Blue Chip Chat with Tom Ricketts, North Allegheny
Share with others:
• Height: 6-6 Weight: 265 • Position: OT-DT • Year: Senior
• The Skinny: Considered one of the top offensive linemen in the WPIAL. Played offensive guard last year, but will play tackle this season. Has added about 15 pounds. A kid who never played football until middle school and admitted he "hated" the sport for a while. His father, Tom, is a former standout offensive lineman at Pitt in the 1980s and was a first-round draft choice of the Steelers.
• College talk: Ricketts made a verbal commitment to Penn State this spring. He had numerous scholarship offers and chose the Nittany Lions despite being a big Pitt fan growing up. His mother, Sandy Albright Ricketts, was a standout swimmer at Pitt and his great grandfather, Charles "Doc" Hartwig was a first-team All-American at Pitt in the 1930s.
• Don't you have a body frame to add weight? Comparatively to other kids, I'm still a skinny kid. I feel like I can put on 40 more pounds.
• Doesn't it sound funny to hear a 265-pound kid call himself skinny? Yeah. There are a lot of big, fat kids where 260 pounds is a lot of weight for them to hold.
• When you were younger, didn't you think your future was in basketball? In middle school, I was almost as tall as I am now. I thought I was going to be 6-10, but it didn't go like that. Honestly, I figured out my future wasn't in basketball when I was playing AAU in ninth grade. There were these giant 6-8 kids who could dunk on you. I thought, 'This might not be the best thing for me.'
• Is high school football a year-round sport nowadays? Here it is. As far as the seniors, some of us took a week off after last season and then got back in the weight room. Organized weightlifting starts right after Christmas.
• Is it tough to play more than one sport at a quad-a school? Oh yeah. It's looked down upon. You can do it if you want, but it's really hard. I know I couldn't imagine playing basketball here because of how often they work out, too. Basketball workouts go on in the summer at the same time as football.
• How much flack did you get from Pitt fans when you committed to Penn State? A lot. More than I thought. I had something like nine people threatening me on Facebook, sending me messages. I'm a 17-year-old high school kid and one guy sent me a huge novel titled 'Loyalty.' He just went off on how my family all went to Pitt and how I am the worst thing that has ever happened. All I did was decide where I'm going to college. What's different from me and any other kid?
• Did the criticism bother you? It bothered me some, but I guess it fuels me more than anything. I like proving people wrong. It's motivation.
• What is the biggest thing you learned from you dad? When I was a young kid, he taught me how to be determined and how to get things done. Now, more than ever, he has probably taught me perseverance.
• Favorite vacation spot? Ocean City, N.J.
• Most dominant athlete in sports? LeBron James.
• People might be surprised to know that you ...? I'm pretty smooth with the guitar.
First Published August 24, 2009 12:00 am