Dallastown head coach Kevin Myers can recall one other prospect that went on to play Division I football, in the history of Dallastown football. The eastern Pennsylvania high school has an enrollment of around 2,500 students.
"As far as I know, we had a player in the early 80s go to Duke, and we've have some I-AA players," Myers said. "Since then, this is the first big-time Division I college signee that has committed. It's very exciting for our program. We're very excited for Ben. He's worked hard for the last four years. He's done all the things to make it happen."
As Pitt has seen from some of its own players--Shayne Hale, Brandon Lindsey and Nate Nix just to name a few, all three players signed with Pitt to play linebacker, before moving to the defensive line. Kline's career has been the opposite. In college, there have been several instances of players outgrowing their linebacker build, yet being strong enough to be defensive ends, while being a step faster in a down position, something that's intended to give that player an advantage.
Kline got his start on the defensive line, then was moved to outside linebacker, and now to the inside where Myers feels the 6-2, 220-pound Kline has found his natural position.
"Last year was the first time for him at the inside linebacker position," Myers said. "What he does, is he gets to the ball very quickly. He moves very well from side-to-side. He covers a lot of ground, and he's a very hard-hitting young man."
Myers won't let Kline start college with just those intangibles.
"I'm working on him getting lower," Myers said. "All spring, through the summer, he's going to work on that ability to close on the ball."
When it comes to Pitt, Myers has no doubt that his star linebacker has made the right choice. He does say, the battle between the other schools in the running was pretty close. All five of Kline's finalists had some kind of a need at linebacker.
"It came down to Pitt, Michigan, UConn, Rutgers and West Virginia," Myers said. "All had a need at the linebacker positions. Ben and I talked several times, and everything was good about Pitt. He had a lot of pleasant visits to Pitt. All the schools treated him well, but Pitt was a step ahead. It was a very tough decision. It was not easy by any means."
The x-factor that made Pitt a step ahead was tight ends coach Brian Angelichio. Of Pitt's five verbal commitments, center Artie Rowell and now Kline come from Angelichio's recruiting area.
"I think one thing, the Pitt staff, Coach Angelichio, called me once a week," Myers said. "He kept in close contact, just to see how Ben was doing. That helped him make a decision.
"Angelichio, he'd stop by Dallastown, just stopping through the area. Nobody has ever done that. He always stopped by once a year, ‘Coach you got anybody?' I enjoy talking to him. I'm sure the whole staff is great, but he's a great guy."