Sunday, June 8, 2014

U of Albany targeting WPIAL football players

Recruiting in college football is all about connections. For new University of Albany football coach Greg Gattuso, a former assistant at Pitt and Seton-La Salle graduate, he is traveling back to his roots to put his fingerprint on the Great Danes’ program.

Gatusso was an assistant under Dave Wannstedt and helped the Panthers secure a commitment from a guy named Aaron Donald He has recently offered a fewWPIAL players to begin his stint as a head coach at the FCS level.

Albany recently offered Peters Township quarterback Cory Owen, as well as South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh and defensive back Roman Denson.

Gattuso is very familiar with the WPIAL. He served as head coach at his alma mater from 1989-91 before a 12-year stint at Duquesne, which included 11 years as the Dukes’ head coach. He has an extensive recruiting background and won a National Championship as a defensive lineman with Penn State.

It may be wishful thinking for Gatusso to offer three players that will surely receive better offers, but it goes to show how a coach’s roots can determine his recruiting base.

Owen already has offers from Toledo, Buffalo and James Madison, while Brumbaugh has been offered by Akron and Temple. Denson is receiving a ton of interest, most notably Temple, after his play late in the 2013 season, which included a memorable performance in the WPIAL title game at Heinz Field.

It is unlikely that any of the three players end up playing for Gatusso, but it’s important to note where the offers originated. Gatusso’s offensive coordinator, Joe Bernard, served as an assistant with Gatusso on Wannstedt’s staff where he heavily recruited the WPIAL.

Look for more local players to get serious looks from Albany – an FCS program that is headed in the right direction. The Great Danes built a $19 million football stadium which opened in 2013 that seats 8,500 and features a FieldTurf surface.

Owen, Brumbaugh and Denson are long shots to wear purple and yellow, but look for Albany to snag a few WPIAL recruits who are considering offers from FCS schools.

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