With his family's roots running deep in the Pittsburgh area, Matt Layman felt compelled to give Robert Morris University a chance, even if the thought of spending winters up north gave a self-proclaimed Southern boy pause.
By the end of his official visit last month, Layman was glad he made the trip.
Hilton Head Prep's star quarterback found a home in Pittsburgh, and he signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to accept a football scholarship from Robert Morris beginning next fall.
Layman considers himself a die-hard fan of Pittsburgh's pro sports teams, so it didn't hurt that Layman's official scholarship offer came from assistant head coach John Banaszak -- a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense for three Super Bowl titles.
It also helped that the coaching staff's plans aligned with Layman's -- he expects to redshirt next year, then serve as backup for a season until starter Jeff Sinclair graduates, before competing for the starting job as a sophomore.
Layman isn't likely to put up the same kind of passing numbers he posted at Prep while playing in the Colonials' balanced offense -- he threw for 3,538 yards with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior -- but he's OK with that.
"It would be nice to hand the ball off once in a while," Layman said. "They've got some big linemen, which I love to see."
Name: Matt Layman
High school: Hilton Head Prep
High school coach: Ron Peduzzi
College: Robert Morris
Probable major: Business, with sports concentration
About Robert Morris: The Colonials have had only one football coach in the program's 16-year history -- former New York Jets head coach Joe Walton. Walton led them to an 8-3 overall record and a 7-1 Northeast Conference mark in 2010, which was good enough to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, where they lost in the first round.
Why Robert Morris? "It just felt like a good fit. I liked the guys I was with, and it's Division I-AA football," Layman said. "And to tell you the truth, that was the only school that offered me some money, and it felt good to be wanted."
Other schools that offered scholarships: None; Davidson, Furman, Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Presbyterian offered walk-on roster spots.
Other high school sports played: Basketball, baseball