MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Today is supposed to be about celebration, about accomplishment, about the realization of dreams formed in backyards, sculpted in weight rooms and made real on football fields.
It's National Signing Day, when college football teams reveal recruiting classes, fans and pundits chip in their two cents and prospects and their families take a moment to comprehend what really happened when the signed letter-of-intent disappeared into the fax machine.
Grant Lingafelter is no different.
He'll sign his papers at a ceremony at Chagrin Falls High, just outside of Cleveland, and thus receive a scholarship to play on the offensive line for West Virginia University, one of four linemen and perhaps a full allotment of 25 players expected to join the 2013 recruiting class.
Lingafelter has been obsessing about this since his school days had recess, but he'll be a little dejected, at least for a while. While he knows what his decision did for WVU, he also knows what it did for Miami (Ohio).
He'd been committed there until last Tuesday, when he told WVU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh he was going to join the Mountaineers.
It led him to the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life. Lingafelter had to tell the RedHawks he was ready to try something bigger and better and accept WVU's sudden scholarship offer.
"I can't even put words to it except to say that it was incredibly hard," he said. "It came down to me wanting to keep goals, goals that have been with me forever. I'm 17 years old and I've had the dream since I was in third grade, ever since I picked up a football, that I wanted to play at the highest level if I ever got a chance to play college football."
Yet if one thing can be said about Lingafelter, it's that he's used to tough calls. They've actually come to define him.
"I got picked on a lot this year by the referees because of my size and because they knew who I was," Lingafelter said. "They threw some flags on me that I don't think were flags."
Lingafelter has the mean streak that belongs inside a 6-foot-5, 280-pound left tackle and there are times it can come out very vividly on the field.
"He had this one personal foul where he just beat the tar out of a kid and kept on blocking him and driving him farther and farther away from the play," Chagrin Falls Coach Mark Iammarino said. "An official threw a flag because I think he felt bad for the defensive end."