PhillyVoice Player of the Year Josiah Trotter Picks West Virginia
Josiah Trotter has a job to do this fall. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound St. Joe’s Prep junior middle linebacker’s sole goal is to graduate as a three-time crown winner, winning the Catholic League State Championships from Philadelphia, District 12 and PIAA Class 6A.
His plate of liability just cleared up Friday afternoon when Trotter, the youngest son of beloved former Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, made it official on social media that he was committing to West Virginia l next fall thanks to a football scholarship.
Josiah, the youngest of Jeremiah Trotter’s three children, was PhillyVoice Player of the Year last season, after leading the Hawks 11-3 with a team-high 114 tackles, two fumble recoveries, 2½ sacks, nine tackles for a loss, six pass deflections. and caused two fumbles, one in the state title game, and scored three touchdowns.
Josiah, considered one of the best high school linebackers in the nation, chose West Virginia over Virginia Tech and South Carolina. Josiah actually told West Virginia coach Neal Brown in March.
He will leave St. Joe’s Prep, a national powerhouse, as a rare four-year-old starter. He replaced his brother in his freshman year, when Jeremiah was lost for the season to injury. He played alongside Jeremiah as a sophomore and was instrumental in his freshman year, playing center linebacker and a special role in the goal line attack as a fullback, catching a touchdown pass in the 6A State Championship against Mount Lebanon, a 35-17 Prep loss.
“I would say going through the (recruitment) process was (at first) very difficult, trying to figure it all out, but over time talking with family and friends, it became quite easy to figure out where my new one would be. home,” Josiah said. “I am happy, definitely happy. My parents are good with it. My dad loves West Virginia and Jeremiah (his brother) was behind every decision I made.
“I silently committed to coaching Brown in March over the phone. I just wanted to lay low and go public (Friday). I thought it was a good time to go public. I definitely have business unfinished my last year.
“It bothered me to see our seniors leave the field without a state championship last year. I have seen the time and commitment of these seniors.
Josiah viewed national powerhouse Clemson, where his older brother, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., is set to start the upcoming season at linebacker, as a true sophomore. Jeremiah is listed at 6 feet and 230 pounds. Josiah is now the tallest trotter, about half an inch taller than his father, who played 11 years in the NFL, including eight with the Eagles.
“I always wanted to play with my brother, and Clemson was a consideration,” Josiah said. “It was important to play with my brother, but we had the chance to play side by side in high school. Playing in high school with him was a great experience. I told Jeremiah about it, and he wanted me to do what was best for me, and what’s best for me is West Virginia.
“It’s a good fit. It is the most comfortable environment. They run a zone defense, which allows linebacker Mike to make a lot of plays. They play a mix of things, 4-3, 5-2, and they want me to play the Mike. It happened in West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Carolina. Coach (Brent) Pry (former defensive coordinator at Penn State now head coach at Virginia Tech) was a big part of that.
Another determining factor in his choice of West Virginia came from the ability to play quickly, as well as the type of defense the Mountaineers run and the attention the coaching staff gave him when recruiting. West Virginia finished 6-7 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12 conference last season.
The Mountaineer program has ties to the region. Last season, Neumann-Goretti star Leddie Brown led West Virginia in rushing with 1,065 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s being projected by some NFL Draft pundits as a third-day pick.
“I can maybe make a quick difference within the program and I like what they allow middle linebacker to do,” Josiah said. “It’s a big load for me because it’s one less thing to worry about in my last year. I have a job to do. I can focus on football and get to that next level.
“It’s something I wanted to get out of my chest. I feel West Virginia is my home. Now I have to be locked in for next season and make sure everyone is locked in. We’re making sure things are together now, rather than later in the season. Jeremiah wears my dad’s number 54, which he wore in the NFL with the Eagles. I’ll wear number 40 (his high school number) in West Virginia. It was my dad’s college number, and the guy who has it now in West Virginia is a senior.
“It’s about being happy and I feel like I’ll be happy in West Virginia. I can focus on football now.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written for PhillyVoice since its inception in 2015 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be follow on Twitter here.