York-area football stars from 3 different schools showcase skills for 7-on-7 travel team
Three of York County’s top talents are trying to improve their skills and the perception of their football community this offseason.
York High running back Jahiem White, York Suburban running back/linebacker Mike Bentivegna and Central York wide receiver Parker Hines have teamed up to play 7-on-7 football for the Athletes In Training team based in Pittsburgh, traveling to different states to go against other top players with major college football aspirations.
“York is kind of slept on. We’re just a small city in Pennsylvania, but going out to these other states and playing against the top-level competition really shows the talent that's coming out of York these days,” Hines said. “Really putting York on the map. A lot of the schools are better than people think and kids out here are getting better and better. We’re just working hard.”
The three players are attempting to be good representatives about what the area has to offer. All three sophomores were York-Adams League first-team all-stars at their respective positions last season.
White led the league with 1,332 rushing yards and scored 16 touchdowns, which earned him offers from NCAA Division I programs Bowling Green State and Old Dominion. Hines had 396 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while battling for targets with college-bound seniors Judah Tomb, Taylor Wright-Rawls and Kyle Fontes for a star-studded Central team. Bentivegna had 852 total yards and scored six touchdowns.
The 7-on-7 style of football includes only passing, which allows the two running backs a chance to improve their receiving skills and allows Hines to continue practicing his craft. Bentivegna spends some time playing slot receiver as well, so running routes is perfect practice in the offseason.
Last weekend, their team went 3-0 at an event in Philadelphia and they performed well during tournaments in Michigan and Tennessee previously.
Hoping to boost recruiting profiles: In addition to getting reps against other talented players, the hope is playing for Athletes in Training will boost the recruiting profiles of the sophomore standouts. NCAA D-I coaches can’t travel to check out players until June, but the events offer new highlight videos for them to send coaches and share on social media.
Hines added that playing in these tournaments in different states shows college coaches how dedicated they are to the sport. Between school, workouts and running track, Hines’ schedule is packed, but he has made time to join Athletes in Training and improve even more, in the hopes that the coaches appreciate his passion for playing football.
Each member of the talented trio plays at a different school, but each now roots for each other to succeed. Hines said that despite the Y-A Division I rivalry between the Panthers and Bearcats, it will be fun going against White the next two years. Bentivegna and Hines grew up playing youth football together, so the events have brought back some memories for the pair.
By teaming up and traveling the country together, the trio is working to improve skills and shine a light on the talent in their hometown.
“You love to see people like that do good because they're from the same place as you,” Bentivegna said. “Iron sharpens iron, so working with the top people from your county makes you better.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.