First lady Michelle Obama will be visiting Pittsburgh next week, and although the time and location of her Sept. 27 appearance are uncertain, the goal is not: drumming up enthusiasm for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, especially among younger voters....
When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Shale Insight natural gas conference Downtown on Thursday, he’ll be in a city that bans fracking for natural gas....
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Good afternoon. Pitt’s passing game was one of the main subjects out of interviews today over at the team’s South Side complex. Certainly this is a team that wants to establish the run first, but if the passing game doesn't improve they're going to be awfully one-dimensional.
Despite the struggles against Oklahoma State to develop much of a passing game, there were some bright spots out of the game, including the emergence of Tre Tipton, a redshirt freshman from Apollo, Pa. He caught three passes in Pitt's final drive before the interception. (He was also as an engaging interview.)
Here are some thoughts from Tipton and QB Nate Peterman
Q: On whether it’s easier to critique himself now that he has some game film?
Tipton: “Oh for sure, you’ve always got to see what you can do better. You’re never to where you really want to be. Everybody can say they don’t have anything to work on, but everybody truthfully does. I’m definitely one of those people who needs to work on a lot. I’m going to the film room this week, making sure I can correct everything I did wrong last week so that if I get another opportunity to make a big play I won’t miss out.”
Q: Biggest challenge?
Tipton: “My biggest challenge so far just making sure I’m playing hard. Everybody is going to boost your head, tell you you’re doing good, doing good. At the same time you’ve got to remind yourself that this is still the game of football, and you have to continue to get better because if you don’t somebody’s going to pass you.”
Q: On how competitive the receivers are, and what the room is like right now?
Tipton: “It’s lovely. Coach Sherman continually tells us that we’ve got to make plays. it came down to that last play with myself [last week]. He never discourages me. He never tells me that there’s anything wrong. He continues to pick me up, tells me to keep making plays, keep pushing forward.”
Q: QB Nate Peterman also said he thinks everything finally clicked for Tipton.
Peterman: “All of his hard work is starting to come to the front. I’m just really happy for him. I’m still on him really hard because I know how good he can be. He’s really responded well. He’s going to be a good player for us. I think his confidence level, he’s extremely talented, I think he just had to realize that.”
Q: On Jester Weah’s 60-yard TD reception, and whether that is something he can produce again?
Peterman: “Definitely. We’ve worked that route so much, constantly in the summer and fall…That’s what I was telling the younger guys. All these things are things that have paid off in practice. We’ve hit those constantly so yeah we’ve got to keep targeting him. He had some really good plays and we’ve got to keep making more.”
Of note: Saturday's game at North Carolina has been dubbed a “Big Ugly” Spotlight Game by the Joe Moore Award committee. The award is presented to the top offensive line in college football annually. Pitt was a semifinalist for the inaugural award in 2015, named after the late Joe Moore who coached at Pitt and Notre Dame.
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With Beaver Falls' Donovan Jeter committing to Notre Dame on Monday, the Fighting Irish now have four recruits from the WPIAL class of 2017, and one from the class of 2018.
Recruiting history says this Notre Dame success in the WPIAL is extremely unusual.
Think of it: It had been 25 years since Notre Dame has landed more than one recruit in a WPIAL senior class.
The WPIAL class of 1991 had two players sign with Notre Dame. Actually, Notre Dame got three players from that Western Pa. class. Ray Zellars played running back at Oliver in the City League, and also signed with Notre Dame. The two players who signed with the Irish from the WPIAL were actually from the same school - North Allegheny quarterback Paul Failla (pictured) and linebacker Justin Goheen.
A few of Notre Dame's all-time great players are from the WPIAL. Connellsville quarterback Johnny Lujack and Turtle Creek lineman/tight end Leon Hart won Heisman Trophies at Notre Dame. Of course, Ringgold quarterback Joe Montana went on to greatness. Bishop Canevin QB Tom Clements won a national championship with the Irish. Butler QB Terry Hanratty was another star.
But in the past quarter century Notre Dame didn't have much luck in the WPIAL. A few of the WPIAL players who did pick Notre Dame did some good things with the Irish, but a number of them didn't do a whole lot in South Bend. How much of a blow is it for Pitt or even Penn State to lose four in-state players to Notre Dame? I'm not so sure of that yet because who knows how successful these WPIAL recruits will be? Still, it stings Pitt. And Penn State wanted those recruits also.
No one should ever expect Pitt to land all the best local players. It has never been that way and never will be. But it's nice to get most of the good ones. And losing a handful to Notre Dame is surprising.
Of the players who have signed with Notre Dame, the one with the best shot of success, I believe, is Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a junior. Besides Jeter, the other WPIAL seniors headed to Notre Dame are Central Catholic defensive lineman Kurt Hinish, Central Catholic linebacker David Adams and North Allegheny lineman Josh Lugg.
Before this class, the last WPIAL player to sign with Notre Dame was Montour defensive back E.J. Banks, who eventually ended up at Pitt. Here is a list of the WPIAL players and one from the City League who signed with Notre Dame over the past 25 years:
WPIAL-NOTRE DAME CONNECTION
1991 - Paul Failla, QB, North Allegheny; Justin Goheen, LB, Notre Dame; Ray Zellars, RB, Oliver.
1993 - Chris Kurpeikis, OL, Central Catholic
1996 - Rob Mowl, OL, Woodland Hills
1997 - Jason Murray, Belle Vernon (pictured during his Belle Vernon days)
1998 - Ryan Scarola, OL, Franklin Regional
2003 - Travis Thomas, RB, Washington
2006 - Darrin Walls, DB, Woodland Hills
2007 - Steve Paskorz, RB-LB, Hampton
2008 - David Posluszny, LB, Hopewell
2009 - E.J. Banks, DB, Montour
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After visiting Notre Dame this weekend, Donovan Jeter came home and decided he’d like to spend more time in South Bend, Ind. Like, his entire college career.
Jeter, a heavily-recruited senior defensive end at Beaver Falls High School, announced on Twitter today that he has made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.
Jeter (6 feet 5, 250 pounds) is the fourth player from the WPIAL class of 2017 to commit to Notre Dame. The others are Central Catholic linebacker David Adams, Central Catholic defensive lineman Kurt Hinish and North Allegheny offensive lineman Josh Lugg. Also, Notre Dame also has a commitment from a WPIAL class of 2018 player – Pine-Richland junior quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
Jeter’s Notre Dame choice could be considered a little surprising because when Jeter announced his final five colleges in July, Notre Dame wasn’t on the list. It was Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee. But in August, Jeter said Notre Dame was back on his final list along with Michigan.
Jeter said Notre Dame, Pitt and Michigan were his final three choices, and Jeter visited Notre Dame for the Fighting Irish’s game Saturday night against Michigan State. After that, he felt he didn’t need to go on any other visits.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jeter said of the Notre Dame game atmosphere. “I’ve been to Pitt, West Virginia, Ohio State. Even though [Notre Dame] lost, the atmosphere was great. I was just amazed with the visit.”
Jeter said that at one time, Pitt was his top choice.
“But it changed, like, every other month,” said Jeter, whose brother, Sheldon, is a Pitt basketball player.
Jeter actually credited Central Catholic’s Hinish for getting Jeter to re-consider Notre Dame. The two were at Kennywood in August as part of being selected to an MSA Sports all-star team. Hinish committed to Notre Dame in the spring.
“He was on my case and just kept saying, ‘Dude, come to Notre Dame,’” Jeter said. “It was like every five minutes.”
Jeter laughs when telling the story about Hinish.
“He would not leave me alone about it and then I finally told him I might put them back in,” said Jeter. “Then after I put [Notre Dame] back in, they started really coming on hard, texting me all the time and contacting me.”
Then came the visit, and then came the decision. Jeter spoke with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly this morning.
Jeter also plays offensive guard at Beaver Falls and he excels at basketball, helping Beaver Falls win the WPIAL Class AAA basketball championship last season. A few years ago, Jeter thought his future was in basketball, but he warmed to football as major colleges started recruiting him.
Jeter will not play basketball this season for Beaver Falls. Instead, he plans to graduate early and enroll at Notre Dame for the spring semester.