Pitt City Elite, Pittsburgh’s newest 7v7 team, is essentially an expansion franchise.
Like professional expansion franchise’s do, Melvin Kirby and his staff were looking for young high school players to build this first season around.
During their tryouts, Kirby was looking for a foundation of talented players that some of the younger players could look to for guidance and at the same time make them and the Pitt City Elite team better.
One of their core players this year will be South Allegheny sophomore Antonio Epps.
When it comes time for him to get serious about recruiting, Epps will have his share of offers to decide from, his talent level is that good. Right now though, Epps isn’t worried about getting recruited, he just wants to improve his skills and feels he can do that with the guidance from the staff of Pitt City Elite.
Epps could’ve joined other 7v7 teams in Pittsburgh, I asked him what went into his decision to join Kirby and his squad.
“I felt that when he reached out to me, he was very upfront about what the program could do for me and how I would benefit from it,” said Epps. “Also, when I met with him at the tryout, he was just a real genuine person that I believe I can learn a lot from and play for so that I can better myself.”
“As far as playing for Pitt City Elite at all the exposure tournaments we’ll be in, I’ll be able to sharpen my skills because I’ll be playing against elite competition. Also, by playing against this competition, I’ll put myself more on the recruiting map. But the main thing is that I’m going to get better as a player.”
Epps has enjoyed the team workouts that Kirby and his staff have setup. Keep in mind, this staff has played college football and were one of the originators of the 7v7 football leagues, which has now become a trend nationally.
“The coaches have been a pleasure to work with and have been real honest people that everyone on the team enjoy being around,” said Epps. “I can already tell that they’re people that you can talk to man to man, coach to player about anything. It’s really fun coming to practice knowing that the intensity level and competition level is going to be really high and by going against this type of talent everyday and getting coached by these coaches, it’ll get us ready for the upcoming tournaments.”
Epps describes a normal practice session by saying it starts with proper stretching, then the quarterbacks and wide receivers get together and work on all their route combinations, then the corners and receivers will do 1-on-1 drills and they close things up with running through all their plays.
Epps tells me that right now, he believes the strengths to his game are his speed and his versatility on the field. He’s talented enough to be able to play running back, wide receiver and cornerback. However, cornerback is where he thinks he’ll end up playing in college.
This talented sophomore has plenty of time to figure that out. Right now, his sole focus is getting better for the 2019 WPIAL season and has no doubt he’ll accomplish that by working with Melvin Kirby and the coaching staff at Pitt City Elite.