Newark Catholic High School's Josh Hendershot is staying true to his word.

Newark Catholic High School's Josh Hendershot is staying true to his word.

The senior offensive lineman will sign a letter of intent Wednesday during a ceremony at the school to play at the University of Toledo. He made a verbal commitment to the Rockets late last summer.

"(Green Wave) coach (Bill) Franks preaches loyalty an awful lot. He's always talking about loyalty to your school, loyalty to your teammates and to your community," Hendershot said. "I respect that so there's no way I could back off now and not honor my commitment."

Recruiting can be a cut-throat business, however, and Hendershot's early announcement didn't stop other programs from coming after him. He said several other MAC schools, as well as Indiana, were involved.

Hendershot will be the first Newark Catholic player to sign with a school in the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, under Franks, who became coach in 2002.

"Josh really connected with the coaches up there, and they were the first to offer (him a scholarship)," Franks said. "Some other schools came along, more glamorous schools if you will, but Josh stuck with Toledo to the end."

But it does sound as if Hendershot, who is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, will be changing positions. The starting right tackle in Newark Catholic's modified spread offense, Hendershot said Toledo's coaching staff sees him as either a guard or center.

"They said they liked my feet and that I'm a little smaller height-wise than they like in a tackle. So they want me to play inside," Hendershot said. "I'm excited and nervous all at the same time about that, maybe a lot of both. I've had a little bit of practice with it, though, and they've given me some drills to work on in the meantime."

Hendershot, who was a sophomore backup in 2007 when the Green Wave won the Division VI state title, made first-team all-state and first-team all-district last fall. Newark Catholic finished 6-4 overall and just missed the Region 23 playoffs for a second consecutive season. That was one of the more productive offensive teams in school history, averaging 29.6 points despite getting shut out twice.

"There's no question he's a lean 260 right now, and he could be a lean 290 by the end of his freshman year up there," Franks said. "I remember telling Josh when he was a freshman here that with his body type, he's going to get some Division I interest.

"He's shown the ability to block an athletic blitzer from the edge, and his strong push gave us the ability to run the ball, too. I think he's really going to thrive at Toledo with what they'll be able to do for him."

The Rockets moved to the spread offense when Tim Beckman became coach in December 2008. Their 5-7 overall finish last fall included a 38-0 loss to Ohio State in the third game, which was played in Cleveland. Toledo is scheduled to meet the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium on Sept. 10, 2011. Hendershot will get his first chance to play in the venue in the Ohio All-Star Classic on April 23.

He took his official visit to Toledo in December and met with several other recruits. Hendershot said he was told the Rockets would sign at least three offensive linemen, Robert Lisowski included. The 6-3, 305-pound Lisowski is a New Jersey native who played last year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Lisowski is enrolled this semester, according to Toledo's Web site.

"Coach Beckman is putting together a pretty good (second recruiting) class," Hendershot said. "I'm thankful to be a part of it, and I'm also thankful for everything they've done for me here (at Newark Catholic). They helped put me in a position to have this opportunity. I figure I'll probably want to come back someday and maybe help out if I can."