HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the cornerbacks
Western Pennsylvania's high school quarterbacks are throwing for more yards than ever before with single-game, season and career records rewritten in recent seasons.
Nowadays, coaches are using three and four receivers at a time as teams shift to the air with spread offenses. The WPIAL had 10 quarterbacks pass for more than 2,000 yards a year ago. That trend makes talented cornerbacks all the more valuable.
Central Catholic's Khalil Weathers is sure to run into Pine-Richland wideout Raymond Falcone, a Division I recruit who led the WPIAL with 1,300 yards last season. The two seniors share a Class 6A conference and Pine-Richland's offense is built to throw.
In Class 2A, defending state champion Steel Valley will see Riverside senior Austin Dambach in Week 1. Dambach, a 6-foot-3 wideout committed to Lehigh, set a WPIAL single-game record for receiving yards in 2015. He had 348 on 13 receptions. He'll likely start this season by encountering Steel Valley senior Amonte Strothers, a cornerback with Power 5 scholarship offers.
Elsewhere, Montour and Kavon Mormon have a conference date ahead with South Fayette, one of the most successful spread-offense attacks in the state under coach Joe Rossi.
Now defensive coordinators are trying to find new ways to slow the spread with added pressure on the secondary.
1. Khalil Weathers
Senior, 6-0, 185
Weathers had 55 tackles and six interceptions as a junior and earned all-conference honorable mention in Class 6A. He had a season-high seven tackles in the WPIAL final at Heinz Field. He also plays receiver and scored three times. He has 23 college offers, many from Mid-American, Ivy League and Patriot League schools.
2. Amonte Strothers
Senior, 6-2, 170
Strothers was a first-team all-conference defensive back as a junior when the Ironmen won the state Class 2A title with 15 straight mercy rule victories. He reached the end zone last season on a punt return. Syracuse gave him his first offer in January and he's since listed Purdue, Toledo, Kent State, Miami (Ohio) and a few others.
3. MJ Devonshire
Junior, 5-11, 175
Devonshire, the latest in a line of elite Aliquippa cornerbacks, will be one of the WPIAL's top recruits in 2019. The three-star Rivals recruit already lists scholarship offers from West Virginia, Oregon State and Syracuse. He had six interceptions last season for the Quips, including one in the WPIAL Class 3A final at Heinz Field.
4. Kavon Morman
Senior, 6-0, 170
Morman plays cornerback and quarterback for the Spartans. A year ago, he had 37 tackles and returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown. His defensive score came in a game against Greensburg Salem where he also had a 79-yard TD run and three TD passes. He has offers from Cornell, Dayton and Robert Morris.
5. Robert Kennedy
Senior, 5-10, 175
Kennedy reached the end zone six different ways last season, including a 59-yard interception return, a 54-yard fumble return, an 85-yard kickoff return and a 45-yard punt return. He scored 20 total touchdowns last season (an 85-yard catch included) as Jeannette reached the WPIAL Class A final. Kennedy lists Division I FCS scholarship offers from Robert Morris and Albany.
One to watch: Isaiah Price
Sophomore, 5-10, 180
Price earned all-conference honorable mention as a freshman cornerback, the only ninth-grader recognized in the Class 5A honors. He ranked third on his team with 58 tackles and recovered one fumble for the WPIAL playoff qualifiers. A multi-sport athlete, Price also is a key contributor in basketball.