What we learned at the WPIAL Championships
Tyler Boyd
Tyler Boyd
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Dec 2, 2011
Bob Lichtenfels

PITTSBURGH, PA. -- The WPIAL Championships are one of the most highly anticipated days of the year for high school football fans and this year didn't disappoint.

  • Clairton is very impressive as a team they may play in the smallest classification in the state, but I seriously would not be afraid to put them up against Class AAA and Class AAAA teams and they would be competitive if not beat a lot of them. Most people don't realizee this team is playing without it's starting tailback Karvonn Coles.


  • Clairton junior Tyler Boyd is the most impressive all-around player in the state this season, while I think there are better prospects I don't see a better all-around player than Boyd. He is good in every facet of the game offense, defense and special teams. Coach Tom Nola told me in the spring that Boyd was the best player he has ever coached and I chalked it up to coach hyperbole, but he was telling the truth.


  • Sto-Rox has three solid D-I prospects and I expected them to give Clairton a game, but that never happened. Outside of Deaysean Rippy, Marzett Geter and Dontez Ford the Vikings really don't compare with the overall talent that the Bears have. Rippy showed in spurts what he is capable of doing, but I'd like to see a player of his stature dominate while playing a lower level of competition. Geter was solid, but the lack of any running attack prevented Geter from really being utilized in the passing game.


  • Sto-Rox senior and Syracuse pledge Dontez Ford was one of the best players I saw on any of the teams that played on Saturday. Syracuse did a great job of evaluating him and offering him early. I'd be surprised if more schools don't try to make a late run at him.


  • I have seen Trenton Coles make some big time plays in his career like "The Catch" he made in the corner of the end zone as a freshman, but the more I see from him the more I can see him ending up on defense in college. He is a blazer and he impressed me by his effort on special teams. That is an important area of the college game and it could get him on the field earlier than anticipated.


  • Speaking of Sto-Rox, I was very impressed with sophomore Brendan Blair. He is the cousin of former Schenley and Pitt basketball star DeJuan Blair who now makes his living in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs. If he grows he has a chance to be a decent looking prospect.


  • Sophomore quarterback Lenny Williams also has a chance to be a legitimate prospect for Sto-Rox. He throws a decent ball and is a solid athlete.


  • Demetrious Cox put on a show for Jeannette, he showed he was very deserving of his four-star status and lofty ranking on Scout.com. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks they didn't have enough weapons to match Aliquippa.


  • Junior Jordan Edmunds and sophomore Michael Wise were both impressive for Jeannette. Edmunds can do a little bit of everything and will be one to watch next season. Wise is a nice size sophomore who made several big catches for the Jayhawks.


  • The more I see of Aliquippa sophomore running back Dravon Henry the more I like him, not sure which side of the ball I like him best though. He will come up and stick you on defense and he is very good in coverage. He is a grinder as a tailback, not a lot of fancy moves, but he will move the chains.


  • Sophomore defensive tackle Jaleel Fields is also very impressive. He is undersized (6-2/235), but he should grow more. I have seen several players at Aliquippa started on the defensive line and then blossom into linebackers like Brandon Lindsey and Donnell McKenzie.


  • Speaking of defensive linemen I personally thought Aliquippa senior Edward Mitchell (6-1/270) and Clairton senior Erik Walker (6-3/245) were the two most impressive defensive linemen I watched all day.


  • Montour toyed with Knoch in the Class AAA game which was expected. The real WPIAL Championship to me was the week before when Montour defeated Central Valley. Senior quarterback Dillon Buechel showed everyone that he could sling the rock as well as anyone. He is undersized in terms of thickness, but he can run and throw. He has a quick and efficient release. His mechanics are smooth and flawless. His arm is above average in terms of strength and velocity, but he only has D-IAA interest and offers so far.


  • Montour running back Julian Durden is awfully impressive and he always seems to show up in big time games. I know Kent State is a great fit for him, but you can't help but wonder why more BCS teams weren't in on him. With so many smaller backs showing they can play with the big boys, how do you not take a shot on a kid like this? He and Damion Jones-Moore did it their whole careers against good teams, but what do I know?


  • Junior wide receiver Devin Wilson is awfully impressive and in a normal year without Robert Foster and Will Fuller around, he is probably the top receiver prospect in the state. he still may very well end up being better than all of them.


  • Senior Darren Massey is another player I really like, not sure which side of the ball, but he just makes plays.


  • I'll give Upper St. Clair and head coach Jim Render credit for making it as far as they did and to be without Dakota Conwell the last two weeks of the season is awfully impressive. In fairness to North Allegheny they also played without Lani Kauvaka who is a valuable lineman for them and he watched the game in street clothes.


  • North Allegheny was just to quick and athletic on defense. The Panthers line seemed a step slower than the NA linebackers who flew to the ball. USC struggled to seal of the guys at the second level and it caused a lot of plays to get blown up.


  • USC three-star Ian Park had a decent game, I'd still like to see him improve his game in space. He missed a few key blocks when he was pulling. He just wasn't quick enough to catch the NA defenders.


  • USC junior Rori Blair impresses me a little more every time I see him. I think if he works hard in the off season and hits the right camps he will have a shot at being a legit prospect as a senior.


  • Patrick Kugler is impressive. I'm not even sure as to what words to used anymore to describe his abilities. I'll still say he is the best offensive lineman in the state regardless of class. He is as good as the WPIAL has put out the last ten years.


  • Brendan Coniker is another NA junior that I like a lot. He wasn't 100-percent last time I saw him, but he made his presence felt in the title game on offense and defense. I think he is at least a mid-major D-I prospect right now. He is another kid who if he attends the right camps will blow up as a senior.


  • I'm not saying North Allegheny would or wouldn't have won a WPIAL Championship without junior quarterback Spencer Leftwich transferring into the district, but it doesn't hurt. Leftwich is awfully impressive. You can tell he is a coaches kid. He just has that calm, cool, swagger about him that all good quarterbacks have. He is limited by his size, but the kid can flat out play the game. One would think Todd Graham at Pittsburgh is hoping that young Spencer decides to join his father Spencer at Pitt. Spencer Leftwich is the offensive line coach for the Panthers.

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