio Dominican.
“This is something special to me because all my family and friends can come watch me play at Akron,” Pratt said. “I live in Green and I love the area. It is definitely a great opportunity. It will be a huge challenge and I definitely have a lot to learn. There is a lot of stuff that I need to pick up on. I think they can help me get a lot better.”
Wrestling in Wadsworth
The Wadsworth wrestling program will be hosting the 26th annual Grizzly Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said this will be the last time the event is held in the West Gym before the new high school is completed. The tournament will start at 9 a.m., and finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Sixteen teams are scheduled to compete, with six from the area.
Wadsworth has won the tournament title 10 consecutive years and 16 times overall.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/. Also follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.