Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Prospect Bios for Pitt football recruiting class
Cream of the Crop:
Rushel Shell, Hopewell HS (Aliquippa, PA) RB- The all-time leading rusher in the state of Pennsylvania and broke the longtime Billy Sims national record for consecutive 100 yard games. All this despite nearly dying as an infant because of bad health. He also had bad asthma until his early teens.
Bull strong at 6'0" and 210 pounds, and runs well between the tackles. Not a blazer but speed is good enough. Much more wiggle then he's given credit for. Excellent hands and a good blocker. Very durable and gets better as the game goes on.
He and his girlfriend are expecting twins.
Was offered by just about every major program in the country including Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, and Oregon.
Bottom line: A potential star who can do it all. No weaknesses. Can run inside and out, catch, and block.
Chad Voytik, Cleveland HS (Cleveland, TN) QB- Generally considered one of the top ten quarterback prospects in the country. His father is a doctor and he wants to be a doctor, too.
At 6'1" and 185 pounds he could use some weight, but his height is fine, despite some naysayers. In fact, Chryst's star QB at Wisconsin, Russell Wilson, is 5'10 1/2". He is not considered a running quarterback but he is very mobile and possesses good speed, so he can take off and run extremely well when he needs.
His best trait, however, is seen when he passes. His arm strength is very good and his lightning quick release is considered by some to be the best in the class.
He's also already shown he is a leader as he is the player most responsible for keeping the best of the class together.
Other offers included Penn State, Clemson, Virginia, Mississippi State, and Louisville.
Bottom line: Has all the skills, both physically and mentally, to be a star. And his odds of doing so actually went up with Chryst mentoring him.
Adam Bisnowaty, Fox Chapel Area HS (Pittsburgh) OG- I'll put him down as a guard for now but he has the ability to play tackle and even center for the Panthers. At 6'6", he has great length but at 280 pounds he obviously has to gain a lot of weight, especially on a Bob Bostad line.
A little stiff, but very strong. Plays with a mean streak. Was considered a bit if an underachiever at one point, but then decided to turn it on. The result was offers by Florida, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Virginia among others.
Bottom line- A big, tough, nasty lineman who has the ability to be an All-American under Bostad.
J.P. Holtz, Shaler Area HS (Pittsburgh) TE- A one time commit of Penn State, he changed his mind after the Jerry Sandusky controversy started. Played tight end, running back, quarterback, and linebacker in his high school career but projects as a tight end for the Panthers.
Solidly built at 6'4" 240 pounds. Runs and plays very hard. Much more athletic, fast, and flexible than most players his size.
Other than Penn State, his offer list also included Michigan, Michigan State, Arkansas, Rutgers, Virginia, Boston College, and Cincinnati.
Bottom line- A tough western PA player just like the old days. Combined with his heart, athleticism, and Chryst's tight end friendly style, and he should have a very successful career. Like I was quoted on KDKA-TV, there are athletes who play football and then there are football players, and Holtz is a football player.
Demitrious Davis, Austintown Fitch HS (Austintown, OH) WR- Played quarterback at Fitch but projects to a slot receiver for the Panthers. He was recruited by Todd Graham and was perfect for that system, but decided to stick around for Chryst.
Not big at 5'10" and 185 pounds, but has excellent speed to go with superb quickness, acceleration, athleticism, and running ability.
Other offers include Arkansas, West Virginia, Oregon, Oregon State, Baylor, Arizona, UCLA, Iowa, Illinois, and Cincinnati.
Bottom line: He was more perfect for Graham's system but he's so good that Chryst will find a way to use him.
Bam Bradley, Trotwood-Madison HS (Trotwood, OH) LB/S- The Panthers may tell him he's a safety officially, and they may even try him there, but look for him to be a linebacker eventually. As a safety, he lacks the top level athleticism and speed, and as a linebacker he will have to add to his 6'1" and 200 pounds. But it's easier to get bigger than faster. He wants to play safety.
Tough hard hitter as his name suggests (his real name is George), with good instincts. Speed and athleticism is okay, but he could be a liability defending as a safety. Spends most of his time in the box making tackles close to the line of scrimmage. Brother Nicholas Grigsby was a freshman linebacker this year for the Panthers.
Other offers included Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan State, Stanford, and Arizona.
Bottom line: Tough kid who loves to play football and hits like a ton of bricks. If he gets into the right position he could be a future ringleader on defense.
Deaysean Rippy, Sto-Rox HS (McKees Rocks, PA) LB/S- One of the more mercurial players in not only the state but in the country. His impressive offer list before the season started shows just how much potential he has. Unfortunately, though, he has yet to live up to his huge potential.
At 6'2" and 200 pounds he is yet another linebacker in this group that needs to get bigger, but he has very good speed, toughness, and athleticism. When he wants to he can get into a higher gear, but it doesn't happen enough. He also has the potential to be an excellent safety due to his speed and range.
Some of his many offers included West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, USC, Nebraska, and Ohio State. However, at the end of the year, only West Virginia on that list was a committable offer.
Bottom line: This kid has all kinds of potential but he has yet to turn it on. Is he always going to be an underachiever or will the lightbulb come on and he will develop into a star? One thing is for sure, it's worth a scholarship to find out.
Chris Davis, Austintown Fitch HS (Austintown, OH) WR- The identical twin of Demetrious, he's a tad smaller at 5'9" and 185 pounds. Like his brother he has very good speed, quickness, and running ability.
Other offers include Arkansas, West Virginia, Oregon State, Arizona, Baylor, UCLA, Iowa, and Boise State.
Mike Caprara, Woodland Hills HS (Pittsburgh, PA) LB- One of the most productive tackling machines in WPIAL history yet received no offers until new linebacker coach Chris Haering was hired. Haering, the former coach at Mt. Lebanon, had to go against Caprara for four years and thought he should be at Pitt.
The lack of size is what kept Caprara from getting major offers. At most he's 6'0" and 210 pounds, and it remains to be seen how much bigger he can get, but he has good speed and excellent instincts.
Bottom line: A born football player who would get a huge amount of offers if he was bigger. At the very worst, he can be a special teams wiz who provides leadership on and off the field. At best, he adapts to his smaller size and becomes a good player.
Terrell Jackson, Marion-Franklin HS (Columbus, OH) DT- It's not often that a kid from Columbus goes to Pitt, but that's the case this time. He had a good season and got some impressive offers at the end of the recruiting cycle when some of the bigger programs were looking to add linemen at the end.
Has the ability to be a strong side end but it better suited for the interior since he isn't highly explosive. Will have to add weight to his 6'3" 270 frame, though.
Other offers included Illinois, Iowa, an Toledo.
Bottom line: The Panthers need defensive linemen badly and he is a good development prospect that could be productive once he gains some size.
Darryl Render, St. Edward HS (Brook Park, OH) DE- Committed under previous regime as a pass rushing defensive end/linebacker, but while he has decent pass rushing skills, stopping the run is his forte.
Strong base on his 6'3" 250 pound frame. Good hustler with good athleticism. Has the ability to add a lot of weight to become a defensive tackle down the line.
Other offers include West Virginia, Iowa, Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, and UConn.
Bottom line: Tough, high character kid from an excellent high school football program. Has the potential to be a good strong side end or can add weight to move inside.
Trenton Coles, Clairton Area HS (Clairton, PA) DB/WR- Excellent 6'3" height but has to add a lot of weight to his 170 pound frame. Had legitimate 4.5 speed and good athleticism and jumping ability but blew his knee out kicking an extra point in the state championship game.
Other offers came from Akron, Temple, and Ohio.
Bottom line: You can't teach height or speed so if he recovers fully from his knee injury and adds weight, he has the potential to help the team in a few years.
Ryan Lewis, Eastlake HS (Sammamish, WA) CB- It's not too often that the Panthers get somebody from Washington. Hell, it may be the only time. But the nephew of former Pitt cornerback great Tim Lewis is worth a shot due to his nice 6'0" 185 pound size and legit 4.4 speed.
Other offers include Utah and Colorado.
Bottom line- He has some work to do as a football player but his size and speed makes him very intriguing.
Gabe Roberts, New London HS (New London, WI) OG- He had no major offers and was headed to Wisconsin as a preferred walk-on until a late Pitt offer. He is strong and mobile, plus is already 6'4" and 290 pounds.
Bottom line- A definite sleeper who seems to have enough going for him that he very well could be the next Bob Bostad project that turns into a very good lineman.
Devon Porchia, Gilman School (Baltimore, MD) LB- Like the other linebackers on the list, he needs to add a lot of weight, as he is now only 200 pounds, but he is 6'2" and has long arms. Good speed and an ever better athlete. Comes from a top football program and started for three years.
Other offers include Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Wake Forest.
Bottom line: Has the ability to be a good player down the road, after he gains weight.
Jahmahl Pardner, Aquinas Institute (Rochester, NY) CB- A late bloomer who had a great year for one of the better teams in the state. Like most players, he needs to add weight but has good height at 6'0" and 175 pounds. Not a speed demon but good speed and athleticism. If he proves not to have enough speed for corner he may end up at safety.
Other offers include Akron, Bowling Green, and Temple.
Bottom line: Good corner size and good instincts so he definitely has a chance to become a player down the line.