DAYTON - Josh Joyner capped a three-year varsity career at Dayton High School by signing a national letter-of-intent to attend Division II Western Oregon University Wednesday afternoon.
The 6-foot-3 275-pound two-way lineman didn't have much time to celebrate because he had to rush off to basketball practice.
Joyner estimated that he talked to nearly a dozen DIII and NAIA schools before choosing to go with Western Oregon, which is located in Monmouth.
"They were the most serious about me; the most excited," Joyner said. "When I went on my college tour of schools over the summer, I really liked the school and they liked my film. Austin Fletcher and I went to one of their camps. I sent game films during the year and they stayed in touch. They were pretty much my top choice.
"I had been talking to a lot of DIII and NAIA schools. I think I ended up getting 11 offers. One school, South Dakota School of Mines said they would have offered me If I hadn't already verbally committed to Western Oregon."
Rob Turner, Dayton football coach, said he was proud of Joyner.
"He worked his tail off the last couple of years," Turner said. "He decided as a junior that he wanted to try to play at the next level. He did all the work and went out and visited the schools. I'm really happy for him."
Joyner, who received all-state and all-league mention all three years at Dayton, is excited because he gets to play defense.
"I think I'm going to bounce between defensive tackle and defensive end," said Joyner, who also said Western Oregon uses a 4-3 defense. "I think in high school offense was easier for me because I was bigger and stronger than everybody else. In college I'm not going to have that advantage. I have fast feet, and I think that will help me more on defense than offense."
"It's (defense) what he loves," Turner said. "He was a great offensive lineman for us, and he was great defensive lineman for us. He loves defense which most kids do. I think he has the ability play offense if they needed him there."
Turner has high hopes for Joyner, but he knows the difference between high school and college.
"I think what will surprise Josh is the speed he'll have to deal with," Turner said. "Everybody coming in is as good as he is. It (the speed) will get his attention. He'll have to work harder than he has been."
Joyner said that when WOU started to recruit him, the coaches talked about working on his change of direction. He feels he's improved in that area, and part of that was his decision to play basketball instead of wrestle this year.
"I do feel it's helped," Joyner said. "Wrestling is a little more risky on the injury side. Basketball has helped me build up my lungs; helped me stay in shape."
Does Joyner expect to play his freshman year?
"That will be a coaching decision," Joyner said. "The coaches will decide the week of the first game. I wouldn't be against redshirting. You get that extra year which would make your redshirt freshman year even better."
Joyner plans to major in exercise science or criminal justice.