Scroll through Twitter most days, and you will likely come across at least a tweet or two from high school sports standouts announcing where they plan on attending college. Some of the tweets even include videos that occasionally are of high-production quality (some not) and several minutes long.

But for one of the state’s top football players, spreading his exciting news on social media wasn’t a big priority. In fact, he decided to not even do it at all.

“I’m more of a low-key guy. I don’t get into all of that,” Ryan Palmieri said. “I just kind of slid it into my (Twitter) bio.”

Amid little fanfare, Palmieri, a star senior quarterback/safety who led Pine-Richland to WPIAL and PIAA titles last fall and was the state Class 5A player of the year, committed to Sacred Heart on Jan. 21. Sacred Heart, located in Fairfield, Conn., is a Division I FCS program that competes in the Northeast Conference along with teams such as Duquesne and Saint Francis. Palmieri plans on signing his national letter of intent on Wednesday.

Palmieri, the 2022 Pittsburgh Union Progress co-Player of the Year, punctuated his stellar senior season by rushing for 184 yards and accounting for four touchdowns (two rushing, one passing, one on a pick-6) in Pine-Richland’s 28-14 upset win against Imhotep Charter in the PIAA Class 5A championship game. Apparently Sacred Heart took notice because, three days later, the Pioneers began recruiting him. That news was actually relayed to him by good friend and teammate Jake Beam, who will be joining Palmieri in Connecticut. Beam signed with Sacred Heart in December.

“Jake texted me that Sunday and asked me if I was going to be in school the next day. He said coach is coming to school and he wants to talk to you,” Palmieri recalled. 

Palmieri (5 feet 10, 188 pounds) visited Sacred Heart Jan. 20-21 and, after talking it over with his parents, phoned Pioneers safeties coach Pat Saporito to inform him of his decision.

“It really reminded me a lot of my high school program,” said Palmieri, who carries a 4.1 GPA. “They stressed the family aspect of it. They said that if you work hard, you’ll do well in the program. They focus a lot on accountability, and that resembles what our team was like this year. And I love the coaches.”

Going to school with Beam, an offensive line recruit, also played a part in the decision, Palmieri said. The two are close friends and live just a few houses apart.

“Not a lot of people head up that way, so having a really close friend there with me will be pretty cool,” said Palmieri, who said he is considering running track for Pine-Richland this spring.

Sacred Heart was the only school to offer Palmieri, who said he was also getting interest from Duquesne.

Palmieri said he was recruited by Sacred Heart to play safety. He was impressive there last season, finishing with 133 total tackles (second most on the team), one interception, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 11 pass breakups and a sack.

But this first-team all-state quarterback who is thinking about majoring in finance was money on the offensive side of the ball, too, rushing for a school single-season record 1,929 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns while also throwing for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns. Overall, those are impressive numbers for anyone, especially for a kid who began the season as a running back. He could find himself playing into Sacred Heart’s plans offensively, as well.

“One of the things they said they liked was how I can play so many different positions,” Palmieri said.

Sacred Heart went 5-6 overall last season and finished in a fourth-place tie with Duquesne in the Northeast Conference. Both had 3-4 records in conference play. The Pioneers currently have one former WPIAL player on their roster. North Catholic graduate Carson Primrose is a junior defensive lineman who led the Pioneers in sacks and TFL’s last season.

First offers

Laurel Highlands sophomore Antwan Black was among several local football standouts to pick up their first FBS offers in the past week. It was a big one, too, as Black was offered by Penn State. A wide receiver/cornerback at Laurel Highlands, Black finished second on the team with 24 receptions last season and also scored six touchdowns. … Braden Laux joined Quinton Martin as Belle Vernon juniors with FBS offers. A 6-foot-4 quarterback, Laux has offers from Western Kentucky and Eastern Michigan. Laux helped Belle Vernon win WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles last fall by throwing for 1,025 yards and 11 touchdowns while also rushing for 482 yards and eight touchdowns. … Butler junior wide receiver Braylon Littlejohn received some big news via an offer from Miami (Ohio). Last season, Littlejohn had 36 catches for 652 yards, rushed for 277 yards and scored eight touchdowns.

Football commitments

Ambridge’s Zach Miller (Westminster); Bethel Park’s Austin Caye (IUP); Bethel Park’s Dinari Clacks (IUP); Bethel Park’s Jack Reilly (California); Bishop Canevin’s Keyshawn McCaskill (IUP); Chartiers Valley’s Gavin Owens (Marietta); Gateway’s Leonard Sherrod (Wheeling); Hempfield’s Gino Caesar (Edinboro); Hempfield’s Tyson Gregory (Mount Union); Hempfield’s Anthony Vallano (Carnegie Mellon); Monessen’s Jaisean Blackman (Clarion); Quaker Valley’s Jakub Pickett (California); Mt. Lebanon’s Will Hartung (Slippery Rock); North Hills’ Logan Greer (California); Pine-Richland’s Isaiah Kerns (Charleston); Seneca Valley’s Devin Webb (Clarion); Serra Catholic’s Amire Spencer (Clarion); Sto-Rox’s Amere Hibbler (Clarion); Upper St. Clair’s Zach Ehasz (Ithaca).

Baseball commitment

Montour’s Vinnie Markulin (Clarion).

Basketball commitment

South Allegheny’s Bryce Epps (La Roche).

Cross country commitment

Mt. Lebanon’s Justine Meta (Davidson).

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at