2019 WPIAL Rankings: Top Five

Ryan Donnelly, Staff Writer
Panther-lair

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Western Pennyslvania's football history is a long and storied one and the area continues to pump out top talent year in and year out. Here's the conclusion of the breakdown of the top prospects in the WPIAL and Pittsburgh's City League in the 2019 class.      

5. Kyi Wright - Farrell

Outside linebacker

0 STARS


Farrell

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'3.0"

Wt: 210.0

Class: 2019

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POSITION

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NATIONAL

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STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



If the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kyi Wright can fully realize the enormous potential of his physical frame and athletic gifts, he very well may end up as the number one prospect on this list. Wright has the potential to play linebacker, tight end, or defensive end at the next level, but the Farrell (Pa.) star just needs to gain the confidence in his abilities to play without thinking so much. He can dominate at times, but as he gains consistency, Wright could be a load to deal with all of the time. He's a bright and intelligent kid who could make a monster in college if the light comes on fully.

4. Corey Thomas Jr. - Pittsburgh Central Catholic

Safety

0 STARS


Pittsburgh

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'3.0"

Wt: 180.0

Class: 2019

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POSITION

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NATIONAL

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STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic hasn't stopped producing gifted prospects at any point in my lifetime and the pipeline will certainly continue with players like 2019 safety Corey Thomas Jr. Thomas, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, is a long and rangy safety in the mold of 2018 Rivals250 standout Kwantel Raines. He needs to work somewhat on the fluidity of his hips and his coverage skills, but Thomas is a dominant athlete with an ideal frame. If he wants to play wide receiver in the college ranks, Thomas is fully capable of that as well, although safety is where his ceiling is highest. Look for Power Five programs to be all over Thomas when his junior film gets out to college coaches several months down the road.

3. Andrew Kristofic - Pine Richland

Offensive tackle

0 STARS


Gibsonia

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'6.0"

Wt: 240.0

Class: 2019

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POSITION

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NATIONAL

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STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



Pitt legacy Andrew Kristofic, a 6-foot-6 and 240-pound offensive tackle out of Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine Richland, blew up this offseason with offers coming from Pitt and Michigan State. Kristofic has the frame and athleticism that college coaches covet at the offensive tackle position, although he'll need to add muscle and weight in the coming months to reach that next level of his abilities. Still, with the way Kristofic can move and mirror pass-rushers, there's much to like about the rising junior. Kristofic will be tasked with protecting four-star All-American quarterback Phil Jurkovec's blindside this fall and it wouldn't be surprising to see his offer list reach double digits by Christmas if he proves to be up to the task.

2. Marlin Devonshire - Aliquippa

Cornerback

0 STARS


Aliquippa

RR: 0.0

Ht: 5'11.0"

Wt: 170.0

Class: 2019

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POSITION

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NATIONAL

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STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



Aliquippa (Pa.) star Marlin Devonshire Jr. is not the largest prospect in the WPIAL, but there's not a single defensive back in the loaded position group in 2019 who has shown more polish and technical skill than the Quips star. Devonshire is only 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds and he's not the fastest player in the class, but few can create separation when Devonshire is in man coverage. He's long for his height and his ball skills are tremendous. I was able to watch three full Aliquippa games in person this past fall and Devonshire had two one-handed interceptions in those games as a sophomore. You simply can't teach the instincts that he has and you can't replicate the technical skills that he's developed without hours and hours of hard work. Devonshire is a coach's son and that shows in his preparation and skills.

1. Jayvon Thrift - Norwin

Athlete

0 STARS


Norwin

RR: 0.0

Ht: 5'11.0"

Wt: 184.0

Class: 2019

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POSITION

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NATIONAL

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STATE

Commitment status:

undecided



Norwin (Pa.) has never been a football powerhouse in the WPIAL in my lifetime, but Jayvon Thrift and his cousin Tevin Thrift, a 2018 running back, may be able to change that this fall with their abilities. The younger Thrift is absolutely dominant as a run defender at safety and you can tell that he loves playing in the box. Thrift strikes as hard as any player I can recall in the last several years locally, delivering brutal, bone-crushing hits when he's running downhill. While coverage in space is not yet his strength, Thrift is comfortable playing center field and tracking down the ball in the air when it's deep. He's decisive and a strong decision-maker when faced with difficult choices as a defender and incredibly difficult to fool. It's easy to see why Thrift already has offers from Pitt and West Virginia (among others) with strong interest from Ohio State, Penn State, and others. Thrift isn't huge at 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds, but he plays much bigger than his size and is a weight room warrior.

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