This is by no means an official list because it's still too early for that. A lot will happen in the next four or five months to show us just where these kids stand, but as the 2014 recruiting cycle has officially begun, here is a ranking of the top ten WPIAL prospects very early on.
1. Dravon Henry, Aliquippa Area HS (Aliquippa)- It's rare to see a safety in the top spot, let alone two of the top three, but NFL legends Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu have proven what a great safety can do for a defense. I'm not saying that Henry will ever be an NFL Hall of Famer, but he is a special player that could be an All-American caliber player at the college level.
2. Shai McKenzie, Washington HS (Washington)- There's been a lot of talk about whether or not he is the equal of Rushel Shell as a prospect, but he's very similar, except for speed, which is definitely in favor of McKenzie. He's loving Pitt right now, but it's a long year and the competition will only get tougher.
3. Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville)- Fans often discount Gateway players since most of them don't pan out, but this kid has already proven himself last spring when he went head to head with top prospects and totally destroyed them. He's the total package at either safety or wide receiver.
4. Mike Grimm, Bethel Park HS (Bethel Park)- Giant offensive lineman with ridiculous brute strength. This is the kind of lineman that Alabama rides to National Championship, and in fact the Crimson Tide are all over him. That's all you need to know.
5. Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon)- Should go head to head with Grimm all year as far as the best lineman in the state. Almost as big as Grimm, and much more mobile. So mobile in fact that he may also be recruited as a 6'6" 295 pound defensive lineman.
6. Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills)- The former safety moved to linebacker last year and dominated thanks to his crazy range. Runs like a safety but at 6'4" and 210 pounds, he's going to eventually grow into a big linebacker while keeping that speed.
7. Anthony Davis, Gateway HS (Monroeville)- Yes, another Gateway player, but like Nicholson he deserves it. He is fast and athletic enough to be a shutdown corner, but also can play safety. Great height for a corner at 6'1".
8. Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk HS (Beaver Falls)- He has been a bit injury prone but he has good size and a good arm, and both should only get better. If he stays healthy he could explode in his senior year. Already committed to Pitt.
9. Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon)- The son of former Panthers linebacker Steve Apke, he's got good 6'2" height and he can really fly. He also runs every play like a maniac.
10. Elijah Zeise, North Allegheny HS (Wexford)- Good athlete, good speed, and good size. He can play wide receiver and safety. Son of former Pitt beat writer Paul Zeise so he's obviously a Pitt fan.