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February 5, 2009

Owah considering three and taking his time

HARRISONBURG - The first - and most high profile - day of college football's national signing period went without a commitment from the central Shenandoah Valley's top prospect.

Harrisonburg High School senior tailback Alex Owah said Wednesday that he has narrowed his list of potential schools to three and hopes to make a decision after taking a visit next week.

He refused to name the schools.

"I think I'm gonna wait," Owah said. "My Dad told me to wait. I talked to him all night and we talked to some more people, and I don't want to jump into something just because it's there. I'm not going to rush anything."

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Owah initially committed to the University of Virginia after his junior season, but he announced last month that he failed to meet U.Va.'s academic requirements, re-opening his recruitment.

Owah said he narrowed his list from five schools to three on Wednesday morning. He said all are Division I-A and are recruiting him as a tailback. He said he also has the option of going to a prep school but would prefer not to.

"It's going to be sunny wherever I go, I'll tell you that," he said with a laugh. "It's not going to have too much snow like over here, I can tell you that. One of the coaches was making fun of me because I told him we got the day off from school for a little snow, and he was like, 'Well, you don't have to worry about that here.'"

Owah finished his career with 5,475 rushing yards, good for 32nd on the Virginia High School League's all-time list.

"Signing is a big thing," Owah said. "I mean, it's not like committing, you can't get out of that. So I'm going to take my time, and I'm not going to be pressured. I'm just going to wait it out and see who has the best thing to offer me."

While Owah still isn't ready to make his choice, several of the area's other top players solidified theirs.

Harrisonburg senior defensive end James Rouse signed his letter of intent to play for Marshall, confirming the verbal commitment he made in July. Sitting in front of a small crowd of family, coaches, administrators and teammates in the school's lobby Wednesday, Rouse signed his papers before donning a white Marshall hat.

"It's real weird, because everybody's looking at you," Rouse joked about the signing ceremony. "You don't want to mess up and write the wrong name."

The 6-foot-5 Rouse said he is up to 230 pounds after playing last season between 205 and 210, and said he feels good after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee a week and a half ago.

"You just know that everything's good now," he said. "You don't have to worry about other schools trying to get you or anything, because now that process is over."

Last season, Rouse recorded 50 tackles, 15 assists, nine sacks, eight hurries, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups.

Wednesday in Staunton, R.E. Lee senior quarterback Dae'Quan Scott signed his letter of intent to play for Division I-AA James Madison.

Scott had originally committed to defending I-AA champion Richmond, but chose to go with JMU after a visit last month.

"I think I rushed into things a little too fast before I made my final decision," he said. "Richmond is a good school; I just liked some things about JMU more than I liked about Richmond.

"The campus is big; I didn't know it was that big. Everything was nice. I stayed there with the guys, and the guys treated me like I was part of them."

The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Scott - who accounted for 2,941 yards of total offense and 47 touchdowns last year - said he signed with the Dukes as an "athlete" but could have a larger role in the JMU offense.

"Dae'Quan can run," JMU coach Mickey Matthews said. "He may be a quarterback in our offense. We told him that."

Several other area players are receiving small-school interest.

Harrisonburg receiver Michael Atkinson picked Division III Randolph-Macon earlier this week. HHS defensive lineman Danny Grogg said he's considering Bridgewater, Averett, and Randolph-Macon, and hopes to make a decision by the end of the month.

HHS punter Colin Newcity is also considering BC, but may also have a chance to walk on at JMU.

Broadway coach Frank Sorrells said lineman Zach Lantz has committed to NAIA Virginia-Wise and tight end/lineman Josh Jameson is considering Wise and several D-III schools.

Turner Ashby coach Charlie Newman said several of his players are looking at Division III programs: running back Cole Hart, tight end Ryan Short, offensive lineman Ben Walker, linebacker Jared Argabright and defensive lineman Colton Harmon.

Spotswood coach Eric Phillips said defensive end Carlos Romero is his team's top senior prospect, adding Romero has been contacted by D-III schools.

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