Recruiting heating up for Latrobe junior John Wetzel

Friday, December 15, 2023 | 11:01 AM

College coaches are turning up the volume to hear the cracking of pads on junior John Wetzel’s highlight film.

“It’s similar to what you see with (Alex) Tatsch,” Latrobe coach Ron Prady said. “It’s violent. They hit, and guys go backwards.”

Tatsch and Wetzel have been pillars in the Wildcats’ steady build into a playoff contender.

While Tatsch has more than a dozen offers from FBS programs nationwide, Wetzel has bagged two Power Five scholarship offers from Boston College and Cincinnati. Both came in last week.

Schools appear to be taking a liking to his explosiveness as a safety.

“It’s no surprise at all. Just look at John’s tape,” Prady said. “I think more (offers) will follow.”

Wetzel (6-foot, 190 pounds) also is the Wildcats’ quarterback. He threw for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 989 yards and 15 TDs this season as the Wildcats (8-4) reached the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals for a second straight time.

They rallied late to put a legitimate scare into powerhouse Aliquippa, the eventual WPIAL and PIAA champion, before falling 37-29.

“I knew some offers were going to start coming in, but I didn’t expect it to happen on that exact day,” Wetzel said. “Coach Prady really has done as much as he can for me, coaching me and also talking to coaches about me and getting me to meet them in person.

“I’m really excited to have opportunities to keep playing a sport I love at the next level.”

Some of his big hits on his film are against Aliquippa.

“Schools like him as what many of them call a spear or a buck,” Prady said. “It’s a hybrid (defensive back), like a nickel back. That position almost never leaves the field.”

Wetzel finished the season with 53 tackles and three interceptions.

Prady’s advocacy has accelerated the recruiting of Wetzel and Tatsch (6-3, 212), who has offers from Stanford, USC, Maryland, Pitt, West Virginia and others. The coach has made contact with dozens of recruiters while advising his players on the benefits of connecting with schools through social media.

“Nonstop, all day,” Prady said. “The coaches come in here. A USC coach flew in last week. They like what they see from these guys.”

Tatsch is going to have offseason surgery for an upper-body injury he suffered early in the season. He will miss all of basketball season.

Wetzel, the point guard in basketball, is set to return to the court from a football-related injury.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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