Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star: Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands



Monday July 5, 2021 | 13:23

The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network feature each member of the Trib HSSN preseason football all-star team of 25 players. Players will be recognized on July 22 at HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

When coaches talk about Rodney Gallagher, everything is fine.

They have nothing negative to say about him, and for good reason: he is a particular talent.

The Laurel Highlands junior is heavily recruited in football and basketball.

Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia proposed it in both sports.

He’s a real leader either on the football field, where he plays quarterback and defensive back, or on the basketball court, where he is the point guard.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Gallagher will be a three-year-old starter for Laurel Highlands, and he’s a member of the 25-man TribHSSN preseason football all-star team. The team will be recognized on July 22 at HSSN Media Day in Kennywood.

Gallagher burst onto the scene as a freshman when he led the Mustangs to the WPIAL Class 5A basketball title. Gallagher has shown great leadership throughout the playoffs and the maturity of a senior.

“He’s a great leader and a hard worker,” said Laurel Highlands football coach Rich Kolesar. “He’s a special player. There is nothing he cannot do.

Gallagher played as a receiver in the first year. He had 25 catches for 491 yards and rushed for 392 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns.

Last year, he completed 28 of 49 passes for 377 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 300 yards and rushed for 147 yards. He scored seven touchdowns.

“I like playing quarterback,” said Gallagher. “I had the ball a lot in my hands. I want to get better.

Other colleges that recruit Gallagher for football include Arizona State, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Mississippi, and Michigan State.

“What strikes me is his passion and his competitiveness,” said Laurel Highlands basketball coach Rick Hauger. “He loves what he does. He’s an intense competitor who isn’t afraid of getting into tough situations.

Gallagher spends his summer honing his skills in both sports. He plays 7v7 football for Laurel Highlands and he travels to Washington DC to play for Team Durant, one of the top AAU basketball programs in the country.

He also makes visits to colleges.

“I like playing quarterback because it allows me to manage the ball in every game and I can see the whole field,” said Gallagher. “In college, I’ll play wherever the coaches want me to.”

Kolesar said football coaches recruit him as an athlete, but he will likely end up being a defensive back. He was recruited as a basketball playmaker.

“I want to improve my outlook on the pitch on offense, and I can’t wait to keep some of the best man-to-man players on defense,” said Gallagher. “I’m still working on a lot of things to improve my game.”

If he does, he will be even more wanted.

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