Each week, we’ll take an in-depth look at our All-State preseason football team and let you know how a few of those athletes are faring as the season progresses.
UP — J.J. Denman, Pennsbury (Fairless Hills), OL
How has Denman's stock gone up without even playing a game? The Philadelphia Inquirer released its list of the top 150 players in Southeastern Pennsylvania last week, and Denman was at the top of the list. And it's not hard to see why. The senior Penn State recruit is a monster at 6-foot-6 and tips the scales at 310 pounds. He'll be a fearsome opponent for whoever opposes him on the line.
DOWN — Josh Stepoli, Monessen, OL
Stepoli's All-State stock is only down by default, since he's no longer at Monessen anymore. The senior offensive lineman transferred to a school in North Carolina, according to a notebook item in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Stepoli also briefly played at Greensburg Central Catholic. No word yet on what school he's moved to.
UP — Jesse James, South Allegheny (McKeesport), TE
What do Hopewell's Rushel Shell, Fox Chapel's Adam Bisnowaty, Sto-Rox's Deaysean Rippy, Jeannette's De'metrious Cox, Gateway's Jaylen Coleman and James have in common? They're the six players picked to represent the region in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl next year in Phoenix. That's a pretty impressive list of names from the WPIAL, and for James to be included in the group says a lot about his perceived talent level. Expect James to have a big season.