Valparaiso recruits WPIAL with help from former Western Pa. standout

Sunday, June 2, 2019 | 5:16 PM

Football coaches at Notre Dame and Ball State have found success recruiting the WPIAL, but now another Indiana school has joined the picture.

At least five WPIAL recruits announced offers in the past week from FCS program Valparaiso including three teammates at Thomas Jefferson. TJ quarterback Shane Stump, wide receiver/defensive back Dan Deabner and tight end/linebacker James Martinis all announced offers from the Crusaders, along with Bethel Park lineman Brandon Cole and Central Catholic running back/defensive back Kyros Thorpe.

They were the first Division 1 offers for all five.

Valparaiso’s connection to Western Pennsylvania is assistant head coach Dave Bucar, a Penn-Trafford graduate. The university hired a new football coach in March and Bucar is part of Landon Fox’s incoming staff.

Bucar was a standout lineman at Washington & Jefferson in the late-2000s. As a coach, he worked two stints as a Pitt assistant from 2009-12 and 2015-16. He was on Maryland’s staff last year.

Valparaiso competes in the Pioneer Football League, a 10-team conference that includes Dayton, Morehead State, San Diego and others. The Crusaders went 2-9 overall last season, 2-6 in the conference.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at

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