Friday, December 19, 2014
An Early Look at the loaded 2016 and 2017 classes in PA
1. Michal Menet, Exeter Township HS (Reading) OT- At 6'5" and 270 pounds he already has nice size and his frame can add a lot more weight in future years. Tenacious and moves like a cat. Has the makings of an elite offensive lineman. It's rare for an offensive lineman to be so far along in his development this early but before his junior season started he was loaded with major offers. His current top five, all whom have offered, are Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida State, and Duke. Other offers include Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Rutgers.
2. Kaezon Pugh, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) LB/RB- The next great Quip and that's saying something because they have supplied some of those most talented players to ever come out of the state. And Pugh is right up there with them. Already a solid 6'1" and 210 pounds to go with his very good speed and athleticism. I always thought he'd end up at linebacker but he may be just as good if not better at running back. Runs angry. Could be a big star. Offers include Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Michigan State, Auburn, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Miami, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Arizona, Missouri, and many more.
3. Miles Sanders, Woodland Hills HS (Pittsburgh) RB- Looks much more slight than his listed 5'11" 195 pounds, but he's a game breaker with excellent speed, quickness, and vision. As a bonus he also has great hands and could always end up at wide receiver if he gets beat out at running back. Committed early to PENN STATE or he'd have a lot more offers. Still got offers from Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech.
4. Naseir Upshur, Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia) TE/DE- A little small for tight end currently at 6'3" and 230 pounds, but he's a very good athlete who is just flat out vicious at the line of scrimmage. As a blocker he locks on the defender and destroys him until he's 10 yards downfield. More than a blocker, though, thanks to his speed, athleticism, and hands. Projects just as well as a defensive end. Major offers include Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Arizona, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Florida, Nebraska, and Florida State.
5. Karamo Dioubate, William Penn Charter HS (Philadelphia) DE/DT- A beastly lineman that came out of nowhere this season thanks to his athletic 6'3" 265 pound size and big time explosion and quickness. Right now he could play end, but if he keeps getting bigger, which is a real possibility, he will move inside. Either way, he's beastly. Offers include Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida, Miami, Virginia, Boston College, Rutgers, and Temple.
6. Damar Hamlin, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) CB- Great cornerback height at 6'1" and when he fills out his 175 pound frame his size would be even more of a plus. Very good speed and quickness. Should be one of the best cornerback prospects in the country. Offers from Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Duke.
7. Brandon McIlwain, Council Rock North HS (Newtown) QB- Of all of the top prospects on this list he's probably the one that could go either way the most. At 6'0" 205 he doesn't have ideal size, and he's still raw as a passer, but on the other hand, he has a very strong arm and excellent speed and running ability for a quarterback. A lot will depend on the system he's in as he clearly isn't a pro style quarterback, but if he's allowed to run a lot then he could be very good good at the next level. Major offers include Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, Virginia Tech, Duke, Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Arizona, and Tennessee.
8. Connor McGovern, Lake-Lehman HS (Lehman) C/G- The best thing you can say about him is that major colleges are still finding him even though he's outside of Wilkes-Barre. It's not exactly a recruiting hotbed and to be honest I never heard of the high school before. Big at 6'5" and 290 pounds. Plays center, which is his preferred position, and he explodes onto his defender with quickness and tenacity. Offers include Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan State, Miami, North Carolina, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Maryland.
9. Cary Angeline, Downingtown East HS (Exton) TE- At 6'7" and 230 pounds his size is obviously one of his biggest assets. He's basically just a wide receiver now but he'll be a tight end in college. Needs to fill out obviously, and he will will need to learn to block from the tight end position, but with his very good speed, size, and length he is destined to be a pass catching tight end at the college level. Has early offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Miami, Michigan State, Duke, Boston College, Iowa, North Carolina, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech, among others.
10. Aaron Matthews, Clairton HS (Clairton) WR- To say this kid is a tall drink of water is an understatement. Already 6'5" and may not have stopped growing yet. At just 175 pounds his thin frame makes him look eight feet tall. The best part about his length is that he knows how to use it by using his frame to shield defenders and jumping to meet the ball. When he does that he's virtually unstoppable. Good, but not great speed, but with the skills he has he could be a force in college. Has early offers from Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others.
11. Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport Area HS (McKeesport) LB/S/RB- Not huge at 5'11" and 200 pounds but he's rock solid. In my opinion, he's best suited at safety but he could project as a smaller linebacker or a running back, too. Good athlete that hits like a ton of bricks. Offers so far include Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, and Boston College.
12. Anthony Long, Bishop McDevitt HS (Harrisburg) DT- Strong 6'3" 290 pound interior lineman with a good burst and athleticism for a man his size. Has a lot of potential. Early offers have come from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Boston College, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Temple, and Purdue.
13. Kobay White, Bishop McDevitt HS (Harrisburg) WR- In college football these days schools want either really big receivers or small receivers with ungodly quickness. But every year there's a good receiver in PA that falls between those two. This year that's the 6'0" 180 pound White who has good speed, quickness, and hands. Among his offers are Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Virginia, Rutgers, Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Boston College.
14. Andrew Pryts, Hickory HS (Hermitage) S- The John Lynch of high school football, the 6'2" 195 pound Pryts can really lay the wood. Just a vicious hitter. Also has good range and hands. Early offers are from Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia, and Northwestern.
15. Aidan Howard, Gateway Area HS (Monroeville) WR- Tall, very athletic wide out at 6'5" and 165 pounds. Way too light now but once he fills out he could be a big time player. Very good speed, too. So far only UMass has offered but there will be more.
These players just finished their sophomore seasons so this is just a preliminary list. There are more out there from this class that will be very highly recruited, and some of these players may not develop as expected. But for now these are some of the class that are already getting some college attention. I have separated the first two players because they are already in an elite category and it's going to be hard for anybody to pass them up as the two best players in the class. It's too early to rate the rest this early so they are listed in alphabetical order.
D'Andre Swift, St. Joseph's Prep HS (Philadelphia) RB- He was already considered one of the top two players in the state for the '17 class even before the state championship game, but that showed that he could be one of the best in the country for the class. At 5'9" 195 pounds he's solid, but he also has great speed, quickness, and vision. Could be a superstar. Already has offers from Pittsburgh, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Iowa, Syracuse, and Temple.
Lamont Wade, Clairton Area HS (Clairton) CB- The eastern side of the state has Swift but the western side has Wade. A rock solid 5'10" and 185 pounds already, he possesses excellent speed, athleticism, and quickness. Had an amazing year as a running back this season and could be an elite running back or wide receiver in college just as easily, but it appears that cornerback is where most will want him. Already has offers from the likes of Pittsburgh, Penn State, and West Virginia.
David Adams, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) LB- Took over for injured college prospect Ron George this season after an injury ended George's season, and he didn't miss a beat. Already 6'2" and 215 pounds, he is a tough, old school linebacker that just knows how to play football. No offers yet.
Damion Barber, Harrisburg HS (Harrisburg) DE- Highly athletic and quick pass rusher and he's already 6'4" and 220 pounds. Once he fills out he's going to be even more of a terror. Will definitely be among the top players in the class. Has early offers from Rutgers and Temple.
Paris Ford, Seton-LaSalle HS (Pittsburgh) S- An Ed Reed-type of safety who has the length, speed, quickness, and range to be a big time safety in college. At 6'2" and 175 pounds he has a great start on size and he already uses it with his hard hitting style. Also a very good basketball player. No offers yet but they will be coming.
Robert Hainsey, Gateway Area HS (Monroeville) OT- Already 6'4" and 270 pounds so he should be big enough by the time he enters college. Very good feet which is what gets you offers as a lineman. And he already has offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan State, and Temple.
Josh Lugg, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) OT- Has a chance to be the the top lineman in the state thanks to his 6'6" frame and great feet. Just 260 pounds now but he will fill out over the next two years. Pittsburgh is his only offer now but there will be plenty more.
Dewayne Murray, Stell Valley HS (Munhall) RB- At 5'10" 180 pounds he has the speed, quickness, athleticism, vision, and toughness to be a big time running back in college. He also has great hands and is an exceptional punt returner. Barring injury, he's on pace to be the top rusher in WPIAL history. Old Dominion is his lone offer this early but many more will come soon.
CJ Thorpe, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) OT- Just a sophomore this year but he's already 6'5" and 300 pounds. He uses his size well by aggressively knocking the hell out of anybody that gets in his way. West Virginia is his first major offer.
Darius Wise, Beaver HS (Beaver) CB- Big time athlete with excellent speed and quickness. Also another kid who could get basketball offers. Could get a lot of offers at cornerback. Already has a BYU offer for some reason.