On a day when high school football players could officially sign letters of intent to attend colleges, Eric Metcalf, a running back from O'Connell who has interested many college coaches, decided to wait another day before making his choice.

Metcalf, the son of Terry Metcalf, the former St. Louis Cardinals and Redskins running back, called off a scheduled news conference yesterday to announce his signing. O'Connell Principal Al Burch said that Metcalf, a second-team all-Met choice, was having second thoughts and would delay his decision until today.

Two colleges still pursuing Metcalf, Notre Dame and Miami, sent representatives to meet with him before the official signing date. Included was Irish Coach Gerry Faust, who talked to Metcalf Tuesday.

Other heavily sought area players, Delmar Chesley of Anacostia and Tom Ladd and Jonathan Holloway of Churchill, announced that they will head west to play college football.

Chesley, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound middle linebacker from Interhigh champion Anacostia, signed with the University of Southern California. He led the league with 105 tackles and had seven interceptions.

Chesley, Interhigh player of the year and the last of seven brothers to earn all-Met honors, decided on Southern California after an hour-long discussion with his brother Martin, a freshman tight end for the Trojans.

"My final decision was based on the fact that the Trojans lost four starting linebackers to graduation," said Chesley, also sought by Miami.

Holloway, who is 6-3 and 210 pounds, has chosen to follow the footsteps of his brother Brian and will attend Stanford. Jonathan Holloway chose Stanford over Southern California and Michigan.

Ladd, a 6-5, 235-pound defensive tackle, signed with national champion Brigham Young. He also had considered Virginia Tech.

The University of Maryland recruited several local players, including DeMatha running back Mike Anderson, who gained more than 3,000 yards and scored 34 touchdowns in his three-year varsity career.

In addition, wide receiver Shawn McNeil and running back Bren Lowery of Virginia AAA state champion T.C. Williams signed with the Terrapins. Lowery rushed for 1,270 yards. McNeil scored in every game and caught 31 passes during the season.

Other Atlantic Coast Conference schools -- Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia -- were able to sign other top recruits from Northern Virginia.

Chris Warren, an all-Met running back who rushed 1,458 yards for Robinson, will play for the Cavaliers. Warren was also sought by Penn State, Ohio State and USC, but decided to play locally.

"It was a good decision because George Welsh has things going in the right direction," Robinson Coach Nick Hilgert said.

Mount Vernon linebacker John Rymiszewski, The Post's defensive player of the year, said he will attend Duke. All-Met defensive lineman Joe Davis of Fort Hunt and offensive guard Tony Mayberry of Hayfield have chosen Wake Forest.

Stonewall Jackson's Andre Southerland, offensive player of the year who rushed for 41 career touchdowns and 1,989 yards last fall, has been sought by Virginia Tech but is still undecided, Raiders Coach Jim Powell said.

Tight end Andy Heck of W.T. Woodson (Notre Dame) and defensive back Larry Bryant of T.C. Williams (Virginia Tech) also signed.

Miami may have lost Chesley to USC, but it got Robert Thomas of Theodore Roosevelt. Thomas, a 5-10, 180-pound nationally ranked sprinter, rushed for 1,001 yards last season.

Other District players who signed were defensive end Kenneth Darby, an all-Met selection from H.D. Woodson who opted for Norfolk State; teammate and linebacker Rodney Wilson (West Virginia); defensive back Rico Labbe of Carroll (Boston College), and Roy Brown of St. Albans (Virginia).

In Maryland, running back Erwin Matthews of Friendly decided on Richmond and teammate Robert Martin, an all-Met offensive tackle, is undecided but leaning toward Virginia Tech. Running back Derrick Fenner of Oxon Hill will choose between Virginia Tech and North Carolina.