Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top remaining targets in order of talent

1.  Eugene Lewis, Wyoming Valley HS (Plymouth, PA) WR-  Another Penn State commit, but unlike Holtz, he is still committed to the Nittany Lions.  He has stated that he will stick with them but Pitt is pushing hard and things may change when the Penn State fans coaches that are recruiting him are gone.  He would be a huge steal for Pitt as the 6'1" 180 pounder is an elite talent who would probably start immediately.

2.  Courtney Gardner,  Sierra CC (Roseville, CA) WR-  Might have more upside than anybody on the list and would be the prospect on this list that would be the most likely to start right away.  A big time receiver who at 6'3" and 215 pounds, runs a legit 4.4 in the 40.  He also is just not a big guy who runs fast straight.  He is a dynamic runner with the ball in his hands and is quite the athlete.  Basically, he has NFL written all over him.  Arkansas is his favorite and Florida State is coming on strong but Mike Norvell has visited him and is trying to get him to visit Pitt.  He was originally slated to visit this weekend but pushed it back to next weekend though that may be in the air too.  If the Panthers can get him to visit then they have a chance but Arkansas will be tough to beat.

3.  Ryan Watson,  Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, MD) DT-  Big time 6'3" 270 pound defensive tackle prospect who had offers from the likes of Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Stanford, and Wisconsin.  Not only is he an elite talent but he will also help the soon to be depleted defensive line. He's visiting this weekend and it's currently down to Pitt and Purdue.

4.  Marquez Clark,  Navarro JC (Corsicana, TX) WR-  A teammate of Tavon Rooks, the 6'0"180 pound Texarkana, TX native broke records in junior college this year and has the ability to be a special player.  He is an excellent return man, can run reverses, and has 4.37 speed.  Right now Kansas State may be the biggest challenger for his services.  He's visiting Pitt this weekend and if Pitt lands him, he could easily start in the slot in his first season.

5.  Tavon Rooks, Navarro JC (Corsicana, TX) OT-  Needs to gain a lot more weight as he's only 270 pounds.  But he's 6'6" with good feet so his potential is very good.  His final four are Pitt, West Virginia, South Florida, and Kansas State but he wants to stay close to his Baltimore hometown so it appears it will be between Pitt and WVU.  Obviously, the OL needs help and he should at least play, if not start, if Pitt could land him, especially since he will enter school in January and can learn the spread offense for nine months instead of three weeks.

6.  Demetrious Cox,  Jeannette HS (Jeannette, PA) S-  This kid could be a great poker player because you never really know what's he thinking as far as where he will end up.  At one time it looked like Ohio State and Penn State were the two biggest possibilities but both have had their problems since then.  Ohio State is now back in the picture with Urban Meyer.  He has good size at 6'1" and 190 pounds to go with his excellent athleticism.  Could be a star safety in college so the Panthers staff have been on him hard all year.  May be another one that comes down to Pitt and Ohio State but with him you never know.

7.  Drew Harris, Downingtown East (HS) Exton) RB-  Committed to Virginia Tech a long time ago but decided to visit Pitt this weekend.  Fast, straight ahead runner with a bit of a wiggle.  Solid at 6'1" and 200 pounds.  I honestly don't know why he would want to come to Pitt with Rushel Shell being a better player, but you can never have too many fast players so the staff won't turn him down if he wants to be a Panther.  Penn State, Michigan, Arkansas, Miami, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Florida State were just some of the others who also offered him.

8.  Deaysean Rippy, Sto-Rox HS (McKees Rocks, PA) LB-  I know a lot of people thinks he's overrated but when you get offered by Alabama, Auburn, Florida, USC, Michigan, and Nebraska how bad can you be?  At 6'2" and 200 pounds he's going to have to get a lot bigger, and he has to continually play as good as he can.  The linebacker corps needs more talent and depth and he'd be a great tradition.  He's already visited Colorado and he's visiting Maryland next week.  Basically, he seems to be trying to find anyplace else but Pitt for some reason so it's totally unknown what he's going to do.

9.  Charles Siddoway,  Butte CC (Oroville) OT-  Great size at 6'6" and 300 pounds, and can really move well for his size.  The Eugene, OR native played in four games as a redshirt freshman at California before academics forced him out. After an impressive season at Butte he received offers from not only Pitt, but also Rutgers, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Iowa State.  Already visited Mississippi State and is visiting Pitt this weekend.

10.  Darion Monroe, East St. John HS (Reserve, LA) CB-  Small 5'10" 170 pound corner but great athleticism and speed.  Committed to Texas A&M but after they fired Mike Sherman he decided to look around.  He's visiting Georgia Tech this weekend and wants to visit Pitt, too.  He still may go back to A&M however and is just waiting to see who the next coach is.  If it's Kevin Sumlin as expected, you would expect him to go back.

11.  Jerald Hawkins,  West St. Mary HS (Baldwin, LA) OT-  A highly athletic 6'7" 285 pound kid with a great upside.  But he has already committed to LSU, after committing to Texas A&M initially, but Mike Norvell got him to visit, and he liked Pitt.  When it's all said and done it he will probably remain with LSU, though.

12.  J.P. Holtz,  Shaler Area HS (Pittsburgh, PA) DE-  Originally committed to Penn State but is now looking around.  He is being recruited for the Panther position, which is the pass rushing defensive end.  At 6'4" and 235 pounds, he is tough, athletic, and versatile.  Just a really good football player and I would be surprised if he didn't end up at Pitt.  

13.  Bam Bradley,  Trotwood-Madison HS (Trotwood, OH) S-  Big hitter with excellent 6'2" 210 pound size.  A good athlete but not an elite athlete and doesn't have top speed.  For that reason, he could be a strong safety or linebacker, though he was heavier earlier in the season and slowed considerably.  His brother Nicolas Grigsby redshirted as a linebacker this season at Pitt.  Ohio State wanted him before and after Urban Meyer but he doesn't seem as enamored with the Buckeyes as other Ohio kids.  Excellent student who has an offer from Stanford, as well as many other top schools.  But if I had to guess I would say it will be between Pitt and Ohio State.

14.  Nyeem Wartman,  Valley View HS (Archbald, PA) LB- A third Penn State commit, and like Lewis he states he is staying with the Nittany Lions.  But he has a visit to Pitt scheduled for next weekend.  The Panthers need inside linebacker help and the 6'3" 225 pound Wartman could help the talent and depth in that area.

15.  Deon Anthony, Hinds CC (Raymond, MS) QB-  The Panthers haven't even offered yet but more depth at quarterback is needed, especially somebody who knows how to run a spread offense and is athletic.  Anthony should have no problem knowing how to run it, and he's a very good athlete who can run, but it remains to be seen if he can pass enough to be a quarterback at a major college level. Especially since Graham prefers to pass a lot in his offense.  Anthony's only current committable offer is Troy, and he already verbally committed to them, but that may or may not mean anything.  To be honest, there's not a lot of teams looking for an athletic 6'0" spread quarterback from the junior college ranks so it's not really a surprise that his offer list isn't long.  Bottom line, I'm sure a lot of Pitt fans don't like seeing him last on this list but it comes down to whether or not he can pass well enough in Todd Graham's system because the running ability will not be a problem and the knowledge of the system should not be a problem.  If he can pass well enough then obviously he is the most important player on the list, at least for next season.


  1. Doke -

    Would they still take Watson, Rooks, AND Siddoway if they all were interested?

  2. Watson is a DL so he won't have anything to do with the other two. I would hope they would take both Rooks and Siddoway so that they can really help the OL, but I wouldn't be surprised if they took just one or if once one commits, the other decides he wants to go elsewhere.

  3. What about Drew Harris? Your thoughts on him? I know he's committed to VT but this is two straight weeks he's been here.

  4. I'm not into him like I'm into Shell or Greg Garmon. They are much better players, in my opinion, but you can never have enough fast talented players.

  5. I've heard that Will Mahone may be back in the fold and possibly visiting. Have you heard anything on him?

    Amazed that we are getting interest from Mahone and Harris after the Shell commit. Although VaTech has a top 100 player committed as RB also so pick your poison of who you want to compete with I guess.

  6. Really nice rundown, Chris. Its pretty impressive the amount and quality of guys we have been able to get in on in the last month or so. I think we have varying degrees of chances at all of them. However, I have a feeling Gardner is going to committ to Arkansas before he makes it to Pitt. I hope not. Tough to beat out the SEC for a southern kid though.

  7. Yeah, I like how aggressive they have been. This staff isn't messing around. They know what they have now and they know what they need. And they are trying to get a lot of it in the next six weeks.

  8. Have on good authority Gardner signed over weekend with Arkansas. Think he had good relationship with coach who coached at Nevada (who originally recruited him but didn't qualify academically) now at Arkansas. Gardner is from Reno.

  9. Thanks for the detailed list, Chris. From what I read, I like what the staff is doing. They are pushing hard to address areas of need and they seem to be using there LA and TX connections well to find players that will thrive in TG's system.

    Any word on how the weekend went? How much do the current recruits (Shell, Voytik) help in selling these other players?

  10. It went great and Shell and Voytik are great recruiters. I'm guessing this weekend sealed the deal with a few of those who visited. Usually they go home and talk about it with their family, then I'm sure we'll hear something soon.

  11. Hi Chris,

    As always, thanks for your efforts on the blog --you're the best I've ever seen in the (Pitt) biz.

    Help me understand the new emphasis on speed. I know that Wanny was a slight upgrade, but nothing like Graham seeks (not quite as important for a pro-set).

    I presume there must be a minimum speed they seek in WRs, RBs. What is it? What about QBs? LBs? DBs?


  12. I'm sure there isn't a specific 40 time they are looking for, they are just looking for fast. And just as importantly they are looking for quick. I think the DB class is the least impressive with this bunch but at least they are all fast and quick so that gives them each a chance of being good down the road. I don't think the LBs are particularly fast, though. They need to get better LB recruiting, and much faster LBs. We saw this year what can happen with slow LBs, especially in this system.

  13. Chris,

    Setting aside whatever chances Pitt might have for any of the guys from the south, do you have any idea if any of these guys would be academically eligible. I know Pitt needs to go JUCO to fill needs but that is not where Pitt typically likes to feed?

  14. Thanks Chris, love the recruiting talk considering what we suffered through this season. It appears that the best chance for QB help is going to be the final yaar of eligibility transfers, as the quality and quantity of JUCO ones appear to be really weak. Any news on visits from Karam or the others you mentioned in previous blog posts?
    Unlike the DL, LB and OL positions were so weak and thin this year that any one of these guys has to think that they have a realistic shot at starting sometime during the freshman year. Wonder if that helps get some of these kids.
    Considering these HS seniors have no idea who/what the coach or scheme will be next season at PSU, must be tough to keep their committment.

  15. Pitt could have used some highly talented jucos in the past but most of them are in the west and in the midwest, two places that past Pitt coaches had no contacts. Graham, however, knows those places pretty good and I think trying to bring in instant help at QB, WR, and OT is the perfect move. They could get two or three starters from the juco ranks and that would be awesome. Even elite programs bring in big time jucos and it's something that's sorely been lacking for the Pitt program. You don't want to bring on ten of these guys, but two or three a year if they are really good and can start for two years is a great idea.

    I don't know of any contact between Pitt and Karam, and I don't know if they will even go that route. They may look into it and think it's not worth it, though I can't imagine why they would think that.

    And there's no doubt that the prospect of playing early helps land some kids. On the other hand, some kids don't mind waiting if the program is elite. So best case scenario, the Pitt staff can sell playing time early then being part of a great program if they can ever reach that level.

  16. Chris, apparently Graham has been visiting Jared Johnson down in TX. From the sound of it he looks like a dual-threat QB that would fit Graham's offense very well.

    He has an offer from Chip Kelly of Oregon so that's an endorsement of his potential I think. Johnson is attracted to academics also according to that article and PITT fits that bill also.

    I think this is interesting as the belief has been that Graham told Voytik he was only recruiting one QB this season - of course that was before the Sunseri Follies we watched lately.

    I guess that a JUCO QB could be considered a transfer as opposed to a recruit if he needs to split hairs.

  17. Chris,

    FWIW, today is showing that Pitt has offered a scholarship to Deon Anthony. Perhaps this occurred since your above post, dunno.

  18. I'm surprised that Oregon offered him. His stock has actually dropped during the season. But he still is a good fit for Pitt's system so I hope they add him. You should also have as many options as possible. While I think Voytik will be a very good player, nothing is 100%. And Voytik does succeed then depth at the position is still clearly needed.

    But as for promising Voytik that he was the only QB brought in, that's just what people assumed because the staff wasn't bringing in anybody else. But clearly that's not the case. They aren't going to break a promise to Voytik just to add Johnson.

  19. No, they didn't offer Anthony yet. They will probably offer him this weekend.

  20. Hi Chris,

    Pitt has, what, 17-18 verbals so far? Obviously if we get all the above guys (which we won't...), we'll blow past the 25 limit by quite a bit.

    Do you know if Pitt will stop at 25? Or pass 25 and cut some guys loose who are on the current roster?

    Finally, do you know Graham & Co's priorities to round out the 2012 class? Clearly we need at least one more QB, and I personally think we need 2-3 more good OLs. What else (i.e., where else are we still weak even after the current crop of commits)?

  21. They could conceivably go over the 25 limit depending on how many they have left over from last season.

    As for positions, I would like one more QB, 1-2 OL who can start, 1-2 WR who can start, a DT (Watson), and 2 more LBs.

    If it were up to me, and I had eight for example, I would like QB Anthony (if they think he's worth it), Harris (because you can never have enough fast RBs), Lewis and Clark or Gardner at WR, Siddoway or Rooks at OT, Watson at DT, Holtz at DE, and Rippy or Wartman at LB. If I could add a ninth I would want Cox. He's better than some of my eight but safety isn't a position that they desperately have to add at this point.

  22. That would be a top 15 class, by the way, which would be the highest since Mike Gottfried.

  23. Graham is gone? Now what? Say goodbye to this recruiting class.