By Matt Popchock


Paul Chryst’s first recruiting class has been regarded as a mixed bag by some experts, but the new head football coach received some particularly good news concerning one of the WPIAL players who decided to stick with Pitt despite Todd Graham’s controversial abdication.

Wide receiver Trenton Coles, an outgoing senior on Clairton’s record-setting PIAA championship team, will not require surgery on a torn MCL/PCL that kept him from participating in the second half of his team’s coronation at Hershey in November, and also kept him out of the ongoing WPIAL basketball season.

When Coles’ leg was erroneously rolled while kicking an extra point in the Bears’ eventual win over Southern Columbia, it appeared surgery was inevitable. However, he told the Post-Gazette’s Mike White on Thursday that he has been privately rehabilitating the injury and just recently started testing it.

Coles has not given any concrete timetable for a return to athletic competition other than the fact he hopes to be ready to suit up for the Panthers by the fall. With him in the starting lineup, Clairton won a rare fourth consecutive WPIAL football prior to capturing its third consecutive state title in Class A, and ended the season with a district record 47-game winning streak, the longest active streak in America.

In 2011 he racked up 408 yards receiving for Clairton, averaging nearly 20 yards a grab and registering 80 points for the Bears, including nine touchdowns. He ranked among the top 100 recruits at his position nationally according to MaxPreps.

“He shows good body control, does a great job of adjusting to poorly thrown balls…and is very good at taking what a defense gives him,” said CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “[Trenton] also has outstanding skills at free safety, where he shows a smooth backpedal and can turn and run with the swiftest of receivers.”

Coles is one of six WPIAL players to comprise Pitt’s 16-man football recruiting class of 2012. But before he worries about the upcoming college football season, or the upcoming PIAA track and field season (he has won state gold in the short-distance events), he’ll be cheering on Clairton’s basketball team.

Despite his absence, the Bears earned a No. 3 seed in the WPIAL Basketball Championships, and they’ll take on No. 6 seed Cornell in the Class A Quarterfinals at McKeesport High School Friday night at 8:00.

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