Wilson defensive end Kareem McDonald (9) committed to Old Dominion Monday. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

About five weeks before he was set to announce his decision, Wilson junior defensive end Kareem McDonald changed his mind and committed to Old Dominion on Monday.

The Monarchs had been at the forefront of Wilson’s mind since they offered in late April, and the versatile defender is expected to convert to linebacker when he steps on campus next summer. McDonald, who had planned to make his decision on July 16, also held offers from Toledo, UNC-Charlotte Stony Brook and Albany.

“The coaches stand out to me,” McDonald said of Old Dominion. “I want a school that I can play early at. It was definitely a hard decision…but my heart was with Old Dominion.”

He mad his announcement via Twitter Monday, a day after he competed at Boston College’s prospect camp. He is the second non-senior from the team to commit this spring; sophomore running back Abdul Adams pledged to East Carolina in April. 

The move completed a memorable year for McDonald, who established himself as one of the best defensive ends in the city last fall and gradually gained traction as a recruit as the year wore on. He endured a frightening episode in September, losing nearly 20 pounds due to a kidney ailment. That kept him out of football for a month, but he was able to remain productive following his return (he finished with 30 tackles and eight sacks) and helped the Tigers reach their first Turkey Bowl since 1991.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound McDonald will remain a key cog as a defensive end for Wilson next fall, although he plans to play linebacker once he reaches college. He was one of two defensive players to commit to the program Monday.

“I felt like the school that was really interested in me was ODU,” McDonald said. “It’s great man. All my life, all I wanted to do was play D-1 college football.”

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