Kugler, who started for North Allegheny last year as a sophomore, is considered one of the top junior offensive linemen in the eastern part of the country. He moved from Orchard Park, N.Y., to the North Allegheny district last year with his brother, Rob, after their father, Sean, became the Steelers offensive line coach. The Kuglers helped North Allegheny win WPIAL and PIAA titles a year ago. Rob is now a freshman tight end at Purdue.
Although he has yet to play a down in his junior season, Kugler already has scholarship offers from big-time schools, including Pitt, Penn State, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Michigan State.
How big are you? Last year, I actually weighed more because I was more out of shape. I played at about 280 last year. I wanted to get down to about 255 and work my way back up, but not with a gut. Last year, the gut was a little big.
Where does the gut come from? Too much pasta? Just eating too much. You know, that Buffalo weather where we used to live. It was winter seven months a year.
This team lost a lot of key players to graduation, but won't this team still be strong? Definitely. We have three starters back from a very good offensive line and that's definitely going to be our strongpoint. That's where the leadership will come from, and we have two guys coming into the line who are good players. Most of our receivers are back, we have a really good quarterback and we have some running backs.
What is it like in your house without your older brother around for the first time? Last year, there were two of us for my dad to critique. Now, all eyes are on me with my dad.
Does he critique you a lot? Oh yeah, but it's not bad. When I made my personal highlight film, we watched all the games together and he critiqued my play. But he doesn't really critique much during the season.
Are you surprised you have this many scholarship offers this early? I'm really surprised. My brother had just as good of a sophomore season in Buffalo and he had only three offers going into his junior year. I think playing the level of competition here in Pennsylvania definitely helped.
You play defense, but you're definitely an offensive lineman in the future? I think I have to be with my dad at home (laugh).
How often do you get asked for Steelers tickets? Too much. You get used to it, though.
You're really hungry and can go anywhere to eat. Where are you going? An all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.
People might be surprised to know that ...? Me and my brother used to play ping-pong the morning before every game. It would be intense ping-pong. We would wake up in the morning and play before school on game days. I don't know why, but we would play at 6:30 or 7 in the morning.
How will the Steelers offensive line be this year? Really good. You have Willie Colon back. My dad has some competition at right guard, but he likes Jonathan Scott at right tackle. Maurkice Pouncey is just a great player and Chris Kemoeatu is just an animal. He's great.