Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Adam Bisnowaty grew to love football
By Jared Shanker ESPN Recruiting
PITTSBURGH -- It was estimated in January that more than half of those who tune in to the Super Bowl are more interested in the halftime show or commercials than the game. Adam Bisnowaty, a four-star offensive tackle from Fox Chapel (Pittsburgh), used to be one of them.
"I remember turning the Super Bowl on at halftime, watching the halftime show and turning it off," Bisnowaty said. "I never liked [football]."
Five years later, football is Bisnowaty's ticket to a free ride to college and perhaps a multimillion-dollar career in the NFL.
Adam Bisnowaty is the No. 10 overall prospect in Pennsylvania.
It wasn't until eighth grade when Bisnowaty first stepped foot on the gridiron. Growing up, he always preferred basketball, baseball and wrestling over football. As Bisnowaty, who now stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 277 pounds, continued to get bigger, though, he figured it might be a good idea to see what football was all about.
"I started growing up in seventh grade and I was like, 'OK, I'm a big kid, wrestling was fun and I like the team aspect of it, so let's try football,'" Bisnowaty said. "So I started football and naturally, because I was so big, I was good at it.
"I started thinking this could turn into something else."
Prior to finding football, Bisnowaty used to spend Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the fall -- the hallmark football afternoons -- about as far away from the stadiums and televisions as possible.
"My main thing before football was I love to fish and hunt, and I had a lot of time to do it," said Bisnowaty, who estimates he went fishing every single day one summer while in middle school.
Now, Bisnowaty has little time to relax out on the lake or river and angle smallmouth bass or the aptly named steelhead fish. He still wrestles in the winter and competes in the javelin and discus during the spring. All the while, he is still waking up at 6 a.m. to lift and run for football.
When Bisnowaty does have a few minutes to take a break or rest up, he now spends that time far away from the outdoors.
"Now when I get home the only thing I put on TV is football," he joked. "Whenever I have time to relax, I'm putting NFL Network or 'SportsCenter' on; anything that deals with football really. Go online, go on ... ESPN.com. Now I love the game."
For at least the next four or five years, Bisnowaty will continue to play the game he now loves. It will likely be at either Pittsburgh or Florida, his two favorites as he nears his decision timetable of around October, though he won't rush into a commitment just to reach a deadline.
Bisnowaty spent the first two weekends of the college football season at Heinz Field watching the hometown Panthers start the season 2-0.
"They got a lot going for them right now," Bisnowaty said of Pitt. "The O-line coach, coach [Spencer] Leftwich, we built a pretty good relationship and also with [head] coach [Todd] Graham. ... Everyone knows me down there, and it's nice to feel welcome when I walk through the door."
On Sept. 17, Bisnowaty traveled down to Gainesville, Fla., to watch Will Muschamp's SEC debut as a head coach. The Gators were playing longtime rival Tennessee, which they beat for a team-record seventh straight time.
"It was crazy, 90-plus [thousand] fans there," Bisnowaty said of the experience. "The student section, they stayed all four quarters; it was great.
"I just had a great time and learned about the academics as well and seeing all the coaches and hang out with some players was a big thing."
Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Virginia are the other remaining schools Bisnowaty continues to look at.
Stanford offers elite 2013 Ohio cornerback
Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) cornerback Cam Burrows has offers from all over the country already, but his most recent offer is one of the few that have made a big impression on him so far.
On Friday, Stanford offered Burrows, recently named to the ESPNU 150 Watch List. He's likely to be the top defensive back among Class of 2013 prospects in the state of Ohio next year.
"It means a lot to me," Burrows said. "It shows me that they like what I do on the field as well as in the classroom and that my hard work is paying off."
Bam Bradley, Burrows' teammate in the defensive backfield, also has an offer from Stanford and is officially visiting Palo Alto, Calif., this weekend. Much like in Bradley's recruitment, academics will play a key role when Burrows finally makes a decision.
"I know I'm not going to play football or be in the NFL forever; I have to have a backup plan," Burrows said. "When I retire or I don't go to the NFL, I want to have my degree."
Ohio State still leads for the suburban Dayton prospect, but he recently got an offer from the Buckeyes' archrival following Michigan's win over Notre Dame in Week 2.
"It was a great experience, a great atmosphere to be in," Burrows said. "It was very loud."
Lemelle drawing interest
Brian Lemelle is already drawing interest from Boston College, Rutgers and Penn State.
When Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.) needed a big play Friday against rival Susquehanna Township, the Crusaders didn't look to Noah Spence, a freakish athlete ranked No. 4 in the ESPNU 150 who doubles as a tight end.
It was 5-foot-10 junior receiver Brian Lemelle who had his number called, converting a late third down and fourth down in the final few minutes to secure the Crusaders' win. Instead of kicking a field goal from about 37 yards to extend the Crusaders' lead to 10 points and ice the game, coach Jeff Weachter dialed up a fourth-down comeback route to Lemelle, which he hauled in to extend the game-sealing touchdown drive.
"I want the ball in my hands," Lemelle said. "It's that feeling you get when you get a first down and set up a score."
A Class of 2013 prospect, Lemelle is already receiving serious interest from BCS schools. Boston College, Penn State and Rutgers have all been in constant contact with him.
"I just talked to Rutgers at the beginning of [last] week; them and Penn State," he said.
"They just told me good luck, have a great week of practice. That's about it, same thing with Penn State, too."
Neal names top five, announces Nebraska visit
After just three games in his senior season, McKeesport (Pa.) three-star linebacker Tyrone Neal said last week his season has been just "average."
Most high school seniors would love to have Neal's skills even on his most average day, as he's still landed offers from a number of BCS schools. Recently, Neal added a fifth team to give him a top five.
"Nebraska, Illinois, West Virginia, Syracuse and NC State," Neal said are at the top of his list.
The Cornhuskers will receive Neal's first official visit next weekend on Oct. 8 when the Huskers host Ohio State for their first home game as a Big Ten member.
"They're recruiting me hard and they have a lot of tradition," Neal said. "They're known for bringing people to the pros and NFL."
Neal spoke with John Papuchis, his lead recruiter at Nebraska, a few days before his game last Friday.
"We were just talking about how I can fit in their defense, come in and play early," Neal said. "They see me as a good guy to run east to west, run sideline to sideline, run running backs down, play the ball and make reads."
Last weekend, Neal visited West Virginia for its game against LSU. That was an unofficial visit, though, as Neal is looking to set up just four official visits for now so he has one in his back pocket down the road if another team breaks into his top five.
He will visit Illinois for the Michigan game Nov. 12, NC State versus Clemson Nov. 19 and Syracuse versus Cincy on Nov. 26.
Jared Shanker covers Midwest recruiting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.