Recruit Report: Division I teams ignore NA's Leftwich
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College recruiters try to sell their programs to high school players and coaches. For North Allegheny coach Art Walker, the situation is reversed for one of his players. Walker is trying to sell senior quarterback Mack Leftwich to Division I college coaches.
Walker doesn't believe Leftwich should come up short in recruiting just because he is short. Leftwich, 5 feet 10, 185 pounds, is in his second season as North Allegheny's quarterback. He has been outstanding since he transferred from Oklahoma. He had more than 3,000 yards offense (2,223 throwing, 933 rushing) a year ago in helping North Allegheny win the WPIAL Class AAAA title. This season, Leftwich, a senior, leads the WPIAL in passing yardage with 739 yards (34 of 52) and has rushed for 93 yards on 21 attempts.
But Division I college coaches don't fall over themselves trying to recruit 5-10 quarterbacks. Some Mid-American Conference and Division I-AA schools have shown interest, but the only offer Leftwich has is from Stephen F. Austin, a Division I-AA school in Texas. Walker, though, calls Leftwich the best quarterback he has coached in his 14 seasons as a WPIAL head coach.
"I think what he needs is the recruiter, the head coach, or the offensive coordinator who has the guts to look past the one thing -- that's his height," Walker said. "I'm going to be blunt about this. If a college coach knows what he is doing and knows how to evaluate players, then his height should not factor in when you see what he can do with his arm, with his feet, leading a no-huddle offense, making short throws, intermediate throws and long throws.
"If all that doesn't outweigh that he's maybe 2 inches too short, then I question some people's ability to evaluate kids."
Walker believes Leftwich's strong arm should put him on a Division I team.
"He has been to some colleges camps, and they all like him," Walker said. "No one has anything bad to say about him. He'll play somewhere in college. It just all depends at what level."
James Conner of Erie McDowell High School made a verbal commitment to Pitt this summer. The 6-2, 230-pound senior was recruited as a defensive end. But Conner has opened eyes with his ability as a running back. He had 246 yards on eight carries Saturday in a 49-20 win against Lancaster Catholic. Lancaster Catholic is the defending PIAA Class AA champion. In three games, Conner has 539 yards on 30 attempts.
First Published September 21, 2012 12:00 am