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Pittsburgh Sports Now 2018 Top 20 WPIAL Prospects



Kwantel Raines at Heinz Field (Photo credit: Mike Vukovcan)

We’re three months from the start of the 2017 High School Football season and right in the recruiting season so Pittsburgh Sports Now wanted to unveil our first annual Top 20 of WPIAL prospects.

In order to compile this list, for the last few weeks, I’ve been watching recruiting film and also talking to coaches and talent evaluators. After getting those opinions and from the notes gathered from watching video, I feel comfortable in releasing this list.

By no means am I an expert so I really hope that no one is offended by the order or lack of inclusion. In the end, this list means nothing, what matters is what the college coaches see when they evaluate each individual player.


1) Phil Jukovec, QB, Pine-Richland: Speaking of great, Jurkovec is just that and the best quarterback to come from the WPIAL since Terrelle Pryor. Next up for Jurkovec is playing in South Bend for Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.

2) Kwantel Raines, S, Aliquippa: Raines hasn’t even reached his full potential. The sky is the limit for him and no doubt will be the next great player that came from Aliquippa. The two big questions concerning him are which position will he play in college and which college will be lucky enough to land him.

Kwantel Raines at Heinz Field (Photo credit: Mike Vukovcan)

Kwantel Raines at Heinz Field before the Pitt-Penn State game (Photo credit: Mike Vukovcan)

3) Devin Danielson, DT, Thomas Jefferson: Big fan of Danielson’s game and believe he’ll be a force on the defensive line in college. Physical and has a motor that goes for four quarters.

Photo Courtesy of Devin Danielson

Photo Courtesy of Devin Danielson

4) Jake Kradel, OL/DT, Butler: Kradel’s stock rose more than any other local recruit from last season to now.  Following the season, Kradel picked up more than twenty-five scholarship offers. The intriguing part is that colleges are split on which position to play him in college. Ohio State wanted him on the offensive line while Pitt is taking a wait and see approach with him.

Photo Courtesy Jake Kradel

5) TJ Banks, TE/DE, East Allegheny: Like Raines, the best days for this physical specimen are ahead of him. At 6-5 and 245 pounds, Banks has the potential to dominate on either side of the ball in college. It appears as though most teams are looking at him to play on offense.  

6) Blake Zubovic, OT, Belle Vernon: Has the perfect size(6-4, 310) and athleticism to be an above average left tackle in college. Moves well enough to become equally good at both run and pass blocking.

7) Marcus Hooker, LB, New Castle: Although most people talk about Hooker playing safety in college, I believe he projects to play linebacker. Has the size, speed and believe he can fill out. Big-time athlete. Although he’s the brother of a first round pick, Marcus will make his own name in college.

New Castle's Marcus Hooker at Heinz Field for Pitt-Penn State (Photo credit: Mike Vukovcan)

New Castle’s Marcus Hooker at Heinz Field for Pitt-Penn State (Photo credit: Mike Vukovcan)

8) David Green, DT, Central Catholic: Green will continue the long, rich tradition of Central Catholic players moving on to play D-1 football. I believe Green is being a bit under-recruited and more teams will start getting on the bandwagon during the season. He’s in the mold of former Central Catholic and current Pitt defensive lineman Rashad Wheeler but I believe he’s more athletic.

Courtesy of David Green

9) Noah Palmer, DE, Thomas Jefferson: Speaking of under-recruited, that would describe Palmer. He’s a long (6-4, 215) athletic defensive end that has already committed to play at Pitt. Palmer and Danielson will give Thomas Jefferson the best defensive line in the WPIAL this season.

Courtesy of Noah Palmer

10) Kenny White, CB, Pine-Richland: Great athlete that recently transferred from West Allegheny to Pine-Richland. White has the physical ability to play D-1 football.

Kenny White

Photo courtesy of Kenny White

11) Amonte Strothers, CB/WR, Steel Valley

12) James Gmiter, OL, Bethel Park (verbally committed to West Virginia)

13) Julian Majors, WR, Penn Hills

14) Troy Fisher, QB, Central Catholic

15) Raymond Falcone, WR, Pine-Richland

16) Malik Sheppard, WR, Aliquippa

17) Rodney Denard, CB, Woodland Hills

18) Justin Sliwoski, QB, Hempfield

19) Khalil Weathers, CB, Central Catholic

20) Ronnie Stevenson, WR, Montour

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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