Pittsburgh Sports Report
September 2000

The Recruiting Reel
By Joe Butler

There have never been as many early commitments before the start of the high school football season than during this year. Nine WPIAL football players committed before practice got under way, another barometer that this season's senior class is talent-rich.

o   A number of former WPIAL and City League players are producing at a high level in college and turning themselves into NFL prospects. The list includes: Mike McMahon, the North Allegheny grad and three-year starter at quarterback for Rutgers. He is poised to have an excellent senior season and will get a chance to show local fans his stuff Sept. 23, when the Scarlet Knights travel to Three Rivers Stadium to take on Pitt.

Speaking of Pitt, there are two local products with pro potential on the Panthers' roster. Lineman Jeff McCurley of Mohawk is a solid player who pro scouts like, and running back Kevan Barlow of Perry has Curtis Martin-like potential.

o   Local sports stat man Deuce Skurcenski recently told me while we were on the summer basketball camp circuit that "you, Joe Butler, watch more film than Stephen Spielberg."

o   Two early basketball commitments played well during the summer. Senior point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham from Blackhawk made a verbal commitment to Ohio State. Darren Tielsch, a 6-6 forward from Montour, accepted a scholarship from Penn State. This year, the boys basketball talent in this area is much better than it has been in recent years.

o   Even though the NFL season just gets under way this month, Kordell Stewart's 1-for-13 performance in two preseason home games leaves a lot to be desired. His passes were arriving too late after the receivers are open, and he continues to have difficulty picking out secondary receivers. Another problem he has is a low release that allows his passes to be tipped or batted away at the line of scrimmage.

Joe Butler is director of Metro Index Scouting Service, Pitttsburgh.

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