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Gorman: A 2-sport standout, Pine-Richland's Slomka has options

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Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Football is Connor Slomka's first love, but the Pine-Richland junior's first scholarship offer came in another sport.

Despite rushing for 1,000 yards as a sophomore, Slomka didn't hesitate to commit when Ohio State recruited him as a midfielder for lacrosse.

“It was a huge deal. Obviously, I say I love football but I love lacrosse, too,” Slomka said. “Ohio State is one of the top schools I could imagine going to, so I was real excited.”

But Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz believes Slomka has a future in football, especially after watching the 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior rush for 172 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-17 victory over Fox Chapel in the opener.

“I told him, ‘You've got to take that and put it in your back pocket,'” said Kasperowicz, who played linebacker at Pitt. “He was honest with them and told them he's a good football player and if something came along, he'd have to make a decision.

“If he continues to progress with the way things are going now, there's no doubt in my mind (he could play Division-I football). He runs with the best of them and he's a big, physical kid.”

Where Slomka plays primarily offense, Kasperowicz compares him to WPIAL alums Paul Posluszny and Sean Lee, star linebackers at Penn State who now play for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.

“He's a stud,” Kasperowicz said. “One word comes to mind when I think of Connor: physical. Everything he does is physical and downhill.”

Slomka sees similarity in how he plays both sports, using his speed, power and open-field moves. He also was intrigued to learn that former Mt. Lebanon star Brian Young led the WPIAL in rushing with 2,214 yards in 2001, then played lacrosse for two seasons at Georgetown before transferring to Boston College, where he played free safety.

Right now, Slomka has his sights set on playing Seneca Valley in the first Thursday night game on ROOT Sports' schedule.

“I'm so excited. I've never played in a game this big before in my entire life so I'm looking forward to it,” Slomka said. “Being on TV adds a lot of appeal to it.”

Watching Slomka play football could convince Division-I coaches to try to change his mind.

“We'll see what happens,” Slomka said. “If football doesn't work out, I'm perfectly happy with what I'm doing on the lacrosse field.”

Either way, Slomka is showing he has star power.

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