Massive Freeport lineman makes great strides since hiatus
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Freeport senior Shane McKillop, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound lineman, returned to the football field last season after a two-year hiatus of his own choosing.
Considering McKillop's impressive size — and the fact he'd already played for four years — the decision to sit out as a freshman and sophomore seemed unusual to some. He wasn't injured.
But McKillop's time away from the gridiron made sense to him.
And, when he started playing again as a junior, he had to do some catching up but steadily improved. Now, he's attracting interest from Division I programs, including Cincinnati.
“Going into high school, I didn't feel physically ready enough,” McKillop said. “I spent a couple years lifting weights and getting stronger. I was always the biggest kid in class. My dad is six feet tall, and I passed him up in seventh grade.”
Encouraged by classmates and feeling more confident, McKillop decided last year was the time to make his high school debut. He was named all-conference honorable mention at offensive tackle for Freeport (7-3, 6-1), which relied on a bruising rushing attack to reach the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Freeport coach John Gaillot thinks McKillop, with a varsity season under his belt, could be much better this year.
“Really, last year was like touching the top of the iceberg,” Gaillot said. “He's shown drastic improvement. He's more aggressive in everything. He still has a lot to offer. I believe this will be his breakout year, blocking and dominating at the line. That's what we're counting on, with his size.”
McKillop's personality also changed noticeably since last year.
“He's come out of his shell,” Gaillot said. “He's started to show a mean streak.”
Shane's cousins, Scott and Chris McKillop, starred at Kiski Area and Pitt. Scott is a middle linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. Shane conditioned under the supervision of Chris, who was a graduate assistant at Duquesne University before becoming a Leechburg assistant. Shane fondly remembers watching his cousins play for Pitt at Heinz Field.
“It was cool,” he said. “We sat right along the sideline.”
This past summer, McKillop attended camps at Bucknell, Cincinnati, Duquesne and Pitt, where he performed in front of many college scouts. Cincinnati's offensive line coach Don Mahoney visited Freeport and personally invited McKillop to the Bearcats' camp.
Still, McKillop wouldn't mind playing Division II or III football.
“I'm fine with those, too,” the two-way lineman said. “But I have to play better. I want to get more eyes on me and keep the interest I already have from schools.”
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.
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.
- Steelers clinch playoff berth with win over Chiefs
- Groom cited at Farmington wedding reception being filmed for reality TV show
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Banged-up Steelers can clinch with win over Chiefs
- Car wash explosion, fire injures 2 in McDonald
- Sony hack signals new, public front in cyber warfare
- Police seek answers in killing of 2 NYPD officers
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Police investigate alleged institutional sexual assault at Pine youth treatment center
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status