In terms of the quantity of major-college recruits, the WPIAL and City League football class of 2013 likely was the worst for this district as only 18 players signed with Division I-A colleges.
The class of 2014 already has that beaten.
The WPIAL doesn't have a super player who is ranked among the top 100 in the country, but the crop of Division I-A players in Southwestern Pennsylvania is much larger than last year and also the 2011 class, which produced only 21 major-college recruits.
Nineteen players from the WPIAL already have made verbal commitments to Division I-A schools. There are at least 14 others who have offers from Division I-A colleges, and it's a good bet a few more will earn offers at some point in the next three or four months. That means there could be close to 40 seniors from the district who sign with Division I-A teams. There were 33 in 2012 and 28 in 2010.
Even if 40 players sign with Division I-A schools, it won't compare to the number of major-college players this district produced 40 years ago and before. But having 40 Division I-A signings compares well to maybe 20 to 25 years ago. For example, there were 43 Division I-A signings in 1993.
Of the WPIAL players who haven't made a verbal commitment to Division I-A colleges yet, the most heavily recruited appear to be Washington running back Shai McKenzie, Gateway receiver-defensive back Montae Nicholson, Aliquippa running back-defensive back Dravon Henry and Mt. Lebanon offensive lineman Alex Bookser.
McKenzie has narrowed his final list to Pitt, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Arkansas. Nicholson is still considering a dozen schools. Among them are Pitt, Penn State, Miami and Michigan.
Henry said Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia are his top four choices. Bookser has narrowed his list to Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Tennessee.
Here are seniors from the WPIAL or City League who have verbal commitments to Division I-A colleges. High school seniors can't sign a binding letter of intent until February.
AKRON -- Brock Boxen, Beaver Falls (DL, 6-3, 260); Elijah Cottrill, Beaver Falls (WR-DB, 6-2, 170); Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk (QB, 6-4, 210).
BOWLING GREEN -- Andrew Podbielski, Blackhawk (TE-DL, 6-5, 235).
FLORIDA STATE -- J.J. Cosentino, Central Catholic (QB, 6-4, 215).
MICHIGAN -- Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson (LB, 6-3, 216).
OHIO STATE -- Malik Hooker, New Castle (WR-DB, 6-2, 185).
PENN STATE -- Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon (WR, 6-2, 186).
PITT -- Rori Blair, Upper St. Clair (DE, 6-3, 225); Dennis Briggs, Shady Side Academy (RB-DB, 5-11, 195); Mike Grimm, Bethel Park (OL, 6-6, 325); Quintin Wirginis, Fox Chapel (LB, 6-2, 225); Elijah Zeise, North Allegheny (WR-DB, 6-2, 185).
TEMPLE -- Darrious Carter, Indiana (DE, 6-5, 205); Anthony Davis, Gateway (WR-DB, 6-1, 175); Delvon Randall, Gateway (WR-DB, 6-1, 185); Brenon Thrift, Gateway (LB, 6-3, 230).
WEST VIRGINIA -- Ricky Rogers, Gateway (WR, 6-1, 200); Sage Curry, Beaver Falls (LB, 6-1, 200).hsfootball
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org