Jared Shope, a two-way standout lineman at Altoona Area High School, will continue his education and football career at Juniata College.
Juniata is pegging the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Shope for playing time at defensive end, a position at which he started several games as a senior for Altoona last fall.
"They told me they wanted me at defensive end, but they didn't really set that in stone,'' Shope said of Juniata's football plans for him. "I played a little bit [at defensive end] as a [high school] sophomore, and last year, as a senior, I started three or four games there. Last year was probably the most I played at defensive end.''
Shope was a two-year starter on offense for Altoona, seeing action at both tackle and guard. Last season, he split time on defense as a tackle and end. He earned Mid-Penn Conference Honorable Mention All-Star status as an offensive tackle last year, and he was an Altoona Mirror Second Team All-Star at that position.
Altoona coach Tom Palfey lauded Shope's hard work on and off the field.
"I think [Juniata] is a great fit for Jared,'' Palfey said. "He's one of the smartest kids on the team, and that's how he played. He has an incredible work ethic, and he provides a great example for our younger players in the weight room. On the field, he was tenacious - he would go at [an opponent] with everything he had.''
Shope, who also considered Washington & Jefferson and Grove City for college, chose Juniata because of its rich academic tradition. An Honor Society student, Shope is ranked 32nd in his graduating class of 530 and plans to pursue an engineering degree.
"I know I'm not a Division I football player who is ever going to play in the NFL, so I decided to go to a [college] that has good academics, and [a school] where I liked the coach and everything about the school,'' Shope said.
Former Penn Cambria standout Carmen Felus starts his second season as Juniata's football coach this fall.
Juniata has won just one game in each of the last three seasons, and Shope is hoping that he can help the Eagles improve their football fortunes.
"I'm just excited to go down there and play, and I'm looking forward to helping [Juniata] try to turn their program around,'' he said.