By Matt Popchock
We’ve already told you Demetrious Cox (Jeannette) and Greg Garmon (Erie McDowell) will represent the WPIAL in the International Bowl at 6:00 P.M. Wednesday on CBS Sports Network.
Lest we forget, there are two other participants of local interest playing for the American team against the World team in tonight’s game: Upper St. Clair offensive lineman Ian Park and Cleveland (TN) quarterback/Pitt recruit Chad Voytik.
According to media relations director E.J. Borghetti, Voytik was the first of Paul Chryst’s 2012 recruits to fax his signed letter of intent, doing so shortly after 7:00 A.M.
Even though his team finished .500, he was rated as the No. 7 “combo” quarterback in the nation by MaxPreps, ending his senior season with over 1,500 yards passing and 18 total touchdowns, including eight on the ground, according to the site.
“He shows a strong, accurate arm, a quick release, he sets up well, and is proving to be a quick and athletic signal caller,” CBS Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming told MaxPreps. “He does a good job of escaping the pocket once it collapses, keeps his eyes downfield, does a very good job of finding open receivers, and throws a nice, catchable ball, but also shows the arm strength to throw the deep out with authority. He has a smooth delivery and clean arm action.
Here’s Voytik in action as a junior:
He also played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 7, and, seemingly, was the lynch pin of this recruiting class for Pitt.
Voytik interacted a lot with Hopewell tailback and WPIAL/PIAA career rushing champ Rushel Shell through social media, helping him warm to the notion of being a Panther prior to Shell’s verbal commitment. As of 9:00 A.M. Shell has formally joined the program.
When Todd Graham inexplicably left the program, Voytik was one of the prospects encouraging any who might have had second thoughts about Pitt to stick it out. Graham actually bolted on the birthday of Fox Chapel offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty, who has signed his letter of intent as well, and as Bisnowaty told “The Fan Morning Show” Wednesday (weekdays 5:40-10:00 A.M. on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan), it was Voytik, the man whom he’ll try to keep upright over the next four years, who convinced him to honor his verbal commitment.
Meanwhile, Big Ten schools have really tapped into the WPIAL pipeline this year, as Park will join fellow Upper St. Clair lineman Jack Schwaba at Northwestern this fall. Park is ranked among the top 100 offensive lineman nationally by MaxPreps.
Here is Park in action as a junior:
“Ian really impresses you with his ability to pull and trap, his technique, and his dominance as a pass protector,” Lemming said. “He sets a solid base, loves to mix it up, and can affectively block out on the second level. He’s as good of an all around run blocker that you will see in the East.”
Park’s job was to clear a path for Dakota Conwell, the dual-threat QB who backed out of Pitt and joined Arizona as an outside linebacker. Behind Park, Conwell became one of the most dangerous offensive players in the WPIAL, and USC was the highest-scoring team in Class AAAA at 38.5 points per game; plus, it reached the district finals for the first time in five years.
Click here for a closer look at Signing Day coverage by the CBS family of websites, and keep visiting this one for more Signing Day news and notes.
Click here to check out “Signing Day Central” at CBSSports.com.
Click here for a complete list of signings nationwide.
Click here to find the CBS Sports Network in your area.
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)