At 6 feet 4, South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh possesses the size colleges look for when recruiting players at his position.
But Brumbaugh hasn't always been a quarterback.
In his first three years -- fifth through seventh grade -- Brumbaugh was, of all things, an offensive lineman.
"He was always too big to carry the ball," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said.
Years later, South Fayette will rely on Brumbaugh's arm to carry the team to a WPIAL Class AA title.
Brumbaugh is one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state. He is coming off a breakout sophomore season that saw him complete 154 of 245 passes for 2,823 yards and 37 touchdowns. Only North Allegheny's Mack Leftwich passed for more yards (3,331) and touchdowns (45), and he played four more games than Brumbaugh.
This is an important season for Brumbaugh in regards to his college future. Akron and Temple are the only schools to have offered so far, but that list could skyrocket should Brumbaugh keep improving. Pitt, Penn State and Virginia Tech are among the schools showing heavy interest.
"He knows what he has to work on," Rossi said. "He has to have that thing that wows you. Right now, that's his size. He's working on his arm strength. He's going to have to throw the ball well. He understands the game and he has the will to win."
Brumbaugh is 13-2 as a starter, with those losses coming in the WPIAL playoffs. The most recent defeat came in last season's semifinals, when then-undefeated South Fayette fell to Washington, 26-14. Brumbaugh was 11 of 27 for 240 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Washington rushed for more than 450 yards.
South Fayette graduated star receiver Zach Challingsworth, but the Lions return their leading rusher -- senior Grant Fetchet -- and No. 2 and 3 receivers seniors Justin Watson and Conner Beck. Rossi expects junior tight end Logan Sharp to play a big role and the Lions gained a Division I prospect when junior receiver/defensive back Roman Denson transferred from Gateway.
Brumbaugh said he expects the offense to be just as potent as last year when it averaged 46 points per game and scored more than 50 six times. Additionally, Brumbaugh entered last season having started just three games, so having a full year of action has carried him into a different role.
"I have much more experience now," he said. "We have some new starters, so I kind of have to lead them through camp. I have to help chemistry-wise and with a leadership role. I have to be the one who sets the tone."
He could also be the one who eventually sets records. Brumbaugh's brother, Christian, is the WPIAL's all-time leading passer. A 2011 South Fayette graduate, Christian finished his career with 7,162 yards. Brett has already thrown for 3,429 yards in only 15 games. If he matches his yardage total from last season in each of his final two seasons, he would wind up with 9,075 yards, smashing his brother's record. Christian is a redshirt sophomore at William & Mary.
"We've talked about [me breaking his record]," Brett said. "He said that if anyone was to break it, he'd want it to be me. It would be cool because we'd be the top two."
Rossi said he sees a lot of Christian in Brett, who even wears his brother's old No. 7.
"They're very similar," Rossi said. "Brett's got that Brumbaugh mentality. They look the same and they have the same styles."
After a game last season, Challingsworth -- who now plays at Pitt -- had this to say about Brumbaugh: "It's amazing how good he is, and he's only a sophomore. By the time he's a senior, I think he'll be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation."
For the time being, Brumbaugh said he is focused on leading South Fayette to Century Conference, WPIAL and PIAA titles.
"I just want to win ballgames," he said. "I could throw for 2 yards, but as long as we win, I'm happy."
First Published August 22, 2013 4:00 AM