Gilman middle linebacker Micah Kiser planned all along to make his college commitment before the start of his senior year. Monday night, he made it official. He'll play for Virginia.
Kiser had about 18 scholarship offers and Virginia's was the first, coming in the spring of his sophomore year. He whittled his list to three, including Maryland and Stanford, but it finallly came down to Virginia and Maryland.
"I really like Charlottesville," said Kiser, who visited the campus for a second time two weeks ago. "I like Coach [Mike] London. He has a really good message. It's an up-and-coming program. Their linebackers coach, Coach [Vincent] Brown played in the NFL for eight years under Bill Parcells, so he really knows what he's talking about and the defensive coordinator, Coach [Jim] Reid, he's a really intense guy, but he really cares about his players. Overall, I really liked the feel down there."
Kiser will join former Greyhound Darius Jennings, a sophomore wide receiver, and Boys' Latin graduate Marco Jones, a redshirt freshman defensive end, at Virginia. The Cavaliers finished 8-5 last fall with an appearance in theChick-Fil-A Bowl.
While Kiser had lunch with Jennings on his recent visit, he said his former teammate didn't pressure him to commit there. Still, having someone he knew give him the inside scoop was reassuring.
"He told me recruiting is a business and you need to do what's best for you," Kiser said. "It just so happened that what's best for me was also best for him. He told us about the program and about how he likes Coach London and I believe what he says."
Rated the No. 19 inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com, Kiser was quarterbacked the No. 1 Greyhounds' defense during their run to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship in the fall. He had 91 tackles, six sacks, four interceptions and a fumble recovery and was named to the All-Metro first team.
Gilman assistant coach Henry Russell said Kiser will be a good fit at Virginia.
"Micah is extremely physical and he's smart," Russell said. "He makes a lot of calls from the line of scrimmage for us, and Virginia liked that a lot about him. They really like the way he plays the position, how he's physical and how he knows not only where he's supposed to be but where everyone else is supposed to be.
"They also liked the fact that he's been really clutch for us making plays when we really needed a play. Micah has been able to make the big tackle or cause a fumble or intercept a pass and it normally happens at a crucial time when we need to get the momentum back. I think they think they're pretty close to being strong in the ACC, and a player like Micah definitely helps toward that goal."
After a year of recruting, Kiser said he was ready to be finished with it and make a decision.
"Last night, I was so relieved and happy," he said. "At first, it's really cool and interesting and all but after a while, it gets to be a bit of a pain. Honestly, I'm blessed by all the interest I had and I'm really humbled by it."
Now he can prepare for his senior year without any distractions, the main reason he wanted to make his decision early.
"I can really just focus on the team, focus on winning another championship, and we've got a hard schedule. All my effort and all my energy can be focused on the team my senior year. I don't have to worry about on anything else."