Kiski Area standouts and their ex-teammate consider Division I options
The four friends, all freshmen at Kiski Area at the time, lounged at Adam Mitcheson's house when they first began to speculate about their individual outlooks as football players.
Could they all play Division I football? Possibly, they agreed. Each started at Kiski Area as a freshman.
“All the other parents called us the Fab Four,” Mitcheson said. “We were like ahead of the pack.”
Mitcheson, Joey Brungo, J.J. Cosentino and Shane Kuhn remain the closest of friends, though Cosentino now attends Pittsburgh Central Catholic. And as all four enter their senior year this fall, they no longer wonder if Division I schools want them. They now question which one they should choose.
“We messed around, like ‘What if we all end up at the same college?' ” said Kuhn, a tight end and linebacker. “Just growing up, that was all of our dreams.”
Cosentino, a quarterback who left Kiski Area after his sophomore season, was the first — and thus far, only — of the foursome to commit to a school. He gave his word to Florida State in March and has tried to attract other recruits to the Seminoles this summer.
Brungo, Kuhn and Mitcheson each acknowledge a scholarship at Florida State likely is out of reach. But they aren't discouraged.
Kuhn received an offer from Youngstown State in mid-June. He said Pitt and West Virginia have expressed serious interest in him, though they've yet to make offers. Bowling Green, Temple, Kent State and Robert Morris also are among his suitors. Most of the schools want him as a tight end; Pitt prefers he play defensive end.
Brungo, a wide receiver and defensive back, named Dartmouth and Lafayette as the teams most interested in him. Other Ivy League programs and Bowling Green also are in the mix.
And Mitcheson, a punter and kicker, has received interest from Marshall, Old Dominion, Syracuse and Temple.
The friends get together on a weekly basis during summers to work out on a football field. Valley's stadium often is the meeting place. Brungo, Kuhn and Mitcheson run routes for Cosentino. Kuhn snaps to Brungo, who holds for Mitcheson, who kicks field goal attempts that Cosentino catches.
Eventually, the boys embrace various one-on-one challenges. The kicker wins a considerable number of the contests.
“We call him ‘Money Mitch,' ” Cosentino said. “I don't know if it's luck or if he's that athletic, but he wins at everything.”
Mitcheson absorbs jabs about only kicking and punting, but no one among the four escapes tough love of some sort. The two biggest targets are Cosentino, who deals with “Mr. Sunshine” taunts, and Kuhn, who tolerates mockery about being a hothead.
Years spent together left the boys with plenty of material. They attended Allegheny-Hyde Park Elementary, and all four played coach-pitch baseball together. Even now, Brungo, Cosentino and Mitcheson live a short walk away from one another, and a 10-minute drive gets them to Kuhn's house.
Recruitment is one subject that rarely comes up among the foursome these days. Division I football careers are attainable, just as they dreamt. But the process isn't as fun as they hoped; coaches send mixed messages, and parents add pressure.
“When we're together ... we really don't get into anything like that,” Brungo said. “We sort of use each other to get away from it all.”