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Monday, September 11, 2006
Coast-to-Coast: Pennsylvania offense

By Tom Luginbill
Scouts Inc.

When you think about Pennsylvania high school football, you think quarterbacks. Joe Namath, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Joe Montana are the cornerstone of the proud history of offensive playmakers in the Keystone State.

Top Pa. Prospects -- Offense
NAME POS GRADE
Pat Bostick QB 80
Rob Gronkowski TE 79
Stefen Wisniewski OC 79
Nick Sukay WR 79
Chris Jacobson OG 79
Jon Ditto TE 79
Josh Marks OG 79
Toney Clemons WR 78
Andrew Devlin TE 78
Tom Randazza K 78

The 2006 class of recruits who came out of Pennsylvania was one of the best we have seen in the past couple of years, and although this year's class might not be as deep at the skill positions, the interior line group is very strong and the top recruit is -- shockingly -- a quarterback.

Top recruit (offense)

Pat Bostick, Quarterback
Manheim Township (Lancaster, Pa.)
Verbal: Pittsburgh

I can't seem to figure out why Bostick has not received more national attention as one of the best pocket passers in this class. Coach Dave Wannstedt might have his quarterback of the future here, and I believe Bostick should have been included in this year's class of Elite 11 quarterbacks.

I feel he is a better quarterback prospect at this stage than 2006 Notre Dame signee Zach Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) was a year ago. Bostick is a better athlete, is a better ball handler and might have more upside down the road.

He has some of the "it" factor you hear coaches talk about when describing quarterbacks in terms of feel for the game, presence and, most important, accuracy. In Bostick, Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh is going to get every bit the competitive player Tyler Palko is without the risky decision making.

Player under the radar (offense)

Lamont Smith, Running back/Cornerback/Kick returner
Pittsburgh Central Catholic
Verbal: Colorado

Smith might be small in stature, but he is big on ability and probably the fastest player in Pennsylvania this year. His size likely has deterred recruiters from paying close attention, but you can't argue with his production, and he might be one of the best return specialists in the country.

Coaches might not see him as being an every-down player on either side of the ball, but he can provide a jolt to any unit when he gets the ball in his hands and is a field-position changer as a punt returner. From his time at Boise State, Dan Hawkins is used to coaching undersized guys who have been very successful at the Division I level, and although the Big 12 is tougher competition, I wouldn't count out Smith's heart and determination.

On the trail

Penn State and Pittsburgh are dueling it out for the state's best, with West Virginia making its presence felt early on, as well. However, Pittsburgh has done an excellent job thus far on offense, particularly filling needs in the offensive front.

The Panthers have three commits so far on offense, and all three -- Bostick, OG Chris Jacobson (Pittsburgh/Keystone Oaks) and OT Dan Matha (Erie, Pa./McDowell) -- rank among the state's top 16 overall prospects.

MaxPreps Passing Leaders -- Pennsylvania
RANK NAME TD PASS YDS/GM
1 Marco Pecora, Richland (Johnstown) 4 249.5
2 Matt Zigment, Conestoga Valley (Lancaster) 3 246
3 Pat Bostick, Manheim Township (Lancaster) 3 243.5
4 Matt Rodgers, Seton-La Salle (Pittsburgh) 3 243
5 Cole Hildabrant, Pius X (Bangor) 7 231

Maxpreps.com Pennsylvania home page

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Tom is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.