McKeesport's Ward impressed by Graham

If you want to succeed at the University of Pittsburgh, you had better be in with the WPIAL head coaches and Todd Graham is doing that and quickly.

McKeesport (Pa.) is home to two of the top prospects in the state of Pennsylvania and the entire nation for that matter in Delvon Simmons and Branden Jackson.

The Tigers head coach Jimmy Ward is very big on first impressions and new Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham left a lasting one.

"I am absolutely impressed by Todd Graham," Ward said. "He was on the phone with me probably four hours after being hired and he introduced himself. He wanted to establish a relationship with me and that meant a lot to me."

McKeesport also churns out athletes, so it's a school that is one of the ones Graham and his staff must maintain a strangle hold on, especially this year with players like Simmons and Jackson who are still undecided.

"Their (Pitt) are going to try to get a call in with Delvon and Branden on Friday," Ward stated. "They want to come into the school and see them and make a play for them. I can't promise anything in regards to them going to Pitt, but I want them to check out their options and it would be nice for them to have an option of a school that is close to home."

Ward is very familiar with new defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson.

"I have known Gibby since he was hired at West Virginia," explained Ward. "I like him, because I know he takes care of his players and I trust him. He had one of my players down there and he really looked out for him.

"He is a local guy who knows what it takes to recruit this area," Ward continued. "He is a good guy that I can trust with my kids and that means a lot to me."

USC offered recently and Simmons is deciding which school will get that last official visit. The Trojans are battling Florida for the fifth and final visit.

"He is still deciding between USC and Florida for that last visit," Ward said. "He will take an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh on Monday for a basketball game. Branden will also likely go if he doesn't have a basketball game himself."

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