With the 2016 football season now in the rearview mirror, many high school football players are ready to get back on the gridiron for 7-on-7 tournaments coming up this spring.
Team Evolve held their tryout at the UPMC indoor facility down on the South Side this weekend and it is safe to say that the talent level was some of the best the WPIAL has to offer for the 2017 season and beyond.
The star of the tryout, which hosted close to 200 student-athletes, was West Allegheny standout cornerback/receiver and 3-star recruit, Kenny White. The 6-foot, 187-pound junior from Imperial, PA is a physical specimen whose presence alone demands everyone’s attention but that was not the only thing that caught the eyes of spectators and fellow players.
On the first play of 1-on-1, White paired up with Penn Hills 3-star receiver, Julian Major. Major has reported offers from Kentucky, Arkansas, Iowa State, Akron and Boston College.
This would be the first of a few times that the two went toe-to-toe with each other. With everyone in attendance watching the play, White jumped a slant route and broke up the pass. Speaking of Major, while he has great hands and runs crisp routes, he will need to get stronger in order to create separation off the line of scrimmage and downfield.
On White’s next rep, he knocked his man so far off his route that the receiver ended up 5 yards out of bounds. Later in the session, White and Major went at it again, this time from the 10-yardline. White was able to shield Major to the sideline, cutoff the route and intercepted the pass at the pylon in the
front corner of the end zone.
White is exceptionally physical and really knows how to control his body without drawing interference. White’s only P5 offer is from Iowa State, but he is drawing
heavy interest from Pitt and Penn State among many others. White’s recruitment will be one to keep a close eye on for Pitt fans.
Aside from White, there was some younger talent on display that turned some heads.
Central Catholic sophomore Corey Thomas Jr. had a very nice day working out at both receiver and safety. Although he is just a sophomore, the 6-foot-3 athlete is drawing some serious interest from the likes of Pitt, Penn State, Temple, WVU and Iowa State.
Since he is still young, it will be interesting to see how his body develops. He showed some solid ball skills in the defensive backfield, which could translate well to a hybrid safety/linebacker if he adds some bulk to his
Plum sophomore Rahmon “RJ” Hart Jr., is going to be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams the next two years of high school and beyond. Coming in at about 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Hart is currently a receiver but being so young and already having the frame he does, he could potentially turn into a tight end at the next level. His only current offer is Temple, but if he can learn how to use his body and realize he has the raw talent to dominate pretty much every other
player at this level, the offers will start to pour in.
Joey Porter Jr., the son of current Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter, is a name to keep an eye on at the receiver position. The sophomore out of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is very thin but stands over 6-feet. He made a few nice grabs in tight coverage despite his lean 165-pound frame. If he can work on his routes and really putting his foot on the ground and exploding out of breaks, he could potentially attract the attention of smaller D-1 schools.
I am sure that I am leaving some players off the list that deserve credit for having a good day, but there is only so much you can see when there are nearly 200 kids out there.
Here is a list of some other participants who caught my attention: 2019 Hollis Mathis (Penn Hills), 2019 Marlin Devonshire Jr. (Aliquippa), 2019 Jayvon Thrift (Norwin), 2018 Ronnie Stevenson (Montour), 2018 Khalil Weathers (Central Catholic), 2018 Jack Hansberry (Upper St. Clair), 2018 Emanuel Bowden (Carrick)
*Note: 4-star safety Kwantel Raines (Aliquippa) was supposed to be in attendance but was not at the tryout.