The Virginia High School League announced the cancellation of fall sports on Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result, Pitt commit Malik Newton, a star running back at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, said that he would forgo his senior season and enroll early at Pitt.
With VHSL canceling all fall sports, and most likely to play football in the spring, I would like to announce that I will not be playing and I will be enrolling into college in December‼️ respect my decision❤️— Malik Newton (@maliknewton2002) July 16, 2020
“With VHSL canceling all fall sports and most likely to play football in the spring, I would like to announce that I will not be playing, and I will be enrolling into college in December,” Newton said in a Twitter post. “Respect my decision.”
The news from Newton came on Thursday, the same day that Pitt lost another coveted Virginia recruit, Hampton linebacker Trevion Stevenson, to a decommitment. So Newton's plans to accelerate his entry into college and the Pitt football program will likely come as a relief to Pitt’s staff at an otherwise complicated time.
In addition to Newton, Pitt commits Myles Alston and Rodney Hammond, who are from Virginia Beach and Norfolk, will also be affected by the decision. And while Alston is disappointed by the cancellation, he said that it won’t impact his plans, as he intended to enroll early at Pitt before the announcement.
“I’m hurt, but I look at it as a blessing in disguise,” Alston told Mike Vukovcan of Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I hate that my teammates and I can’t get one last chance on the field together, but it’s a blessing because now I’m just focusing on getting ready for Pitt.”
“I already have plans on early enrolling at Pitt,” Alston continued. “Even if we would’ve played in the fall, I would’ve started at Pitt in January. I’m looking forward to getting that head start with my new team.”
As of Friday evening, there has been no update from Hammond, a three-star running back who is also set to enter his senior year at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk. Should he choose to stay in Norfolk for his entire senior year, the possibility exists that football could be played in the spring. However, plans on how to safely conduct upcoming sports seasons are still up in the air in Virginia at this point.