|School:||Butler, Pa. (Butler HS)|
Despite only achieving a 4-6 record last season, Butler HS in western Pennsylvania will be a sure stop for college recruiters during the May evaluation period, each hoping for a chance to land linebacker Tyrell Sales, LionNews' #9 prospect in Pennsylvania.
During his junior campaign, Sales recorded close to 100 tackles and tallied 7 sacks from his middle linebacker position. At 6'3'' and 225 pounds, he has the speed though to play on the outside in college. Early interest from just about every school on the east coast, including the Ivy League schools, has led to three scholarship offers: Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Syracuse.
"I've talked to other schools who said they're going to offer but I haven't gotten anything official from Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Penn State," said Tyrell, who maintains a 3.68 GPA.
Schools like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Maryland, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Florida, Duke, Stanford, and all Big East members have either requested film or been in contact with Tyrell's coach, Garry Cathell.
Internet rumors have said that Pittsburgh leads for Tyrell. Is the banter true?
"I'm only really familiar right now with the coaching staff at Pitt, so right now they would have to be an early favorite. Right now they're showing a lot of interest. I like the coaches down there, but I really haven't seen any of the campus or the school yet."
Tyrell continued, "Pitt offered me at the beginning of my junior year, so I went to the first two home games down there. I also went to to see Ohio State and West Virginia (both for junior days), but I've been to Pitt for basketball games. [Pitt's] the only place I've been for football games."
Although the Panthers may have the lead now, they are not a done deal for his signature for in February. This summer, Tyrell would like to go to both Virginia and Virginia Tech to see what both of those schools offer. On April 16, Tyrell will make his way out to Happy Valley to see Penn State for the first time.
"It's a little unofficial visit to check out the campus with a couple of my coaches. We're going to go check it out and talk to their coaches out there," said Tyrell.
Penn State has one definite advantage in their arsenal over the other schools on Tyrell's list --
"Being from the Pittsburgh area, I've always liked Pitt and I liked to watch Notre Dame. But I really liked Penn State when they had LaVar (Arrington). I've never really was a Penn State fan until the three years he was there and then I was a big Penn State fan. I've liked them ever since."
Tyrell, who patterns his play after LaVar, has been told by his coach that a Nittany Lion scholarship offer should come in the near future. In the meantime, Tyrell has had some early contact from the Penn State staff.
"I've talked to Joe Paterno, but Coach Bradley is the coach I talk to the most."
What did he and JoePa talk about?
"We were just talking about football and the kind of future I would have out there. He said I'm the kind of player that they're looking for because I have good grades. He said just keep up the good work and I would have a future playing there."
"It was real cool. I told people at school and they didn't believe it at first," added Tyrell.
At this point, Tyrell was unsure whether he would be able to attend the Blue White game on April 26th, but he has been invited and hopes to attend the Nike Camp clinic at Penn State on April 27th.
Tyrell lists his early top 6 as Pitt, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and Notre Dame. Does he have a preference when it comes to staying near home in the Pittsburgh area?
"It would be nice to stay close to home, but if I find something I have to go far away for then it's going to have to be the school and campus. If it's more than three hours away, I'm not going to say 'no, I'm not going to go there.' But right now it would be nice to find what I want in a school close to home. That would be wonderful."
(Interview by Steve Curry)