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Prospect watch: Thomas Jefferson's Chase Winovich

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Thomas Jefferson's Chase Winovich sprints after a West Allegheny ball carrier during the second quarter of their WPIAL Class AAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 at Bethel Park.

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Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 10:10 p.m.

chase winovich

6-foot-4, 212 pounds, LB, Thomas Jefferson

Chase Winovich watched his older brother, Peter, move from quarterback to tight end to linebacker before finally settling in as a two-year starter at fullback for Bowling Green.

That's why the younger Winovich is happy to have found a permanent position. Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak moved him from safety to middle linebacker early in the season, then watched the junior blossom into a big-time recruit.

“He had a good year, and you can see that on film,” Cherpak said. “He's so physical. He'll run through you. He makes the play before it develops. It's really impressive. Once everyone sees him and how fast he plays, he's going to get a ton of offers.”

Winovich received his first scholarship offer when Pitt pulled the trigger on Wednesday. Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan State, Northwestern and Virginia also are showing interest.

“It was awesome to get my first scholarship opportunity, and it was really cool that it was from my hometown school,” Winovich said. “I want to be a linebacker in college, and that's what they want me for. It's very relieving to me because I know that I have the skill set and people have their faith in me. I can concentrate on one position and try to excel at that.”

Former TJ and Pitt star Dom DeCicco, now a middle linebacker with the Chicago Bears, took Winovich under his wing and showed him the nuances of playing the position. Winovich led the Jaguars in every defensive category except interceptions, recording 69 tackles, nine sacks, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

“It was cool seeing the transition from a shaky safety to what I evolved into at linebacker,” Winovich said. “My team rallied around me, and I definitely couldn't have accomplished what I did without them.”

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