Donnell Vercher had said he was going to be a Fresno State Bulldog.
But after secondary coach Tim McDonald left last month after one season at Fresno State for a job on the New York Jets staff, the Fresno City College All-America safety decided he was leaving town, too.
Vercher on Tuesday said he will be signing his national letter of intent today with Wisconsin, a decision influenced by former Pro Bowler McDonald joining the NFL coaching ranks.
"Who wouldn't like to be coached by him?" Vercher said of McDonald, a 13-year NFL veteran who also played for and later coached at Edison High. "He's a Fresno guy and I'm a Fresno guy. He knows what it takes. I thought it would've been a special thing."
Fresno State is still expected today to sign a class of high school and junior college players near the NCAA maximum of 25 on National Signing Day.
(Keep up on National Signing Day: The Bee is your source for live updates throughout signing day. Start early this morning with Robert Kuwada's live blog at sports.fresnobeehive.com as letters arrive to Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter. Keep up on Twitter as @Banteola_The Bee will provide Fresno State updates and @beepreps will have the latest from the high schools scene.)
Despite Vercher slipping away, Bulldogs coaches spent the past 48 hours calling recruits to answer questions or make sure their paperwork gets filled out correctly, and, of course, make last-minute pitches.
"The phones will be buzzing pretty good," Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter joked. "There's a reason we got an unlimited plan."
Vercher -- a 6-foot-2 195-pounder who had 23 tackles and eight interceptions this past season -- also had a scholarship offer from Syracuse and said picking Wisconsin was the "most difficult decision in my life."
"It's hard to tell somebody no," said Vercher, from Clovis High. "I just felt it was time to go and I want to have the best opportunity to prove I belong on the field and be ready to compete."
"I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to Wisconsin," he added. "They're one of the best schools academically and they're about business. They also needed a safety and they liked me."
Fresno City safety Duron Singleton said he is signing with Missouri, which moved to the Southeastern Conference from the Big 12 last fall. Singleton is from Helen Cox, La.
"Best fit for me because it's closer to home," Singleton said. "I just felt Missouri is moving in the right direction and they bring more exposure being in the SEC."
Others expected to sign today: offensive lineman Chongo Kondolo (Creekview, Texas), Nebraska; defensive back Trevor Baker (Sierra), Texas-San Antonio; defensive lineman Ioane Sagapolo (Farrington, Hawaii), Fresno State; wide receiver Larry Overstreet (Lehigh, Florida), Bethune-Cookman; wide receiver Anthony Yancy (Hoover), Angelo State; and wide receiver Jon Pulido (Clovis North), University of Mary.
Mid-year transfers from Fresno City: linebacker Kyle Staples (Bullard), South Dakota; offensive lineman Eric Pietrowski (Memorial), Avila; tight end Zachary Boman (Clovis North), UC Davis; and wide receiver Jake East (Buchanan), University of Mary.
'Dogs add transfer
Fresno State has a fourth junior college mid-year transfer already enrolled in school: offensive lineman Josh Tremblay from American River.
Tremblay, 6-5 and 285 pounds, will join quarterback Brian Burrell (Bakersfield), safety Rodney Mathews (Citrus) and offensive lineman Patrick Kim (Mt. San Antonio) in spring practices starting Feb. 25.