Pennsylvania's Top 25 Players
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A look at the Top 25 players in the state:
1. TERRELLE PRYOR, QB-DB, 6-6, 227, JEANNETTE -- Depending on the scouting service, Pryor is ranked anywhere from the No. 1 to No. 3 player in the country. He has added nearly 10 pounds since last year when he was the Post-Gazette Player of the Year. He rushed for 1,676 yards on 197 attempts (8.7 avg.), completed 92 of 163 for 1,732 yards and scored 29 touchdowns, one as a receiver. Also a standout at safety for WPIAL Class AA champion and PIAA finalist. He has narrowed his list to Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Southern California and West Virginia. But basketball is part of the equation . He plans to play both football and basketball in college, and the schools recruiting him say he can do both. He is ranked among the top 50 basketball players in the country by most scouting services.
2. JONATHAN BALDWIN, WR, 6-6, 233, ALIQUIPPA -- Some call Baldwin a freak. How often do you see 6-6, 233-pound players who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds? He's loaded with athletic ability. Made Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 basketball team as a junior and finished third in the 100 at PIAA Class AA track championships. Will play football in college and has narrowed choices to Pitt, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and USC. Is being recruited to play receiver. Super Prep ranks him the No. 8 receiver in the country, even though he caught only 21 passes for 370 yards last season. Aliquippa was a run-oriented team last year and might throw a little more this season.
3. BRENDAN BEALE, 6-3, 240, LB-FB, BETHLEHEM LIBERTY -- Beale is a newcomer to Pennsylvania football. He was a standout at Roxbury High in New Jersey the past two seasons, but transferred to Liberty High this summer, moving in with his father. He said he came to Liberty because he wants to graduate in December. He could not do that at Roxbury. Ranked among the top five linebackers in the country by some scouting services. Had 151 tackles as a junior and 272 the past two seasons, to go along with 18 sacks. Has narrowed his college choices to Florida and USC. Excellent student who had a 4.3 grade-point average at Roxbury.
4. SHAYNE HALE, FB-DE, 6-4, 235, GATEWAY -- Ranked among the top 50 in the country by some scouting services. Made Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 as a junior when he had 105 tackles, 58 solo, 13 for losses, five sacks and four forced fumbles. "You're talking about a kid who is 6-4 and close to 240, and runs a 4.5 in the 40. That speaks for itself," said Gateway coach Terry Smith. "But he's still a young man and he has to keep getting better." Hale will have a new position this year, moving to weak-side defensive end. He had been ranked among the top linebackers in the country, with Rivals.com ranking him the No. 1 inside linebacker. Has narrowed his college list to West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia and Ohio State.
5. ANDREW SWEAT, FB-LB, 6-2, 230, TRINITY -- Sweat is enough to make opponents sweat. He averaged 16 tackles a game last season and now is ranked among the top linebackers in the country. Rivals.com ranks him No. 7. An excellent athlete who also played basketball and baseball for Trinity. Will play fullback on offense. Was recruited by colleges across the country, but made verbal commitment to Ohio State May 31. Notre Dame was next on his list, and Pitt, Penn State and Michigan also were finalists. Is an excellent student with a 4.2 grade-point average and would like to become a lawyer and take over his father's law firm.
6. LUCAS NIX, OL-DL, 6-6, 295, THOMAS JEFFERSON -- Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak has had more than a half dozen Division I college players in recent years at Thomas Jefferson. But Nix is the most highly rated. Rivals.com ranks him the No. 28 player in the country and scout.com No. 22. Nix can be a force on both sides of the ball, but he is slated to play offense in college. On defense, had 63 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception a year ago for the WPIAL Class AAA champion. Was heavily recruited and made a verbal commitment to Pitt in the summer. Michigan, Tennessee and Alabama were some of the other schools that offered scholarships. Has a brother, Nate, who is a linebacker at Pitt.
7. MIKE YANCICH, RB-LB, 6-2, 220, TRINITY -- Yancich and teammate Andrew Sweat are one of the top tandems in the country. Although Sweat seemed to get more publicity and was ranked higher by national scouting services, there are many who believe Yancich is at least as good a prospect. Yancich has excellent speed and runs the 40 in 4.5. He is projected to play some at halfback this season. Trinity coach Ed Dalton called him "Tarzan" because of the way he runs all over the field. Yancich bench presses 375 pounds. Committed to Penn State in June. Connecticut was his other top choice, but Pitt, Michigan State and West Virginia also were on his final list.
8. A.J. ALEXANDER, QB-DB, 6-0, 180, ALTOONA -- A.J. is A-plus when it comes to speed. He finished second in the 100-meter dash at the PIAA Class AAA championships, running the event in 10.64 seconds. He can run the 40 in 4.4 seconds. He plays quarterback at Altoona and rushed for 854 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. But he will be either a running back or receiver in college. Super Prep ranks him the No. 8 "athlete" in the country. Made a commitment to Florida State in late May, but has since backed out of it and is not considering the Seminoles any longer. Penn State is his favorite now, and he said Pitt, West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia Tech are on his final list.
9. JARRED HOLLEY, CB, 5-11, 174, EASTON -- One of the top cornerbacks in the country, Holley has over 20 scholarship offers, including Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Iowa, Stanford, Syracuse and Virginia. Penn State looks as if it could have an edge as Holley said he was "awed" by Joe Paterno's presence when he visited the school. He had nine interceptions as a junior and was also a stalwart on offense, rushing for 21 scores. A multi-talented athlete, Holley also shined on Easton's basketball and baseball teams.
10. HUBIE GRAHAM, TE, 6-4, 230, SCRANTON WEST SCRANTON -- Graham's future position is a toss up between tight end and defensive end . On offense, he is clearly a receiver first, a blocker second . If he plays defense in college, coaches are saying they could turn him into a tremendous speed rusher off the edge. Has over 20 scholarship offers from schools such as Pitt, UCLA, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Iowa and Georgia Tech. Seems very high on Pitt, saying, "I really like coach [Dave] Wannstedt, he seems very honest and open." Caught 35 passes last year for seven touchdowns.
11. MATT STANKIEWITCH, OL, 6-4, 300, SCHUYLKILL HAVEN BLUE MOUNTAIN -- Was Penn State's first recruit, making his verbal commitment in April. Also considered Pitt, West Virginia, Rutgers and Connecticut. Plays tackle in high school, but word out of State College is that he will be moved to center when he arrives there. About his commitment to Penn State, Stankiewitch said, "You just know which place is right, you can't explain it. And Penn State was the right place for me."
12. VAUGHN CARRAWAY, WR, 6-2, 170, LAURELDALE MUHLENBURG -- Previously said he would commit to a college by now, but Carraway, who could play either receiver or cornerback in college, has changed his mind. His recruiting seems wide open again. He originally narrowed his list to Pitt, Michigan Tennessee, West Virginia and Boston College, but now it seems anything is possible as more offers are coming in. Pitt could have an edge, though, as his cousin is former Pitt linebacker Sam Bryant.
13. NICK MOODY, S/LB, 6-2, 215, PHILADELPHIA ROMAN CATHOLIC -- As versatile a defensive football player as there is in the state, Moody lined up at corner, safety and linebacker as a junior, accumulating 70 tackles. He committed in April to Florida State -- his "dream school" --and he most likely will play safety in Tallahassee. Chose the Seminoles over Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Temple.
14. ADRIAN ROBINSON, ILB, 6-3, 230, 4.7, HARRISBURG -- It seems that Robinson's two clear favorites are West Virginia and Michigan, but he has yet to commit. Possesses off-the-charts raw physical strength, can bench press over 325 pounds and is also a topnotch wrestler. Holds offers from a number of schools, including Pitt, Virginia, Connecticut and Rutgers. Had 15 sacks during his junior season, but his pass defense needs work.
15. MARK WEDDERBURN, TE, 6-6, 235, SPRINGFIELD CARDINAL O'HARA -- The younger brother of former Penn State and current Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Floyd Wedderburn, Mark is a solid athlete as is evidenced by his 35-inch vertical leap. As a junior, he caught 24 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. Understands he needs to bulk up, saying, "I'd like to get to at least 250, because that is where you have to be to play in college." Considering offers from Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Miami, Louisville, Michigan, Maryland and Boston College.
16. TYLER SANDS, OT, 6-5, 290, BOYERTOWN -- Recently gave a verbal commitment to Illinois after paring down his list of over 20 offers to the Fighting Illini and Boston College. Ranks near the top of his class. Explodes out of the gate and gets up to that proverbial "second-level" as quick as anyone in the state. Is a better run-blocker than a pass-blocker, but says he's working hard to improve his pass-blocking skills.
17. CHRISTIAN WILSON, RB-LB, 6-4, 235, MONTOUR -- Wilson is one of the main reasons Montour hopes to make some noise in WPIAL Class AAA this season. Wilson had been known as an offensive player, but started playing linebacker for the first time in his career last season. Rushed for close to 1,000 yards last season. Was offered scholarships by colleges across the country and decided he would like to get out of the area. Clemson was one of the schools on his final list, but he decided that was a little too far. Michigan and Rutgers were his final two choices, and he committed to Michigan Aug. 20. Was recruited to play H-back, but also might be given a look at linebacker.
18. MIKE CRUZ, TE, JOHNSTOWN BISHOP MCCORT, 6-4, 260 -- Caught 21 passes a year ago. At his size, he could end up as a tackle in college. Cruz thought he knew where he wanted to attend college when he made a verbal commitment to Pitt in April. Not long after he announced that decision, he had second thoughts and backed out of the commitment. "I just decided too quickly," he said. Clemson and Florida State are now the leaders for Cruz. Illinois, West Virginia and Rutgers are among other schools that have offered a scholarship.
19. JEWHAN EDWARDS, DT, 6-1, 315, PHILADELPHIA ROMAN CATHOLIC -- Huge kid who has seen his weight skyrocket at times, Edwards insists he has it under control and plays between 300-315. Has offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Minnesota, Syracuse and Temple. While he is very big, Edwards is more than just a spac-eater and has exhibited the ability to get to the quarterback and pursue a ball-carrier. A college weight room could sculpt his body into where it needs to be in order to shine in college.
20. KALEB RAMSEY, TE-DE, 6-4, 270 LAUREL HIGHLANDS -- Has excellent agility for a big player. Displayed it on the basketball court, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game last season. Had 43 in a first-round WPIAL Class AAA playoff game. But football is definitely his future sport. He has recovered from offseason shoulder surgery for a torn labrum. Ramsey said he will most likely play defense in college, and made a commitment to Boston College two weeks ago, choosing Eagles over Pitt and Georgia Tech.
21. CAM SADDLER, RB-WR, 5-7, 165, GATEWAY -- He's small in stature, but he is the biggest breakaway threat in the state. Returned five kickoffs for touchdowns last season, one short of the national record. Returned one punt for a touchdown. Scored 20 touchdowns, and the average length of those plays was 42.1 yards. Also rushed for 1,045 yards on 196 carries and had 2,505 all-purpose yards. Is being recruited as a slotback-kick returner and has narrowed his choices to West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia and Syracuse. Might attend the same school as teammate Shayne Hale. "Right now, I'd say there's about a 90 percent chance we'll go to the same place," Saddler said.
22. QUENTIN WILLIAMS, TE-DE, 6-3, 225, CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- A versatile player who started a few games at defensive end as a freshman. Could play a few different positions in college. "It really doesn't matter to me, offense or defense," Williams said. But what does matter is if Williams can play baseball in college. He wants to play both sports because his stock as a baseball outfielder has soared. Has a number of Division I football offers, including Pitt, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Northwestern. His brother, Nate, plays at Northwestern. A number of the schools recruiting Williams have told him he can play baseball.
23. DAVID POSLUSZNY, RB-LB, 6-2, 215, HOPEWELL -- Fans didn't get a chance to see much of Posluszny as a junior because he missed most of the season with a separated right shoulder. He is hoping for a big senior season to make up for lost time. Posluszny is the brother of former Penn State star linebacker Paul Posluszny, who now plays for the Buffalo Bills. David is slated to play linebacker in college and made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame April 5. Pitt, West Virginia, Louisville, Wisconsin and Georgia Tech were among the other schools that offered. Penn State did not offer, claiming it wanted to see Posluszny play this season before deciding on an offer.
24. CHRIS HAYDEN-MARTIN, WR-DB, 6-1, 190, GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- Hayden-Martin was overshadowed by three Division I college players last year at Greensburg Central Catholic. But with Nick Sukay, Max Suter and Cody Catalina graduated, it is time for Hayden-Martin to shine. Has excellent speed, running the 40 in 4.45 seconds. His stock rose with colleges after an impressive performance at the Elite Combine in New Jersey in April. Had scholarship offers from Akron and Toledo before the camp. In the next few weeks, had offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Alabama, Louisville, South Carolina and Syracuse, among others. Made verbal commitment to Pitt in mid-June. Most likely will play cornerback for the Panthers.
25. CHRIS PALMER, OG/DT, 6-2, 295, PHILADELPHIA ST. JOHN NEUMANN-GORETTI -- Has committed to West Virginia, and more than likely will play defense in Morgantown. He chose Rich Rodriguez's squad over Colorado, North Carolina State, Maryland and Minnesota. The consensus is that Palmer is very raw, but, if he wants to learn, his potential is boundless.
First Published August 28, 2007 7:29 pm