Many of the area's top football players cemented their college destinations on December 20, the first day of the NCAA's new early signing period for high school recruits.

Episcopal Academy's Milton Mamula was one of the players to wait six more weeks to make his commitment official.

On Wednesday, when the second signing period begins, the senior defensive end and outside linebacker will make firm his oral commitment to the University of Montana.

"The recruiting process began late for me because of injuries, so I was glad to have some extra time to sort things, talk it over with my family, and decide what school was best for me," he said.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder is the son of Mike Mamula, who played defensive end for the Eagles from 1995 to 2000.

Joined by his father, Mamula visited Montana, a Football Championship Subdivision program and a member of the Big Sky Conference, the weekend of Jan. 26. Milton Mamula said he was thrilled with the school, the coaches, the practice facilities, and the city of Missoula.

"The location is great," he said. "The school is surrounded by mountains. It's a great place for hiking, running, and other outdoor activities."

Mamula was slowed in his first two years at Episcopal by fractures in the two lowest vertebrae of his lumbar spine. He sat out the first five games of his junior season while recovering from a broken foot.

Last fall, in helping the Churchmen go 7-3 overall, the hard-charging defender registered 55 tackles, with 29 for loss, and 16½ sacks.

Episcopal Academy’s Milton Mamula (44) tries to get past a Springfield Chestnut Hill Academy lineman last season.
WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN
Episcopal Academy’s Milton Mamula (44) tries to get past a Springfield Chestnut Hill Academy lineman last season.

Mamula posted three sacks in an 18-0 blanking of Inter-Ac League rival Germantown Academy on Oct. 28. "He's totally committed to getting better," Episcopal coach Todd Fairlie said. "He's been working his butt off in the weight room."

Mamula, who notched four sacks in a 21-7 league win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on Oct. 14 and three against Germantown Academy on Oct. 28, was a first-team all-Inter-Ac selection and Inquirer second-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania pick.

The Collegeville resident also had scholarship offers from Bryant, Bucknell, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Sacred Heart, among others.

Mamula said he has developed a solid rapport with Montana head coach Bobby Hauck and defensive line coach Barry Sacks. Mike Mamula played in the NFL with Hauck's brother, Tim, a defensive back for the Eagles from 1999 to 2002 and now the safeties coach for the Super Bowl champions.

In choosing to play for the Grizzlies, Milton Mamula nixed preferred walk-on offers from the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Temple, and Virginia.

"My parents didn't really want me to go that route," the 18-year-old said. "My dad said to me, 'Go somewhere where you're truly wanted right from the start.' "

Among the other area football players expected to sign letters of intent on Wednesday are St. Joseph's Prep quarterback Marquez McCray, who has committed to Sacred Heart, and Central Bucks West defensive end and linebacker Jake Reichwein (Holy Cross).

St. Joseph’s Prep quarterback Marquez McCray (14) is headed to Sacred Heart.
TIM TAI
St. Joseph’s Prep quarterback Marquez McCray (14) is headed to Sacred Heart.

McCray last season threw for 1,532 yards and 14 touchdowns while directing the Hawks to a 13-1 record and the PIAA Class 6A state final. The 6-2, 220-pounder rushed for 500-plus yards and 11 scores.