Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Pitt has improved and what they need in 2013

Quarterback:  Obviously this is a position of need in both talent and depth.  Chad Voytik is a breath of fresh air in terms of talent and leadership.  Ideally, he would be redshirted or at least play little.  Either way, he has the ability to play a lot of football for the Panthers.

2013:  Ideally the Panthers would land two quarterbacks, one elite level player and maybe a promising local kid who just wants to play for Pitt.  One intriguing option would be athletic 6'1" Ohio lefty Malik Zaire.  He will be a priority for Ohio State but with Braxton Miller only a sophomore and 2013 elite recruit Jalin Marshall being given a chance at the position, Zaire may decide to take his chances battling Voytik.  And he loves Paul Chryst and Joe Rudolph so it's not crazy to think the Panthers can't pull it off.


Running Back:  With Ray Graham coming back and Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett among others returning, the position wasn't a dire need this season.  But that's okay because the Panthers went out and landed a potential superstar anyway in Rushel Shell.

2013:  Even with Graham moving on this is a good, young, deep unit, but you can never have enough.  Look for them to try to bring in at least one topnotch halfback and a fullback, since they don't have any on scholarship right now.


Wide receiver:  Chryst can utilize small receivers but because of Graham and even Wannstedt before him, he has a lot of them.  Too many, in fact.  Demetrious and Chris Davis are also small, but quick.  Demetrious, despite being 5-10" at most, has electrifying potential.  But the big receivers were absent.

2013:  Needless to say, some big NFL type receivers are needed.  Probably at least three.  And the state has some very good ones, led by Central Valley superstar Robert Foster.  Ohio State wants him badly but it's imperative that Pitt keeps him home.


Tight end:  Hubie Graham is returning as the starter and Brendan Carozzoni is a good, young talent.  The other TEs from last year, Anthony Gonzalez and Drew Carswell, could end up at different positions.  Adding J.P. Holtz was an excellent addition.

2013:  Chryst uses a lot of tight ends and Graham is moving on, so depending on how they handle Gonzalez and Carswell, they could use two tight ends next year.  The main target here obviously is PA's Adam Breneman, an elite prospect that could be an All-American at Pitt.  The competition for him will be fierce, but being close to home and with Chryst a master of tight ends, the Panthers have a legit chance.


Offensive Line:  Obviously this is a unit that needs huge help in talent and depth.  Adding Adam Bisnotawy was very beneficial and he has the type of talent that Bob Bostad can turn into a future All-American.  Gabe Roberts is a sleeper at guard who could develop in time.  But obviously that's not enough.

2013:  Expect at least five linemen here.  The biggest target is guard Patrick Kugler of North Allegheny.



Defensive Line:  A lot of seniors have departed and the depth is hurting.  It wasn't helped much by this class with only Terrell Jackson and Darryl Render coming in, and both of them are for more down the road.

2013:  At least four new linemen have to come in.


Linebacker:  The Panthers possess three good young linebackers in Juan Price, Todd Thomas, and LaQuentin Smith but many more will be needed.  Devon Porchia and Mike Caprara was added, and I do think Bam Bradley will end up there, too.  But more is still needed.

2013:  Look for at least three more to be added, with at least one hopefully talented enough and big enough to see time immediately.


Defensive Back:  Really the only truly deep unit on the team right now but you can never have enough defensive backs.  The Panthers took Deaysean Rippy as a safety and he could be a good one there.  Like I wrote earlier they list Bradley as a safety, too, but I doubt he stays there.  Jahmahl Pardner, Trent Cole, and Ryan Lewis were also added defensive backs this year.

2013:  The numbers will still be large but like I said you can never have enough.  I'd take three, with Clairton's Tyler Boyd being the top target.


Assuming there are 25 scholarships given, these are my projections:

Quarterback:  2
Running Back: 1
Fullback: 1
Wide Receiver: 4
Tight End: 2
Offensive Line:  5
Defensive Line:  4
Linebacker: 3
Defensive Back: 3

65 comments:

  1. Nice breakdown Chris. We need more of this kind of logical thought. Now the question is can we win 9 or ten games in 2012 and get these guys in here...

    ReplyDelete
  2. A coaches first real recruiting class, which for Chryst would be next year, is usually very strong because he can promise recruits that they will have a chance to play early because they are chosen to play specifically for him, and therefore have a leg up. Combined with Penn State's troubles, Schiano out at Rutgers, and Ohio State being able to recruit nationally like never before, Pitt has a chance to make a killing next year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've seen Robert Foster play a number of times over last two years - he is a great talent. Would be huge for Pitt to keep him at home.

    But unless he wants to stay home, how can Pitt compete for a 5 star talent when he can go to any school in the country - just trying to put myself in his shoes - unless he loves Pitt or has a circumstance to keep him in Western PA, I think its an uphill battle to get him...


    To Chris or anyone else who might be in the know...At this stage in his recruitment, is Pitt in the mix for Foster? Does Foster look at Pitt as a destination or is it the Urban Meyers and Les Miles of the football world that have the best shot at him?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've talked about this many times before, but Foster is an odd duck. Not a bad way, but he is just a simple kid who wants to be comfortable where he's at. He has a lot of connections and a lot of friends at Pitt. All he talks about is going somewhere where he's comfortable. That's why Pitt has a great chance. And if Pitt loses him, it would be to Ohio State. I would be shocked if he goes anywhere other than those two.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jon Baldwin is working on bringing in Foster... they worked out together when he was in town.
    Never underestimate the Aliquippa/Beaver County pipeline to Pitt.
    Aliquippa/Hopewell/Central Valley kids all know each other and are friends with each other. Many workout together at Forbes.. personal trainer.. Forbes trained Revis, etc.
    It will be a tough sell to land Foster... it will depend upon who is QB and how Chryst does... if Voytik doesn't see the field, Foster is going to OSU! Fosters success will be linked to who the QB is and that will determine where Foster goes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well, Voytik will be the QB by the time Foster gets to Pitt anyway so that won't be a problem.

    But I agree that the Beaver County kids are REALLY close. They all know each other and Foster and young Aliquippa star Dravon Henry were talking yesterday about playing on a Beaver County 7 on 7 team together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dravon Henry goes to Forbes... he will be a highly sought after recruit for 2014... but you can pencil him in to Pitt. Quip players go to Pitt.. quite a pipeline.. especially with Lasala there now. The only top quip recruit that didn't go to Pitt was Ty Law.

      Foster will want to see Voytik play first before just going on Voytiks HS resume. Who knows, Voytik could be another Sunseri!

      I forgot to add Beaver Falls in the mix with quip/cv/hopewell.

      Delete
    2. You can't pencil Robert Foster or Dravon Henry in at Pitt. These kids have options nowadays on where they want to go and with WVU being a CONSISTANT WINNING TEAM and also a short drive and until the Penn State situation unfolds. Pitt has to first win, second, show that they are interested in these kids because they have been hearing from everyone but Pitt

      Delete
  7. I think we're going to need to use a scholly on a kicker...

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's very possible. Most college kickers start off as walk ons, though. They have to be really, really good to enter on scholarship.

    ReplyDelete
  9. For those who keep asking about Wayne Capers, he committed to Arizona.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Or, be Kevin Harper.

    Thanks, Wanny.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to see Foster in a Pitt uniform, but I don't think it would be as devastating a blow to the program to lose him as it would be to lose out on high-level linemen like Kugler, on both sides of the ball. Given the choice, I make Kugler the priority. Wide receivers are more easily found, replaced, and made irrelevant in games than dominating lines. Pitt's best teams were always built around dominating, NFL-caliber lines, and that's still the formula to win, IMO. Obviously though, I'm hopeful we land both.

    Prior to Schiano leaving, I argued that Penn State's troubles were quickly becoming Rutgers' gain, moreso than ours - as evidenced by the recruiting class they brought in this year, which could have been even better. I would have made that argument had Cristobal been hired. Now, I'm going to say it's a toss-up, and I would view them as a primary competitor both on the field and in recruiting for the next few years.

    ReplyDelete
  12. All things considered, I'd much rather have an OL than a WR but getting Foster is slightly bigger for me because of the added P.R. He is well known nationally and Ohio State would kill for him. To get him would be great to show the rest of the country that you can't come into western PA and take a superstar anymore. Oh, hell, just get them both.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is Kugler interested in Pitt?

    ReplyDelete
  14. What happened with that Jarrett kid from Allderdice? Academics?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kugler is very interested.

    Jarrett is going to prep school. Should be back next year if things go well in his next year.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The chance to be coached by Bostad has to be a big atraction to a top OL prosepct...Im sure Kugle's dad is well aware of the reputation of Bostad within the coaching community.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Chris, what 2013 prospects has this staff gone after so far?

    ReplyDelete
  18. What prospects as he gone after the hardest so far

    ReplyDelete
  19. They'll start hard now that the '12 class is done. We'll be hearing a lot of talk of Foster, Kugler, Boyd, etc. now.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Chris,
    Chryst pulled offer from Williams of Johnstown.
    Allegedly due to grades but signed with Temple.

    http://tribune-democrat.com/sports/x1674905898/Johnstown-grad-signs-with-Temple-instead-of-Pitt

    ReplyDelete
  21. To be honest, that was one of the kids I wasn't too thrilled with it. I didn't see much upside.

    ReplyDelete
  22. i think pitt will need a huge class, both in size and quality next year. i would venture to say that foster, kugler, and boyd are must gets. i think letting them slip away would be deplorable. if pitt gets those three as featured recruits id be happy assuming the rest of the class isnt filled with scrubs (which it wont)

    ReplyDelete
  23. They have a legit chance at those three, plus Adam Brenaman and Malik Zaire. Those five will determine the greatness of the class. If they can get all five, you're talking top 10 class perhaps. But that's the best case scenario of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love how you are so optimistic for Pitt like there is no such thing as Penn State. Do better research. Brenaman's favorite team growing up was State. Why would he go to play in front 40,000 at Heinz when he can play in front of 107,000?

      Delete
    2. Penn State of a year ago would practically be guaranteed to get Brenaman but for the time being few big time recruits are going to want to go there. Maybe he will be one of them but it's far from a sure thing.

      Delete
  24. chris, i agree, but what i like about that is its not really far fetched. by all accounts pitt has as good of a shot at those guys as anybody. i would absolutely love it if chryst could steal malik zaire from urban meyer and its promising that zaire already has a great relationship with chryst and rudolph. however, id love at least one top recruit on the defensive line and in the linebacking core as well. taco charlton? buddy brown, tashawn bower? id love it

    ReplyDelete
  25. Charlton, Brown, and Bower are out of Pitt's league unless one of these new coaches is a recruiting phenom.

    ReplyDelete
  26. darn. well, i guess we cant expect pitt to reel in top 5 classes, not even close. if pitt can get some of zaire, kugler, foster, boyd, and breneman and fill the rest of the class out with quality prospects at positions of need ill be thrilled. ultimately, that probably be a top 20 class

    ReplyDelete
  27. Chris,
    Chryst just said in pressor... he has a few more ships to give!!
    Can you expand on your tweet regarding Pankey...
    Is Chryst going after some transfers albeit a 1 year sitout.

    ReplyDelete
  28. pk, the only way Pitt could get a top 5 class again is if they take a lot of questionable kids, and cut a lot of corners, and they don't do that anymore.

    Well, Standifer is definitely one more that could be added for sure and since they have so many more to give, I'm sure he will continue to look for some gems.

    As for Pankey, they didn't see him in him what they look for in OL. They could work with him, but he wasn't their ideal by a long shot. Plus, he's a kid who is a known underachiever. I was never high on him, but they do need bodies at that position so I would have taken him for sure if he wanted to sign.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Chris, ive really only started following recruiting this past summer. How early to recruits starts committing? Im assuming it could be a while before any 2013 kids commit?

    ReplyDelete
  30. They can verbally commit at any time but it usually starts picking up steam around May.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Now that LOI is behind us, whats the word on Bostad - is he still a candidate to go to the Bears? Or was I sleeping while his situation got firmed up?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Still a candidate according to those who cover the Bears.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Did u see Stanford's class? Talk about loading up on elite o-linemen

    ReplyDelete
  34. I think this is a really good class all things considered, and gives me a lot of hope for recruiting next year.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I see that Utah signed six freak-sized OT prospects today (dunno why they needed six, but they did nonetheless). Barring injury some of them won't play (unless they move to guard or center).

    Maybe Pitt should slip them a note under the dormroom door, hinting that the grass may be a lot greener a little further east?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Chris, per Scout.com, Pitt still has quite a few offers out, including some for positions of severe need. Under the Chryst regime, what happens to those guys? Do we patiently wait for them to decide, or yank their offers?

    Also, some kids have medium to strong interest in Pitt, but no offer. What happens to them? Do some of them become walk-ons?

    ReplyDelete
  37. No reason not to take more players they want since they are well under the limit. As for walk ons, local kids could always walk on, but most local kids will just take a scholarship at a smaller division school.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Win in the trenches and the other stuff will work itself out. I'd love to see 4-5 4 star OL recruits next year, and wouldn't be surprised to see 1 or 2 of them playing as freshmen. Same thing on the DL where what was once a stregth is becoming very thin.
    All this being said, if Tino is starting AGAIN next year, I can see next year's recruiting class taking a big hit. Who will want to go to Pitt after another pathetic season with empty seats the only thing cheering the team on. Whether Voytik is ready or not, or Myers picks up the college game up or not, or Gonzalez can pass or not, please dear Lord don't subject us to another year of Tino under-over throws and running out of bounds for a 5 yard loss.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm no fan of Sunseri but he's definitely not going to be as bad as he was this year. He'll be in a pro style offense and Chryst will be mentoring him. He's never going to be a star but I think Chryst will play to his strengths and he may be okay. Not spectacular, but okay. If the running game is strong that may be enough for 8 wins or so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tino the Great is my third-rail topic. Just thinking about POSSIBLY having to endure the psychological torture of another miserable season watching Cirq du Sunseri makes my left eye twitch, like "former Chief Inspector Dreyfus" in those old Pink Panther movies...

      I'll grant your point that he'll be better than this year (how could he be worse?).

      But I cannot ever see him being even close to okay. Have you forgotten how terrible dude was in every game in 2010 except the Suracuse game, and Wanny ran a pro-set.

      Wanny (well, Cigs) was able to transform Bill Stull into a decent QB, but Stull had a LOT more of a starter set of tools to work with.

      Pitt was abysmal in the 2010 Miami game, but Tino doesn't play defense, so I'll give him a pass. However, the QB play in the UConn and WVU games in 2010 was every bit as wretched as anything we saw this year.

      Last year as this, Pitt could have been a legit 10-1 team with decent QB play.

      Anybody but Tino. ANYBODY!!

      Delete
    2. CK,
      I think its interesting that "coaching up" and pro set style is regularly mentioned as possibly making Tino better. My question is why can't these same two factors help to make Myers more of an option. Besides, Tino is one and done. If Myers/Tino are about equal, why wouldn't Chryst go with the guy who has 3 years of eligibility left.
      Queary: Is Myers so useless and helpless that the same coaching that could make Tino better will not have the same effect on Myers.

      Delete
  40. Chris, i understand that adding depth on the offensive line is critical, but other than kugler, do you think they can land other high caliber guys? They obviously need numbers but id like more than one guy who could play sooner rather than later (if they get kugler)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I can't imagine that OL recruiting will be a problem this year as long as Bostad stays around. They may not be a bunch of 4 and 5 stars because Bostad looks for certain things and he doesn't care where they are ranked, but he'll get linemen that he thinks he can turn into big time players.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I have to assume that bostad is staying. Itd be a REALLY slimy thing to leave after signing day especially with all of the recent garbage

    ReplyDelete
  43. Chris, what ever happened to the fullback transferring from ohio state?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I see a lot of worry about the OL, I'm not as worried. When I look at the numbers these guys are massive. Averaging something like 6'5 and 310 pounds. Perfect for a power running offense, even if their skills aren't the best, guys that big can move a DL.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Chris, Are there any offensive line prospects out there, that haven't yet signed, that Pitt still has a shot at getting?

    ReplyDelete
  46. If Pitt want to land Rob Foster 2013 and Dravon Henry 2014... all they need to do is take a ride to their trainer...
    Rod Forbes... on Main St. in Aliquippa... a block from Brodhead Rd. Lots of football players from Quip, Hopewell and CV go to him for workouts.
    He was trainer for Revis... former coach at quip.
    I'm sure Rod would love to tour the Pitt and Steeler facilities and watch training sessions by Pitt and Steelers.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I agree with Chris on D-Rob(Foster). Anywhere other than OSU or Pitt will be totally surprising. Ive watched him play about 16 games the last two years and I will tell you he likes attention. NOt in a bad way but he likes to know the crowd. His dad walks back and forth below the stands from end zone to end zone. Like Chris said he likes to be around his family and to be comfortable. I believe Columbus is just inside driving distance for his father. Obviously its not his fathers choice but like Chris and I have mentioned he likes his family and support with him.

    The good news is Pitt needs what he his able to give! Size, speed, and hands. He could produce his freshman season here. Could get lost at OSU for a season or two!

    I also agree with Chris saying D-Rob is the better get than Kugler. D-Rob can put Pitt on ESPN highlights(advertising) Kugler can not!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm sure Pitt knows all about Forbes, especially with Chris LaSalla so connected in Aliquippa.

    I honestly don't know of any other OL that they are for sure looking at but I'm sure they are keeping their eyes open.

    The fullback is still an option and I think Pitt will probably end up with him. No hurry with him either.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I agree Joe D, nice to see you over here by the way!!

    Forbes is growing his legendary status by the day!! Everybody in the area wants to be with him. I have heard many stories about his training regimes!!! You hurt after every one of them and you puke after them for a few weeks!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Chris, doesn't it make a lot more sense to play Myers or Voytik -- or anybody else -- at QB this year than Sunseri?

    First of all, I think the public has had enough of that whole Chinese opera. Cruel but true: Tino's a coach-career killer (you can't convince me that his woeful performance didn't cause Pitt to fire Wanny, and frustration dealing with him played a big role in Graham bolting).

    And even if Chryst is a master magician, Sunseri will never be more than barely okay. The true master had 5 loaves and 2 fish to start with, Chryst's task would be infinitely harder because he starts with less.

    Second, I've always heard it takes an apprentice year to prepare a QB for the pro-set offense. The spread offense is more, ummm, natural: there's a lot of sheer running for your life.

    Third, let's say Chryst has a 2-year "honeymoon" period. For sake of argument, let's say Tino really steps up his skills and wins 4-5 games (the Big East will be a LOT better this year, with or without WVU), and whichever rookie QB (with much higher upside) wins 2-3 games in 2013, Pitt's first year in ACC.

    So doesn't it make sense to invest the lost year in 2012 to get whomever ready to possible win big in 2013? Tino Sunseri has a better chance to become a Russian astronaut than to play in the NFL, so what have we lost?

    Plus then I might renew my 2012 season tix. No way do I pay to watch Sunseri play again -- and I doubt I'm in the minority on that.

    ReplyDelete
  51. First of all, Pitt's going to win more than 4-5 games next year and 2-3 in the first year in the ACC. Secondly, I don't know what to tell you. I don't make the decision. Sunseri may not start next year but he's definitely the favorite at this time. The only way he doesn't is if Voytik learns enough in 3 weeks of college practice to start (highly doubtful) or Myers suddenly gets really good (highly doubtful). Maybe midway through the season, Voytik overtakes him. That I can definitely see. But I don't see him as the starter beginning the season.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Chris,
    I belive Shell and Voytik and not sure who else are enrolling in June (summer classes)... live on campus... start conditioning, etc to be ready to compete 1st day of practices. I don't know when practice officially begins? August 1?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. every incoming freshman does that, not just them two

      Delete
    2. its required for every scholarship player to do that and take a minimum of 9 credits. Thats why you see many 5th year transfers. You can easily graduate in 3 1/2 years if not less

      Delete
    3. Required?? Never heard of that before.
      Just frosh?? Perhaps it is recommended... strongly!
      During football season, most take 12 credits (minimum for Full-time status).

      Delete
  53. Pitt would be wise to schedule two stiffs and do it quickly to fill out its 2012 schedule. Playing ND and VTech in non-conference is enough. Wins and positivity are crucial in Chryst's first season.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Joe D, the coaches would prefer that recruits finish their HS studies in time to graduate early and attend PITT in January. That way they can have the three weeks of Spring practices and the Spring Game under their belt going into the summer conditioning program and then the summer training camp.

    Obviously that really benefits QBs as they get a chance to learn the playbook and get some actual snaps before the real competition starts.

    That isn't the easiest thing to do as the HS players have to target that as far back as their SO year sometimes. Plus, some recruits just want to finish out their HS days as a normal student.

    Voytik and Shell have chosen the latter and will report to PITT in the summer.

    ReplyDelete