Signing Day Special (plus Pens and Bucs)

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY RECAP

Paris Ford

Steel Valley safety Paris Ford tackles Neshannock’s Danny Welker in the WPIAL Class 2A title game

My column on how Paris Ford was the first player to commit to Pitt’s 2017 recruiting class, and the Steel Valley All-American safety remained loyal to and the focus for the Panthers.

Pat Narduzzi

Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi talks to a recruit on Signing Day

Jerry DiPaola reports on Pitt’s class, which added a four-star running back in A.J. Davis of Lakeland, Fla.

James Franklin

Penn State coach James Franklin

https://twitter.com/Truk_Savage/status/826776406214471681

At Penn State, Matt Martell writes about how Central Catholic lineman C.J. Thorpe and Ohio quarterback Sean Clifford lead a Nittany Lions recruiting class that got an early enrollee in Clairton’s Lamont Wade.

Kenny Robinson

Imani Christian’s Kenny Robinson, eluding defenders against Springdale, signed with West Virginia

At West Virginia, David Statman reports that the Mountaineers loaded up on defensive linemen and safeties, including Imani Christian’s Kenny Robinson and Ligonier Valley’s Collin Smith.

https://twitter.com/NDFootball/status/826764872952184832

https://twitter.com/David_Adams1335/status/826906033431965698

https://twitter.com/ZaneDudek33/status/826969549555761152

Assistant sports editor/high schools Bill Hartlep compiled a list of where the WPIAL players signed and has more WPIAL news on the iPreps blog.

Phil Jurkovec

Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit, is the WPIAL’s top prospect for 2018

Chris Harlan writes that Western Pennsylvania’s Class of 2018 features prized prospects, most notably Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who is committed to Notre Dame.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Conor Sheary

Conor Sheary ranks third on the Penguins with 17 goals

After a decade-long search to find a homegrown scoring winger to play alongside Sidney Crosby, the Penguins found one in Conor Sheary, writes Jonathan Bombulie. Now, Sheary is out 4-6 weeks with an injury. And, as always, JB has good stuff on the Chipped Ice blog.

Josh Bell

The Pirates could be without first baseman/outfielder Josh Bell for up to a month

The injury bug hit the Pirates, too, as Josh Bell could miss up to a month after having surgery to remove what the team termed a ‘loose body’ from his left knee, reports Rob Biertempfel.

Rooney expects Steelers’ Big Three to be back

Big Ben 1

Steelers president Art Rooney II doesn’t expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to retire

Steelers president Art Rooney II expects The Big Three to return next season, Joe Rutter reports.

https://twitter.com/jharrison9292/status/823983947927449601

And, in the Steelers notebook, Rooney identified areas where the Steelers need to improve.

sammie coates one-handed catch

Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates has shown good hands at times — such as, when his fingers aren’t broken

On the Steel Mill blog, Chris Adamski writes about Sammie Coates having surgery.

Conor Sheary battles John Carlson

Penguins left wing Conor Sheary battles Capitals defenseman John Carlson for the puck

Jonathan Bombulie writes that the NHL playoff format makes for a tough road for the Penguins and other top Metropolitan teams.

Marc-Andre Fleury deflects puck

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

And, with his role and future in question, Marc-Andre Fleury is living day to day.

Kris Letang

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang

The Chipped Ice blog suggests that defenseman Kris Letang will return when the Penguins need to be “hard to play against.”

Screenshot 1-31-17

paris ford

Steel Valley’s Paris Ford is one of four Pitt recruits from the WPIAL in the Class of 2017

Jerry DiPaola double dips with Pitt, first providing a look at how the Panthers are targeting football recruits outside the WPIAL.

Then again, Pitt offered a WPIAL prospect in Belle Vernon OT-DT Blake Zubovic:

https://twitter.com/blake_zubovic66/status/826578205180059648

https://twitter.com/blake_zubovic66/status/795742434722451456

For your WPIAL-wide National Signing Day primer, check out the iPreps blog.

Kevin Stallings

Pitt basketball coach Kevin Stallings

Meantime, the men’s basketball team was searching for the right mix heading into its game at North Carolina.

Shamiel Stevenson

Hillcrest Prep’s Shamiel Stevenson is Pitt’s fifth recruit from the Class of 2017

In hoops recruiting, Pitt landed a commitment from a Toronto small forward.

And, as I wrote today, the Panthers need an immediate turnaround to snap their six-game losing streak and save their season.

Welcome to Gorman Way

Welcome to Gorman Way, my take on the Pittsburgh sports scene.

My hope is to create a one-stop shop where you can follow the Tribune-Review’s coverage of your favorite teams through my views and the news reported by our sports staff — Joe Rutter and Chris Adamski on Steelers, Jonathan Bombulie and Bill West on Penguins, Rob Biertempfel and Adamski on the Pirates — and photographers Chaz Palla and Chris Horner, as well as the #TribHS sports staff.

The Trib has undergone many changes over the past few months, but you can still find our coverage online at PghTrib.com and triblive.com and in print in the Tribune-Review’s Westmoreland and Valley News Dispatch editions.

If you’re wondering about the name of this blog and the street sign, allow me to explain: My family runs four generations deep in Pittsburgh. My paternal great-grandfather, Matthew Gorman, was a Pittsburgh Police captain who had a street named after him in the Oakland neighborhood (just off the Boulevard of the Allies) where he walked the beat. It’s just a block on a dead-end street, but it’s a source of family pride.

I’m as proud of my family history as I am of my hometown, especially the role my ancestors played in building this city. My paternal grandmother told stories of her father fighting against the Pinkertons in the Homestead Steel Strike. My paternal grandfather worked on the railroad, just across the river from the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. My maternal great-grandfather, James Austin, invented Austin’s carpet cleaner and other household cleaning products in the basement of his home on Greenfield Avenue. You might remember the Downtown billboard with the continuously pouring Austin’s A-1 Bleach bottle or recognize the Austin’s “Good.Clean.Done” jingle from television commercials.

These stories were passed down in my Irish-Catholic family, where both parents had seven siblings and I have more than 100 cousins. The storytelling came naturally, as did my love for sports while growing up in the City of Champions in the 1970s. My father, Paul (Ace) Gorman, was a sports fanatic with a degree in journalism who handed down his love for newspapers. My mother, Mary Catherine (Cathy) Moore Gorman, was a legal secretary at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Reed Smith who taught us the value of hard work. My younger brother, Brian Gorman, got the brains: He’s a former assistant public defender for Washington County and now executive director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, which serves Washington, Greene, Fayette and Somerset counties.

And I’ve spent two decades covering and writing about sports for newspapers, starting with The Purbalite at Baldwin High School and continuing at The Leader and The Globe at Point Park College and The Daily Collegian at Penn State University and for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, The Dallas Morning News and Kansas City Star. I’ve worked at the Tribune-Review for 17-plus years, covering everything from preps to pros.

While most readers know me from covering high school football and recruiting, I enjoy writing about the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates and Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia and also love to cover boxing and golf as the Trib’s sports columnist. To me, it’s about finding and telling the compelling stories of our sports figures.

Here’s to finding and telling more on Gorman Way.