HYDE — Clearfield senior quarterback Andrew Janocko has been forced to make some tough decisions with the football during his tenure as the Bisons starting quarterback. But his toughest decision to date might have been the easiest.
Andrew Janocko chose the University of Pittsbugh over the likes of Penn State, Akron, Buffalo, Robert Morris College and St. Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday morning by signing a national letter of intent.
Pitt plucked Janocko from Penn State\’s backyard with an aggressive but enthusiastic style of recruiting. The Panthers have shown a great deal of interest in the Bisons outgoing quarterback since his junior season.
\”I went down there last summer and I had some contact with the coaching staff through the recruiting process,\” Andrew said. \”I went down there for the Pitt-Michigan State game and fell in love with the atmosphere. It was different than what I was accustomed to around here. As things proceeded, I met the coaching staff. I looked at the facilities and checked out the campus.\”
Many may have thought Andrew Janocko would choose Penn State. Afterall his father, and head coach Tim, played for legendary coach Joe Paterno at the university in the late 1970s and both his parents are graduates of the university.
\”He did explore it,\” the elder Janocko said. \”Penn State was very good to us. We went over and made a visit and everyone was good. It\’s hard because so many people are friends. He grew up around Penn State. He\’s been in their locker room since he was a little kid. He knows everyone. He made some tough decisions, and, on the other hand, Penn State understands you have to go after your best opportunity.\”
The decision for Andrew came down to where he would feel the most comfortable.
\”I\’ve always been around Penn State,\” Andrew said. \”Penn State was always there. But in the end I looked at different options and where I wanted to be. There was pressure to go to Penn State – but not from my family. They wanted me to go where I was going to be happy. I know that is Pitt.
\”I don\’t know if it was anything that turned me off. I think maybe Pitt turned me on a little more. Pitt was enthusiastic recruiting.\”
The comfort level provided by Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh fit the model Andrew had in his mind.
\”Actually, I went down there, and I met (head coach Dave Wannstedt and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh) before last summer when I went down there for an unofficial visit,\” Andrew said. \”I got to meet them again a couple weeks ago. I went to the Pitt-St. Johns basketball game and coach Wannstedt sat beside me for awhile. I met with coach Cavanaugh and we talked about different offensive schemes.\”
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder will step onto the football field at Pitt\’s No. 4 quarterback and could also see plenty of action by holding in the kicking game. He held on extra points and field goals for Clearfield his entire career.
Andrew felt Pitt was the best choice given its high academic standard. The soon-to-be graduate will major in secondary education and will minor in history. But, given who Janocko will be around for the next four years also played a decision in his long-term goals.
\”I\’m going to start school in June and workout with the team,\” Andrew said. \”Then, hopefully, I will go into the season being at least number four on the depth chart as a true freshman. They need a holder. I\’m hoping to be able to try out for that job and be successful. I hope to work hard and work my way up through the ranks and be the quarterback.\”
\”Right now, I\’m looking to play quarterback.\”
Tim Janocko feels there were many attributes Andrew possesses that drew Pitt\’s interest.
\”I think it\’s one of the best opportunities he\’s had,\” Tim said. \”It is a good fit for him. He\’s excited about it. We\’re excited about it. This is something he\’s wanted to do since he was a young kid. We\’re just glad Pitt showed so much interest in him since last summer. He had other opportunities. We had to make some decisions in the family because the other opportunities involved full scholarships. We are willing to do that because we want him to do whatever he wants to do.\”
The long-time Clearfield coach also feels this is a prime example of hard work and dedication paying off in the long run.
\”He has a great work ethic,\” Tim said. \”He\’s worked very hard all his career. He has great work ethic, he\’s intelligent and he is accurate with the football. He doesn\’t throw many interceptions. He\’s only going to get better, and I don\’t think he is done growing.
\”Playing three sports has helped because the competition is great for him and it helps with his feet and his hand-eye coordination. I look for him to get bigger as he concentrates on one sport.\”
So far, Andrew has walked in his father\’s footsteps as far as being a standout in high school and playing at the college level. Beyond his playing days, Andrew hopes to follow his father into the coaching profession as well.
\”I am going into secondary education and want to be a coach one day. I wanted to learn from some of the best around.\”
But there are many things Andrew wants to accomplish while at Pitt.
\”I want to get my degree, do my undergraduate study in history, get my graduate degree in secondary education and maybe a dual major depending on how things work out,\” Andrew said. \”I wanna get my degree, I wanna play at Pitt. I want to work my way into being Pitt\’s quarterback and go into teaching.
Andrew\’s awareness is also a positive Pitt saw in their newest recruit.
\”I want to thank my parents, my family, for all their support,\” Andrew said. \”I want to thank all my coaches in other sports and all the people that influenced me throughout my career.\”
But for now, Andrew will focus on playing the game and learning as much as he can in hopes of one day being a coach.
\”There are definite thoughts of coaching. I don\’t know if I could ever stay away from football. I am pretty involved with the game,\” Andrew said.
As far as maybe someday coaching at Clearfield, Andrew shrugged off the question.
\”I don\’t know about that. We\’ll see. You never know what can happen,\” Andrew said.