Hempfield QB Justin Sliwoski bound for Pitt

Thursday, February 8, 2018 | 6:03 PM

The thought of reuniting with his brother on a football field resonated with Justin Sliwoski. But so did the idea of possibly playing quarterback for his favorite college team.

Sliwoski, a senior quarterback at Hempfield, decided Thursday to take a preferred walk-on offer from Pitt.

The challenge is clear: He will have to work for a scholarship. But he appears as confident in his approach as he is content with his decision.

“This is the biggest decision of my life. I couldn't be more happy with my decision,” Sliwoski said. “I can't wait to get started. I have been a Pitt guy forever.

“I felt it was a great opportunity. The coaches are awesome, and Pitt is a great school academically. I really like everything they have to offer.”

He also had offers from Dayton, Georgetown, Dartmouth and Columbia. He also considered Mercyhurst and Seton Hill, both Division II programs.

Sliwoski (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) threw for 1,668 yards and 19 touchdowns last season despite missing three games with a shoulder injury. He was a WPIAL 6A Southeastern Conference second-team selection.

Sliwoski saw Pitt as a family connection. Both of his parents went there.

His brother, Ryan, walked on at Pitt and made the team last year. A junior fullback, Ryan is anxious to have his younger brother on campus.

“It's honestly a dream come true,” Ryan Sliwoski said. “We both grew up huge Pitt fans, so it's amazing that we both have the opportunity to play for them. Like, who would of thought two brothers playing backyard football every day would eventually lead to playing for the Panthers at Heinz?”

Hempfield coach Rich Bowen, a former star quarterback himself at Serra Catholic, started his college career at Pitt before playing at Youngstown State for three years as a tight end.

“Justin will do a great job down there,” Bowen said. “We're very proud of him. He has the skill set and a great football mind. He also loves to compete.”

Hempfield athletic director Greg Meisner was a star lineman at Pitt before a career in the NFL.

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


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