Wilmington High graduate Jake DeMedal is getting a chance at professional football.
DeMedal, who graduated yesterday from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., with a degree in physical therapy, was invited to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ minicamp for undrafted free agents. The four-day rookie minicamp will be held Thursday through Sunday in Pittsburgh.
DeMedal said he grew up a Cleveland Browns fan. But he’s excited at the opportunity to make an NFL roster.
“I was probably happier the Pittsburgh Steelers came calling,” he said. “Pittsburgh is a good organization and it’s close to home.”
Last month, DeMedal impressed at the school’s pro day combine. He clocked a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical jump, while recording 23 reps on the bench press. St. Francis didn’t hold a combine on campus, so all Red Flash prospective NFL players attended the pro day at Duquesne.
Eddie Edwards is DeMedal’s agent. Edwards took care of all of the details to set up DeMedal for a pro day. DeMedal took care of the rest on the field.
“My pro day went well,” DeMedal said. “All the scouts were kind of shocked. They were impressed with my numbers. Before the pro day, they didn’t say much.”
DeMedal noted that close to 10 teams were calling with interest in his services following the completion of Saturday’s draft.
“A half-hour after the draft, I got a call for an offer to go to the Steelers’ minicamp,” DeMedal said.
DeMedal feels comfortable with this week’s opportunity at the Steelers’ minicamp.
“We ran a similar defense at St. Francis to what the Steelers run,” DeMedal said. “We did a lot of zone blitzing and we’d bring pressure from different areas.”
DeMedal, who graduated in 2010 from Wilmington, finished his collegiate career with 301 tackles, including 72 as a senior in 2013. He earned first-team status on the all-Northeast Conference team for the second-straight season as a senior.
DeMedal, a 6-foot-2, 197-pounder, played safety for the Red Flash. He placed second on the team in tackles as a senior, with five tackles for loss and a sack.
DeMedal, a son of Bob and Katy DeMedal, finished eighth in the conference in tackles.
Katy, a former Wilmington girls basketball standout and Lady Greyhounds coach, earned enshrinement into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame last weekend.
The Steelers will follow the rookie minicamp with OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps that will run through mid-June.
DeMedal was a running back/cornerback when he helped guide the Greyhounds to the 2008 PIAA championship. He also lettered on Wilmington’s basketball team.
No St. Francis product has competed in the NFL since Joe Restic suited up for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952.
DeMedal played for Red Flash coach Chris Villarrial, who is a former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman with the Chicago Bears (1996-2004) and the Buffalo Bills (2004-06).