5 prospects to watch over the summer in Westmoreland

Friday, July 6, 2018 | 2:45 PM

Recruiting has taken off for a talented crop of Westmoreland County athletes from the Class of 2019.

Here are five seniors to watch in the coming months as they inch closer to decision time:

Trent Holler

School: Latrobe

Sport: Football

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 290

Offers: Pitt, West Virginia, Connecticut, East Carolina, Elon, Cincinnati, Ohio, Maine, Lehigh, Fordham, Delaware, Ball State, Youngstown State, Duquesne, Albany, Robert Morris, Notre Dame College.

Favorites: Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, Connecticut.

What’s his story?: Fast becoming one of the top linemen recruits in the WPIAL this year, with Pitt and WVU offering the center/defensive end to up his stock. Film instantly shows his ability to make tackles downfield while never giving up on a play. Narrowed his FBS choices to four but has not ruled out an FCS program, saying Youngstown State and Delaware still are very much in the mix. His father, Dick, played at Elon.

Palmer Jackson

School: Franklin Regional

Sport: Golf

Ht/Wt: 6-1/175

Hudl: N/A.

Offers: N/A.

Favorites: TBD.

What’s his story?: One of WPIAL’s top players over the last three years and a favorite to contend for WPIAL and PIAA titles in the fall, Jackson is having a productive summer. He won a U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier in Carlisle with a walk-off eagle. A past winner of the Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior, Jackson will only reveal the conferences from which his offers came: the ACC and Big Ten. He was leading the West Penn Amateur at 4-under 67 after one round before rain and storms suspended play Monday.

Anthony Johnson

School: Jeannette

Sport: Football

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 230

Offers: Syracuse, Maine, Delaware, Toledo, UMass, Morgan State, Buffalo, Ball State, Holy Cross, Robert Morris, Central Michigan, Howard.

Favorites: TBD.

What’s his story?: Johnson has exploded onto the scene after just one season of varsity football. He started at defensive end last season and made a major impact as a pass-rusher and run-stopper, posting 134 tackles and 12 sacks for the WPIAL and PIAA Class A champion Jayhawks. Once determined to be a college basketball player, football now seems like his ticket to the next level. He has not begun to trim his list of choices and said he has no favorites at this point.

Brandon Stone

School: Christ School (Arden, N.C.)

Sport: Basketball

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-11, 195 pounds

Offers: Siena, LaSalle, Auburn, Drake, Kansas State, South Carolina, Houston, St. Joseph’s, Central Connecticut, Bowling Green, Canisius, Penn State, Duquesne, Stony Brook, Appalachian State, Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary’s, Youngstown State.

Favorites: Penn State, Auburn, South Carolina, La Salle, Duquesne.

What’s his story?: Former Southmoreland standout decided to attend a prep school for two years and test the AAU waters over the summer to see what other offers he could round up. Stone, a combo wing player who can score inside and out, said he wants to decide before the early-signing period which begins Nov. 14. Stone swapped AAU teams this summer, leaving local outfit ITPS for B.Maze Elite of out Knoxville, Tenn. Clemson and Nebraska reportedly are the latest to inquire.

Jayvon Thrift

School: Norwin

Sport: Football

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 190

Offers: Youngstown State, Ohio, Indiana, Army West Point, Buffalo, Toledo, Temple, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia.

Favorites: TBD.

What’s his story?: An outstanding safety with 4.5-second closing speed and pass-batting instincts, the “Hitman” is getting recruited my major programs largely due to his ability to cover a lot of ground in quick bursts. West Virginia and Pitt offered him during his sophomore year and others soon followed. Michigan State has shown interest and Notre Dame had him for a visit.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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