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Harvey sophomore Shahn Alston picks up an offer from USC Trojans

Mar. 22—The star of Harvey running back Shahn Alston is on the rise, and it's not just because of the four-star rating he received this week from a major recruiting service.

While resting up for a March 22 visit with the Wisconsin Badgers, Alston got an offer from the University of Southern California Trojans, the eighth offer he has received in the recent weeks and months.

"I'm speechless right now — shaking," Alston told The News-Herald from his hotel room in Madison, Wisc. "It seems surreal. But at the end of the day, I know I'm blessed."

Alston, along with Harvey head coach Mick Mohner, Harvey administrator Marwin Walling and Harvey assistant/father Rahshahn Alston, was on his way to Wisconsin early March 2 when USC running backs coach Anthony Jones called Alston Sr. and expressed interest in the talented sophomore running back.

A handful of hours later, Jones called back and offered the scholarship.

"They can't call Shahn because he's only a sophomore," Rahshahn Alston said. "But I'm a coach on staff, so he was able to contact me or Coach Mohner. He said they wanted to pull the trigger on an offer and get Shahn out to their campus as soon as possible."

Alston (5-foot-10, 205) has had a big month of March. He's been on a whirlwind tour of college visits, and he recently garnered a four-star rating from On3.com, a major recruiting network. Alston is rated three stars by rivals.com, as well, though 247sports has yet to release their rankings for Alston's class.

"The stars are a testament to the hard work I've put in," Alston said. "But I know I have more work to do."

He will fit it in between the myriad of visits he's taking over the next month. After visiting Wisconsin on March 22, the group from Painesville will drive back through Ohio to pick up his mother (Erin Austin) and then drive all night for a March 23 visit with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Between now and April 22, Alston will visit Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, Toledo, Tennessee, Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Syracuse, Purdue, Notre Dame and Rutgers. Fortunately, he's an honor student at Harvey, so he is able to keep up with his school work remotely on days he's not in class.

Harvey is on spring break this week.

"He's an honor student, so he knows the importance of taking care of business in the classroom," his father said. "He gets his work done in a timely manner. His priorities are in order. He knows academics come first because without that, (football) isn't a possibility anyway."

Alston said he grew up dreaming of being a college recruit. Seeing guys such as Harvey alum Chris Fields and Perry alum (and cousin) Jaylen Anderson get recruited on a national level motivated him that much more. Being part of such a scenario is much more than what he expected, though.

"I hoped and prayed to experience this someday," he said. "You can dream it, but it's way different to dream it and actually do it."

For instance, every time word gets out that Shahn Alston has visited a certain campus, his social media blows up from fans from those schools.

"It's surreal. Bigger and sicker than I ever imagined," he said with a laugh. "I get DMs on Instagram, Twitter ... they want me to come to their campus, point me in the right direction for a restaurant. I never imagined this."

It's the time of his life. And now with USC on board with an offer — joining offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Akron, Ball State, Toledo and Miami (Ohio) — he knows his star will continue to rise.

Alston said that whoever wins out for his services "will be getting a three-down back." He said when he gets to the open field, "I won't get caught," yet his strength — he benches 335 pounds and squats 545 — will allow him to get the tough yards.

Being only a sophomore, he has plenty of time to sharpen his craft. But a decision is coming, and it's coming soon.

"Right now, I don't have a favorite," he said. "I have a few where I've built a good relationship, but no favorite right now, no.

"But honestly, I want to make my commitment in December. At the latest, I'll make my decision around this time next year. I think it's going to be a big spring and summer for me."