Gorman: Pittsburgh Athletic Association awards a great event |

Gorman: Pittsburgh Athletic Association awards a great event

Kevin Gorman
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh is a member of the 2014 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game against Central Catholic Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at Heinz Field.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's John Petrishen rushes against Penn-Trafford's Zach Queen on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at Norwin High School. Central Catholic won 52-34.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead brings down Archbishop Wood's Alex Arcangeli during the second quarter of the PIAA Class AA championship game Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.
Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Clairton's Lamont Wade drives through a pile of Berlin Brothersvalley defenders during the PIAA Class A quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Elizabeth Forward High School.

The same guy who got me out of jury duty got me into one of my favorite events.

In 2000, attorney Paul Walsh called to remind me of the first favor and ask for one in return. It didn’t require prodding.

The Pittsburgh Athletic Association hosted a banquet to honor the top high school football players in Western Pennsylvania, and Walsh wanted me to be on the Mercury Award selection committee to pick the player of the year. All he had to entice me was a free steak dinner.

Mercury Award winners include Steve Breaston, Paul Posluszny, Dorin Dickerson, Justin King and Terrelle Pryor. All have played in the NFL, as have finalists Sean Lee, Tyler Palko, A.Q. Shipley and Stefen Wisniewski.

“We are in our 13th year, and it is clear the PAA Mercury Award is a touchstone for future success,” Walsh said of Friday’s event. “Half the winners have gone on to play in the NFL, and for that matter, numerous finalists have as well.”

Tom Bradley, the former Penn State defensive coordinator now at West Virginia, will be the PAA’s Hall of Fame inductee.

Johnny Majors is the host, and guest speakers include Penn State coach James Franklin and new Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, who should use a platform that Paul Chryst passed up to recruit the five Mercury Award finalists:

South Fayette quarterback Brett Brumbaugh, Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci, Central Catholic receiver-safety Johnny Petrishen, Central Valley tailback-cornerback Jordan Whitehead — all seniors — and Clairton sophomore tailback-defensive back Lamont Wade.

At the PAA Mercury Awards, past football legends rub elbows with those of the future.

It sure beats jury duty.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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