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High School Sports
Prospect from New Castle eager to start again at end

Thursday, August 15, 2002

By Paul Zeise, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

One in a series on top high school football players in the WPIAL and City League.
Allen Billyk is looking forward to football season a little more than usual this year.

Billyk, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior defensive end for the New Castle Red Hurricanes, is moving to tight end from the relative anonymity of the offensive line, where he played in the past two seasons.

A two-way starter since his freshman season, Billyk might finally get to see his name in the summaries and do a touchdown dance or two.

"I remember as a freshman, I was a tight end and thought that was where my future may be," he said. "But then a few lineman got hurt, and they asked me if I'd move to guard for a few games. I was cool with it because I figured it would only be for one or two games. It turned out to be for the next two years. This year, however, we have a number of good lineman and we are working on our passing game. We have a quarterback who can really throw the ball well, so the coaches moved me back."

He said he is hoping to become a big part of the Red Hurricanes' passing game.

"I'm not sure I'll know how to react the first time I score a touchdown, but I'm excited because I think I'll have some fun with it."

Fun aside, his future is on the defensive side of the ball. He has attracted scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, Temple, West Virginia, Pitt, Boston College, Northwestern, Purdue, Syracuse, Michigan State and Stanford. He said his top five are, in no order, Pitt, Virginia, Michigan State, Syracuse and Boston College.

He said he will make some campus visits before deciding. But he favors schools close enough to home for his family to see him play.

"The recruiting game is not that bad, but I'm sure it will get worse once the coaches are able to call again," Billyk said. "I think that period is in October, so until then it is pretty quiet. I just know that wherever I go, I will go as a defensive end because I think that is my best position."

A quick look at Billyk's numbers makes it obvious why there is so much interest in him.

He has 139 tackles (54 solo), 11 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries and 39 passing hurries the past two seasons. Last year, he earned all-WPIAL Class AAA honors and is ranked as a top defensive line prospect by several recruiting publications.

His maximum bench press is 315 pounds, and he has benched 225 pounds 13 times. He squats 475 pounds and dead lifts 510. He also placed third in the discus at the WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships in the spring.

He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, the shuttle run in 4.31 seconds and has a 29-inch vertical leap.

His academic numbers aren't bad, either. Billyk has achieved a 3.95 grade point average and scored 1,110 on the SAT.

Although Billyk is receiving a lot of attention, he shies away from the spotlight. His favorite activities are fishing and hunting at his family's camp in Forrest County.

"I love being in the woods and sitting and waiting," he said. "It takes some patience. I've gotten some deer and caught some fish, but you know, I'm still waiting to land that big one."


Paul Zeise can be reached at pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720.

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