Cedar Grove's Drew Evangelista

There were several dozen kickers at Pitt's Specialists Camp, and Drew Evangelista easily stood out.

It's not that he was the biggest or most powerfully built player at the Pittsburgh camp, but Drew Evangelista boomed field goals consistently from better than 40 yards while kicking off the ground. Scholastic kickers are allowed to use a tee that's two inches high.

"I just wanted to come out here, kick in front of some coaches, and show them what I can do,'' Evangelista said. "I wanted to compete against some of the best kickers in this part of the country and see how I stack up against them. So, far, it's been a fun time for me, and I think I did pretty well.''

Evangelista, a senior this fall at Cedar Grove, N.J. High School, basically was money in the bank for Panthers coach Ed Sadloch with five of six field goals made and a long kick of 39 yards. He had 11 touchbacks and averaged nearly 33 yards per punt. But he performed well enough Thursday to better those numbers this coming season, which could lead to his first scholarship offers.

"Two weeks ago, I went to Penn State's camp and did really well up there, and I also was at Villanova after that,'' Evangelista said. "So, this is my third camp, and I'd like to go to a few more after this. I'm looking forward to it.

"Coming in here, I didn't know too much about Pitt, but I liked it. The facilities are incredible, and it's really nice. I could see myself playing here. I kick and punt, and I think I did really well on field goals and kickoffs. I hit the ball well.''

Jamie Kohl, from Kohl's Professional Kicking Camps, worked with all the players along with several members of Pitt's coaching staff.

"Drew probably is the smoothest on his field goals,'' Kohl said. "That's good for him that he kicks off he ground. He'll be ready for college.''

Evangelista was a key performer for Cedar Grove, as it won a fifth NJSIAA/Gatorade North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 championship this past season.

The key recruiter for Evangelista is Pitt secondary coach Jeff Hafley, and he's going after several big-time recruits from New Jersey.

"There's a lot of good players in that area, and we're trying to get as many as possible,'' Hafley said. "There are a lot of good kickers here today, too. We lose our starting punter after this year, so we could give a scholarship to a punter next year if our walk-ons don't work out. So, we'll see what happens.''

Pitt's starting punter, Dave Brytus, is a fifth-year senior this season.

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