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Piper picks Panthers

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By Larry Goffinet

LEOPOLD—Perry Central senior Robbie Piper signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play defensive tackle for Kentucky Wesleyan College’s football team.

Piper was scouted by at least two Big Ten Conference teams and visited Iowa University.

But he said he chose Wesleyan because “it’s close to home and they said they can use one or two defensive tackles to help them get to the (NCAA Division II) tourney.

“They said if I come in and work hard, there should be no reason why I can’t start.”

Piper made the coaches all-state top 50 this year as one of the top 50 players in the state, regardless of what enrollment class their schools played in.

He also made several Class A all-state teams, some at defensive tackle and some on the offensive line. But he said he prefers to play defense.

He made 49 tackles this season, including 26 solos, for Perry Central’s state-leading defense last fall as the Commodores compiled a 10-1 record.

He made eight tackles for losses, recovered one fumble, and knocked down one pass.

“What impressed me most about Robbie obviously is his size and strength (he is currently listed at 6-foot-4, 375 pounds),” said Kentucky Wesleyan Coach Brett Holsclaw. “Tied with that we feel he has tremendous agility that will help us become more competitive at the Division II level.

“We feel that Robbie is a Division I player who slipped through the cracks, and we anticipate reaping the benefits of having his services on our defensive front.

“Like most high school seniors, he needs to maintain that strength and cardiovascular endurance to be able to compete as a freshman. It is vital that he report to camp in shape. If he does that, then I anticipate Robbie playing a big role on our team next year as a freshman.”

Piper was one of three linemen the Panthers signed Wednesday, with the other two being junior college transfers.

“For us to be more competitive at the NCAA Division II level, we must have quality big men up front,” said Holsclaw.

The Panthers finished 5-8 last season.

Piper plans to major in sports management.