Monday, June 17, 2013

Top 25 Prospects in PA for 2014 Prospects (Spring 2013 edition)

1. Dravon Henry, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) RB/CB/S- He's not the biggest, strongest, fastest, quickest, or most athletic player in the state but right now he's the best player in the state, and he's also the closest thing to a sure thing in college.  While he can play running back or cornerback to a high degree at the college level, safety is probably where he'll end up.  He's not big for the position at 5'11" and 190 pounds, but he's been filling out his frame in the past year and can fill out even more. Has very good speed and great athleticism.  An Ed Reed style of playmaker with great range and top playmaking ability.  Right now his top four are Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, and West Virginia.  All four have offered as has Michigan, Nebraska, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Arkansas, Louisville, Virginia, and Tennessee.  Bottom line- Has all the makings of a future All-American safety. 

2. Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville) WR/S-  May be the best athlete in the state and that's at 6'3" and 200 pounds.  On film he looks even better at receiver, but most expect him to be at safety at the college level.  At the recent state track championships he won three medals, and has the WPIAL record in the 110m hurdles. This despite participating in track for the first time just this year. He has also proven himself in camps and combines over the last two years.  Some of his biggest offers have come from Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Stanford, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. Bottom line-  He's proven himself on the field and against national competition at combines, plus he has the size, speed, and athleticism already of an NFL star. If he performs on the field this season like he has in the offseason then he may jump to the No.1 position.


3. Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) OT- Great 6'6" 295 pound size with the frame to get much bigger. Has been a force at defensive tackle as well but has decided that at the college level he wants to be on the offensive side. Now that he is focusing on that he should be even better during his final season in high school. Has great feet and can really move for a big kid. Very tenacious.  Local schools Pittsburgh and Penn State have to be looked at as major players, and both have offered, and Ohio State and Virginia are also in the top group, but others who have have offered includes Alabama, West Virginia, USC, Florida State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Georgia, and Tennessee. Bottom line- Has the size, feet, and talent to be a big time left tackle, especially now that he realizes how good he can be. Enormous potential.

4. Shai McKenzie, Washington Area HS (Washington) RB-  Strongly built at 5'11" and 215 pounds with very good vision and feet.  Had a spectacular junior season.  Has very good speed and runs track.  His recent times have not been as blazing as has been reported previously and that has given ammo to those who say he doesn't appear to be as fast as was previously thought.  He still probably runs in the low to mid 4.5s at 215 pounds, which is fast for such a strong back, but it definitely changes the thought that he's a home run threat.  Pittsburgh and Florida State may be the teams to beat, but other offers have come from Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Arkansas, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and many others.  Bottom Line- His speed may not be as once thought and he's yet to prove his worth against great competition. He hasn't competed in combines yet and he didn't do anything against Aliquippa last season, the only highly talented team he has played against. But he still has great potential thanks to his size, speed, and toughness. 

5. K.J. Williams, Liberty HS (Bethlehem) WR- Excellent all around receiver prospect with nice 6'2" 190 pound size to go along with very good speed and athleticism.  Hands are topnotch.  Michigan has been considered the favorite for awhile now, but other offers have come from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Missouri, UConn, Wisconsin, Syracuse, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Arizona.  Bottom line- Excellent prospect and to be honest it's pretty amazing that he doesn't have more big time offers.

6. Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills) LB- Tall and long at 6'4" and 215 pounds, but obviously he needs to put on a lot of weight.  That shouldn't be a problem, though.  Very quick with superb range.  Flies all over the field.  Chose MICHIGAN over Pittsburgh, Ohio State, West Virginia, Oregon, Michigan State, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas. Bottom line- Most linebackers these days are musclebound safeties, but Winovich has the frame to be a legit linebacker while holding on to his range.  That's why the major offers came.

7. Mike Grimm, Bethel Park HS (Bethel Park) OT-  Enormous 6'7" and 315 pounds and he looks even bigger than that. Most lineman have to add size through eating or by adding muscle, but few are as naturally big and strong as Grimm. One of the strongest prospects in the country.  Feet are better than he's given credit for, but probably not good enough for left tackle.  Pittsburgh leads over West Virginia, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, and Baylor, among others.  Bottom line- If you want a lineman who can wear out a defender by leaning on him all day, this is your man.

8. Andrew Ford, Cedar Cliff HS (Camp Hill) QB-  Crafty lefty (is there any other kind?), who followed up a huge junior year with an Elite 11 invitation. Not huge at 6'2" and 185 pounds, but he has a good, accurate arm. He also has brains, good leadership, and can even run in the 4.6s.  Chose VIRGINIA TECH over Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Temple, among others.  Bottom line- He went out this spring and proved how good he really is. He has the potential to be a star for the Hokies.

9.  Malik Hooker, New Castle HS (New Castle) WR/S- Every year a kid comes out of nowhere in the spring to jump near the top of the rankings, and this year the kid came from the basketball court. Hooker always saw himself as a basketball player, but his off the charts athleticism, excellent speed, and 6'2" 185 pound size makes him an ideal fit at receiver or safety.  Offers have come from Pittsburgh,  Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, and Michigan.  Bottom line-  He would prefer to play college basketball but he's become such a top football prospect that he will likely choose football.

10. Anthony Davis, Gateway Area HS (Monroeville) CB/S-  Good corner size at 6'0" and 175, though obviously he needs to fill out some.  Excellent range and good speed.  Good, aggressive tackler.  Should have the ability to stay at corner but if not he can't then he could make an effective move to safety.  Offers include Penn State, West Virginia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Miami, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, and Virginia.  Bottom line-  Very good prospect that should be a good college defensive back.

11. JJ Cosentino, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) QB- The former Kiski Area transfer has good athleticism and a strong arm to go with a big 6'4" 215 pound frame, but as a starter last season he did not have a good year. Has performed very well in offseason camps and combines. Committed to FLORIDA STATE and also had offers from Penn State, Temple, South Florida, and Akron.  Bottom line-  He has everything it takes to be a top five prospect in the state and maybe even No.1, but first he has to perform better in actual games.

12. Aaron Ruff, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) OG-  Imhotep has quickly become a PA powerhouse and like all excellent football teams, it begins on the line.  Ruff has good 6'4" 285 pound size to go with great feet and good strength.  Decided to stay home and play for TEMPLE over Wisconsin, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech.  Bottom line-  An excellent coup for Temple to keep such a good player at home.

13. Robert Martin, Harrisburg HS (Harrisburg) RB- Not a big back at 6'0" and 190 pounds, but he has the frame to get bigger in time.  Home run hitter with excellent speed and quickness.  Great vision.  Hard to say if he can run well between the tackles because he usually just breaks a long run.  Chose RUTGERS over Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Syracuse, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Temple, and Arizona.  Bottom line-  Big play back with very good potential. 

14. DeAndre Scott, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) CB- Only 5'9" and 175 pounds but he runs well and he hits like a brick despite his size.  Also has excellent return skills.  West Virginia currently leads over many offers that include Pittsburgh, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan State, Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.  Bottom line- His size has to be a concern (and it may be generous to even call him 5'9"), but he has very good speed and he's a really good player.

15. Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) WR- Needs to add a lot of weight but he is a very long 6'2" and 175 pounds now so that shouldn't be a problem.  Very good speed and runs hard.  Also has some return skills.  Father, Steve, was a star linebacker at Pitt but he surprised many by choosing PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Minnesota, Toledo, and Bowling Green. Bottom line-  Great length and speed should translate well into college.

16.  Noah Beh, Scranton Prep (Scranton) OT- Great frame at 6'6" and 250 pounds, but obviously he needs to gain a ton of weight.  Some recruited him as a defensive end so he has the quick feet to go with the great frame.  Tough kid.  Chose PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Boston College, Virginia, UConn, Maryland, Syracuse, and Temple.  Bottom line- He's a project because he's raw as an offensive tackle and he's very lean, but he's a project that's worth trying because the potential size/quickness combo can be excellent.

17. Ricky Rogers, Gateway Area HS (Gateway) WR-  Built like an NFL safety at a stocky and muscular 6'2" and 200 pounds.  A world class dancer so he has great feet, leaping ability, and strength in his legs.  Makes a lot of circus catches.  Good speed.  Chose WEST VIRGINIA early over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Toledo.  Bottom line- Hasn't had a chance to catch a lot of passes in high school but he has a lot of attributes that should help him be very good in college.

18. Tyler Burke, Coatesville Area HS (Coatesville) TE/LB/DE- Already a big frame at 6'4" and 240 pounds, but he can get even bigger if need be. Can project at any of the three positions equally. Good athleticism and speed.  Offers include Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Boston College, UConn, and Temple.  Bottom line- Underrated prospect who is good enough to project at three different positions.

19. Thadd Smith Cardinal O'Hara HS (Springfield) WR- At 5'9" and 170 pounds, he's going to have to  play in the slot.  He isn't a speed demon but he has good speed and topnotch quickness.  Also has return skills.  Chose BOSTON COLLEGE over Rutgers, Temple, and Toledo.  Bottom line- Small, but quick.  Could have a good career if he can overcome his lack of ideal size.

20. Daquan Worley, Coatesville Area HS (Coatesville) CB-  Versatile small school star who has very good speed and athleticism. Smallish at 5'10" and 175 pounds, but he's solidly built.  Chose PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, UMass, and Old Dominion.  Bottom line-  Very good athlete who should see time early due to Penn State's depleted roster.

21. Zaire Franklin, LaSalle College HS (Wyndmoor) LB-  On the smallish side at 6'0" and 220 pounds, but he runs well and hits very hard.  Plays the run and pass equally well.  Chose SYRACUSE over Pittsburgh, Arizona, Temple, Tulane, Villanova, Navy, and UMass.  Bottom line-  An under the radar sleeper who could be a very solid multiyear starter at the college level.

22. Trey Klock, Lower Dauphin HS (Hummelstown) TE/DT/OT-  Naturally big, strong kid at 6'4" and 260 pounds.  Athletic enough to be a tight end, but strong enough to play on the line.  Chose GEORGIA TECH over Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, and UConn.  Bottom line- A good kid who will be good for any program, both on and off the field.

23. Elijah Zeise, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) WR/S-  Good 6'2" 185 pound size, with good speed and athleticism.  A winner who plays for the best high school program in the state, and he's started since he's a sophomore.  Can project just as well to either side of the ball.  Offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Arizona, and Temple.  Bottom line- Has a nice combination of skills to go with good size so he has a lot going for him.

24. Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk HS (Beaver Falls) QB- He has to add a lot of muscle but he has good size to start with at 6'4" and 215 pounds.  Good arm and moves well in the pocket.  Originally committed to Pittsburgh but after both sides decided to part ways, he committed to AKRON.  Bottom line- The one time big name has seen his status fall recently, but he still could be a very good quarterback in the MAC.


25. Jaleel Fields, Alquippa HS (Aliquippa) DT- Another big sleeper which is strange because Aliquippa is so well known in recruiting circles. A solid 6'2" and 280 pounds with good speed, athleticism, and strength.  Pittsburgh leads over West Virginia, Temple, and UConn.  Bottom line- A winner who could make many schools regret not offering him.   






28 comments:

  1. Did you like wiggins highlight tape? at work so I cannot view it. One knock i see on bookster is weight. Grimm is college ready bookster will need a year imo

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    1. Wirginis is a good prospect. He was always a good player but he's bigger now.

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  2. Good read! How many of these guys do you expect Chryst to land? And do you think Keller is coming?

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  3. Who does Pitt realistically have a shot at? It amazes me that we don't have a single in-state commitment yet.

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  4. Shai McKenzie is not going to be happy with this list!
    I had him at #1 before spring track. However, he seems to be more concerned about his ranking than anything else, whether it be wpial insider, rivals, espn, etc that he will go out of his way to remind that person how many offers he has, etc to boost his ranking.
    Clearly he has been marketing himself but how many offers a kid has doesn't determine how good he is. Henry and Nicholson clearly should be ahead of him.
    Got completely turnoff with that article of his alleged 10.68 speed and 4.3 which was never proven anywhere (not even close). He has gotten slower from sophmore year. He seems to have "Shellitis" or look at me, me, me..

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  5. Shae McKenzie's future is at linebacker... that is if he really wants to be a star.

    PittofDreams

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  6. It's amazing Pitt doesn't have a single commit off of this list. And when you see that Boston College and Temple have had some (read: any)success, it's pretty clear Chryst's "new coach" status excuse is no excuse.

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  7. We might get Grimm and possibly Shai. But this staff does not have enough recruiters. Way to many question marks with so many coaches with no recruiting history. We have so many offers out to kids with zero BCS offers. Its ok to take a chance on a few but not more than half your class.

    This entire staff has taken on Paul's personality......slow moving. No sense of urgency. Not recruiting enough kids hard enough. With these kids now a days, you have to constantly stroke their ego and constantly keep in contact. Constantly. Not just a few kids but MANY.

    Unfortunately our final record and our recruiting class is going to be on the bottom end of the ACC this year. Hopefully Paul can at least get the players focused on football this year instead of smoking and partying.

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    1. I want to know what the deal is with the staff member, formerly head coach at Mt. Lebanon, and his inability to successfully recruit any of his former players. Apke was talked into Ped State by the lunitics in not so Happy Valley. But his own coach couldn't convince him, as a legacy, to come to Pitt? Bookser seems to be looking to greener pastures as well. I just don't get that.

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  8. Nice list and hope Pitt gets its share. Not surprised that some big names db's are considering OSU Michigans and other big name programs.

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  9. Doke,
    What's your thoughts on Boxen? He had a good showing in a pre-season camp. Have been hoping he would be a Pitt commit by now ...

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    1. He's a good player. I hope Pitt gets him.

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  10. "Good" probably best describes Boxen. Doesn't jump off the screen. Looks like he lacks the kind of athleticism that will allow him to consistently get off blocks to make plays in D-1.

    Might make it as a MLB. Obviously that's where Pitt projects him since he's 6-2 and not 4 or 5. However, looks to me like his future is likely somewhere on D-Line.

    PittofDreams

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    1. He's never been projected as a linebacker. He's always been recruited as a strong side DE or a DT.

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  11. Nice work, Chris. It doesn't look like Pitt will be involved with too many on this list (but time may tell otherwise and I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad things anyways). I watched the highlight take of Wirginis and man that kid likes to hit!

    Chris, any info on the QBs that Pitt is bringing in this week? One of them is from South Florida. Any link or reason they started to reach out to him?

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    1. They started to reach out to them because they missed out on their other targets. Both the OH kid and the FL kids are about 6'5" and can fling it. I especially like the FL kid, Wade Freebeck, because he throws so effortlessly. Both are kids that could be very good.

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    2. I see that the Freebeck kid has offers from Akron, Samford, Marshall and us.

      If he doesn't come to Pitt, who knows, he could be competing against Kinkade at Akron.

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    3. He got offered by Florida, too.

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    4. Freebeck has offer from Florida also. Interest from many SEC teams. He transfere to St Thomas Aquinas HS and is thier starter for next season. Big time arm and accuracy. He could take them to National title.

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  12. Article on Fraud Graham made me laugh at one of his quotes.
    I can't believe he actually said that!!
    btw, I didn't drink the Graham koolaid.

    Graham said the decision was simple: Actions speak louder than words. “You can go give a speech to 10,000 people and you can get them drinking the Kool-Aid, but you can’t fool the kids that you work with every day,” he said. “It’s really not what you say, it’s what you do.

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  13. 12 of the 25 have yet to select a college.
    So far, Pitt is 0 for 13.
    I would be curious how many they land from PA as well as whom. If Chryst and crew can't land players from PA, where will they come from? Lots of competition for players out of Ohio as they have lots of choices between MAC and Big 10 schools.

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  14. Joe i dont know if you agree but MAC could be enticing for a lot of kids. You can play a solid 3 years in the MAC against decent competition. A lot of players came from the mac to the NFL. Its not bad football but not great. Almost as good as the big east in my mind or was big east. If the academics were better in the mac schools I wouldnt be surprised if they got more kids. Surprised Miami of ohio isnt better for that reason

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    1. That is what I implied.
      Lots of competition for Pitt to get players from Ohio.... Ohio players have Mac schools and Big10 schools to pick from.
      It seems, Chryst and crew are spending more time in Ohio instead of PA and may come out empty handed when it comes to top rated players.

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  15. Last year's class ended with 14 from PA, 13 from other states per Scout with 6 commits (all from PA) committed at this point in time last year.

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  16. Grimm deciding tomorrow per twitter

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  17. Is Grimm announcing for Pitt tomorrow?

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  18. Chris, you do a really great job of this type of analysis. Keep up the good work.
    Trying to keep a positive attitude about PC and staff, but it is pretty disheartening to see only 50% of the field still available and not a one of the ones who have decided have Pitt in BOLD letters.
    As for QB, do you think Keller Chryst's interest in Pitt is hurting the chances of getting commitments from other QBs? Maybe its better for KC to finally "cook or get out of the kitchen" to eliminate any doubts.
    Pitt's never had success with Gateway kids, but seems like Nicholson would be the big get and with Street graduating, he'd have the chance to step into a great opportunity right off the bat.

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  19. Have you guys taken a look at the kid from Tyrone "james oliver"? 4.35 40 at the lezzer lumber combine. 7.95 yards per carry last year and finished with 1893 yards in the regular season and that's playing 5 games only in the first half.

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