Thursday, June 11, 2009

Father of Recent PSU Commit Backing His Sons Decision

Last week two WPIAL linemen committed to Penn State's 2010 recruiting class. Not a big deal, right? Verbal commitments are thrown out often by high school players getting ready to enter their senior seasons. Well it is a big deal when a local product considered a shoe-in for the nearby university spurns them. For their rival. What compounds the situation is their lineage and ties to said local university. After Miles Dieffenbach and Tom Ricketts committed to play for the Nittany Lions a week ago, Pitt fans were none too thrilled. Thankfully for Ricketts his father has his back, despite his status in Panthers territory.

The name Tom Ricketts is very familiar to Pitt alums. Mike White explains.

Ricketts' ties to Pitt might have been even stronger than Dieffenbach's. Ricketts is the son of Tom Ricketts II, a former standout lineman at Pitt in the 1980s and a former first-round draft choice of the Steelers. The elder Ricketts and his wife have season tickets to Pitt games. Sandy (Albright) Ricketts was a top swimmer at Pitt. Ricketts' great grandfather was Charles "Doc" Hartwig, who was a first-team All-American at Pitt in the 1930s.
The younger Ricketss decided to choose Penn State over Pitt because it was the best fit for him as a student and as a player. How did the elder Ricketts react? He says he was excited.
"Of coure, I would've loved to see him go to Pitt," said Ricketts, the father. "But, of course, I knew the situation he would've been going into. He would've been kind of walking in my shoes or my shadow, I guess. He would've had to deal with that. There are so many opportunities out there for him. He made his own decision."
It's always nice to know your dad has your back. Tom the Younger knows that.
"But he's happy for me and he doesn't hold anything against Pitt or Penn State."
Diffenbach's father is George Diffenbach, the Pitt Panthers women's tennis coach for the last 27 years. I have not tracked down reactions from him.

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