It was a routine punt return for Rasheem Biles. Pickerington Central’s all-purpose star had already made an impact offensively, defensively and on special teams, but his fourth quarter return against Gahanna Lincoln was different.
Biles planted his foot, twisted and felt the pop as he turned. A non-contact injury.
That pop was later diagnosed as a torn meniscus, essentially sidelining Biles for the remainder of his senior season. It was a tough break for Biles, who was experiencing a breakout senior season, but he’s just ready to get to college. To Pitt.
It doesn’t hurt that despite Biles’ injury, he’s heard from Pitt linebackers coach Ryan Manalac maybe even more than ever. He’s developed a close bond with Bangally Kamara, Biles’ official visit host and fellow Ohio high school star. And Pitt even put together a video wishing Biles well in his rehab.
— Rasheem “The dream” Biles 🖤. (@Rasheembiles) October 6, 2022
Biles received his first Power Five offer from Manalac and Pitt nearly a year ago, back in November of 2021, but that bond with Manalac transcends even the Pitt ties.
Manalac himself attended Pickerington Central before walking on at Cincinnati in the 2000s, and while Biles said that Manalac hasn’t specified whether he or Biles was a better high school player at their shared alma mater, he saw a lot of potential in Biles. The communication between the pair has been nearly constant.
And despite the injury, Manalac is making it back out to Pickerington Central to check up with Biles in person Tuesday — as part of Pitt’s coaching staff checking in with the class of 2023 recruits.
While Manalac won’t be able to see Biles in action this week, Biles has almost racked up an entire season’s worth of highlights in a nearly month-long period. Through just under four games as a senior, Biles racked up 48 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and two interceptions — both returned for touchdowns. And that’s just as a defender.
Biles also accumulated 200 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries, 101 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions and returned three kickoffs for 77 yards (25.7 average) and four punts for 50 yards (12.5 average. With 116.6 all-purpose yards per game, not only did he lead Pickerington Central, he doubled up his nearest teammate.
However, despite Biles’ offensive and special teams’ prowess, he’s destined for linebacker at the next level. He’s a Star linebacker — in the mold of Kamara.
Biles has been able to watch a lot of Pitt’s games this season, attending the Backyard Brawl in person to kickoff the 2022 season, and he sees a dawg in SirVocea Dennis. But he sees a lot of himself in watching Kamara play the Star position. The two have struck up a friendship already, and there’s a level of respect in watching Kamara. There’s an expectation to be the same rangy, athletic playmaker in Pitt’s defense one day too.
While Biles is going through rehab, still currently largely bedridden as he gets back on his feet following knee surgery, Biles is looking forward. He was having a stellar senior season, yes, but he’s looking ahead — not behind. He’s ready to get to college, to Pitt.
And while Biles is slotted for Pitt’s defense as a Star linebacker, he just wants to do whatever Pitt’s staff asks of him. And more importantly, he just wants to get back on the football field.
The current plan is to rehab, possibly get back onto the basketball court in the winter if the rehab goes well and then make it out to Pittsburgh after graduating from Pickerington Central. The next step though is checking in with Manalac in person.