The University of Cincinnati offered DeSales linebacker Ty Van Fossen a scholarship in February and there were pictures of him standing arm in arm with coach Luke Fickell posted on Twitter on March 1 after he made a commitment.

It might have seemed that choosing the Bearcats over Boston College, Miami University, Rutgers and Toledo was the hardest part, but waiting 9½ months for the early signing period to open Wednesday was like being unable to open a wrapped present with his name on it.

“This is an early Christmas present, that’s for sure," Van Fossen said. “It’s nice to make it official and put pen on paper after being committed for so long. This is a special class. This class can do some special things."

Van Fossen said it was a privilege being the first player to commit because Fickell graduated from DeSales.

“I have a connection with Coach Fickell — I’ve known him for a while," Van Fossen said. “I followed him at Ohio State. That was a good day when he visited my home. There was no pressure of being under the lights playing. We sat down and had some dinner. He shared some DeSales memories and then talked about Cincinnati. It was a cool experience."

DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins, who has sent 38 players to Division I colleges and 69 in all, said “it didn’t hurt" that Fickell has a DeSales background.

“It was neat because Ty and Luke walked the same halls," Wiggins said. “Luke was very active in this recruiting. He was in our school during Cincinnati’s bye week and then had the home visit. He’s a great recruiter."

Lachey on way to BG

James Lachey of Grandview was voted Division VI state player of the year for his 82 tackles, including 14 for losses, and three forced fumbles. He also ran for 762 yards and 14 touchdowns as a tailback and was quarterback in the final three games.

Yet Bowling Green coaches project Lachey, who is a shade taller than 6 feet 3 and weighs 235 pounds, as a tight end.

“I had to do what was best for my team for us to win games and playing all those positions was a lot of fun," he said. “Now, I’m excited about playing tight end. That’s my natural position. I went to Bowling Green’s camp as a tight end and competed my butt off and earned the scholarship offer."

Grandview coach Jason Peters was a standout offensive lineman for Bowling Green from 1990 to '94, but spoke to Lachey about the university only when asked.

“Honestly, I tried to be as unbiased as I could," Peters said. “It’s pretty cool that he’s going there, but the bottom line was he had to make his decision for not the next four or five years, but the next 50 or 60. He had to make the best decision for him."

Peters did tell Lachey that Bowling Green football was a family, and that aspect is what sold him.

“Coach Peters said there were a lot of good vibes, a lot of energy, and the Bowling Green coaches made it feel like a family immediately," Lachey said. “It’s a special place, and not just for football. The business school is great. The library is great. It’s a special place."

Lachey has had a lot of eyes on him besides college recruiters because his father, Jim, was an All-America offensive lineman for Ohio State and three-time All-Pro in the NFL.

“I always try to do my best for my family, myself and the team," James Lachey said. “I do realize that I have such a high level to achieve. That’s a good thing."

mznidar@dispatch.com

@MarkZnidar