Pitt Passing Camp Day I

Pitt's annual Passing Camp has grown to 40 high school teams from several different states competing in a 7-on-7 competition over two days, and Friday's action was exciting despite heavy afternoon showers on two occasions.

With talented schools like Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa. knocking off perennial power Pittsburgh Central Catholic in an opening matchup, along with Pittsburgh Penn Hills and upstarts Clarksburg, Md.; North Star, Boswell, Pa. near Erie and Richland, Johnstown, Pa. joining McDevitt with 5-0 first-day records, the crowds already were talking about the second-day matchups shortly after the others ended.

"McDevitt's going all the way,'' former Crusaders and current Pittsburgh tailback LeSean McCoy said. "They have a lot of talent this year, more than when Aaron and me were there. We were good, but they're really something.''

Aaron, of course, is Pitt cornerback Aaron Berry, another McDevitt grad.

"They've got a good team again this year, and they've looked good so far,'' Berry said. "We'll see what they do in the rest of the games.''

The Panthers are interested in two seniors-to-be at McDevitt, 6-foot-1, 215-pound running back-linebacker Dante Ushery and 5-10, 170-pound wideout-defensive back Chris Houston. Both primarily are defensive players. McDevitt also is loaded with underclassmen like tailback Jameel Poteat, cousin of former Pitt and Steelers cornerback Hank Poteat.

Thomas Jefferson HS, Jefferson Hills, Pa., had a rough first day at 2-3, but should bounce back under the guidance of former Pitt lineman Bill Cherpak.

"We did all right,'' Cherpak said. "We like coming down here. It gets the kids a good workout for a couple days and builds camaraderie over the summer, so we like to do something like this before we get them back for our fall camp.''

TJ tight end Brock DeCicco, brother of Pitt sophomore safety Dom DeCicco, had a strong showing Friday. The younger DeCicco could verbally commit to Pitt this coming week, but the specific date isn't known.

Safety E.J. Banks from Montour HS in Mckees Rocks, Pa. has finalized a top six and said he will verbally commit later this year to either Pitt, Ohio State, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Wake Forest or Rutgers. While some might believe that the Panthers are a long-shot to secure Banks, he certainly didn't rule them out.

"I don't know why anybody would think that, unless they believe that I want to get away for college,'' Banks said. "But it's right here, close to my home, so why wouldn't I look at Pitt. They have nice facilities and good coaches, so I'm definitely considering them.''

Banks will take an unofficial visit to Pitt Wednesday.

The Panthers coaching staff, which monitored all the games played Friday, will seed all the teams in four divisions and set up a double-elimination tournament Saturday with games beginning at 9 a.m. So, each team is guaranteed at least two more games in the two-day event.

Here are the records of each school: Clarksburg, Md. (5-0); Penn Hills, Pittsburgh, Pa. (5-0); North Star, Boswell, Pa. (5-0); Richland, Johnstown, Pa. (5-0); Fox Chapel, Pittsburgh, Pa. (4-1); Greater Latrobe, Pa. (4-1); Pine-Richland, Gibsonia, Pa. (4-1); Seton LaSalle, Pittsburgh, Pa. (4-1); Keystone Oaks, Pittsburgh, Pa. (4-1); Montour, McKees Rocks, Pa. (4-1); Kirtland, Ohio (4-1); Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (4-1); Clairton, Pa. (3-2); North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (3-2); Dunbar, Washington, D.C. (3-2); Franklin, Pa. (3-2); Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Hills, Pa. (3-2); Berwick, Pa. (2-3); Penn Trafford, Harrison City, Pa. (2-3), Oil City, Pa. (2-3); Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, Pa. (2-3); Bishop McCort, Johnstown, Pa. (2-3); Findlay, Ohio (2-3); Manheim Township, Lancaster, Pa. (2-3); Kenton, Ohio (2-3); Brockway, Pa. (2-3); Seneca Valley, Harmony, Pa. (2-3); Indiana, Pa. (1-4); Forest Hills, Sidman, Pa. (1-4); Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1-4); Shenango, New Castle, Pa. (1-4); Steel Valley, Munhall, Pa. (1-4); Bishop Canevin (1-4); Chartiers Valley, Bridgeville, Pa. (1-4); Oliver, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1-4); Perry, Pittsburgh, Pa. (0-5); Frazier, Perryopolis, Pa. (0-5); West Shamokin, Rural Valley, Pa. (0-5); and Portage Area, Pa. (0-5).

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