Steel Valley has no shortage of multi-talented athletes, including running back/safety Mike Todd, a member of the Class of 2012.
Todd has had a little contact with some schools; mainly Pitt and West Virginia. Even though it would be his dream to play running back at the next level, he understands how colleges like to recruit running backs and move them to other positions.
"I play running back and strong safety, but I want to go to college as a strong safety," Todd said. "I'll go to college and play anywhere. Any position I can play, I'll play. I'm not a person who is going to go out there and beg for a spot. I'm just going to go and work hard. I'm going to play where I fit in."
His team—Steel Valley—has taken a more active approach in its offseason, already competing at two 7-on-7 camps with a third scheduled for West Virginia later this week. Though he's gotten exposure to Pitt by being so close to the Panthers' practice facility, he's itching to start getting out on the road and checking out some schools on his own too. He is impressed with the hometown Panthers, though.
"I've been trying to get a visit up to Cincinnati, but that hasn't worked out yet," Todd said. "Pitt, they've been on me. I'm just trying to maintain my grades, and hopefully I'll be at Pitt. I get regular mail from them, e-mails. Often, they'll visit my school to see how I'm doing there, just to make sure that I'm staying out of trouble.
"Coach (Bob) Junko, he's the recruiting coach. He's been pretty good to me so far. Coach (Tony) Gibson, I'll probably be up there with him at some point. Hopefully, I'll get to know the running backs coach (Calvin Magee) a little bit more. That's about it."
One player that the current Steel Valley players look up to is Tyrone Ezell, who graduated from there in 2009. Ezell was one of the returning players who made an immediate improvement during spring practices, earning the Ed Conway Award from the defense. The sophomore nose tackle has inspired players like Todd, who hope to earn a scholarship like Ezell did.
"Pitt's my hometown," Todd added. "Someone from Steel Valley just recently went up there on a full-ride; Tyrone Ezell. That's my boy. That's about it. They have a good program. I just want to stay close to home, and come home every weekend if I go to college."
Todd also hopes that by capturing a trophy at this past weekend's 7-on-7 tournament, that it's the first of many pieces of hardware to come to his school. He feels his team's preparations in the offseason are helping set that tone, but also feels there's a strong work ethic that he and his teammates have to develop underneath that as well.
"It just shows a lot of hard work and dedication," Todd said. "We come out, we got the attitude to win. If we just keep each other motivated, if we can just maintain respect for each other, come out and play with each other, I think we can win any game."