Gwaltney Will Let Heart Decide

North Babylon, N.Y., running back Jason Gwaltney said he is still working through his college choice. He figures to decide at some point this month between Ohio State, USC and West Virginia. Click here for more on this national top-100 prospect.

A lot of people are telling Jason Gwaltney a lot of things. But in the end, there's only one person or thing he's going to listen to -- his heart.

The 5-11 235-pound, bruising tailback out of North Babylon, N.Y. has a tough decision on his hands. He will somehow try to pick a school from USC, Ohio State and West Virginia, where he was committed until last month.

There's no magic formula in place for Gwaltney, so he just has to go with his instincts.

"When I get back next week (from the West Virginia visit), I'll just have to sit down and go with whatever my heart tells me I should do," Gwaltney told Bucknuts on Sunday afternoon. "I'll do what I think is best for me."

Gwaltney will visit West Virginia for a final time this upcoming weekend. He was committed to the Mountaineers with his stepbrother, Scooter Barry, until mid-December but decided to consider his options more closely.

He had already visited Ohio State towards the end of October, and visited USC on Dec. 9. Gwaltney walked away from his USC visit extremely impressed.

So much so, he nearly committed to the Trojans.

In the end, however, priorities changed for Gwaltney. He has since realized that stepping in and playing immediately is something he genuinely wants to do.

He admits there's a much better chance of that happening at Ohio State or West Virginia.

"There's no question, and I look at someone like Adrian Peterson and what he's doing as a freshman and I really want to make that sort of an impact, too," he explained. "I want to go somewhere and have the chance to play immediately."

There's no questioning that Gwaltney is still high on the Trojans, and he says that all three schools are still in the running.

But apparently, there's just no substitute for the impact of playing right away like a Peterson, Ted Ginn or Dwayne Jarrett has done.

"It is very important to be able to do that (making an early impact)," he acknowledged for himself just as those players have done. "I think I can make an impact also."

Gwaltney watched Ohio State's 33-7 victory over Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl last week, and several things stood out to him.

For starters, the ability to play immediately was staring him right in the face.

"I like the fact the only people that graduate (from Ohio State on offense) are the tailbacks," Gwaltney said. "Which, is perfect for me that everybody else is back, but they lose almost all of their tailbacks.

"It's a good situation because I know they will be good, but I could step in and play. They played real good. I really like their program, their players, and their coaches and they would be a good fit for me," he added.

If USC offered the same situation to play, it's quite possible the Trojans would have Gwaltney locked up right now.

However, Reggie Bush and LenDale White give the Trojans not just one, but two very good backs that Gwaltney would have to beat out for playing time, something he acknowledged was unlikely.

Before Gwaltney makes his final decision, he still must visit West Virginia this weekend, and then will leave immediately for San Antonio to participate in the U.S. Army High School All-American game.

The game, which will be nationally televised on NBC on Jan. 15, was set to be the stage where Gwaltney made his college destination public.

However, that might not happen even if he knows where he wants to go.

"Actually I think I will probably announce it on ESPN," Gwaltney said. "It's the biggest show around, it's a national stage, and it would be really cool to be on there. It's really a great opportunity."

ESPN just recently approached him with the idea, and he said he would love to be able to announce his choice between the Mountaineers, Trojans and Buckeyes on that national stage.

He didn't know of an exact date just yet, but he said it would be sometime before National Signing Day in February.

While Ohio State is hoping that they can land Gwaltney, they also have their sights set on another top running back in this same class, speedster Maurice Wells, from Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood.

Wells will be joining Gwaltney in San Antonio for the Army All-American game.

The Buckeyes are selling them the chance to be a thunder-lightning sort of duo, Wells the quick hitting back with speed, and Gwaltney the pound-it-out bruiser who gains tough yards with power and a lot of strength in his lower body.

Apparently they are listening to the idea, and have even discussed the idea of going to Ohio State together to play.

"Yeah it's been discussed (between Maurice and I) actually," Gwaltney admitted. "I guess you just never know."

There's a trio of teams anxiously waiting to hear his confirmation that Gwaltney will be on a campus very near them next season. But first, he has to hear it from his heart.

As a senior, Gwaltney rushed for 2,377 yards and 37 touchdowns. He helped lead his team to a 10-1 record and the Class II Long Island title. In his career, he rushed for 7,489 yards and scored 127 TDs. As a junior, Gwaltney racked up 2,601 yards on 297 carries and scored 45 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 169 yards.

Gwaltney is strong, bench pressing 390 pounds, squats 415 and has a 33-inch vertical jump. He carries a 2.7 GPA and has scored a 860 SAT.

Scout.com ranks him as the nation's 11th-best running back. He is also ranked No. 2 overall in New York and cracks the national top 100 at No. 88 overall.

Click the link below for video clips of Jason Gwaltney:

Jason Gwaltney Video


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