Robert Foster, Central Valley HS (Monaca) WR- By now, any self-respecting Pitt fan knows that this is the best player in the WPIAL and the state, not to mention one of the top in the country. In fact, I'm guessing he will generally be considered among the top 25 prospects in the country- at least. Because he has the whole package- speed, height, hands, athleticism, and actual football ability- he will get offers from everyone. Expect the SEC powers, the Florida schools, USC, Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, and anybody else you can think of to offer him. So why Pitt?
1. Well, first of all, he is not enamored yet with any other school. Usually if an elite kid from the area doesn't go to Pitt, it's because he has a particular fondness for someplace specific, usually Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, or Michigan, but it could be anywhere that for whatever reason he really wants to play there. Foster doesn't have that yet. He doesn't even know that much about Urban Meyer, believe it or not. In fact, Pitt is the only school that he's very familiar with and even though all of his contact with Pitt has come during the Todd Graham regime, he has been at the school often and knows a lot of the players.
2. While visiting Pitt for Panthers games and a camp, Foster said he loved the campus, likes Pitt, and likes that it's close to home. And this was with the previous staff (who incidentally told him he was like family).
3. His cousin is Pitt starting linebacker Todd Thomas and one of his close friends is Rushel Shell. Plus, according to Chandler Kincade, Foster has been in a group of Beaver County kids, along with Shell, who said they would love to stay home and play at Pitt together.
4. Pitt was his first offer and he says that gave him the confidence to be a better player so the offer was special to him.
5. His mother lives in Philadelphia and his dad works long hours, so the person who helps him most in recruiting is Central Valley assistant coach Adam Caltury, who is only five years older and is also friends with Foster. Caltury played at Monaca with Foster's older twin brothers, but they aren't around either, so Foster is practically part of Caltury's family (though Foster's father works often, they are still close). When Foster and Caltury talk recruiting they agree that Foster should go where it feels like home. What better place to feel like home than where his dad, mentor, and friends are?
6. His favorite player is Larry Fitzgerald.
Patrick Kugler, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) OG- Will probably be the No. 2 player in the state, behind Foster, and should be one of the top offensive line recruits in the country. In fact, he already has about 20 offers, including Miami, Florida State, Stanford, and Virginia Tech, and that number will go up the longer he's on the market. So why Pitt?
1. This one is easy. His dad, Sean Kugler, just happens to be the offensive line coach for the Steelers. Let's see, he can stay home and be taught by offensive guru Paul Chryst and offensive line master Bob Bostad, who Coach Kugler no doubt thinks are excellent teachers. Bottom line, why leave when you have the best right down the road? Seems hard to fathom that the Kuglers will see it any other way.
2. He called the hiring of Chryst "awesome" and said that it should help bring back some of the nastiness to Pitt football. The same can be said of Kugler.
Tyler Boyd, Clairton Area HS (Clairton) WR/S- If possible, he may be even more explosive than Foster in high school, though admittedly it's in a smaller classification. His recruitment should be interesting because he's in Class A, and those level of players rarely get a lot of offers, but that should be very different for Boyd who is already being looked at heavily by the likes of Notre Dame and USC. So why Pitt?
1. Obviously Pitt has locality on their side and already have on their roster Boyd's former teammates Manny Williams and Kevin Weatherspoon, and will have incoming freshman Trenton Coles next year. Boyd has stated that he is worried that past Clairton players have not done well at Pitt, but the new staff can of course tell him that was with a different staff.
2. His stepbrother is Tyrique Jarrett, who just happens to be the Allderdice lineman who is committed to play at Pitt next year. Boyd's mother is married to Jarrett's father. They don't live together because Jarrett lives with his birth mother, but Jarrett's full brother, Devante Gardlock, does live with Boyd's mother and Jarrett's father. They'll be a test on this later.
Adam Breneman, Cedar Cliff HS (Camp Hill) TE- The only one of the four not from the Pittsburgh area, but he would still be a huge get. He's the new breed of pass catching field stretching tight ends that cause major matchup problems for defenses. For that reason, Breneman already has offers not only from Pitt, but also Penn State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia, Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, and Stanford. Needless to say, the competition is brutal and will probably get even more brutal. But Breneman hopes to commit next summer, before his senior season begins, so maybe Pitt can get him before the competition gets even more fierce. So why Pitt?
1. He's already been to Pitt and enjoyed it, though it was when the Graham staff was there. Of course he's a very nice kid who is grateful for all of the attention coming his way, so he pretty much says nice things about everybody. But he's from the Harrisburg area and if he wants to stay close to home, he's not going to play at Temple or Maryland, and Penn State, once unofficially considered one of the favorites, has to be considered a long shot at the moment. He knows Pitt is just a three and a half hour drive away, and it's the perfect opportunity for his family to see him play.
2. Is there a better fit from a football perspective than Pitt right now? I've talked about the new breed of pass catching tight end and there's been nobody more responsible for the current trend then Chryst who has four of his tight ends playing in the NFL currently and a fifth who is on his way. Bottom line, Chryst is considered the man if you're a tight end and I don't see why this won't make Breneman extremely excited about the possibilities of learning under the best.
Summary: Let me say first that I am not saying Pitt will get all, or even any, of these four wonderful prospects, but I can say without a doubt that the first time in many, many years the Panthers have a legit shot at some program changing in-state players.
The two with the most local ties are Foster and Boyd, but the other two, Kugler and Breneman, couldn't be better fits, and I'm sure if they don't know it now they will know it once the new Pitt staff gets to them.
If the Panthers can land these four then the Chryst reign will start off in grand fashion. A future offense of Chad Voytik, Rushel Shell, Robert Foster, Adam Breneman, Adam Bisnowaty, and Patrick Kugler is potentially phenomenal. Plus, it could potentially make Pitt such a power that future classes may fall into place accordingly.
Of course, this is the best case scenario and all just speculation right now, but with Penn State having their problems, and with all four of these players having legitimate reasons to play for the Panthers, it's not crazy to say that the 2013 Pitt class has the potential to change everything for Pitt.