PG South: Picking Pitt an easy decision for Clairton's Weatherspoon

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Clairton High School wide receiver Kevin Weatherspoon had a handful of colleges on the list of schools he was considering.

There were several colleges interested in him, too.

But there was one place where Weatherspoon was the most comfortable. And it's no coincidence that he chose the place that was most emphatic about recruiting him.

A senior-to-be at Clairton, Weatherspoon made a verbal commitment to attend Pitt in June.

"They were the hardest team coming at me," Weatherspoon said. "They showed me and my family, we both could see it, that they really wanted me. The stuff they were saying, we could feel it, the vibe from it, that they really wanted me and they weren't just playing me.

"I liked that a lot and what they showed me around with the academics and then their home is Heinz Field, close to home. It feels like playing at home. Basically, I'm a family guy, a Pittsburgh guy, and overall that helped me make my decision."

Weatherspoon said that he had been hearing from just about every coach on the Panthers' staff. Assistant head coach/defensive line Greg Gattuso was whom he talked to the most.

At 5 feet 11, 170 pounds, and playing at the Class A level on a team that doesn't utilize a sophisticated passing game, Weatherspoon heard the whispers as to why logic might dictate he wasn't "big time" enough.

He didn't listen -- and neither did Pitt. And that, as much as anything, is why the two became a perfect match.

"A lot of teams questioned the style I played in and my size, all the political stuff," Weatherspoon said. "Pitt was the only team that didn't take as serious looking at my height or anything like that. They just went with what they saw."

Said Clairton coach Tom Nola: "He's such a hard worker, he can make it anywhere."

Weatherspoon said he is under the impression that Pitt will use him as a wide receiver but that he "wouldn't be surprised" if he eventually played defensive back for the Panthers.

"I like both offense and defense," he said.

Although national signing day is still a ways off and Weatherspoon's commitment is non-binding -- in recent years, it has become more and more commonplace for players making verbal recruits to change their minds -- Weatherspoon sounds content with his decision.

"I'm happy, so now I can focus on football and Clairton, my team and school, and start getting better focused on high school," Weatherspoon said. "This is over with."

Weatherspoon has not decided on what his major will be but said he has a strong interest in business. "I've always wanted to open my own business," he said. "So that's what I'm thinking of getting into."

Last season, Weatherspoon caught 58 passes for 1,468 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. As a sophomore he caught 13 for 212.

Of course, Clairton prefers to run much more than pass. Also, the Bears have often had huge leads early in games against inferior competition in the regular season.

"I'm not going to lie, I used to set goals like 1,000 yards receiving; well, I didn't set them that high because I didn't think we'd have to throw the ball that much," Weatherspoon said.

"But now I'm not really into individual numbers. It'll come no matter what. Winning is what I want -- what we all want -- now. Winning states, playing for my teammates. And doing it for our coach who passed away. That's the main goal I want."

Weatherspoon was referring to Demonje Rosser, who was fatally shot while in his Clairton home in March. Rosser, who coached midget football in Clairton, assisted on the varsity team.

The Bears went undefeated last season all the way through the regular season, WPIAL championship game and PIAA playoffs until losing to Steelton-Highspire in the PIAA Class A title contest.

Taking that one final missing step is what the team will be driven to do as a tribute to Rosser.

"I'm not going to say it's going to be better than last year or any other year, but the way we've been working so far, it feels like we're ready," Weatherspoon said.

"We've got a couple ifs and buts there, but you're going to have that. Other than that, we're pretty solid at all positions. There's a lot of people coming back. Nothing less than states is what we're looking for. We should win it this year."


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