On the first day college coaches were permitted by the NCAA to retweet recruits, Gabe Houy gave the Pitt staff some news worth clicking.
Houy made a verbal commitment to Pitt. He is a 6-foot-6, 270-pound senior offensive tackle and is the second player from the WPIAL class of 2017 to pick Pitt. Steel Valley receiver-defensive back Paris Ford committed to the Panthers last season.
Maryland, Cincinnati and Wake Forest were some of Houy’s other top choices, Render said.
“He really has liked Pitt for a quite a while,” said Render. “Every time I would ask him about college, he would say, ‘I really like Pitt.’ But he held off his commitment until now. I guess he wanted to make sure he was ready to pull the trigger.
“His strengths are his height and his length,” said Render. “Plus, he’s a basketball player, so he moves pretty well. He can control his height and weight and he’s pretty athletic. I know Pitt likes that about him — and so do I.”
Houy’s announcement made him the 11th commitment for Pitt in the class of 2017, but he wasn’t the only WPIAL pledge Monday for the Panthers. Central Catholic senior Cal Adomitis verbally committed as a walk-on long snapper.
Harper to Syracuse
Earlier Monday, McKeesport senior defensive tackle Curtis Harper tweeted his commitment to Syracuse. Other schools in pursuit of Harper included Iowa State, Boston College, Colorado State, Temple and Toledo. But the 6-2, 290-pound Harper — who also plays left guard for the Tigers, but was recruited for defense — had his eye on the ACC.
“It was the best school for me, right now and overall,” said Harper, who has nearly 20 scholarship offers. “They showed me a lot of things that I liked, and their sports management program is very good.”
Despite committing to a power-five conference school, Harper — who wasn’t even all-conference as a junior — still feels he has much to prove.
“I want to show everything I have, that my skills are at a high level,” he said.
Harper is now in the fold, but Syracuse does not have any WPIAL graduates on its current roster. Former Woodland Hills running back Jo-El Shaw signed with Syracuse in February, but will attend Lackawanna College instead.
Setback for Bronaugh
Elsewhere in WPIAL football, sad news came out of Aliquippa. The Facebook page for Aliquippa running back DiMantae Bronaugh said his leukemia is no longer in remission.
Bronaugh was diagnosed with leukemia in August last year and missed the entire season because of treatments. He was cleared by doctors to play this season and was recently working out with the Quips. Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said a few weeks ago that it was uplifting to see Bronaugh working out in hopes of playing this year.
The WPIAL had granted Bronaugh an extra year of eligibility because he missed last year.
Mike White contributed. Brian Batko: email@example.com and Twitter @BrianBatko.