This is the 23rd Fabulous 22 all-star team. The squad is made up of the top 22 players in the WPIAL and City League and is picked by the Post-Gazette scholastic sports staff, with help from high school and college coaches and scouting services.
Judging from the past, a number of these players will go on to big things. More than three dozen players from previous Fabulous 22 teams have gone on to play in the NFL. Four from the 1996 team are in the NFL -- Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington (North Hills), San Francisco 49ers running back Kevan Barlow (Peabody), New York Giants defensive back William Peterson (Laurel Highlands) and Detroit Lions quarterback Mike McMahon (North Allegheny). Others are excelling in Division I, including Pitt's Rod Rutherford (Perry), Michigan's Steve Breaston (Woodland Hills) and Scott McClintock (Belle Vernon), Toledo's Bruce Gradkowski (Seton-LaSalle) and West Virginia's Dan Mozes (Washington).
School: McKeesport Pos: LB-OL Hgt.: 6-3 Weight: 252 Class: Sr.
Hard hitter who is considered one of the top linebackers in eastern part of the country. Led McKeesport with 65 tackles. Also had 28 assists, four sacks and two fumble recoveries for WPIAL playoff team. Made verbal commitment to Penn State last spring.
Penn Hills QB 6-4 210 Sr.
Some scouting services rank him among the top five quarterbacks in the country. Four-year starter who finished 268 of 590 for 5,244 yards and 56 touchdowns. This season, was 96 of 184 for 1,649 yards and 15 TDs. Has committed to Pitt.
Gateway RB-DB 6-0 178 Jr.
Considered WPIAL's best college prospect for next season. Pitt, Penn State, Wisconsin, among others, already have offered scholarships. Rushed for 1,763 yards on 214 carries this season and scored 31 touchdowns. Also a standout at DB.
Gateway QB-DB 6-2 200 Sr.
A standout on offense and defense. Had 2,004 yards offense in 11 games. Completed 65 of 123 for 1,476 yards and 19 TDs. Did not throw interception. Rushed for 528 yards on 78 carries. Has made verbal commitment to West Virginia. Was recruited for defense.
Moon OL-DL 6-3 285 Sr.
A starter since his freshman year. Was a force on offense and defense for WPIAL Class AAA semifinalist. Had 15 tackles for loss this season to go along with 42 unassisted tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery. Has committed to Penn State.
North Hills RB-DB 5-11 195 Sr.
Some scouting services rank him among the top 20 running backs in the country. Rushed for 1,276 yards on 220 attempts and scored 21 touchdowns. Had 3,670 career yards. Has excellent speed, winning PIAA 100 meter title last year. Has committed to Pitt.
Aliquippa WR-RB-DB 6-1 180 Sr.
Versatile athlete who helped Quips to WPIAL Class AA title. Has 439 yards rushing on 42 attempts and 17 receptions for 294 yards. Also an excellent defensive back. Led WPIAL basketball in scoring last season. Has Division I offers in football and basketball.
Mt. Lebanon OT-DE 6-6 236 Sr.
One of the best defensive linemen in the WPIAL, he helped the Blue Devils to the Quad North title. Slavonic had 28 unassisted tackles this season and 58 overall, third best on the team. He had five tackles for losses. He has made a verbal commitment to West Virginia.
Kiski Area FB-LB 6-3 220 Sr.
A Pitt recruit who excelled on offense and defense. Set school records for career tackles with 332 and solos with 161. This season, had 61 solos and 71 assists. Also rushed for 321 yards on 71 attempts and scored four touchdowns.
Pine-Richland WR-DB 6-3 205 Sr.
Second year on Fabulous 22. Has 60 catches for 967 yards. Has scored 18 touchdowns four different ways -- 10 receiving, four rushing, two on punt returns and two on interception returns. Has 145 career catches. Was Post-Gazette co-Male Athlete of the Year for 2002-03 with Sto-Rox's DiMichele. He also is a talented basketball player, but his best sport is baseball. Considered one of the top five catchers in the country. Has a baseball schoalrship to Clemson.Second year on Fabulous 22. Has 60 catches for 967 yards. Has scored 18 touchdowns four different ways -- 10 receiving, four rushing, two on punt returns and two on interception returns. Has 145 career catches. Was Post-Gazette co-Male Athlete of the Year for 2002-03 with Sto-Rox's Adam DiMichele. He also is a talented basketball player, but his best sport is baseball. Considered one of the top five catchers in the country. Has a baseball scholarship to Clemson.
Sto-Rox QB-DB 6-1 175 Sr.
DiMichele is making history. The Post-Gazette started picking a Fabulous 22 in 1980, and he is the first athlete to make the Fabulous 22, the Fabulous 5 in basketball and the all-area team in baseball. He finished as the WPIAL's all-time leading passer with 6,741 yards. Completed 355 of 678. Had a big senior season for WPIAL Class A finalist, completing 152 of 279 for 2,706 yards. Had 36 TD passes this season and 57 the past two years. He's undecided on what sport he will play in the future and what college he will attend.
Woodland Hills WR-DB 6-3 205 Sr.
A master of the big play, Lyons had 23 catches for 756 yards (32.9 average). He had 14 touchdown catches that averaged 40.8 yards. Also is a talented defensive back. "He really blossomed into one of the top players in the WPIAL and state," said Woodland Hills coach George Novak. Lyons is the latest in a line of Woodland Hills players to be recruited heavily. He already has made official visits to Notre Dame and Michigan State. Ohio State, Miami and Pitt are his other top choices. Most schools like him as a receiver.
Central Catholic RB 5-6 160 Jr.
Jarvis is the tiny halfback who was gigantic in Central Catholic's run to its first WPIAL Class AAAA championship. Has 1,464 yards rushing on 191 carries and has scored 36 touchdowns heading into tomorrow night's PIAA semifinals. Had only 656 yards in the first seven games but came alive with 808 yards in the past six contests. Also has caught 14 passes for 299 yards. "I know I'm biased, but you line up all the running backs in the WPIAL and I'd take Eugene No. 1," said Central Catholic coach Art Walker Jr.
Upper St. Clair RB-DB 5-10 175 Sr.
One of primary reasons Upper St. Clair finished 12-1 and made it to the WPIAL Class AAAA title game. After missing most of his junior season with foot injury, rushed for 1,379 yards on 197 attempts and scored 23 touchdowns. Also performed well at DB.
North Allegheny TE-DE 6-3 242 Sr.
Battled through injuries this season but was still a dominating force on the lines for North Allegheny. Made first-team all-conference as tight end but also was a standout on defense. Had numerous scholarship offers but chose Michigan this past summer.
Beaver TE-LB 6-5 242 Sr.
Scouting services rank him among top 20 tight ends in the country. Beaver didn't throw much and Nicol had 14 catches for 197 yards for WPIAL Class AA semifinalist. His college finalists are Florida, Pitt, Ohio State, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
Peters Township QB-DB 6-1 185 Sr.
Gallagher will play baseball at Duke but also excelled in football. This year, was 115 of 194 for 2,055 yards. Rushed for 496 yards and helped Peters win a playoff game for the first time since 1976. Had 3,777 career yards passing. Rushed for 1,133 the past two seasons.
Baldwin RB-DB 5-10 195 Sr.
Led WPIAL in rushing in the regular season and finished with 1,751 yards on 239 carries. Also scored 22 touchdowns in helping Baldwin to a Class AAAA playoff berth. Rushed for 1,468 yards as a junior and had 3,219 yards the past two seasons.
Thomas Jefferson QB-LB 6-3 225 Sr.
A three-year starter who helped Thomas Jefferson to the WPIAL Class AAA title game this season. Completed 114 of 206 for 2,233 yards and 20 touchdowns. Also scored 10 TDs. Was a first-team all-conference LB. For career, completed 234 of 439 for 4,429 yards.
Kiski Area QB-DB 6-3 195 Sr.
Considered one of the WPIAL's top defensive backs. Had 55 tackles, including 19 solo. Also a versatile quarterback. Completed 45 of 90 for 873 yards and rushed for 234 yards on 87 attempts. Made a verbal commitment to Pitt his junior year.
Central Catholic OL-DL 6-3 245 Sr.
A force on both lines for the WPIAL Class AAAA champion Vikings. On offense, helped lead a grueling running game. On defense, has 16 solo tackles, 76 assisted and five sacks. Had 11 tackles for loss. Some Division I-AA colleges are interested.
Perry WR-DB 5-10 Sr.
Helped Perry win fourth c four in one game. Returned three kickoffs and three interceptions for TDs. Led team in receptions with 35 and scored 18 TDs. Some MAC colleges are showing interest.