A teenager who has never played organized football stood on the sidelines in one of college football’s most iconic stadiums while on an official visit Saturday.

In the shadow of Touchdown Jesus, Hempfield senior Peyton Murray had a close-up view of Notre Dame rocking Southern California in a nationally televised game. Murray even stormed the field with the Notre Dame students afterward.

“It was awesome. I never got bored watching it,” Murray said.

There will be many more opportunities for Murray to watch Notre Dame football games. The next time he does, though, it will be next season when Murray himself is a Notre Dame student-athlete.

A teen with a habit of winning gold will compete in track and field at a school known for the Golden Dome. Murray, one of the top high school throwers in the state, announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Monday. Murray also took official visits to Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Pitt and Penn State. He had offers from all of those schools. Murray canceled planned upcoming visits to Oklahoma and Harvard.

Hempfield senior Peyton Murray poses for a photo while on an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend. Murray committed to throw for Notre Dame’s track and field team. (Submitted)

Murray went into the weekend visit without a Notre Dame offer, but that changed Saturday morning while at brunch with Notre Dame head coach Matt Sparks and throws coach Cathrine Erickson. Also at the brunch was Peyton’s father, Dave, the longtime throws coach at Hempfield.

“It was down between Notre Dame and probably three other schools,” Murray said. “If they had not offered, I would have had a hard time deciding where I was going.”

Murray wasted little time in committing. He actually did it right after brunch wrapped up. Murray will compete in the discus, shot put and perhaps even the hammer throw for the Fighting Irish. He added that he is thinking about majoring in something business-related.

Peyton will become the third member of his family to throw collegiately. Dave competed for Allegheny College and was an NCAA Division III All-American in the shot put in 1995. Peyton’s older brother, Alex, threw at DePaul. Peyton actually watched his brother compete in a meet at Notre Dame seven years ago, and Dave said he recalls Peyton saying that he would love to one day attend school there. It now turns out he will.

“I’ll get a great education, the coaches are awesome, the kids are awesome,” Peyton said of choosing Notre Dame. “I feel like we can build a very strong team. We’ve got a lot of recent commitments in distance and in the shot put with Luke Himes [a standout from Indiana].”

Hempfield’s Peyton Murray won WPIAL and PIAA titles in the discus his junior season. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The distance commitments include two of the WPIAL’s top runners, Butler’s Drew Griffith and Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak.

Murray (6 feet 2, 240 pounds) is coming off a terrific junior season in which he won WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A discus titles. He also placed second in the shot put at both championships. Murray’s throw of 185 feet, 9 inches in the discus at the PIAA championships was a personal best. His career-best heave in the shot put is 55 feet.

Murray will have some big goals next spring when he competes in his final high school season, one being to break the state discus record held by Knoch great Jordan Geist (208-7).

Said Murray, “A repeat title in the discus and to break the state record in the discus.”

Kalocay to wait

One of the WPIAL’s top girls basketball players will likely wait until at least next spring before making a college decision. Upper St. Clair junior Rylee Kalocay said she will play out next AAU season prior to taking her official visits. Kalocay’s list of offers includes Duquesne, Army, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Colgate, La Salle, Lafayette, Quinnipiac and Western Michigan. As a sophomore, Kalocay averaged 20 points per game and helped Upper St. Clair reach the WPIAL Class 6A championship game on her way to PUP first-team all-star honors.

Imani Christian talent

You won’t find many WPIAL football teams with as much high-level talent as Class 2A Imani Christian, which now has three underclassmen with Power Five offers. Freshman Gabe Jenkins recently received an offer from Penn State, giving Imani Christian a Power Five recruit in three different classes. Junior Dayshaun Burnett and sophomore David Davis are the others. Burnett’s offers include Pitt, Penn State and Michigan, while Davis’ include Pitt, Penn State and most recently Tennessee.

Baseball commitments

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Ethan Brody (La Roche); Hempfield’s Carson Shuglie (Seton Hill); Mt. Lebanon’s Nolan Smith (Gannon); Norwin’s Keegan Carr (IUP); Pine-Richland’s Peyton Ford (California); West Mifflin’s Zane Griffaton (Bluefield State); West Mifflin’s Corey Kuszaj (California).

Basketball commitments

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Mya Morgan (California); Lincoln Park’s Sarah Scott (Baldwin Wallace); Penn Hills’ Hannah Pugliese (Slippery Rock); Plum’s Megan Marston (Case Western Reserve); South Fayette’s Alexis Toth (Carlow).

Football commitment

Canon-McMillan’s Liam Reamer (Maine); West Allegheny’s Max Psaros (Allegheny).

Softball commitments

Charleroi’s McKenna DeUnger (Seton Hill); Elizabeth Forward’s Shelby Telegdy (Seton Hill); Pine-Richland’s Jocelyn Langer (Millersville); Pine-Richland’s Madison Zavasky (IUP); Thomas Jefferson’s Zoe Krizan (Drexel).

Volleyball commitment

Canon-McMillan’s Abby Tucker (West Virginia).

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

Brad Everett

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