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Gilman receiver John Fitzgerald commits to Cornell

Gilman Greyhounds wide receiver John Fitzgerald (22) turns to the pylon after making a catch to score the game-winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2013 ESPN High School Kickoff at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Fitzgerald has committed to Cornell.
Gilman Greyhounds wide receiver John Fitzgerald (22) turns to the pylon after making a catch to score the game-winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2013 ESPN High School Kickoff at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Fitzgerald has committed to Cornell.(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Ever since John Fitzgerald started getting recruited by Ivy League football programs, the Gilman senior was pretty sure he would go to one of them.

His 3.5 GPA and his football skills as a receiver who's not afraid to block gave him several options and he narrowed his list to Cornell, Columbia, Princeton and Yale before committing to Cornell last week.

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"Ivy League is what caught my attention at first," Fitzgerald said, "and that's been the  main focus of my recruiting. Ivy schools have been recruiting me the most and I always had it in my mind that I wanted to go to a school in the Ivy League. The opportunity that I'm going to receive and the combination of football and academics is something that can't be beat anywhere else. I think the coaches understand that we're here to get a really good education, so it's a nice balance and I really like that aspect of it."

Fitzgerald, who made his official visit to Cornell this past weekend, said he just had that feeling that the Ithaca, N.Y. university had all the right things for him.

"I loved the coaches when I visited the campus this summer and I was very interested in their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences business program. Right now I'm looking toward a communication major and a minor in business or marketing, but that's just an idea. I'm not really sure yet, but I'm very interested in marketing."

As for football, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Fitzgerald plays wide receiver and linebacker for the Greyhounds but said he was recruited as a tight end.

"They like to do a lot of two tight end sets, which is very intriguing, because their tight ends like to go out for passes and the tight ends are very involved in the offense which I really like as well. I think I can see myself being very involved in the run and pass game," he said.

Fitzgerald will join former Greyhound Miles Norris, a junior linebacker, with the Big Red.

Gilman assistant coach Henry Russell said Cornell's offense is a good fit for Fitzgerald.

"John does a lot of great things for an offense whether it's blocking, whether it's catching the ball, whether it's just making the right play," Russell said.

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"John is someone that Cornell probably thought was a nice fit for their offense, because he's a playmaker. [Gilman assistant coach and former Baltimore Colts linebacker] Stan White likes to refer to him as our Dennis Pitta. He makes your quarterback comfortable in all situations."

Fitzgerald is the seventh member of Gilman's senior class to make a Division I college commitment in the past four months following defensive tackle Ellison Jordan (Penn State); offensive linemen Devery Hamilton (Michigan), Stephen Spanellis (Virginia), Wes Mehl (Navy) and Stewart Keehner (Georgetown); and cornerback Korey Stevens (Villanova).

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