1. J.J. Denman- The former OT already committed to Penn State and then Wisconsin. With Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad moving from Wisconsin to Pitt, the Panthers got a visit with a legit shot of landing the big time lineman. Instead, perhaps because of rumors of Bostad leaving and Pitt's inability to publicly denounce those rumors, the Panthers staff could not close the deal on Denman. Instead he has visited Rutgers who are now the favorite.
2. Demetrious Cox- The Jeannette safety was always open to Pitt as a possibility but now Ohio State and Penn State appears to have passed the Panthers. One of the reasons Cox has stated for the Panthers falling behind is that he hasn't talked to Chryst very much. The question is, why is that?
3. Adam Pankey- There are better players lower on this list but Pitt needs offensive linemen very much. He committed to the Panthers, but before Chryst was hired he decided to visit West Virginia. As of now it seems like the Panthers have somehow fallen behind WVU for his services.
4. J.P. Holtz- The former Penn State tight end commit has looked at Michigan State, but this is the one top prospect that looks like he could be headed to Pitt.
5. Bam Bradley- Not fast or athletic enough to be a safety and Pitt was honest when they told him they would be taking him as a linebacker. He prefers to play safety so that hurts the Panthers chances. His brother plays for Pitt but that's not been enough to close the deal. Right now it looks like it's between Pitt, Ohio State, and Stanford and Bradley says Stanford is recruiting him the hardest right now.
6. Anthony Standifer- Very good Illinois corner that was being recruited by new Panthers RB coach Eddie Faulkner when he was at Northern Illinois. It looks like he wants to go to Notre Dame but he has to take Spanish classes on the internet before he will be accepted there. For that reason, there's always a chance that he will eventually end up at Pitt. He was supposed to visit Pitt after signing day but it remains it be seen if it will actually happen.
7. Dakota Conwell- The Upper St. Clair linebacker was one of the better WPIAL prospects this year and while many fans downplayed the fact that de-committed from Pitt and committed to Arizona, the loss is significant for two reasons. One, it's never good to lose a top WPIAL recruit, especially one that already committed to you, and, two, Pitt needs linebackers. I also don't believe that Conwell couldn't fit into Pitt's system. If Mike Caprara can then Conwell can. The truth is, the fact that Pitt could not convince him to stay was a big miss on their part.
8. Deaysean Rippy- The Sto-Rox linebacker has always been trying to go anywhere other than Pitt and to be honest at this point he's more trouble than he's worth. Even though the Panthers desperately needs linebacker depth I wouldn't blame them for not going after Rippy.
9. Corey Jones- Yes, the Penn Hills WR is very small and yes, he is a potential academic casualty, but he's also a potential excellent return man, at worse. It's never good to lose a fast, athletic WPIAL player who already committed, to a MAC school. If an equal or better wide receiver was signed instead then it would make sense, but the program isn't exactly loaded with receivers.
10. Sean Draper- Glenville HS in Ohio is always loaded with top talent which is all the more surprising that this talented corner camped at Pitt under the former regime, and yet they never pursued him. The new staff got in late and will have to battle Louisville, Iowa, and Illinois, but they have a good shot.
As you can see, things aren't exactly going swimmingly for the new staff. They've already lost Conwell and Jones, and Pankey may be next. The two best players, Denman and Cox, have plenty of reasons why they would come to Pitt yet it looks like the Panthers will miss out on both.
It's also a little troubling that the new staff doesn't seem very organized or focused. It took over a week before Chryst talked to any recruit, or hired any staff, meaning he lost some potential recruits and let committed players get recruited by others. Then when he did finally have most of his staff together, committed players and potential prospects still weren't receiving calls in a timely fashion.
The biggest test for the staff will be the next recruiting class, and I'm not suggesting that they won't do a good, or even great, job with that class. But I'm also saying that they haven't exactly started out in fine fashion.