|School:||McKeesport Area HS, McKeesport, PA|
In 1994, Brandon Short was named the Associated Press Pennsylvania Big School Player-of-the-Year as a senior at McKeesport Aread High School in McKeesport, PA. Brandon led the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 season and the Class AAAA State Championship. Short then went on to be a 4-year starting linebacker at Penn State, garnering 1st Team All-America and Consensus 1st Team All-Big Ten Conference honors along the way. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 2000.
Currently a junior at McKeesport, Dontey Brown would like nothing more than to follow a similar career path. He took the first major step at the end of last week when he announced a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship to play for the Nittany Lions.
In his first season as a starting linebacker for McKeesport last year, Dontey made the most of his opportunity by leading the team in tackles.
McKeesport head coach, George Smith, chose one word to describe his star player.
"Legit," Smith said. "He can play either down or up. He can play d-line, he can play linebacker, he can cover kickoffs, he does everything. He makes every tackle. He's just a big, hard-working, blue-collar type linebacker. He's a great kid."
Both in-state schools, Penn State and Pittsburgh, offered Dontey scholarships.
"He had been to Pitt maybe four times with his parents. He really liked Pitt. But, he went up to Penn State for an unofficial visit with his parents and then he went back and watched the spring game. He really like the school and liked the way the coaches responded. He was just impressed with the whole thing."
"UConn and Boston College were about to offer me too," Dontey said when asked about interest from out-of-state schools. Michigan told me they were going to offer me, but I didn't want to go all the way to Michigan. My mom wanted me to stay kind of close to home. She even thinks Penn State is kind of far," he laughed, "but she likes Penn State."
Dontey took his first trip to Penn State with both parents on April 16, the same day ESPN Gameday was in attendance for a practice session at Penn State.
"I liked it up there, it was real nice. The coaches were real nice to me. We walked around the buildings where their offices are, went to the stadium, drove around the campus and went to the Jordan Center. We also went through the academic part of it too. I liked it a lot, the campus and the environment was nice."
Brown returned to Penn State to watch the Blue-White game last month.
"I went up with a couple of coaches from Gateway. The one coach used to play for McKeesport, so he took me up there. We sat in a couple of meetings and watched the draft and I got a chance to talk to Brandon [Short] up there. He was real excited that I was from McKeesport and that I was thinking about going to Penn State."
Coach Bradley travelled to McKeesport the following Tuesday to see Dontey. Dontey called Bradley a couple of days later, Thursday night to be exact, to let him know of his decision to attend Penn State.
"I felt more comfortable at Penn State, with Coach Bradley and everything. He just got done burying his brother and he didn't really have to come see me, so that meant a lot. He still came up to see me and talk to me that whole day."
What about Penn State gets Brown excited?
"Probably the stadium, and I only went up for the Blue-White game. There were a lot of people there for a scrimmage. I had never seen so many people."
Penn State is recruiting Brown to play middle linebacker.
"Coach Bradley said he wanted to get me and two other linebackers to sign early, but so far I think it's just me. The day I committed, he said he was going to go find a big nose guard to put in front of me."