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A Terrific Trio

That Aliquippa’s Darrelle Revis, Hopewell’s Paul Posluszny and Woodland Hills’ Steve Breaston were selected in the NFL Draft should come as no surprise.

All three former WPIAL stars are past recipients of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Player of the Year honors: Posluszny in 2002, Breaston in ’03 and Revis in ’04.

It wasn’t difficult to predict college stardom or potential NFL careers for the trio, although I wouldn’t have guessed the order they were drafted when they were playing for WPIAL championships at Heinz Field.

Revis, a Pitt cornerback, was taken by the N.Y. Jets with the 14th pick of the first round. Posluszny, a Penn State linebacker, was chosen by the Buffalo Bills 34th overall in the second round. Breaston, a Michigan receiver/return specialist, was picked by the Arizona Cardinals 142nd overall in the fifth.

Not to say high school stardom is a good indicator that the Player of the Year is going to be a future NFL Draft choice. West Allegheny’s Tyler Palko was a three-time Player of the Year (1999-01) and a three-year starting quarterback at Pitt, but wasn’t drafted this past weekend. (He signed a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints).

Steel Valley’s Luke Getsy finished his career as the WPIAL’s all-time leading passer and had a record-setting career at Akron, but wasn’t picked, either. (He signed with the San Francisco 49ers).

As someone once responsible for selecting the Trib’s all-star football team and now for covering those players on draft weekend, that got me thinking about the percentage of Terrific 25 selections who make it to the highest level.

So I took a year-by-year look at the Trib’s Terrific 25 teams I selected from 1999 until 2003, breaking down the number of players who went on to play in the NFL, with asterisks denoting underclassmen:

1999

Player of the Year: Tyler Palko*, QB, West Allegheny.

NFL Draft picks (4): Josh Lay*, CB, Aliquippa/Pitt (New Orleans Saints); Justin Geisinger, OL, Mt. Lebanon/Vanderbilt (Buffalo Bills); Tyler Reed*, OL, Thomas Jefferson/Penn State (Chicago Bears); Shawntae Spencer, CB, Woodland Hills/Pitt (San Francisco 49ers).

Variable: Daven Holley, CB, Clairton/Cincinnati. An All-Class A performer, he was selected by the 49ers in the seventh round in 2005 and now plays for the Cleveland Browns.

Total NFL players: Five (20 percent).

2000

Player of the Year: Tyler Palko*, QB, West Allegheny.

NFL Draft picks (4): Steve Breaston*, WR/KR, Woodland Hills/Michigan (Arizona Cardinals); Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Seton-La Salle/Toledo (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Josh Lay, CB, Aliquippa/Pitt (New Orleans Saints); Tyler Reed, OL, Thomas Jefferson/Penn State (Chicago Bears).

Variable: Raymond Ventrone, S, Chartiers Valley/Villanova. The Terrific 25 selection was not drafted, but signed with a free-agent deal with the New England Patriots and now plays for the New York Jets.

Total NFL players: Five (20 percent).

2001

Co-Players of the Year: Tyler Palko, QB, West Allegheny; Steve Breaston, QB, Woodland Hills.

NFL Draft picks (1): Breaston, WR/KR, Woodland Hills/Michigan (Arizona Cardinals).

Variables: Steve Buches, TE, Central/Pitt (St. Louis Rams); Luke Getsy, QB, Steel Valley/Pitt/Akron (San Francisco 49ers); Dan Mozes, OL, Washington/West Virginia (Minnesota Vikings); and Palko (New Orleans Saints) were not drafted but have signed free-agent deals.

2002

Player of the Year: Paul Posluszny , LB, Hopewell.

NFL Draft picks: Posluszny, LB, Hopewell/Penn State (Buffalo Bills).

Variables: Terrific 25 picks Allen Billyk, DL, New Castle/Virginia; Adam DiMichele*, QB, Sto-Rox/Temple; Chris McKillop, DE, Kiski Area/Pitt; Anthony Morelli*, QB, Penn Hills/Penn State; Ryan Mundy, S, Woodland Hills/Michigan; Vaughn Rivers, CB, Perry/West Virginia; A.Q. Shipley*, OL, Moon/Penn State; Travis Thomas, RB, Washington/Notre Dame; and Eric Wicks, S, Perry/West Virginia still have one season of college eligibility left.

2003

Player of the Year: Darrelle Revis, WR-CB, Aliquippa.

NFL Draft picks: Revis, CB, Aliquippa/Pitt (New York Jets).

Variables: Terrific 25 picks Dana Brown, RB, Clairton/Iowa; Mike Dent, OL, Jeannette/West Virginia; Adam DiMichele, QB, Sto-Rox/Temple; Adam Gunn, LB, Kiski Area/Pitt; Mortty Ivy, LB, Gateway/West Virginia; Eugene Jarvis*, RB, Central/Kent State; Andrew Johnson, RB, North Hills/Miami/Akron; Justin King*, CB, Gateway/Penn State; Devon Lyons, WR, Woodland Hills/Ohio State; Scott McKillop, LB, Kiski Area/Pitt; Anthony Morelli, QB, Penn Hills/Penn State; Rory Nicol, TE, Beaver/Ohio State; A.Q. Shipley, OL, Moon/Penn State; and Peter Winovich, FB, Thomas Jefferson/Bowling Green still have one or more seasons of eligibility left.

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