Phoebus defensive end Mark Wilson's scholarship offers included one from a
Big Ten school. Hampton safety Daquin Moore was considering two teams that had made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs last fall.
But in the end,
Old Dominion's bold move to the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) was the ultimate selling point. Wilson and Moore both committed to the Monarchs last week, giving the program 11 pledges already for the 2013 season.
ODU, currently a member of the
Colonial Athletic Association, will transition to the FBS in 2013. The Monarchs will compete in football in Conference USA starting in 2015.
"Their push forward was the final piece to my commitment," Wilson said. "That was really important to me. I felt I had the talent to play at that level and I didn't want to settle for less. ODU going I-A was the icing on the cake.
"Everything was a positive with ODU. I couldn't find a single negative."
Moore, who was also recruited by
James Madison, looked at it the same way.
"At first, Old Dominion and James Madison were on the same level with me," he said. "Then ODU made their move, and I was talking to them way more. I want to play at the highest level I can play, and now I get to do it in my own area."
Moore committed to the Monarchs during head coach
Bobby Wilder's camp on Friday. Wilson phoned ODU assistant Bill Dee, the Phantoms' former head coach, shortly after the camp ended.
Wilson is a unique story. Going into his 9th grade year, he says he was 6-foot-3 and 130 pounds. After playing junior varsity as a freshman, he saw some time as a varsity backup as a sophomore.
But during that offseason, he made it a point to be in the weight room whenever it was open. Now, he says his weight is up to 212 pounds (his height is the same).
"I used to be out there with my pants falling down," Wilson said of his rail-thin days. "Now, some people tell me they don't even recognize me."
Phoebus coach Stan Sexton said Wilson's recruiting offers include
Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Maryland.
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Moore has always been a physical specimen as a receiver and safety for the Crabbers. He caught 11 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, but the Monarchs like his ability at safety.
Moore, a key reserve on Hampton's Group AAA championship basketball team last winter, is the third Crabber to commit this offseason. Athlete Deon Newsome and tailback Marshawn Williams have committed to
In only three seasons of existence, Old Dominion has gone 27-8 and made the FCS playoffs last fall. The Monarchs have done it with a strong Peninsula presence. Last year's roster included 11 PD graduates, and ODU's incoming recruiting class features Bethel wideout Rashawn Proctor.
"They've worked hard to make it a great program," Moore said. "I love coming in to be a part of that."