Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Final Top 10 in PA for Class of 2014

1. Dravon Henry, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) CB- Athletic and quick cornerback. Decent cornerback size at 5'11" and 190 pounds.  Didn't wow with the big senior season that many expected but he still was very good.  Could be an All-American caliber corner in college if everything goes right.  Chose WEST VIRGINIA over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Alabama, Wisconsin, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and Washington, among others.

2. Shai McKenzie, Washington HS (Washington) RB- Rock solid 5'11" and 215 pounds, and he also has very good speed. Runs tough through the tackles but he has a little wiggle and game breaking ability, too.  Blew his knee out early in the season but he is a workout warrior who should come back completely healthy. Chose VIRGINIA TECH over the likes of Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

3. Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) OT- Naturally big at 6'6" and 300 pounds. Moves extremely well for his size and projects as a left tackle.  Also could be an excellent defensive tackle prospect and he was actually better on defense in high school. Chose PITTSBURGH over Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, USC, Georgia, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, among others.

4.  Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville) S/WR- Good length at 6'2" and 200 pounds, plus he is athletic and fast.  While mostly thought of as a safety his lack of physical toughness makes him a better fit at receiver.  Chose MICHIGAN STATE over Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Stanford, and many others.

5. Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills) LB-  The former safety is tall and lean at 6'4" and 215 pounds, and he needs to put on a lot more weight and muscle, but he can really run and has superb range.  Had a great senior season.  Chose MICHIGAN over Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, State, Virginia Tech, and Missouri, plus others.

6.  K.J. Williams, Liberty HS (Bethlehem) WR- Good 6'2" 190 pound size. Also very fast and athletic.  Great leaper and topnotch hands. For some reason he didn't get the offers that match his high ranking among scouts. Chose SYRACUSE over Pittsburgh, Michigan, Wisconsin, UCLA, Missouri, and some others.

7.  Malik Hooker, New Castle HS (New Castle) S/WR- Former basketball star came out of nowhere early in the recruiting cycle due to his off the charts athleticism and excellent speed. Also an athletically built 6'2" and 185 pounds.  Chose OHIO STATE over Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, among others.

8.  Michael Grimm, Bethel Park HS (Bethel Park) OT/OG- A humongous 6'6" 325 pound lineman that has off the charts strength. Naturally big and not fat. Doesn't have the feet to be a left tackle, but moves better than given credit for. In an offense that's right for him, he could be an all-star. Luckily for him he picked the perfect offense for him in PITTSBURGH.  Also received offers from the likes of West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Boston College, and Baylor.

9.  Aaron Ruff, Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia) OG- His 6'4" 280 pound size will probably limit him to guard, but he's very strong and plays nasty.  A little raw but has a high ceiling.  Decided to stay home to go to TEMPLE instead of taking bigger offers like Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.

10.  Andrew Ford, Cedar Cliff HS (Camp Hill) QB- Threw a lot in high school and put up huge numbers. Was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state this year. At 6'3" and 195 pounds he is already solid and he'll gain more weight. Better than average arm. A lefty that is very accurate. Great mobility in the pocket and runs in the 4.6s.  Chose VIRGINIA TECH over Pittsburgh and Temple.

55 comments:

  1. Top 5 and 7 of 10 from Western PA but Pitt could get only 2 (OL of course)

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  2. Of course any such list is very subjective, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But...
    2. McKenzie may be a workout warrior but few players come back to 100% following ACL tears and running backs especially rely on that shiftiness. I think it is very generous to put him that high on the list.
    4. Nicholson is the biggest head scratcher. No way is he a safety at the next level. As you note, he's not physical enough and avoids contact. So as a wide receiver, do you think he's the 4th best player in the state? No way. He is rated highly because of his measurable, but heck if that's why we are going to Tate kids then JJ Cosentino should be on here (and just to be clear, he shouldn't).

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    1. Recovering from ACL injuries are nothing these days. Most players come back stronger than ever. As for Nicholson I have him lower than anybody, but as a WR he could be very good and Michigan State may use him at that position. He's big, athletic, and fast, and that's more good things he possesses than anybody rated behind him.

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  3. PA Top 10.
    Pitt got 2.
    PSU got "0". Dominate the State.
    It will be curious as to what happens next year. Interesting is VTech nabbed 2.

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  4. Couldn't help notice there were no Pedo State commits. Going forward, do you see them falling out a little more w/ wpial kids due to the ACC having a better brand and or the B1G teams having a better rep? A lot of ACC teams and the 3 best schools in the B1G. Also noticed no ND commits either.

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  5. Pedo state will be in the picture next year. Franklin will do everything to get these top local kids and now that he added coach Smith Pitt's got to do more than just offer or we will lose them all.

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  6. I think it was an odd year all around for PA. Seems like there were a number of kids committing to different programs, without any dominance. Each cherry picked who they targeted it seemed. Malik Hooker to me is the odd one. He has measurable but not football maturity. I wonder if OSU will be patient with him or designate him to an OLB after a redshirt year. They have way too many WR's in their class and on the roster.

    Penn State is just not all that. They will get some recruits but in my analysis, they are trending down.

    Pitt is trending up.

    Virginia Tech may be without a coach if they struggle this year and WVU will definitely be without a coach if they don't hit 7 victories. There are always programs coming in and plucking players from WPIAL. Usually it is ND that plucks the best, then Michigan and OSU. They are selective. Pitt and PSU needs the recruits more.

    If Paul Chryst was a progressive thinker, he would hire a recruiter for Florida that has florida state ties and specifically Weinke ties. Wienke is heading up a real interesting football factory called IMG Academy. He recruits players from all over the world and I would suspect that they will start placing 6-8 players per year in division 1, starting next year.

    Terrell Buckley, ex fsu was just hired to recruit florida for one of the big 5 conference teams and his goal is to get to IMG and start a pipeline. Get ahead of the game and understand what is going on. IMG is not a normal high school and competes as an independent because they recruit. Real interesting concept!

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    1. Mike White (PG) said that Hooker reminds him of Darrell Revis. Built the same, 2 sport star and extremely athletic .. but did say he is still unproven in FB.

      BTW, Urban Meyer was in the area to visit top prospect for next year, DB Jerome Whitehead from Central Valey. He then went to New Castle game last night, and Hooker scored 36 pts for undefeated NC. (Maybe Thad Matta will try to steal them him)

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    2. Why is it that we always hear about OSU (Meyer, etc) now PSU (Franklin) visiting wpial recruits whether by twitter, blog, etc. Pictures of coach with player, etc being tweeted.
      But we never hear what is going on with Chryst or Pitt coaches?

      Meyer and Franklin are creating buzz and excitement for the players something Chryst has not and/or will not do. smh

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  7. travon henry is fooling himself going to that trash heap in the Big 12. Not only is WVU irrelevant in that league, but in glorious fashion both of their coaches (Holgy and Huggins) will get fired within the next 24 months. Bank on it. Which means, Henry's pal recruiter - Gibson - will be unemployed in short order. What a waste of talent and a huge mistake going there.

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  8. I saw Andrew Ford at a Pitt 1 day camp last summer and wasn't overly impressed (but it was only 1 day). I have the impression that the Pitt coaches like/liked their two QB recruits (Bertke and Freebeck) better than Andrew Ford. So, in his case, it may be that Pitt rejected him rather than the other way around.

    Bottom Line: Sometimes a kid you get from out of state at a position may be a better prospect than the best kid at that position from in-state.

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    1. Ford was higher on their list than both Freebeck and Bertke. Not by much but they really liked him.

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  9. Sadly, it looks like the "fence" that Wanny built around WPIAL has a few missing slats and is in serious need or repairs. I just wonder if HCPC is the man to do that or not...

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  10. speaking of Wanny, i saw him driving around pittsburgh yesterday. his license plate still had Pitt in it... either he never cared to change it or he still really loves the university... (or both)

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  11. Wanny's fence had some missing slats (Pryor, Dieffenbach to name a few) but the current fence has some gaping holes.

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    1. Thats an understatement when a "pipeline" kid doesn't pick Pitt.
      TJ, Quips.

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    2. Wanny landed a ton of players who are currently having great success in the NFL. If these guys can't have team success in college then having a solid NFL career is the next best thing for us Pitt fans. Not much makes me more proud than hearing a player say he is from Pitt.

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    3. No "pipeline" this year. No Thomas Jefferson, Aliquippa, Gateway, Beaver Falls. Those 4 schools put out a combined 12 Division 1 players in 2014 & absolutely NONE are going to Pitt. PC and Matt House can tell you why the pipelines are being switched to schools like Fox Chapel, Shady Side Academy, North Allegheny, Mt Lebanon, & Be them Park. All but one school lost in the first round of the playoffs this year, NAME lost in the quarterfinals. You recruit from losing teams, you become a loser because losing is in those kids and they accept that. Pitt is going backwards.

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    4. Frankly, I don't care where they come from so long as they are "elite" players. Whether they are 4star or have multiple offers from BCS teams.
      Don't want an all-star wpial team.
      Nor to I want a class full of players where we beat out a Mac team or a patriot league team and most recently a colonial league team.

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    5. For the 4th year in a row, Pitt will go 6-6, even though the schedule is weak for 2014. Boyd will face double coverage, who will step up as Boyd did last year. No AD. Matt House is still the DC. Expect coaching changes after this season

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    6. I don't care where the players are coming from anyways as long as they are coming here. I just looked at Stanford and 6 of their 17 recruits are rated as a four-star by Rivals. Pitts, on the other hand, has four of 24 players rated as four-star. The fact of the matter is Pitt is currently losing the recruiting battle. With Franklin and Meyer on either side it's only going to get worse.

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    7. Anony 2:21 - I feel your post reflects on who you are as a person. Pessimistic and full of unhappiness. We're 8 months before the season and you're ready to proclaim they won't get any better as a team and people will be fired.

      Go get some help, I feel sorry for you.

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    8. Being that I've been able to predict Pitt as being average to mediocre for the past three years, there's really nothing to be optimistic about unless I'm looking at Boyd individually. .

      Kent, maybe you need to come to grips with reality and realize that Pitt football has given you nothing to look forward to.

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    9. Wow John, you've accurately predicted Pitt's record for the past 3 years. Each time 8 months before the season starts!! Any evidence of that? Guess what, I've predicted the exact score for every game in college football for the last 3 years...

      Lot's of college players get better and worse over an off-season. Enjoy your sad view on things. Like I said, I feel sorry for you.

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    10. Who can't predict a .5300 team each and every year. Since the bowl game, everyone is more sad about who's leaving than they are happy about what's to come.

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    11. "Everyone is more sad about who's leaving"?? Really, maybe your depressed mind believes that but there are many people who are excited to see what the future holds for the team.

      Maybe college football isn't your thing if you can't handle kids graduating or transferring....

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    12. You can't possibly be happy and content with a 3rd straight 6-6 season. How do you have optimism .

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  12. My response to the ones that GOT AWAY.

    - What did Tony Gibson promise Henry in order to have him sign on to a Holgorsen Staff now on life support? NOT a big loss.

    - Sure Shai McKenzie has a good chance of fully recovering from the ACL. Even so, his limitations as a Running Back will be exposed at the next level.

    - On the flip side... Williams, Hooker, Winovich and Nicholson have the best chance of reaping success. Yes, Nicholson... the most FLUID ATHLETE in the Class.

    PittofDreams

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    1. Anon @ 12:06

      Gibson promised Henry that House would never be on another staff once he gets fired from Pitt

      In regards to McKenzie. Maybe you fail to realize that "Shady" McCoy came to Pitt after tearing his ACL his Senior year of high school just like Shai McKenzie. He hasn't injured it since and he actually set FR records at Pitt.

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    2. Its you whose got it wrong. Shady didn't tear his ACL in high school, he hurt his ankle. BIG difference for a running back.

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    3. John "Wrong"...

      Seriously dude.

      PittofDreams

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  13. Regarding Wanny's Fence...

    How about moving on? Check the calendar. If I'm not mistaken, I think it's 2014.

    Besides, nothing about the Wannstedt Era was quite as good as some would like to remember.

    EXCRUCIATING is a term that comes to my mind.

    PittofDreams

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  14. Anonymous 12:17. Nothing good about Wannstedt? Are you kidding?! 9 wins a season in his last 3 seasons wasn't good?! Wow.

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    1. Please see post above. Check for accuracy. Yours not mine.

      PittofDreams

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  15. Basketball related but thought this was worth sharing. ESPN named their top 25 players this year and Lamar Patterson was #3 with the expectation of him reaching #1 before the year is out. Great praise. (Somewhat unfortunate: DeAndre Kane was 7)

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  16. Wanny's records:

    2005 Pittsburgh 5–6
    2006 Pittsburgh 6–6
    2007 Pittsburgh 5–7
    2008 Pittsburgh 9–4
    2009 Pittsburgh 10–3
    2010 Pittsburgh 7–5

    Can't judge Chryst until 2015. But I do think he's built a better foundation than Wanny did.

    And in response to Anonymous at 1:27 PM. Based on what I've seen, most of the players from those schools you mentioned, those pipeline schools, seem pretty thuggish to me. Say what you want about Fox Chapel, Shady Side Academy, North Allegheny, Mt Lebanon. A let fewer thugs there. Fine young men take on a positive attitude because they are smart. Pitt is trending up. Can't wait to see you eat your words in two years.

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    1. What players from Fox Chapel, SSA, NA, Mt. Lebo are in the NFL or have gone to the NFL since 2000!!! None that I am aware of!!
      Pitt is in the ACC not the Patriot League!

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    2. @ Monte 2:58

      That was an extremely discriminatory statement to say those kids were thuggish. The areas may be tough but not everyone is a product of their environment. Seriously, you're saying Chase Winovich, Dravon Henry, Jailer Fields, Montae Nicholson, Anthony Davis, Ricky Rogers, Terry Swanson, Delvon Randall, Elijah Cottrell, Brock Boxen. Please pick the thugs outta this group. Each of these guys are honor or high honor students. Please pick the guys with crime records outta this group. I know for certain you can't. Therefore, you need to keep your discriminatory/ racist comments to yourself.

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  17. My biggest beef is that Henry, Nicholsen and Winovich were defensive players. If you look at the recruiting list this year and last, not only will you find more offensive players, you will find by far that most (if not all) of the 4stars are on the offensive side.

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  18. Anon at 2:58: you listed Fox Chapel, Shady Side Academy, North Allegheny, Mt Lebanon .... 4 young players from Clairton made a pretty big impact this year, and to my knowledge, none of them appear to be 'thugs'

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  19. Clairton Pipeline! Also not thugs! Agreed! I'm not saying that all young men from the so-called Wannstadt pipeline schools are thugs, but I am saying the drama around some of the marquee recruits from these schools has been pretty damn high. If you don't think that translates to the locker room, you are sadly mistaken.

    PS my name is Monte. Unlike most other posters on this board I am not so lazy as to not identify myself. See that arrow in the "comment as" box. Click it. Select "name / url". Type in your name. Not too hard people. We are all college graduates here.


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    1. See anyone can choose any name. Kids like the attention, every program deals with it. I'd take a little drama for top recruits than the other way around. Unless losing is good for you.

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  20. Chris what is your ffeeling about Pitt not getting Kincaid possibly because of Chryst's nephew teasing Pitt. No chance he was coming. I have read in a national magazine that Kincaid maybe a steal much better then what we had to settle for. And if anyone objectively watched Voylchik's (SP) performance against a MAC team Pitt is in trouble at QB. He missed numerous short passes and the 60 yard pass was not from the pocket but outside were he took a three steps before "Javelin" the pass/Boyd had to come back to make the catch.
    As for him being the next "Wilson" the arm strength is obviously to NFL and as for speed he speed in the 40 is slower than Tino's by .10 second and only .35 seconds faster than Savage.

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    1. You don't know how to spell the dude's name but you know every recent Pitt QB's 40 times? Wow. Go back to your PSU message boards. So many trolls in this thread...

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  21. As I recall, Jabal Sheard was the main subject in that SI story that allegedly got Wanny fired, according to what I have been reading on the blogs over the past few years. It should be known that Sheard was nominated recently as the Browns candidate for the Walter Peyton Award, which is an award for outstanding conduct and service off-the-field.

    No doubt that Pitt had an issue with player conduct back in 2010, but there has been a lot of great kids to come thru this program from all races and school districts ... even many of Wanny's recruits ... Donald and Street being the most recent examples.

    bill

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    1. Sheard wasn't the only one highlighted in that story. Jeff Knox beat up his girlfriend. And there were others.

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    2. I said he was the main subject; the article focused on him more than anyone else.

      bill

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  22. I have to disagree with your rating of Shai McKenzie. His acl is a concern. No way around it. You just never know. Let's forget that for a moment. He can come back from that for sure, especially if he is a workout warrior. Definitely a plus. Here's my question...where is Shai when there's a big game? Did he show up in the WPIAL playoffs? Forget the fact he calls out future teammates on twitter for only being a lowly 3 stars. Glad he didn't choose Pitt. He's a me first type guy. Hasn't shown the character of a leader imo.

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    1. Adrian Peterson anyone?
      I don't really care if he is a so called "leader" as long as he is a good rb. Plus are you in Washingtons locker room?

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    2. Do good rb's show up for big games? Serious question. I would definitively say that the great ones do. I am not in Washington's locker room. If I were I would not be one to talk about what goes on in that locker room. That being said, people talk about players all the time. Other coaches, teammates, competing players, recruiting analysts, fans, whoever. Actions speak louder than words, but from what I've heard and seen, I've made an informed opinion on whether he will be a star back or someone Pitt should worry about "losing" when choosing another school (VTech) Yet, it's just that at the end of the day, my opinion.

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  23. Chris chastising and dismissing a persons comment for misspelling a QB's name that is difficult to spell is arrogant. I thought you were above the other blogs. I know you will not print this but you have not damaged my confidence in my education as I condescend to write in your blog. B.A. Pitt 73, graduate fellowship Kent Sate University 75 graduate Q.P.A. 4.00, 77. My being much older and not a product of the computer generation and your field requiring skills on the keyboard offers you an advantage in typing but obviously not in professionalism. Prinit it.

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    1. Did they teach you to read in college? Because unless my name is Anonymous I didn't criticize your spelling.

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  24. Chris...why do you engage these people? He posted his resume for goodness sakes. What type of psychological issues is that indicative of? Replying to them dignifies their stupidity...4.0 GPA notwithstanding.

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  25. I loved the list and it was very accurate. I would've loved to see 11-20.

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