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#TribHS CB: Double trouble on defense

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One of the most difficult things in football — whether you’re playing, coaching or recruiting — is to take the ball out of a playmaker’s hands.

But there’s as much of a premium on preventing touchdowns as there is on scoring them, and some players realize that their future is better served on playing the position where they have the most potential.

That topic was the cover story for the Trib’s 2013 GamePlan football preview section, which Chris Harlan wrote about in Secondary Options: WPIAL standouts choosing a future in defensive backfield.

Call it the Darrelle Revis Effect.

The former Aliquippa star, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2003 player of the year, was talented enough to play quarterback, running back and wide receiver for the Quips but focused on defense in college and developed into an NFL first-round pick who is one of the league’s top cornerbacks.

Others who were offensive stars in high schools, such as Upper St. Clair’s Sean Lee, Gateway’s Justin King and Aliquippa’s Dravon Henry, realized their future was on the other side of the ball. It’s a trend that has continued with the Class of 2015, where Central Valley’s Jordan Whitehead and Quaker Valley’s Dane Jackson are two of the most dynamic offensive weapons but will play cornerback in college.

For as much as Quaker Valley values its great Dane, Jackson picked playing corner at Pitt when he made his college choice.

The ability to play both ways, as I write in my Wednesday column, is helping redefine the term “dual threat.”

Perhaps it will have the same effect on “playmaker.”


#TribHS PAGE

TribHS -- CBs

HITTING THE LINKS

The eighth part in the #TribHS countdown to kickoff series focuses on cornerbacks, where Central Valley’s Whitehead ranks among the nation’s best, by Chris Harlan.

A key injury to a pivotal player forces Serra Catholic football to regroup, by Dave Mackall.

Freeport’s Hochbein twins bring experience on both sides of the ball, by Bill West.

Connellsville volleyball looks to build on strong season, by Jason Black.

Another reminder that the Trib’s 2014 GamePlan football preview section will be published Friday.

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Author: Kevin Gorman

Kevin Gorman is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media who covers Western Pennsylvania prep sports in an interactive, multimedia platform. He hosts a show from 2-3 p.m. every Friday on TribLIVE Radio, does the Skylights Spotlight segment for WPXI-TV during football season and is a contributor to WPXI's The Final Word. Gorman joined the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in August 1999 and has been a sports columnist since September 2009. He won Pennsylvania Newspaper Association first-place awards for sports columns in 2011 and '12, and has covered the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup Final twice each, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Rose, Citrus and Sun bowls and the Big East and NCAA basketball tournaments. Gorman spent three years as the Pitt football beat writer, two as Pitt basketball beat writer and seven years covering high school sports and recruiting. He also has served as color analyst for FSN Pittsburgh/Root Sports on the WPIAL football and basketball championships and as guest analyst for its Trib Total Media High School Edition. Gorman has worked at newspapers in Memphis, Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City, which makes him something of an expert on barbecue and sunscreen. A graduate of Baldwin High School and Penn State University, Gorman has a son, Kieran, and comes from a large Irish-Catholic family whose roots are in Greenfield and Mt. Washington. Don’t be surprised if you run into one of his cousins; considering there are more than 100, be surprised if you don’t. Email kgorman@tribweb.com or follow on Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

 
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