Philadelphia Story

West Virginia has pulled two impact players out of the Philadelphia area over the past two years in Steve Slaton and John Maddox, and today the Mountaineers got yet another prospect from that region.

Drexel Hill's Phillip "P.J." Shirdan made his third, and ultimately, deciding visit to West Virginia today with his mother. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety from Monsignor Bonner High gave his verbal commitment to head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff after touring the campus again and taking in a scrimmage.

"I watched their scrimmage and immediately went into Coach (Rich) Rodriguez's office afterwards and told him I wanted to be a Mountaineer," Shirdan said. "He took me around to tell all of the coaches and congratulated me with a big hug. It was a very special moment for me."

Shirdan had received scholarship offers from Akron and Temple, but over the past few months West Virginia had clearly become the favorite for the Drexel Hill, Pa. standout. He talked today with about what set the Mountaineers apart from the pack.

"Morgantown is really an amazing place and the campus is beautiful. When you're in town there is just this awesome football atmosphere surrounding everything and you've also got a winning tradition to go along with this year's National Championship aspirations. It's just an exciting place to be and frankly, it has felt like home for sometime now."

Before this summer Shirdan wasn't sure he would get much Division I interest, but after two impressive camp performances the attention began to come quickly.

"I was very proud to get an offer from such a great university," Shirdan said. "Coach (Rich) Rodriguez and the staff did the little things that made me feel really wanted. Just today when I committed he made sure to spend time with me before a press conference he had. He told me that I was their No.1 free safety recruit and that they would be shutting down recruiting that position this year now. I also got along great with the players I met and got a chance to hang out with John Maddox and Steve Slaton who are from where I live."

Shirdan did have a message for the fans and students at West Virginia that he asked us to relay. "I'm just very proud to be a part of West Virginia football and can't want to get on the field and be a Mountaineer. My goal is to work as hard as I can to help the team win a National Championship while I'm there."

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