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Selection Snub? Western Pa’s Top Players, Teams Not Represented in Big 33 Game



The Big 33 rosters were released on Tuesday, and as usual, some of Western Pennsylvania’s biggest names will represent the state in the annual high school football all-star game.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic leads the region with three players represented: DT David Green, LB Liam Slattery and DB Khalil Weathers. South Fayette had two players selected: DT Ray Eldridge and LB Noah Plack-Tallerico.

Also chosen were Central Valley OL Eric Neill, McKeesport LB Layton Jordan, North Allegheny OL Derek Devine, Thomas Jefferson DE Noah Palmer, Trinity OL Ben Phillis and Woodland Hills WR Naszhir Taylor.

But maybe more interesting were the players that weren’t selected. Of the top-10 rated football players in the southwestern part of the according to 247Sports, only Green was chosen.

Pine-Richland QB Phil Jurkovec, Aliquippa LB Kwantel Raines, Belle Vernon OL Blake Zubovic, East Allegheny TE T.J. Banks, Penn Hills WR Julian Major, New Castle DB Marcus Hooker, Butler OL Jake Kradel, Thomas Jefferson DT Devin Danielson and Bethel Park DT James Gmiter were all snubbed. Each of those players has signed with a Power Five school.

Team success doesn’t seem to have held much sway with the selectors, either. The Pine-Richland Rams went 16-0 and beat St. Joseph’s prep, 41-21 in the state final. No Rams were selected, including Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit and the No 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country.

State champions Quaker Valley and Jeannette did not have a player taken and neither did state finalist Gateway.

The 2018 Big 33 game will be played at Landis Field at Speed Ebersole Stadium in Harrisburg on June 16. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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