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Saturday, May 18, 2013
ESPN 150 DB Henry no sure bet for Pitt

By Jared Shanker

Quips go to Pitt.

That is the expression in Western Pennsylvania. The elite prospects from talent-rich Aliquippa (Pa.) High almost exclusively go to nearby Pittsburgh to star for the Panthers. Jonathan Baldwin, Tommie Campbell and Darrelle Revis are all NFL players who came through Aliquippa and then Pitt.

So four-star athlete and ESPN 150 member Dravon Henry feels the pressure to stay close to home. In fact, Henry is related to Revis and former NFL lineman Sean Gilbert, who also went the route of Aliquippa to Pitt.

“Sometimes,” Henry said he feels pressured, “because of Darrelle Revis, Josh Lay, Tommie Campbell, Brandon Lindsey,” Henry said. “It’s something to think about. It’s something I think about every day.”

Henry, No. 127 in the ESPN 150, has a top four of Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, in no order. Those four have remained at the top since the winter, and Henry has visited all four at least once since the college football season.

The Nittany Lions are pushing hard for Henry,who ranks No. 17 among athletes and plans to play defensive back in college. Penn State defensive coordinator and secondary coach John Butler is hoping Henry breaks the pipeline from Aliquippa to Pitt, much like Ty Law did in the mid-90s when he left for Michigan.

“Coach Butler said something to me that stuck out: ‘You've got to be a pioneer, and a pioneer leads in a different way,’ ” Henry recalls from his talk with Butler. “He was saying how everyone goes to Pitt and I need to start a new trend and go somewhere else and start from there.”

A new trend could begin in Aliquippa, though. Rushel Shell, a member of the ESPN 150 in 2012, left Pitt this spring and enrolled at UCLA. Shell played at Hopewell, which is also located in Aliquippa. Henry and Shell are close friends and the two talked recently.

Shell asked Henry if he would entertain the idea of joining him in Westwood. Henry is open to it, so Shell passed along Henry’s information to his new coaches. UCLA offered Henry earlier this week.

“First of all, it’s in California. Who wouldn’t want to live that Cali life,” Henry said. “Then Rushel Shell just went there, and I’m good friends with him and he’s got the inside scoop and UCLA is just a good football team, period. He told me it’s a good place.

“He’s not trying to dog Pitt, but California is something different, something about Hollywood being by [UCLA]. He said it’s a bigger place to go out and see new things.”