Hamlin's Recruitment Gearing Up

Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic sophomore corner has an offer and others interested early. He talks Penn State's spring game and more inside.

The WPIAL is known for annually producing defensive backs who draw heavy interest on the recruiting front.

The last cycle produced Aliquippa, Pa., corner Dravon Henry and Monroeville, Pa., Gateway safety Montae Nicholson. Each had double digit offers. The former ended up at West Virginia, the latter picked Michigan State.

In the current cycle, Monaca, Pa., Central Valley four-star corner Jordan Whitehead is stealing headlines with 12 offers. He could be followed by Damar Hamlin.

Since he first put on pads, Hamlin has played corner. He also played running back, but with an offer from Temple and interest flowing in, he believes his future is on the defensive side of the ball.

"I'm long and aggressive with good speed and good hips," Hamlin said. "I've always had that coming up, and [corner] is what I like to play."

Maryland, Penn State and Pittsburgh are showing interest in the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Class of 2016 prospect. He visited University Park for the Lions' spring finale earlier this month.

Hamlin is one of a wave of prospects who had his eyes opened to Penn State through former WPIAL stalwart and now Lions' corners coach Terry Smith. Smith, along with head coach James Franklin, toured the Pittsburgh area in January. A stop at Central Catholic was included, and the corner said what he knew about the program was enhanced by his trip to campus.

"It was great," Hamlin said. "I loved it. There were a lot of people there just for a practice, basically, and I loved the atmosphere.

"The people there showed a lot of support for Penn State."

Gateway High, where Smith was the longtime head coach, was originally supposed to be Hamlin's high school. But the then Smith left to become an assistant at Temple, and Hamlin and his family picked Central Catholic instead.

Nonetheless, Hamlin said Smith has had an impact on the him, and is his main point of contact with the Lions.

"Coach Smith is a real good contact," Hamlin said. "He is a big name. He got in touch with my head coach about me."

Hamlin called Smith roaming Penn State's sideline "a big deal" when it comes to the program recruiting the WPIAL and him specifically.

"One of the reasons is because he's the cornerbacks coach," Hamlin said. "And him coming from the WPIAL, that helps a lot."

Maryland stopped by Central Catholic last week during the spring evaluation period, and Hamlin said he may camp at College Park. He also plans to camp at Pittsburgh and Penn State.

Though an offer did not present itself at the Lions' Blue-White Game, the sophomore is hopeful one will during the camp season once he can show off his talents.

"I want to go and run a good time [in the 40-yard dash]," he said. "I just want to show them that I can run and cover people."

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