Awards still rolling in for Johnstown star

LaRod Stephens has been earning honors and accolades from various sources since last season. The attention has not slowed down for the 5-9, 165 speedster from Johnstown High School, Johnstown Pa.

The latest award was unexpected and very special to Stephens. Pennsylvania State Representative Ed Wojnaroski presented LaRod with a certificate of athletic achievement. Stephens has been invited to the State House Of Representatives for a tour and too accept his award.

LaRod is a 3.5 GPA student and a member of the schools honor roll. He was named to the Associated Press AAA All-State 1st Team, PA Football News All-State 1st Team, 2003 Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year, Point Stadium player of the year, Southern Alleghenies Football Coaches Association Offensive Player Of The Year, and The Tribune-Democrat Offensive Player Of The Year. LaRod was recently named to the Pittinsider Pennsylvania Pre-Season Top 50 list.

Stephens has been offered scholarships by Pittsburgh and Penn State, he recently attended junior day at Pittsburgh on Saturday March 27th. This was the second time LaRod has gotten to see Pittsburgh. At junior day Pittsburgh held a controlled scrimmage, where LaRod got to see the up close and personal version of college football.

"I definitely got to see what college football is all about, that's for sure." Said Stephens

Currently LaRod is quite the busy teenager, he is working out for the Nike Combine on May 15th at Penn State, he is also running track, and playing baseball. Johnstown had their first track meet on Monday against Indiana High School LaRod ran the 100 and clocked in with an 11.2 good enough for 1st place. Most would consider that a good time t, but not Stephens.

"I wasn't happy with it at all, I know I can do better."

LaRod is also an outfielder on Coach Dee Dee Osborne's Trojan baseball team. Johnstown is preparing to venture to the Bayou, they will participate in a week long Tournament in New Orleans.

Stephens has had quite the meteoric rise from potential prospect, to one of the hottest prospects in the state and possibly the nation. Has this changed the modest superstar?

"People act different towards me, but I keep telling them I am the same LaRod Stephens as I was before. I haven't changed."

Is it strange that no more than two months ago you were only hearing from a couple of schools, now you are becoming a household name?

"It is nice that all these schools are know looking at me, it just happened so fast. Coach Arcurio told me that Ole Miss called about me today."

Have you thought about the 2004 season, with all the attention you are getting that the rest of the teams are counting down the days to play LaRod and Johnstown High School? Everyone likes to play against a Division-1 caliber kid; do you feel you'll have a target on your back?

"Honestly, I am looking forward to the challenge of having a target on my back."

So what's next on the agenda for LaRod as far as recruiting goes?

"I am going to the spring game at Pittsburgh on April 10th, and I'll probably go watch some spring practices at Penn State."

When I watch you LaRod, I can't help but to think of another former Western PA player Steve Breaston. He wasn't the biggest kid, but he was a QB and an explosive athlete. Now he is a WR at Michigan, Have the coaches talked to you about possibly playing other positions?

"Coach Moses from Pittsburgh talked to me about it, I can come in as an athlete first, possibly catch passes, line up in the slot, be a return man. Then eventually work my way into becoming an every down back."

Where are you thinking right now as far as favorites?

"Pitt is still #1, I am going to look at Penn State."

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