He made his decision swiftly and, with it, Ben Kline moves closer to becoming Dallastown High's first big-time college football player in almost 30 years.

Kline, who will be a senior in the fall, verbally committed to the University of Pittsburgh on Monday.

He chose the Panthers over scholarship offers from Michigan, Connecticut, Rutgers, West Virginia and others.

And that will make him the first player in school history to play for a Football Bowl Subdivision team (formerly Division I-A) since fullback Tracy Smith went to Duke in 1983.

"It's our biggest (football) signing, maybe (ever)," said Dallastown coach Kevin Myers. "It's a big deal. Not that we're just singling out Ben, but it is a great accomplishment for him and for the program."

Kline is big (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and fast (4.6 to 5.0 seconds over 40 yards) at linebacker. He even was a standout sprinter this spring on Dallastown's track and field team, routinely posting 100 meter dash times just over 11 seconds, surprising for his size.

"Ben closes very fast on the ball carrier," Myers said. "He's got to work on playing lower, but he's going to be a tremendous athlete (at Pitt). ... He's a hard hitter, and he's got great speed."

Certainly, it wasn't an easy decision for Kline. West Virginia was the first to offer him and the Mountaineers were a personal favorite growing up. He also took a liking to UConn head coach Randy Edsall, who graduated from Susquehannock High.


And he could have waited. Many in the Class of 2011 won't make their decisions for another seven months or more.

"It was just a feeling-type of thing," Kline said. "Pitt's a program on the rise and they've been very good the last few years and are ready to take the next step ... and that's something I want to be a part of."

Plus, he adds, "The recruiting process is pretty crazy, and I thought it was a good fit at Pitt, and I was pretty comfortable with it. It was one of those things that I was ready for it to be over.

"Every school brings something special, every school has positives. It's really tough and I could sit here and go back and forth until I'm 40 and never decide."

Kline will play linebacker, return kicks and be all over the field on offense for the Wildcats this fall. He also intends on making a return to the varsity basketball team.

His size and speed will enable him to play outside or inside linebacker at Pitt.
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