Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Howard Adds to Pipeline in Football

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Howard Adds to Pipeline in Football

Article excerpt

Chances are the college from outside of Pennsylvania with the most football players from WPIAL schools next fall won't be located in West Virginia or Ohio.

You can find it in the nation's capital.

Howard University in Washington has quickly become a popular landing spot for players from Western Pennsylvania. There could be at least seven on its roster next year. Three are freshmen or sophomores and four more are planning to join them next season.

Howard hit it big locally Aug. 2 when a herd of seniors chose to become Bison. Three committed within a few hours of each other - Steel Valley linebacker Todd Hill, West Mifflin cornerback Parrish Parker and Penn Hills running back Terry "Tank" Smith. Penn Hills quarterback Hollis Mathis committed in May.

Hill, a Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 pick as a junior, said he is friends with the three other recruits. He, Smith and Mathis began playing football with one another when they were 9 years old. "Me and Parrish always talked about playing together. Tank, too. We all decided that day to commit, we just didn't know what time," Hill said.

Howard currently has three players hailing from WPIAL schools - sophomore running back Quinton Hill (Thomas Jefferson), freshman defensive back Rodney Dennard (Woodland Hills) and freshman offensive lineman Anthony Young (Central Catholic).

An FCS school, Howard made headlines last season when it won on the road against FBS school UNLV.

But why the local interest in Howard? Hill said the mass exodus to Howard has a lot to do with a coaching staff that includes offensive coordinator Brennan Marion, who is a Greensburg Salem graduate. Head coach Mike London previously held that position at the University of Virginia.

"They make you feel comfortable and make you feel at home. They make you feel like you're still in Pa. even though you're really not," Hill said. "They understand what young men around here go through and that everything isn't perfect. …

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