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Dinkins will discuss college recruiting at Penn Hills seminar

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

Dynamite Sports Owner Rick Wire has a simple goal for student-athletes who aspire to be recruited by top colleges and ultimately play professional sports.

Make sure your expectations are realistic.

“There aren't a lot of parents who don't think their kid has the potential to be a Division-I athlete,” Wire said.

“They love their kids. We all think our kids are a little bigger, stronger, faster than maybe they really are.”

But when it comes to recruiting, Wire said, it doesn't pay to think like a parent.

Wire will be joined by Pitt standout and former NFL tight end Darnell Dinkins on Feb. 26 at a public seminar at Penn Hills High School focused on college recruiting for student athletes.

Wire started Dynamite Sports in 1995 based on experiences he and his family went through when his son Coy was being recruited.

Wire said the most important decision the family made was to take several unofficial visits.

“We took 15,” he said. “I recommend kids take two unofficial visits their freshman year: first to a Division-I school, then to a Division-III school.”

The visits, in that order, accomplish two things, Wire said.

“The visit to the D-I school is great, but you start to see things like the fact that the small forward on their basketball team is a foot-and-a-half taller than you,” he said.

“Now, you might grow a foot-and-a-half in the next few years, but probably not. Ninety-nine percent of families will see that, and they'll get it, they'll understand.”

By contrast, a visit to a Division-III school, Wire said, usually results in meeting players who skew closer to average height and weight.

“It helps kids to become realistic early on,” he said.

“They can tailor their visits from then on, knowing what their level probably will be and where they will have the best opportunity to play.”

Dinkins agreed.

“What we perceive is what we believe,” he said.

“Until you see just how big guys are, you don't see the reality. It's not to discourage kids, but to encourage them to be realistic.”

Dinkins said he was a 225-pound quarterback/linebacker when he came out of high school, making him the exception rather than the rule.

“What I like to tell kids is that not everyone is in my position,” he said.

“Kids need to know their role and how to get to the right school for them. There are a lot of talented players in smaller divisions, and I try to give parents the realities of the recruiting process.”

Dinkins said the best approach is find the right school, be proactive and locate what will afford the most opportunities, both on and off the field.

A sobering dose of reality comes when Dinkins simply looks at the numbers.

“There are about 1.1 million students going out for high school football each year,” he said.

“About 315,000 of them are seniors.” Of the 60,000 to 70,000 who get scholarships “maybe 225 will make it into the NFL.”

That means 0.0007 percent of high school seniors playing football actually will have a chance to become professional athletes.

Penn Hills Athletic Director John Peterman said the recruitment seminar, which he's organized the past seven years, averages between 100 and 350 in attendance. It is open to the public.

“It's a great program,” Peterman said. “We try to get as much information as we can out to parents and students.”

The seminar will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, in the auditorium at the high school, 309 Collins Drive.

It is free and open to the public.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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