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Saturday, June 15, 2024

PA High School Football: Andy Shay’s Preseason Elite 11 Rankings

11. Steel-High0-0NR
The defending PIAA Class 1A champions are still loaded with a wicked combination of speed, power and explosiveness. QB Alex Erby will finish with a laundry list of records, RB Ronald Burnette is good for 1,000-plus rushing and that defensive front can take over a game.
10. Wilson0-0NR
Hard to ignore a program that hasn’t had a losing season since 1963. The Bulldogs bring back nine starters on offense, and their zone read scheme will be a well-oiled machine from the jump. Biggest question mark will be on defense where there are more questions than answers.
9. Exeter Township0-0NR
Nobody on the Elite 11 preseason roster was hit harder by graduation than the Eagles. They lost a cupboard of elite dudes who powered the magic carpet ride of 2022. Still think Exeter has enough coming back to stay relevant and part of the conversation, particularly up front where it matters. Skill positions on offense will be where the rubber meets the pavement.
When you run the Wing-T offense and you lose an FBS-level left tackle and more than 3,100 of your more than 4,600 rushing yards to a trio of graduates, the prospects of another deep playoff run should be slightly diminished. For 2023 the Spartans’ initial answer will come from a defense that is better than most. Don’t expect less from Wyo.
7. Central York0-0NR
The kingpin of York County has posted a 31-4 mark the last three seasons and clearly moved into the alpha dog class of big-school football in District 3. Heavy favorites in York-Adams 1, they will be tested early by the likes of Central Dauphin, Cumberland Valley and Hempfield.
6. Cocalico0-0NR
Nobody did a better rebuild on the fly in 2022 than the Eagles, who lost five games but still claimed the District 3 Class 5A title. And they have seven or eight regulars back on each side of the ball. A couple minor question marks need answers up front on offense, but the loss of two hammer leaders on defense will show up early. Clearly the class of Section 4.
5. Manheim Central0-0NR
Get ready for an offense that has all the tools to put up 40 points a game. The quartet of elite skill players will be a wrecking ball despite being among a group of solid clubs in Section 2. They have a couple open spots on the o-line, and the new linebackers will play catch-up for a bit with plenty of experience around them to help. High expectations for Dave Hahn’s group.
4. Manheim Township0-0NR
Navigated a tough start and played its best football when it mattered a year ago, and QB Hayden Johnson, who is approaching 5,000 career passing yards, is back to orchestrate the offense. At first glance the defense has more meat on the bone than you think, and that will help an offense that has very few questions at the skill positions but will be searching for answers along the OL
3. State College0-0NR
There was some turnover for the lads from up Route 322, but they have a replacement system in place for a ridiculously deep roster and it works. Sophomore RB D’Antae Sheffey eclipsed 1,700 yards in his first year of high school. That’s a good starting point. This defense will be elite in ‘23. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
2. Harrisburg0-0NR
Expectations are high on the edge of Market Street. The evolution of QB Shawn Lee Jr. his first two seasons has been stunning to watch. This is Year 3 as QB1, and there’s another level or two in his tank for sure. Like fellow Commonwealth Division mate State College, the Cougars’ defense will be nothing short of elite from snap No. 1 of the season.
1. Bishop McDevitt0-0NR
For the defending PIAA Class 4A champions, it starts with 2022 Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year Stone Saunders at quarterback. But McDevitt is oh-so-much more than the recent Kentucky commit. They arguably will have the fastest receiving corps in the state. And as a friendly reminder, remember that defense that took over big-time playoff games late in the state run to gold? Well, there are nine regulars back.

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