2010 Player of the Year/Desimon Green
Clairton's Desimon Green has heard the question: How good could he be; he plays Class A football?
"Football is football," Green said. "Colleges don't ignore Class A because it's Class A. But because this is Class A, I try to dominate."
And he has.
Green, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior quarterback/defensive end, wasn't just this season's best Class A player. He was the most dominant player for any classification, earning him a second consecutive state championship, a third straight WPIAL title and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Player of the Year honor.
Green passed for nearly 1,900 yards, rushed for 700 more and accounted for 43 touchdowns (29 passing and 14 rushing). In the PIAA title game, Green threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another to help his unbeaten Bears (16-0) overcome a 24-0 deficit.
He was equally dominant at defensive end, a position he'll play in college at Texas Tech, Michigan State, Illinois or Cincinnati. Green finished the season with XX tackles and XX sacks.
At what age did football become important?
"Not until high school. When I was a kid, I played for fun but didn't realize that it was my ticket out. Once I realized how much college cost, I didn't want to have to ask my mom to pay $100,000 over four years. I could play football and go to college for free. Who wouldn't want to do that?"
What was your favorite moment of this season?
"Nothing will ever top our last game. Being down 24 points in the first quarter and coming back was just amazing."
What did you learn about your team?
"We never give up. During previous years, if that would have happened, we would have gave up. People would have started arguing. But believe it or not, we were down, 24-0; we didn't start pointing fingers. I was shocked."
What did you learn about yourself?
"Under pressure, I do fine. Not to brag, but being down 24 points and playing quarterback, I could have easily got rattled or down on myself. But I didn't because I knew we still had three quarters left."
What gets you motivated?
"I'd go on Facebook and read the comments made by other teams' fans about us. I used to love that. I used to feed off of people talking trash on us. Riverside was just trashing us, even me. I said, 'OK, we'll see.' "
What's your favorite pregame meal?
"I always eat a chicken salad, and I have to drink three bottles of Pedialyte before the game because I cramp so easily."
Do you have any pregame rituals?
"I always turn my phone off around 4 o'clock before games. I don't answer or text anybody back until after the game. I get texts from everybody, maybe 100. They're not bad, but I just turn it off."
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
"I'd have to say my mom. Without her, I would have gave up a long time ago. I don't know where I would be at now. I'm so thankful for her and my trainer, Ms. Tammy (Ridgley), for pushing me. I wasn't going to play football anymore in high school. Ms. Tammy came to my house before my sophomore year, and they made me come up there."
What's something people don't know?
"I'm a really big pizza eater. I could probably eat a large pizza by myself. If I have a pizza or pizza rolls, don't ask for them because I won't give you a piece."
What's your favorite subject?
"English. I like writing."
Who would you trade places with for a day?
"The President. I'd just make everything free for one day. People wouldn't have to worry about anything."
-- Chris Harlan
Other players of the year candidates:
Christian Brumbaugh -- QB
South Fayette, senior, 6-4, 200
William & Mary recruit passed for 3,736 yards and 52 TDs while setting WPIAL and PIAA records.
Dillon Buechel -- QB
Montour, junior, 6-4, 175
His 2,221 passing yards and 24 TDs helped Spartans reach WPIAL Class AAA title game.
Dakota Conwell -- QB/LB
Upper St. Clair, junior, 6-1, 205
Outstanding two-way player who had more than 2,000 yards of offense and led defense in sacks.
Tim Cwalina -- OT/DT
Mt. Lebanon, senior, 6-8, 300
Virginia recruit anchored offensive line for team that won first conference title since 2003.
Julian Durden -- RB/DB
Montour, junior, 5-8, 165
His 2,033 rushing yards and 27 TDs provided balance for Montour's passing offense.
Bre' Ford -- RB/SS
Bethel Park, senior, 5-11, 205
Powerful runner had 1,366 rushing yards and 22 TDs; recruited to play safety at Akron.
Luke Hagy -- RB/CB
Mt. Lebanon, junior, 5-11, 185
Three-sport star rushed for 1,981 yards on 282 carries and scored 29 TDs.
Justin Haser -- OT/DE
North Allegheny, senior, 6-5, 245
Anchored oversized lines that won WPIAL and PIAA titles. Will play defensive end at Ohio.
Branden Jackson -- TE/LB
McKeesport, senior, 6-5, 230
Linebacker could play several positions. Has offers from Iowa, Oregon and Texas Tech, among others.
Quinton Jefferson -- TE/DE
Woodland Hills, senior, 6-4, 230
Provided strong pass rush for Wolverines. Has offers from Iowa and Ohio State, among others.
Rob Kugler -- TE/DE
North Allegheny, senior, 6-4, 245
Purdue recruit had prominent role in first season with Tigers, including two sacks in state title game.
Paul Lang -- TE/DE
Mt. Lebanon, senior, 6-5, 240
Michigan State recruit has blocking and receiving skills, with 25 catches, 341 yards and four TDs.
Matt McCann -- QB/SS
Keystone Oaks, senior, 5-10, 190
Villanova recruit rushed for 1,364 yards and 23 TDs as Wildcat QB, and he threw five more.
Greg McGhee -- QB/FS
Perry, senior, 6-2, 190
Strong-armed lefty had 2,657 passing yards and 25 TDs in leading team to City League title.
Austin Miele -- RB/SS
Mars, senior, 6-1, 195
Set WPIAL playoff record with 448 rushing yards. Ended season with 1,870 and 22 TDs.
Anthony Nixon -- WR/FS
Central Catholic, junior, 6-2, 190
Two-way starter led the Vikings with 699 receiving yards on 33 catches.
Alex Papson -- RB
North Allegheny, senior, 5-8, 180
His 2,482 rushing yards and 32 TDs carried Tigers to WPIAL championship game.
Lafayette Pitts -- RB/CB
Woodland Hills, senior, 6-0, 185
Pitt recruit had 1,758 rushing yards and 28 TDs for WPIAL runner-up.
Ejuan Price -- TE/LB
Woodland Hills, senior, 6-0, 235
Iowa, Ohio State and West Virginia are pursuing the Wolverines' speedy linebacker.
Deaysean Rippy -- WR/LB
Sto-Rox, junior, 6-2, 200
Highly recruited junior led Vikings with eight sacks and 67 tackles, along with 510 receiving yards.
Rushel Shell -- RB/CB
Hopewell, junior, 6-0, 220
His 2,510 yards (with 32 TDs) this season has him nearing WPIAL's career rushing record. Has offers from Alabama and Ohio State, among others.
Delvon Simmons -- OG/DT
McKeesport, senior, 6-5, 260
He will be the state's only player at U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Has offers from Iowa, Oregon and Texas Tech, among others.
Armstead Williams -- WR/DB
Gateway, senior, 6-3, 205
Had 29 catches for 357 yards and four TDs. Coveted by Iowa and Maryland, among others, for his speed.
Delrece Williams -- RB
Steel Valley, senior, 5-11, 185
Led WPIAL with 31 TDs. Set WPIAL regular-season rushing record and finished with 2,385 yards.