Upper St. Clair defensive end Rori Blair, who missed the 2012 season after suffering a stroke, will return to the team this season holding a symbol of his recovery — a scholarship to play football at Pitt.
Blair became the 16th recruit from Pitt's Class of 2014 — and the fifth from the WPIAL — when he told coach Paul Chryst on Friday that he will enroll next year.
“It felt pretty great to see schools still want me even though they knew what I went through,” said Blair, who also had offers from West Virginia and Kent State.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder starred at wide receiver and defensive end on USC's 2011 WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up team. He had a stroke on Easter 2012 from a brain arteriovenous malformation, found in less than 1 percent of the population. He said he flatlined from stroke complications and had to be resuscitated. During his eight-month recovery, he lost 40 pounds and spent time at the Children's Institute rehabilitation center.
After sitting out his senior season, Blair has been cleared by doctors to play football this fall and the WPIAL awarded him an extra semester of eligibility.
“It was a tragic year, I guess, but the best thing is he lived through that crisis,” USC coach Jim Render said. “He's matured in many ways with what he's been through.
“Pitt did a great job, and they never wavered. They asked some questions about his medical history and went full bore. I think some other schools missed the boat, given his talent.”
Pitt recruited Blair to play defensive end, but he also is a good pass catcher and can play tight end.
When asked which position is his best, he laughed and said: “All of them.”
Jerry DiPaola contributed to this report. Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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