With college plans in place, Woodland Hills’ Rawlings ready for special senior season

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | 5:10 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 23 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

At tight end, Joshua Rawlings said he has sometimes been compared to former Woodland Hills star Rob Gronkowski, who’s blocking and pass-catching ability produced one of the most productive careers at the position in the history of the NFL.

But Rawlings, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior tight end for the Wolverines, said he doesn’t compare himself to anyone.

“I just try to be the most complete player I can be,” said Rawlings, who gave a verbal commitment to Virginia last month.

“I love blocking. I’m not going to lie. In workouts, I always start with the linemen. I want to take pride in my blocking. That, coupled with the goal of being an elite pass-catcher, helps me stand out even more.”

That combination stood out among Division I football programs which came calling in higher numbers during and after a junior season that saw Rawlings earn Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference second-team honors.

Rawlings said he appreciated the recruiting process and understood the importance of his decision. He said it was a total package of athletics and academics that led him to Virginia.

He made a visit to the Charlottesville campus June 14 and committed nine days later.

Virginia, the first Power 5 program to offer Rawlings a scholarship, won out over a final list that included Pitt, East Carolina, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Syracuse and Vanderbilt.

“I’m just glad it’s over so I can concentrate fully on the upcoming season and help my team win a championship,” Rawlings said.

Rawlings is ranked 10th in the Pennsylvania 2020 class by 247Sports. He is the No. 1 tight end. Nationally, he is rated the 41st tight end.

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Woodland Hills coach Tim Bostard said Rawlings, with his strength and athletic ability, is looking good in workouts this summer.

“He’s here every day, and he puts in a lot of time and energy,” Bostard said.

“He’s one of the first ones out to the field and one of the last ones to leave. We’re excited to see what he can do. We’re looking for a big, productive season from him.”

Bostard credited not only Rawlings’ play on the field but his dedication to his work in the classroom where he carries a 4.0 grade-point average.

Woodland Hills opens its season on Aug. 24 at the Wolvarena against Calvert Hall, Md., at the Western Pa. vs. Everyone Showcase.

“It’s my senior season, so I can only be excited for it,” Rawlings said. “It’s my last dance, so I want to go out with a bang, and I have to prepare with that in mind.”

Joshua Rawlings file

School: Woodland Hills

Class: Senior

Ht/wt: 6-5/245

Position: TE

Stars: three

Committed to: Virginia

Division I offers: Iowa State, Minnesota, Pitt, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, East Carolina, Indiana, Kent State, Marshall, Maryland, UMass, Ohio, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Michigan

2018 statistics: 15 catches, 220 yards, 4 TDs

Trib HSSN Preseason All-Stars

A.J. Beatty, Central Catholic

Fintan Brose, Hempfield

Tui Brown, Gateway

Michael Carmody, Mars

Josh Casilli, Peters Township

Johnny Crise, Highlands

Derrick Davis, Gateway

Daniel Deabner, Thomas Jefferson

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport

Dorien Ford, Baldwin

Aaron Gunn, Union

Dayon Hayes, Westinghouse

Nahki Johnson, West Mifflin

Josh Kaltenberger, Seneca Valley

Caleb Lisbon, Penn-Trafford

Jake Lugg, North Allegheny

Luke Meckler, Pine-Richland

George Padezanin, Montour

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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