Division I dream comes true for Norwin’s Giansante, other Westmoreland football players

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 5:41 PM

Finally, the day of promise arrived for Anthony Giansante.

Fading in his rear-view mirror was what could have been. But resting squarely in front of him, in crystal-clear view, was what will be for the burly senior lineman from Norwin.

National signing day allowed Giansante to finally make his dream of playing Division I football a reality. After his first run through the recruiting process fell through for reasons out of his control, the second was a take.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman signed Wednesday to play at Western Carolina, a Division I-FCS program from the Southern Conference.

“I’m just feeling grateful,” Giansante said. “Grateful to have the opportunity to play football where I am wanted, where I can learn a lot and where I feel like I will fit in.”

The first day of the NCAA’s regular signing period for Division I and II commits also saw another Westmoreland County prospect put pen to paper. Jeannette senior Kaelan Piscar signed with FCS St. Francis (Pa.), where he will play linebacker in the Northeast Conference.

A 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, Piscar also played wide receiver for the WPIAL Class A champion Jayhawks.

Piscar will join teammate and classmate James Sanders in Loretto. Sanders, a receiver and defensive back, signed with the Red Flash in December at the start of the early signing period.

Another Jeannette grad, Gio Vonne Sanders, is a redshirt junior defensive back at St. Francis.

“It was a hard decision, but I always dreamed of going D-I, and the coaches showed a lot of love,” Piscar said. “They want to get me to my dream, so this was my best option.”

Even with a global pandemic surging, recruiting continued. Athletes had to trade in-person campus visits for Zoom calls and virtual tours, but many still locked down opportunities to continue playing at the next level.

“I feel extremely fortunate and blessed that my hard work and preparation was recognized,” Giansante said. “Especially with all of the changes in recruiting due to the pandemic.”

Months ago, Giansante had a different western destination. But Western Kentucky pulled his scholarship, negating his verbal commitment and knocking him for a loop.

A first-team all-conference pick in Class 6A, Giansante set out to attract more schools, grinding in the weight room and reaching out to coaches on social media with workout videos and highlights.

He ended up with more than a dozen Division I offers. Once Western Carolina offered, it took the lead and eventually won out over Central Connecticut State, Missouri State, Gardner-Webb and others.

Piscar had 45 tackles and two sacks last season for Jeannette and had 20 receptions for 291 yards and five touchdowns.

“We are extremely excited to be adding Kaelan to our linebacker room,” St. Francis inside linebackers coach Ben Bruni said. “Kaelan is a tall linebacker who is not afraid to hit.”

Also Wednesday, Matt Metrosky signed to accept a preferred walk-on offer at Pitt. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound lineman from Greensburg Central Catholic verbally committed to the Panthers on Monday.

Penn-Trafford identical twins Mason and Nate Frye, meantime, also signed with St. Francis as preferred walk-ons.

They were recruited as defensive backs and announced their dual-commitment Friday.

And Belle Vernon linebacker Ian Maloney signed as a preferred walk-on at Louisville. Maloney (6-2, 200), who played outside linebacker for the Leopards, enrolled at Louisville in December and has been on campus since.

A number of local players signed with Division II programs:

• Pete Billey, HB, Mt. Pleasant — Seton Hill

• Austin Caudill, OL, Yough — Clarion

• Connor Chrisman, WR, Norwin — Slippery Rock

• Toby Cline, DB, Jeannette — Edinboro

• Anthony Evans, OL, Belle Vernon — Fairmont State

• Jonas King, LB, Mt. Pleasant — Mercyhurst

• Sean Knight, OL, Hempfield — Cal (Pa.)

• Tanner Krevokuch, TE, Norwin — Fairmont State

• Mark Mizerak, OL, Greensburg Central Catholic — Clarion

• C.J. Waldier, WR, Yough — Edinboro

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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