Recruit Report: McKeesport senior willing to travel

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It was surprising when Texas Tech landed two McKeesport football players from last season, because Texas Tech hadn't recruited in the WPIAL before.

Now another McKeesport player is seriously considering a college that doesn't recruit much in Western Pennsylvania.

McKeesport standout linebacker T.J. Neal has narrowed his college choices to three and one of them is Nebraska. The other two are West Virginia and Syracuse.

Neal made an official visit to Nebraska earlier this month.

"[Nebraska] kind of just came out of the blue with me," Neal said. "But I'm the type of guy who will go anywhere.

"I just want to get on the field early and play. I don't really care how far away a school is."

It is believed the last time Nebraska landed a football recruit from the district was 1990, when Perry defensive tackle Dennis Martin signed with the Cornhuskers.

Neal said game day in Nebraska "was amazing." But he wouldn't go as far as saying Nebraska is his favorite. He plans to make a college decision in mid-november.

"West Virginia is recruiting me pretty hard. I'm considering West Virginia a lot, too," Neal said.

Neal is considered one of the best linebackers in the WPIAL.

"I feel I've done pretty well," he said. "But I had high expectations coming into the season."

McKeesport has a big game tonight against Gateway. The winner gets second place in the Foothills Conference and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. The loser finishes third and goes on the road for the first round of the playoffs.

McKeesport is 6-2 with losses to Seneca Valley (non-conference) and Penn-Trafford.

"The Seneca Valley game was like a fluke, and the Penn-Trafford game we played a heck of a defensive game but lost," Neal said. "I feel we've gotten better along the way this season. We have to beat Gateway and just continue to get better."

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Syracuse is becoming a favorite spot for top WPIAL distance runners.

North Hills' Margo Malone, one of the best distance runners in the state, has decided to attend Syracuse. North Hills' Juris Silenkis and Joe Kush, who finished second and third, respectively, at the WPIAL cross-country championships last year, are freshman runners at Syracuse.

Also, former Blackhawk standout runner Angelica Peck is a freshman runner for the Orange.


For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog . Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1975. Twitter @mwhiteburgh.


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