Gorman: Robert Morris lands WPIAL trio
Matt Fennell followed his future teammates on Twitter, so the Upper St. Clair offensive lineman saw the announcements of their college choice before making his.
Fennell's decision to make a verbal commitment to Robert Morris was an independent one, but it followed Clairton multi-purpose back Harrison Dreher and Penn-Trafford defensive end Chris Stanford this weekend.
“Seeing what Robert Morris is trying to build — a team with WPIAL kids — that really stood out to me,” said Fennell, a 6-foot-4, 280-pounder. “I thought that was interesting and cool, something I want to be part of. They made me feel like I was part of the team and someone they needed. I liked that I could be part of a program on the rise.”
It was symbolic of the latest trend in Western Pennsylvania recruiting. Prospects with Division I-FBS offers are staying close to home to play, hopefully right away, for local I-FCS programs.
Duquesne lured linebacker Nate Stone from Greensburg Central Catholic with an early commitment in 2013 and tailback P.J. Fulmore from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic last year.
Fennell, like Stanford, had an offer from Old Dominion of Conference USA. Stanford also had offers from Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Ohio, as well as FCS power Youngstown State.
Fennell, Stanford and Dreher proved they would rather play right away, perhaps in starring roles like Stone and Fulmore, than stand on the sidelines.
“If I would've went to the MAC, I probably would've redshirted,” said Stanford, a 6-4, 265-pounder recruited by many at defensive tackle. “There's a good chance to play right away, so I pulled the trigger.”
And RMU landed its targets.