Apke to Penn State
Style swayed Troy Apke as the Mt. Lebanon junior made a verbal commitment to continue his football career at Penn State.
The 6-1, 185-pound wide receiver picked the Nittany Lions over among others, the University of Pittsburgh, where his father, Steve, played linebacker in the 1980s and his former coach, Chris Haering, is now an assistant for the Panthers.
Georgia Tech, Toledo, Bowling Green, Kentucky and Minnesota were among the other schools heavily recruiting Apke.
“(Troy’s) game translates very well to the college game, especially in Penn State’s pro-style offense, which utilizes its receivers,” said current Lebo skipper Mike Melnyk. “Troy is an explosive player.”
Indeed, for Apke destroyed opposing defenses with his acrobatic catches. In fact, he shattered every single-game and season receiving record in school history during the 2012 campaign that saw the Blue Devils share a conference championship with rival Upper St. Clair and post an 8-3 record.
Apke ranked No. 5 in the WPIAL in receiving. He made 54 receptions for 1,048 yards. He averaged 19.4 yards a catch.
According to Melnyk, those numbers should only increase as Apke continues to hone his skills.
“Troy did an excellent job working at becoming a complete receiver last year and his development in route running and running after the catch will continue this fall,” Melnyk said. “Troy has great speed and that translates well on the football field.”
Apke demonstrated that speed during last weekend’s West Mifflin Invitational. He won the 100-meter dash in 11.28 seconds, edging Gateway’s Cameron Gray by .04.
Apke, who had played varsity basketball, also helped the 4-by-100 meter relay team to victory in 43.51. He led off the unit, which consisted of Michael Briercheck, Chris Ferrari and Patrick Lawrence.
In Apke, the Nittany Lions are getting a prized recruit, says Melnyk.
“Troy is an outstanding player but an even better young man. He is very humble and grateful for all of his opportunities.”