Seneca Valley’s Steve Gaviglia (60) and Tucker Van Dyke (46), along with Raider teammate Dan Miller, recently committed to play football in college.
JACKSON TWP — Steve Gaviglia, Tucker Van Dyke and Dan Miller all played key roles for Seneca Valley’s football team in recent years. The trio now hopes to do the same at the collegiate level. Gaviglia (Slippery Rock University), Van Dyke (Clarion) and Miller (John Carroll) each committed to play in college earlier this month. Gaviglia (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) had his choice of several colleges, including Indiana (Pa.) University, Mercyhurst and Dayton. “Slippery Rock has a good tradition with Seneca Valley players and I loved the coaches and the campus,” he said. “Plus, it’s close to home and that was important to me.” The Rock recruited Gaviglia as a defensive tackle. He spent the past two seasons as a disruptive force at SV, first as a defensive end his junior year and then at nose guard this past season. “He can get off blocks, has a great motor and is physically tough,” said Seneca coach Don Holl. “He has all the tools.” “I may end up being red-shirted my freshman year,” said Gaviglia, “but I was also told that I will have the chance to come in and make a difference right away.” Van Dyke (6-3, 220) played inside linebacker for the Raiders, but Clarion wants to move him to defensive end. He will be red-shirted next fall. “I weigh 220 pounds right now, but the coaches at Clarion want me to eventually get up to 265,” he said. “They will be sending me a workout regimen to follow through the summer.” Van Dyke has a connection to Clarion and that helped him choose the school over Washington & Jefferson and Marietta College in Ohio. “My uncle (Mark Van Dyke) is the swimming coach there,” he said. “I have other family members who went there and it just felt like the right fit for me.” “Tucker is a sideline-to-sideline guy,” said Holl. “He did a great job for us on stunts and blitzes and likes to stick his nose in the action.” Miller (6-2, 250) will also be used on the defensive front at John Carroll, which is located outside of Cleveland and competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference. He received a bit of motivation to play college football from his older brother David, who graduated from Seneca Valley in 2012. “He was heavily recruited and is now playing at Lafayette,” Miller said. “I saw the whole process he went through and felt like it was something I wanted to do.” “Dan was a big piece to the puzzle for us on both sides of the ball (at tackle on offense and end on defense last season),” said Holl. “His technique is good and he uses his leverage well.” While his physical talent will be crucial to his college career, Miller also has the right attitude to succeed. “I don’t want to be just another player,” he said. “I want to make a difference.” All three players played big roles in the Raiders going a combined 27-7 over the past three seasons and qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs three straight years for the first time in program history. “We were firing on all cylinders,” said Van Dyke. “Everybody on the team was on the same page.” “We were sick of being a team that everybody walked all over,” said Miller. “We wanted to be one of the top teams in the WPIAL. We changed the way people think of Seneca Valley football.”