There’s an article today about Pitt’s most recent QB commit, Wade Freebeck. Primarily how, for his senior season, he will be playing at a new school that is a notable step-up in power.
What Pitt coaches are eager to see is how Freebeck responds to the dramatic upgrade in competition this season. Freebeck transferred from Western High School to St. Thomas in Ft. Lauderdale after last season.
“He needs to have this year under his belt to gain experience at the highest level,” said Congemi, who quarterbacked St. Thomas’ first undefeated team in the early 1980s.
St. Thomas won its seventh state championship last season in Florida’s second-highest classification. It is No. 16 in MaxPreps’ preseason national rankings and has scheduled games this year at two NFL venues. The first will be against Miami Northwestern at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Dolphins, before St. Thomas ventures into the Superdome in New Orleans where the opponent will be defending national champ John Curtis (La.) Christian.
“There is a lot of pressure at St. Thomas,” coach Rocco Casullo said.
Even at a lower level school, Freebeck managed to be classified a 3-star QB. So his stock could rise.
One thing that seems to be defining this recruiting class so far is that there is a lot of evaluation of the players themselves. Hopefully most of the evaluations are accurate. (Realistically, some of them won’t be, just as there are misses on supposed stud recruits.)
Let’s not forget about the other QB commit, Adam Bertke. He also happens to be a 3-star QB. He also happens to be a kid playing at the lowest divisions of Ohio high school football (Division VI).
Bertke, 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, caught the attention of Division I programs after leading Marion Local to back-to-back Division VI state championships while compiling impressive individual statistics. As a sophomore, Bertke completed 131-of-222 passes for 2,233 yards and 25 touchdowns while adding 171 yards rushing and another four scores. Last season, Bertke was 173-of-277 through the air for 2,237 yards and 13 touchdowns while also adding 1,067 rushing yards and 15 TDs. Bertke has helped Marion Local to a record of 26-4 (10-0 in playoffs) over the last two seasons.
It should also be noted that Bertke was an All-Ohio safety last year as well.
“Pitt was a little later than the others. The first I was aware of them was in April,” said Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin. “He was patient throughout the recruiting process and I think in the end he found a place where he fits in and the coaches made a good connection with him.”
“I went to their camp on June 7th and they offered me there. I got a chance to meet their coaches and see their facilities. I had an idea I wanted to go there, so I went back there on Tuesday again and verbally committed,” said Bertke. “The whole recruiting process was a little stressful at times. I saw some schools that I was strongly considering adding quarterbacks that were in my same class, but I think that everything worked out well in the end.”
After competing in the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Columbus and attending camps at Pittsburgh and Purdue, Bertke also made visits to Kent State and Akron. In the end, Pittsburgh had what Bertke was searching for.
“I saw a lot of good things from the other schools that were recruiting me, but the people at Pitt set them apart from the rest,” said Bertke. “They all had nice facilities, but it all came down to the coaching staff and players. I just felt really comfortable with Pitt.”
Even though both were decently rated 3-star QBs, they didn’t get big offers. In no small part because of the level of competition. Yes, Freebeck did get an offer from Florida, but it was not a firm offer. Freebeck, probably because most schools were hanging back to watch what he does this year. Bertke simply wasn’t going to see many high-major offers.