Gorman: Can Clairton stars end Class A stigma?
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Tyler Boyd was the first WPIAL Class A player selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where the Clairton star made a verbal commitment to Pitt.
A decade ago, it would have been a big deal for the Panthers to put so much stock in the recruitment of a small-school star.
That the number of those who succeeded in major-college football is exceeded by those who flamed out gave small-school stars a stigma.
For every Derek Bochna who made it out of Mapletown to become a four-year starter at Penn State, there was another WPIAL Class A standout whose stay at Division I was short-lived.
It didn't help that Mike Vernillo, who broke the WPIAL career rushing record at Fort Cherry in 1999, lasted only one season at West Virginia.
Never mind that Vernillo transferred to Slippery Rock amid a coaching change that involved the Mountaineers switching offensive schemes.
It didn't help that Duquesne's Elijah Fields, the Trib's 2005 player of the year and one of the WPIAL's most talented players in the past decade, never found a fit in Pitt's defense and had off-field issues that led to his departure from the program.
It didn't help that Clairton's Desimon Green, the Trib's 2010 player of the year, backed out of his commitment to Pitt to sign with Texas Tech but didn't qualify for freshman eligibility. After attending prep school, he signed with California (Pa.).
There are, however, success stories such as Sto-Rox quarterback Adam DiMichele. After setting the WPIAL career passing record, he signed with Penn State but played junior-college baseball. DiMichele ultimately passed for 5,024 yards and 40 touchdowns in three seasons at Temple.
Which brings us to Boyd and teammates Titus Howard and Terrish Webb. They led Clairton to a state-record 63 consecutive victories and four WPIAL and PIAA titles.
I've seen them play enough times to have no doubt their talent can translate to the Division I level.
Their success, though, will depend on their determination and drive, their willingness to compete in practice, work on their weaknesses and stay out of trouble.
Most of all, it might depend on their patience.
Where Pitt hopes Boyd can make an early impact, stardom may not come as quickly in college for the trio as it did at Clairton, if at all.
The kids known as the Killer T's should know this: WPIAL Class A is counting on them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bomb plot trial ends in Saudi’s conviction
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins’ competition among bottom six
- Sophomore stars carry Beaver Falls to 3rd finals appearance in 4 seasons
- Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
- Trib Cup: South Park girls look ahead to PIAA tournament
- High school notebook: Armstrong, Freeport know playoff opponents
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates
- High school roundup: Mt. Lebanon boys oust Hempfield
- Move to Canon-McMillan means less travel for wrestlers headed to Southwest Regional
- WPIAL finalists feature skilled scorers, playmakers on perimeter
- Jihadi John, slashing terrorist, is unmasked as Briton