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Move to defensive line new challenge for DePellegrini at St. Vincent

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mitch DePellegrini graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School in 2010 with one year of varsity football experience on his resume.

That didn't stop him from becoming a starter on the offensive line at St. Vincent College.

“It was a challenge at first,” DePellegrini said. “There was a lot that I had to learn and I had to adjust to the speed of the game. Things have gone well, though.”

Now, he will face a new challenge.

He'll be starting on the defensive line.

“The move was made partially from a team needs standpoint and I also wanted to play defense,” DePellegrini said. “I began practicing with the defense in the spring.

“I loved playing on the offensive line and I always will. It's another challenge making the switch.”

It's even more challenging because he didn't play defense at Fox Chapel.

“I only played football in my senior year so it would have been tough learning the offense and the defense,” the 6-foot-5, 290-pound DePellegrini said. “I'm learning fast, though, and right now I'm running first team.”

DePellegrini, who is majoring in management and minoring in operational excellence, hopes to land a job in the Pittsburgh area after graduating but he's not lacking for hometown company at St. Vincent.

Fox Chapel Area graduates Renny Larue-Holloman and David Doorley are also on the team.

“I never played on the team with either of them at Fox Chapel,” DePellegrini said. “Renny transferred in from Schenley after I graduated and David was a freshman in my senior year. It's nice to have them around. Plus, there's a lot of guys here who I played against in high school.”

He also has a lot of family support should he get homesick.

“My mom has a big tailgate party here every Saturday that we have a home game,” he said. “Everybody enjoys coming out here.”

Having the Steelers at St. Vincent is also a bonus as far as DePellegrini is concerned.

“They practice on a different field and it's at the same time that we practice so I don't get to watch them much,” he said. “I've been here working all summer, though, so when they came to camp I got to see a lot of practices.”

DePellegrini was a standout wrestler at Fox Chapel but he had to give it up because the Bearcats don't have a wrestling team.

“I miss my wrestling days a lot, especially Coach (Ron) Frank and all of the other coaches,” he said.

The Bearcats were 0-10 last season after going 6-5 and playing in a bowl game the year before.

“We have high hopes for this season,” DePellegrini said.

“We think we can bounce back.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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