Where Are They Now?
Posted May 16, 2013 4:19 am
Over the past few years, Preps.com formally known as Finestpreps.com, has had the opportunity to cover some of the top athletes in the country. Being headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, we’ve also been fortunate enough to be in one of high school football’s top hotbeds. To celebrate the new blog interface, new name, and new era, we wanted to go back to some of the local players we’ve covered in the past and see how they’re doing now.
University of Pittsburgh: Aaron Donald – 4 years ago I went to go watch the plethora of talent in the Penn Hills vs. Gateway game. It was the first time I got to watch Aaron Donald and I came out highly impressed and graded him out as the top player in that class. 4 years later Donald is arguably one of the top defensive tackles in college football and is trying to make his case as an early round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Although Donald didn’t have the long rangy frame that big schools were looking for, his ability clearly translated to the collegiate level and he continues to be a force to be reckoned with.
Texas Tech: Delvon Simmons – While we’re talking about the hogs we may as well continue with Mckeesport grad Delvon Simmons. Going into his junior year, he’s coming off starting all thirteen games for Texas Tech and one of the more promising players on the Red Raiders roster. Simmons’ 6’5 290 frame has all the potential in the world and will probably be joining Donald on Sundays.
West Virginia: Will Clarke – Taylor Allderdice is known for churning out hip hop artists, but next year, one of the most intriguing defensive players in the Big 12 hails from the home of Wiz Khalifa. At 6’7 270, Will Clarke has an excellent motor and will be looking to turn the Mountaineers into a national power after a disappointing season last year. Over the past few years Clarke has transformed from a project into a highly disruptive defensive lineman that has position versatility. If Clarke has a breakout year, he has all the tools and ability to have his name called early in the NFL draft.
University of Pittsburgh: Lafayette Pitts – The first Finestpreps.com highlight tape accompanied with music started with Woodland Hills Wolverine Lafayette Pitts. 3 years later, Pitts has established himself as University of Pittsburgh’s shutdown corner with tremendous upside. In high school, Pitts showed his phenomenal athleticism as a tailback, but onlookers weren’t sure how well the transition to corner would be. After a standout redshirt freshman year, Pitts has proven he belongs in the defensive backfield and definitely has pro potential.
Penn State: Jesse James – Two years ago, Jesse James was one of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets. Now James has acclimated himself with Bill O’Brien’s offense and is being compared to New England wild man Rob Gronkowski. At 6’7 260 pounds, James runs routes like a receiver and catches everything thrown remotely close to him. If James improves from his breakout freshman year, expect him to be a Penn State early exit and take his talents to the next level.
Michigan State: Demetrious Cox – Cox chose to sit out his freshman year because he wanted to get used to the speed of the college game. A year later, Cox has already established himself as captain material and is expected to be a big-time playmaker for the Spartans. Cox has been lining up at Safety, but what’s more interesting is that he received offensive reps on practice last year. Don’t be surprised if you see Cox getting some carries for a team looking for a new ball carrier with Bell’s departure. Cox’s coaches consider him an NFL talent and from everything being said, he doesn’t plan on disappointing.
Duquesne: Dorian Bell – Dorian Bell had a detour 2 years ago, but has picked up right back where he was as a All-American Linebacker. Although he’s no longer playing at the FBS level, Bell has shown he has all the ability in the world and is clearly an NFL talent. Bell has the skill set of an offensive player and the frame of a enforcer. Look for Bell to put together a stellar season at Duquesne and solidify himself as one of college football’s top linebackers.
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to re-introduce you to some of the area’s top talent and update you on their progress in the collegiate ranks.