Aliquippa’s Fisher ready to improve on breakout junior year

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Sunday, July 7, 2019 | 12:01 AM


The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason WPIAL Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 23 during a HSSN Media Day live broadcast at Kennywood Park.

When the Aliquippa football team captured its first PIAA state championship since 2003 last season, it was loaded with talent.

With players like Kentucky commit MJ Devonshire, Pitt commit Will Gipson, Ball State commit Solvaughn Moreland and several others who signed to play at the next level, some of Aliquippa’s underclassmen didn’t receive as much attention. Now they are ready to step into the spotlight.

One of those players is rising senior Zuriah Fisher. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound, TE/LB was a key part of an Aliquippa defense that had seven shutouts and only allowed three teams to score 15 points or more last season. On a team loaded with Division I prospects, Fisher garnered attention from schools all over the country, but it wasn’t until after the season offers started to come.

“Coaches were coming in, and they were paying attention to him,” Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield said. “But he was hurt and missed a couple games with minor injuries, but he came back stronger. As a junior, starting at linebacker with all of the talent we had last year, it was really impressive. Sometimes you just don’t get that recognition until you do hit that senior year.”

Last May, Howard and Syracuse came through with offers for the talented two-way player. After the season, Fisher received a wave of offers that included schools like Youngstown State, Ball State, Ohio, Bowling Green and others. Then, the Power 5 schools started to offer.

Soon enough, Fisher had offers from Pitt, Penn State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Nebraska, Texas A&M and several others.

“For me, I think it was Penn State that set off the whole process,” Fisher said. “They came in and said that they thought I would fit their defense perfectly because they like their linebackers big and athletic, and I’m big linebacker and I can move. I got long arms, and that’s what they like.”

During his junior year, Fisher put all of those qualities on display as he racked up 115 tackles.

He displayed an ability to read plays, react to blocking schemes and find a way into the backfield. But outside of his athletic ability, Warfield believes he has other assets that stick out to college coaches.

“It’s not too often where you find a kid with his size who is just as agile as a smaller person,” Warfield said. “I think his football instincts, his leadership qualities and his personality, coupled with his athletic ability and his size, are very unique.”

Last season set the tone for Fisher’s final high school season, and he’s ready to exceed expectations in 2019. He said his goal is 200 tackles, and he is set on helping the Quips to the state championship for a second straight year.

Before then, Fisher wants to round out his game. He said he’s been working on getting lighter on his feet so he’ll be able to excel in coverage this year. And given the team lost several key players to graduation, Fisher will step into a leadership role this year. Warfield believes it will fit him perfectly.

“He has certain things that you can’t teach, and I see him taking on that leadership role this year,” Warfield said. “We had a lot of leaders last year where the juniors didn’t have to because our senior class was so strong. But I do see him stepping into that leadership role and the team basically falling in behind him.”

Zuriah Fisher

School: Aliquippa

Class: Senior

Ht/wt: 6-3, 230

Positions: TE/LB

Stars: three

Division I offers: Pitt, Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Boston College, Indiana, Minnesota, Toledo, UMass, Youngstown State, Temple, Kent State, Bowling Green, Ohio, Ball State, Syracuse, Howard.

2018 statistics: 4 receptions, 106 yards, 115 tackles.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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