Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands

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Monday, July 5, 2021 | 1:23 PM


The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 22 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

When coaches talk about Rodney Gallagher, it’s all good.

They don’t have a single negative thing to say about him, and for good reason: He’s a special talent.

The Laurel Highlands junior is being heavily recruited in both football and basketball.

Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia have offered him in both sports.

He’s a true leader either on the football field, where he players quarterback and defensive back, or on the basketball court, where he is the point guard.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Gallagher will be a three-year starter for Laurel Highlands, and he’s a member of the 25-player TribHSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team. The team will be recognized July 22 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood.

Gallagher burst on the scene as a freshman when he led the Mustangs to the WPIAL Class 5A basketball title. Gallagher showed great leadership throughout the playoffs and maturity of a senior.

“He’s a great leader and a hard worker,” Laurel Highlands football coach Rich Kolesar said. “He’s a special player. There is nothing he can’t do.”

Gallagher played wide receiver as a freshman. He had 25 catches for 491 yards and rushed for 392 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns.

Last year, he completed 28 of 49 passes for 377 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 300 yards and rushed for 147 yards. He scored seven touchdowns.

“I like playing quarterback,” Gallagher said. “I had the ball in my hands a lot. I want to get better.”

Other colleges recruiting Gallagher for football include Arizona State, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Mississippi and Michigan State.

“What stands out to me is his passion and competitiveness,” Laurel Highlands basketball coach Rick Hauger said. “He loves what he does. He’s an intense competitor and not afraid to put himself in difficult situations.”

Gallagher is spending his summer sharpening his skills in both sports. He’s playing 7-on-7 football for Laurel Highlands and he’s traveling to Washington D.C. to play for Team Durant, one of the top AAU basketball programs in the country.

He’s also making visits to colleges.

“I like playing quarterback because it allows me to handle the ball every play and I can see the entire field,” Gallagher said. “In college, I’ll play anywhere the coaches want me.”

Kolesar said football coaches are recruiting him as an athlete, but he’ll probably end up being a defensive back. He’s being recruited as a point guard in basketball.

“I want to improve my field vision on offense, and I look forward to guarding some of the best players man-to-man on defense,” Gallagher said. “I’m still working on a lot of things to improve my game.”

If he does that, he’ll be even more sought after.

Rodney Gallagher

Laurel Highlands

Junior

6-0/170

QB/DB

Committed to: Uncommitted

Division I offers: Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Mississippi, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Arizona State and Michigan State

2020 statistics: 28 of 49 passes for 377 yards and 4 TDs, 17 catches for 300 yards and 67 rushes for 147 yards and 7 TDs

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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