Throughout this spring, football coaches from across the country have been and will be making recruiting trips to Western Pennsylvania because of the level of talent for the next two recruiting classes.
After being a bit down the last couple of years, the WPIAL’s Classes of 2020 and 2021 are loaded with Power Five and Division I football talent.
Who are the best players in Western Pennsylvania? That’s a question that probably doesn’t have a right answer, and certainly not before the 2019 season is played, but it’s a topic that will still get plenty of opinions throughout the summer.
Over the last couple of weeks, Pittsburgh Sports Now has reached out to various talent evaluators that are familiar with these players to get their opinions. After taking that into consideration, looking at other factors and forming my own opinion, we’re come up with our list of the WPIAL prospects for 2020 and beyond.
This list could change as the 2019 season gets underway, and we get more feedback from talent evaluators and coaches. We also gave a sneak peak at the what we think are the top five players in the WPIAL Class of 2021.
PSN’S TOP 10 2020 WPIAL RECRUITS:
1) Dayon Hayes, DE, Westinghouse
The top player in our list doesn’t even play in the WPIAL, but Westinghouse defensive end Dayon Hayes is so good that we have to include him anyway. The biggest talent out of the City League since at least Brashear’s Therran Coleman in 2016, Hayes is a major talent that many people believe would be a high four-star recruit if he were playing for a more high-profile program.
Scouting report: He will be an impact player in college. Have been told by a couple people that he reminds them of a young Aaron Donald.
Offers: Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kent State, Maryland, UMass, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Navy, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Texas A&M, Toledo, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
2) Michael Carmody, OT, Mars
Big-bodied athlete (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) has also played defensive line and tight end and is a forward for the Planets basketball team.
Scouting report: Huge, physical specimen that has his choice of major programs to attend, including Notre Dame, where his brother plays basketball.
Offers: Akron, Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
3) Zuriah Fisher, LB, Aliquippa
Another in the long line of Aliquippa players that will play Power Five football. Considering Fisher’s size (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) and athleticism, it’s no wonder that he has a long list of programs that want him.
Scouting report: The intriguing part about Fisher is that he’s really still developing as a player and is nowhere near his full potential.
Offers: Ball State, Boston College, Bowling Green, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, Maryland, UMass, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, NC State, Ohio, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
4) Josh Rawlings, TE, Woodland Hills
Very solid player that will more than likely be a player that will contribute for his next school early and comes from a program that knows what it takes to build NFL talent.
Scouting report: Unlike some high school players, Rawlings is mature and physically developed.
Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, East Carolina, Florida International, Indiana, Iowa State, Kent State, Liberty, Maryland, Marshall, UMass, Minnesota, Ohio, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia and Western Michigan.
5) AJ Beatty, DE, Central Catholic:
Beatty’s recruiting profile blew up more than any other local player this off-season as he picked up more than 40 offers.
Scouting report: Beatty plays defensive end now but one scout said that he wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the offensive side of the ball. Tough, physical player that can block.
Committed: Beatty picked the Tar Heels out of a Top Seven that included Maryland NC State, Purdue, South Carolina, UCF and West Virginia.
6) A’meer Allen, DT, Central Catholic
Big physical, defensive lineman (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) that holds offers from a number of MAC programs.
Scouting report: Don’t be surprised if once the season starts, Allen receives offers from Power Five programs. Some scouts prefer him to his brother, Amaar Allen, but they could play together at the next level, as well.
Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Florida International, Kent State, Liberty, Marshall, Massachusetts and Miami (Ohio).
7) Josh Kaltenberger, C, Seneca Valley
One of the best offensive lineman in the WPIAL and like Beatty, has seen his recruitment take off over the last couple of months.
Scouting report: Kaltenberger plays center at Seneca Valley but if schools believe he can play inside or at tackle, there could be Power Five interest.
**Kaltenberger received an offer today after working out for Purdue.
Offers: Purdue, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Colorado State, Kent State, Liberty, Miami (Ohio), Temple, Toledo and Western Michigan.
8) Jack Salopek, QB, Norwin
Salopek is the top quarterback in the WPIAL and has everything schools are looking for as a pocket passer at the next level.
Scouting report: Strong-armed quarterback that will be going to a great offensive system.
Committed: Salopek pulled the trigger on an offer from Western Michigan this spring. He held an offer to Pitt.
9) Tui Brown, LB, Gateway Brown makes the list because of his potential. No one questions Brown’s (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) athletic ability.
Scouting report: Can be great. The question is whether or not he can consistently produce every snap.
Offers: Air Force, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Kent State, UMass, Navy, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan
10) Fintan Brose, DT, Hempfield: Big lineman (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) that has a chance to add bigger offers to his current list.
Scouting report: Despite his size, Brose can move and make plays.
Offers: Air Force, Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Florida International, Kent State, UMass, Navy, Ohio, Tulane, Vanderbilt
Former North Catholic linebacker and Michigan commit Nikhai Hill-Green would have certainly made this list, but he’s transferring to St. Frances in Baltimore for the 2019 season.
JUST MISSED THE CUT
Jake Lugg, OT, North Allegheny
Mac Duda, OL, Thomas Jefferson
Aakeem Snell, ATH, Penn Hills
Deamontae Diggs, WR, McKeesport
Amaar Allen, DL, Central Catholic
PSN’S EARLY LIST OF TOP 2021 WPIAL RECRUITS:
1) Derrick Davis, ATH, Gateway
2) Nahki Johnson, LB, West Mifflin
3) Elliot Donald, DT, Central Catholic
4) Dorien Ford, DT, Baldwin
5) Miguel Jackson, LB, Pine-Richland