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Harlan on recruiting: Mt. Lebanon linemen garnering Division I offers

Chris Harlan
| Friday, July 21, 2017, 8:27 p.m.
Mt. Lebanon's Colby Sorsdal
Chris Harlan | For the Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Colby Sorsdal
Mt. Lebanon's Coleman Coco
Chris Harlan | Tribune-Review
Mt. Lebanon's Coleman Coco

Colby Sorsdal is a Western Pennsylvania lineman with Texas roots.

What more could a college coach want, Mt. Lebanon coach Mike Melnyk asks with a laugh. That's his recruiting pitch for Sorsdal, a Blue Devils senior who moved to Pittsburgh from the Lone Star State while in grade school.

“I tell all of the coaches that he's got a little bit of Texas football blood in him,” Melnyk said of the 6-foot-5, 285-pound tackle, who planned to attend TCU and Texas A&M camps this month. “He's still got a lot of family down in Texas.”

But rather than his southern roots, recruiters are more interested in Sorsdal's size. The lineman grew a few inches in the past two years and worked himself into better shape. Now, recruiters can notice the flexibility in his knees and hips, Melnyk said.

“A lot of people might have looked at him as a sophomore and saw a pudgy kid who didn't move real well,” Melnyk said. “But through a lot of hard work in the weight room, when a lot of the coaches met him this spring they said: ‘Wow!' Then they looked at his film and saw he can play. That's when the offers started to come in.”

Sorsdal holds a handful of Division I FBS offers from MAC and AAC schools, including Central Florida, Bowling Green and UConn, and Melnyk wouldn't be surprised to see a BCS school join his list at some point soon.

“I think there are going to be other schools, including maybe some BCS schools that become interested in him,” Melnyk said. “But for a place like UCF to come up here and offer Colby, that really says something about him. They had to pass a lot of kids and a lot of schools to come all the way up here and find Colby.”

UCF already has one WPIAL lineman on its roster: former Seneca Valley tackle Tyler Hudanick.

Among Sorsdal's other offers are Albany, Ball State, Kent State, Brown, Bucknell and Holy Cross. He added William and Mary just last month and pushed his total to 15.

“Right now, for me at least, the process is kind of stressful,” Sorsdal said, “because you see a lot of these kids committing and I don't think I'm ready for that yet. But it's also exciting.”

What makes Sorsdal stand out could be his physicality. For example, Mt. Lebanon has two Division I linemen, Sorsdal and Coleman Coco, and the seniors can combine for Texas-sized collisions. Coco, a 6-2, 220-pound defensive end and former middle linebacker, lists offers from Kent State, Air Force and many FCS schools.

“Once we got a little bit of steam on us, butted heads, pushed it a little hard and my nose busted open with blood,” Coco said. “But we were at it the next day and ready to go. That's what we expect. On the field, we're going to crack each other's heads. Off the field, we make each other better as friends.”

As a WPIAL Class 6A school, Melnyk tries to limit his linemen to one side of the ball. Sorsdal has played primarily offense, while Coco was strictly a defense end.

Four for four

Penn State has commitments from four of Pennsylvania's Top 10 recruits from the 2018 class now that Imhotep Charter safety Isheem Young picked the Nittany Lions this week.

Young was ranked fifth in the state by Rivals.com. The other Penn State recruits among Pennsylvania's Top 10 are Camp Hill tight end Zack Kuntz (third), Pennridge linebacker Nick Tarburton (fourth) and Mercyhurst Prep linebacker Jesse Luketa (10th). All four are four-star recruits.

Notre Dame has two recruits among the state's Top 10: Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec (second) and Cathedral Prep linebacker Matthew Bauer (sixth). Archbishop Wood tight end Kyle Pitts (seventh) is a Florida commit, and Philadelphia St. Joseph's Darryl Simmons (eighth) picked Virginia Tech.

The state's No. 1 recruit, Harrisburg defensive end Micah Parsons, remains undecided. He rescinded his commitment to Penn State in April and is visiting Ohio State this weekend.

Also undecided is Aliquippa safety Kwantel Raines, who's ranked ninth in the state.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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