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North Allegheny OL ‘Fell in Love’ with Princeton, Leading to Commitment



North Allegheny offensive lineman Jack Yatchenko

Making a college decision is one of the toughest choices to make as a young adult, especially when there are over 15 schools giving you a chance to play football at the next level.

Sometimes, all you need is time to get a feel of what the school is like to provide some clarity.

That’s how it went down for North Allegheny offensive lineman Jack Yatchenko; it eventually led to his decision to commit to Princeton.

“They weren’t super high on my board going inand I visited last Saturday, and I fell in love with it on the visit,” Yatchenko told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I liked every part of it. Loved the football, the academics, the campus and that one visit changed my perception of the school and it felt like home.”

The visit on June 1 allowed Yatchenko an opportunity to experience what Princeton has to offer and it quickly turned into a return visit on June 8 to make a verbal pledge to the program, which he announced on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday.

While taking everything in on his visit from the football side to the prestigious academics, it was the coaching staff that sealed the deal for Yatchenko.

“The coaches are incredible and have a tone of experience. The coaches have been tenured there for a while, so I’m not worried about turnover during my time. I feel like I can go to any of them and talk to them about anything I want and that became the deciding factor,” he said.

Yatchenko became the second WPIAL player in three days — joining Upper St. Clair defensive lineman Michael Albert — to commit to a Tigers program that already boasts a handful of Pittsburgh area products.

One of those happens to be former North Allegheny wide receiver Luke Colella, who has been a sounding board for Yatchenko through this process.

“He was a big part of the decision. I asked him a ton of questions throughout the week. You can tell he really loves the school, and he thinks it could be great for me,” Yatchenko said.

An important question that Yatchenko laid on Colella was the all-important aspect of how to manage being a student-athlete at a school like Princeton.

“I asked him how is balancing football and academics and he was very confident that I will be fine. North Allegheny is a high-profile academic school and he said, ‘NA prepares you really well for Princeton and I’ve never had any academic trouble and I think you’d thrive here.’”

While there’s no doubt that Princeton will provide one of the best educations in the country, the Tigers will also give Yatchenko an opportunity to compete on the field as they’ve won 40 out of their last 50 games.

“I knew I wanted good academics, but sometimes its hard to balance academics and football really well, and I think Princeton does a great job with that. They are always contenders in the Ivy League. The way they run practices and the way they run their team, it’s been successful, and I think it’s going to continue to be successful,” Yatchenko said.

With a college decision made, Yatchenko can focus on his senior season as he looks to improve his game and be a leader for the next generation of North Allegheny football players.

“I’m trying to focus on honing my technique. I’ve been trying to work on my on-field movement and lifting. I’ve also been trying to get the younger kids on our team that’re going to have to step up get ready for the moment,” he said.

The Tigers have been one of the premier powers of 6A football in the WPIAL, winning back-to-back titles as Yatchenko looks to win one more before he graduates.

“We want to three-peat. We (did it) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and we want to do it again.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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