Westmoreland freshmen seeing increased football recruiting attention

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 10:33 PM

Say what you want about 7-on-7 football competitions and their merit. College coaches are tuned in to them and are using them to gauge young talent.

Players may be in T-shirts and shorts but they can still display hands and speed.

Freshmen players are among those getting noticed, including a few from Westmoreland County.

Jackson Pons, a Central Catholic freshman who transferred from Norwin, is on the radar all of the sudden due to some recent success with the 412 Elite 7s team.

Gardner-Webb, a FCS program in Boiling Springs, N.C., extended a scholarship offer to Pons, a wide receiver and defensive back.

The 6-foot-1, 155-pound Pons had some highlight plays in recent tournaments, pulling in throws from Jeannette freshman quarterback Brad Birch.

“A new world of opportunities” are now possible, Pons said.

“Ever since I was young I’ve always wanted a chance to play college ball at a D-1 program and Gardner-Webb saw that I have the potential to play at the next level,” he said. “I’m very grateful for that.”

Birch (6-0, 180) also is seeing a surge of D-1 attention. Oregon offered him already and Penn State has taken a liking to his game.

A third area freshman, Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin, is considering entering the 7-on-7 circuit. Although he is doing quite well without it.

He looks to be on the fast track to Power-5 football.

The versatile Martin (6-3, 180), who played running back, receiver and defensive back last season, added an offer from Rutgers to a list that includes Pitt, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.

“The 7-on-7 helped me gain exposure by competing against some of the top 2023 and 2024 corners in the country — a few with D-1 offers,” Pons said. “I was able to perform well against them and with my varsity film helped me get interest.”

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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