CTK 2011 – MSA Sports Preseason Elite Eleven All-Stars

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | 5:13 PM

A running back with a chance to become the all-time leading rusher in the WPIAL and the state, one of the best all-around athletes in Western Pennsylvania, a huge offensive lineman and a running back from Erie are some of the top players in the MSA Sports preseason Elite 11.

The Elite 11 is picked by the MSA Sports staff and takes into consideration all players in the WPIAL. Another Elite 11 will be picked at the end of the season.

The running back with the chance at records is Hopewell’s Rushel Shell. One of the best all-around athletes is Mount Lebanon’s Luke Hagy, who is a standout in football, basketball and baseball. Adam Bisnowaty is a 6-6, 275-pound lineman at Fox Chapel. The standout player from Erie that maybe not many WPIAL fans know about is McDowell running back Greg Garmon.

Three of the players on the Elite 11 already have made verbal commitments to Division I colleges and all of them have scholarship offers from Division I schools.

Here is a look at the Elite 11:

5-11, 215 SR.

One of the best running backs in the WPIAL in decades. A starter since freshman year, Shell needs only 880 yards to tie WPIAL career rushing record held by Fort Cherry’s Mike Vernillo. Shell has 6,766 yards on 796 attempts. Also has 82 career touchdowns. Last season, rushed for 2,510 yards on 323 attempts and scored 27 TDs.

Shell is ranked among the top five running backs in the country by scouting services. He was recruited by colleges across the country. In the spring, he said Pitt, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina were his favorites, but he has since dropped North Carolina off the list. He recently said he might announce his college decision in October.

6-6, 275 SR.

A large lineman who is being recruited to play offensive line by more than a dozen Division I colleges. Has been a starter since his sophomore year when he was 6-5. Will be playing for a different coach (Eric Ravotti) this season. Pitt, Florida, Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan are some of the colleges he is considering. All have offered and Bisnowaty plans to narrow his list soon.

6-1, 225, SR.

McKeesport had two big-time recruits last year in Brandon Jackson and Delvon Simmons. Now the Tigers have another one in Neal. Neal plays both offense and defense, but his future is most definitely on defense. He is heavily recruited as a linebacker with scholarship offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Tennessee, Nebraska, Auburn and Texas Tech.

6-1, 190 SR.

One of the best all-around athletes in the state. Standout football player, starting point guard on basketball team that made it to the state final last year and an all-section in outfielder in baseball. But his future is in football. Pitt has offered a scholarship as a defensive back. Ivy League and Patriot League schools also want him. As a junior, rushed for 1,981 yards on 282 attempts and scored 29 touchdowns for a 10-1 team.

6-1, 190, SR.

Nixon is one of the reasons many are tabbing Central Catholic as the No. 1 Class AAAA team in the WPIAL this season. As a junior, Nixon caught 34 passes for 699 yards and also intercepted three passes. Central Catholic coach Terry Totten called him one of the best two-way players in the state. Nixon’s future is as a defensive back and his future is at the University of Maryland. He committed to the Terrapins in July. Pitt was his other top choice. Nixon is one of five Central Catholic seniors with Division I offers. QB Perry Hills also is committed to Maryland.

6-4, 235, SR.

Due to injuries, Holtz was moved from tight end to running back last year at Shaler, and had a nice season in the backfield. He’s back at tight end this year. He also plays linebacker, where he is a force. Holtz has already made a verbal commitment to Penn State. He isn’t sure if he will play tight end or linebacker for the Nittany Lions. But his other favorites were Pitt, Purdue and Michigan State.

6-1, 210, SR.

Conwell excels on both sides of the ball for the Panthers. He had 2,001 yards offense last year, rushing for 1,085 and completing 62 of 121 for 916 yards. Was one of the team’s leading tacklers at linebacker and made first-team all-state at linebacker. His future is at linebacker. That’s the position where Pitt recruited him, and Conwell committed to the Panthers July 6. Also had offers from Maryland, Temple and Toledo. His brother, Dane, was USC’s leading rusher on a state championship team a few years ago.

6-2, 195, SR.

Maybe many Pittsburgh area fans don’t know about Garmon because he plays in Erie. But fans should know he is one of the most talented players in the state. Last season, Garmon rushed for 1,225 yards on 141 attempts (8.7 yards per carry) and also averaged 28 yards on 15 kickoff returns. Also an impact player on defense. Garmon’s future is as a running back as he had more than two dozen Division I scholarship offers before narrowing his list to North Carolina, Ilinois, Iowa, Michigan and West Virginia.

5-8, 170, SR.

Durden isn’t big, but he figures to be gigantic in Montour’s plans this season. After transferring from North Catholic, Durden rushed for 2,028 yards on 261 carries and scored 28 touchdowns last year for a Montour team that went to the WPIAL Class AAA championship. Has not decided on a college, but has offers from Pitt, Temple, Kent State and Ohio.

6-1, 190 SR.

You remember the last Jeannette player who was a standout at QB and DB? Terrelle Pryor. Cox isn’t on Pryor’s level, but is extremely talented. A swift runner at QB. But his future is on defense as he is rated the No. 14 defensive back in the country by Rivals.com. Also plays basketball for Jeannette. Just this weekend, Cox narrowed his list of colleges to 10. Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Texas A & M, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Kansas and Arizona State.

6-2, 205, SR.

One of the most heavily recruited players in the state. Has offers from Pitt, Alabama, Oregon and USC, among others. Says he has no favorites. All schools are recruiting him as a linebacker. He is a very good pass rusher, recording eight sacks and 70 tackles last season. On offense, he had 22 receptions, averaging 23.1 yards a catch. He is one of three Division I college players for Sto-Rox. DB Marzett Geter has committed to Pitt and WR-DB Dontez Ford to Syracuse.

Tags: , , , , ,

More Football

Plans to expand, strengthen PIAA competitive-balance rule rejected by board
After PIAA approves NIL policy, Laurel Highlands’ Rodney Gallagher quickly adds 1st deal
Pine-Richland seniors aim to cap careers as state champions
Union vies for 1st PIAA championship against veteran Steelton-Highspire
This week on Trib HSSN for week of Dec. 5, 2022