Henry Hynoski has a shot at his dream.

The Southern Columbia High School graduate announced this week that he has made himself available for the NFL draft, foregoing his final year of football eligibility at the University of Pittsburgh.

While many talented athletes are led astray by the prospects of professional stardom and wealth, Hynoski is on the right path.

He's working now to complete the seven credits he needs to graduate with a bachelor's degree in business marketing at Pitt. He's wrapping up his degree in the "normal" four years, and, despite being a redshirt junior on the football field, doesn't need to remain at Pitt for another year to finish his education.

Also, Hynoski recognizes that he can't further improve his stock in the competitive NFL draft. Another year of college ball only risks injury and the possibility that even fewer NFL teams would want a fullback as the league's trend away from that position continues.

Hynoski's football skills - he rushed for 7,165 yards at Southern, a school record and sixth best in state history, and scored an equally incredible 118 touchdowns - earned him a full scholarship at Pitt. But nothing is handed to players at that level, and he had to work hard and persevere until he got his chance. Hynoski ended up as Pitt's starter at fullback for the past two seasons, and his blocking, rushing and receiving talents have made him an attractive NFL prospect.

A son of Henry and Kathy Hynoski, of Elysburg, Hynoski has decided he'll take his shot at fulfilling a childhood dream that so few ever attain. And he'll be following in the footsteps of his father, a star at Mount Carmel Area from 1967 to 1970 who would go on to play at Temple University and in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

Rarely, and not since the 1980s, has a local talent played at football's top level, and Henry Hynoski seems to have the qualities - on the field and as an educated young man off the field - that will equal success.

We wish "Hyno" good luck, and look forward to cheering him on should he some day play on Sundays.