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February 4, 2009

Banner Day For Princeton

Wednesday is signing day. It's the day that every high school athlete dreams of. It's when all the hard work, long practices, and selfless sacrifices are rewarded as the elite are invited to continue their playing days another four years.

Several high school football players will sign their names on the dotted line, but few schools from around the Tri-state will have as many doing it on Wednesday as the Princeton Vikings. In total, seven seniors from Princeton will sign their letter of intent.

Princeton entered the 2008 season with a ton of hype and many figured with the plethora of talent they had would parlay into the team contending for the Greater Miami Conference title and at the very least be a team destined for the playoffs. However, the team stumbled to a 1-3 start and never recovered as they finished 5-5 and on the outside looking in come playoff time.

Still, the talent on the team could not be denied. That will be made evident today as seven Vikings sign on the dotted line.

Princeton head coach Bill Leach and his staff may have been disappointed in their 2008 campaign, but they should be proud of their efforts in getting their players to the next level.

"The coaches do a great job of pushing you," said wide receiver Jeff Duckworth, who has committed to Wisconsin. "You have so many opportunities and great facilities at Princeton."

Duckworth will be joined at the signing table by fellow wideout Jordan Hopgood (Bowling Green) and five members of the Vikings' defense - linebackers Dwayne Woods (Bowling Green), Anthony Shoemaker (Miami-OH), Mike Robinson (Kentucky State) and defensive backs Sean Blair (Moorehead State) and Davon Pitts (Georgetown-KY).

Duckworth was easily the most heavily recruited member of the bunch. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound wide receiver turned heads early on his high school career and drew interest from Cincinnati, Louisville, Illinois, Michigan State and Indiana. The entire experience left a lasting impression on the Vikings' wideout.

"It was very up and down," Duckworth said of his recruiting experience. "But overall it was a very good experience and I learned plenty."

In the end it was the coaching staff and the tradition that made Duckworth want to be a Badger. He sees himself and a bigger possession receiver at the next level.

"I wouldn't be surprised if I saw the field early, but I'm also in no hurry," Duckworth added. "I want to come in and bigger and stronger and learn the offense."

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