Wednesday, January 9, 2013

10 Must Gets from the WPIAL for 2014 class

This is the point when some people say that there is no such thing is a must get, but if Pitt doesn't get the best players in the WPIAL every year then they aren't going to have a successful program.  Obviously if the Panthers manage to get an elite prospect to commit at one of these positions, then the must get on this list won't be as much of a must get.  But for the most part, the more of these ten that Pitt ends up with a year from now, the better chance that the program has for the future.


Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon- The Panthers need more speed at receiver to go with Tyler Boyd and losing out on Robert Foster really hurt, but Apke, the son of former Pitt linebacker Steve Apke, has speed to burn.  He's also 6'2" and has great hands.  A future receiving corps that includes Boyd and Apke would be fast and explosive.  With current Pitt linebacker coach Chris Haering Apke's head coach prior to this season and his dad being a former Panther, you have to think Pitt is in the driver's seat.

Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon- Like Apke, he was coached up until this past season by Pitt's current linebacker coach Chris Haering.  You have to think that will really help the Panthers. He's already 6'6" and 290 pounds so he has the frame to have the giant build that Pitt wants, and he can really move too. Bonafide future star at left tackle.

Brock Boxen, Beaver Falls- The talent level of the defensive line needs improved obviously and this 6'3" 260 pounder can play inside or outside.  He is a high energy and aggressive player that could into a very good 285 pound tackle someday.

Anthony Davis, Gateway-  The only player on this list that doesn't have a Pitt offer yet but I would be shocked if it didn't come when official offers are extended in February. You can never have enough corners and the program hasn't brought in an elite corner prospect since Darrelle Revis. Davis is a true lockdown corner with 6'1" height and speed. Could prove to the one of the better corner prospects in the country.

Mike Grimm, Bethel Park- He's already 6'6" and 320 pounds and if it's possible he looks even bigger than that. His mother and father are fitness professionals and he is one of the strongest prospects in the country.  Alabama already told him that they will offer him so that should tell you something.  A perfect example of the quintessential Chryst lineman. His feet aren't as quick as his body is large but that's okay. He'd be a perfect right tackle that could lean on a defense all game until they just give in. With Grimm and Bookser, Pitt would have two future stud tackles with Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson both having the ability to move inside.

Dravon Henry, Aliquippa-  Big time athlete that could be an excellent running back at 5'11" and 190 pounds, but will probably end up at safety where he prefers.  Ed Reed-type of player with superb range and speed. Already has offers from not only Pitt, but also Ohio State, Rutgers, West Virginia, and a handful of others.  The Quip Pipeline will hopefully come through again.

Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk-  A big 6'5" 210 pounder with a strong arm, sneaky athleticism, and leadership abilities.  It's unknown just how high his ceiling is, but many expect him to explode over the next year.  Already committed to Pitt when Todd Graham was the coach, and he re-committed to the current staff. With Chad Voytik already on the roster, and Tra'von Chapman about to join the program, Kincade in 2014 and local stud Brett Brumbaugh in 2015 would mean the program has no problems at the position for a long time.

Shai McKenzie, Washington- I expect Rushel Shell to be an elite college level running back for the next two years, but an heir apparent needs to be lined up.  McKenzie is a faster version of Shell and will be a national recruit.  At 5'11" and 210 pounds he's strong, but he can also fly.  He will get a lot of major offers and has said he wants to go down south, but he also considers himself a Pitt fan.  Ideally, he would get a lot of carries behind Shell as a freshman, then take over full-time as a sophomore.

Montae Nicholson, Gateway-  An elite 6'2" 200 pound safety prospect that can also be a big time receiver if that's where he ends up.  The full package as evidenced by his offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio State so far.  Fans always point out that Gateway players are overhyped but Nicholson actually put on a show at every camp and combine he attended in the last few months.  I can see him ending up at Ohio State, but you never know.

Brenon Thrift, Gateway- Yes, a third Gateway player but he was considered a future gem since he's been a sophomore at Steel Valley.  He's a rock solid 6'3" and 235 pounds, and can play defensive end or middle linebacker.  Pitt needs both.  The Panthers have already offered as has Michigan and West Virginia.

While these ten are already considered the top prospects in the WPIAL right now, there are others who could join this group soon.  Some of those include defensive lineman Jaleel Fields (Aliquippa), linebackers Allan Cratsenberg (Highlands), Justice Rawlins (Monessen), and Chase Winovich (Thomas Jefferson), and athletes Clintell Gillaspie (Monessen) and Elijah Zeise (North Allegheny).







66 comments:

  1. If Pitt can get 5 of the Top 10 you listed above..
    That would be a good day at the office.

    My top 5 of gotta get due to immediate needs.
    1. Shai McKenzie
    2. Grimm
    3. Henry
    4. Apke
    5. Fields

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    Replies
    1. Nicholson is a stud who I believe will be the Robert Foster of next year's group

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    2. Shai McKenzie is the #1 wpial recruit next year...
      #1 PA recruit probably.

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  2. A lineman named Grimm. Any relation?

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  3. This gets me excited just because it looks like the Wpial is stacked for 2014.

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  4. Chris,
    You hear anything about Chryst's relationship with WPIAL coaches? Has he forged a commitment with them that he plans to stick around long term?

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    Replies
    1. The staff is well liked by the WPIAL coaches.

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  5. Every year I get the feeling that local kids are begging Pitt to present a top program as a local option (see Foster's angst at picking Alabama). If only Pitt would (not could) do that...

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    1. There's no doubt. When Pitt is strong the local kids usually don't even think much about other schools.

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    2. Chris, please don't take this as being too snarky, but when exactly has Pitt been "strong" to the point that WPIAL athletes would not consider Michigan, OSU, PSU (somewhat locally) or Bama/USC/Texas type schools? The early 1980s?

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    3. Its hard to impress these kids when they go to other programs and there are 70, 80, or 100,000 rabid fans in the stands. They go to a Pitt game with 35k in the stands for VA Tech

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  6. Nine wins next year a "must get."

    PittofDreams

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    1. Now that is dreaming... PittofDreams
      Regular season... 9-3??
      I'm thinking 6 to 7 wins in regular season next year... the big question is Savage or whoever the QB is not to mention the Oline, Dline, LB.

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    2. Here's what I know... A quarterback who can buy himself a little time, or better yet turn a potential negative play into a positive... will IMMEDIATELY make Pitt more competitive.

      Question is whether Savage, Chapman, or whomever... have what it takes.

      Defensive Coordinator selection also critical.

      PittofDreams

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  7. Depends on the schedule
    Should go at least 3-1 OOC, meaning a 6-2 conference record to get to 9-3.

    Def opponents are Miami, Virignia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Duke.
    Pitt has never done well against Miami. The other teams are all beatable.
    Is Syracuse still on the list? Or did they scrap that?
    Getting Florida State and/or Clemson would hurt the odds of 9-3.
    Getting Wake and/or BC would help.

    If the O-line is servicable, and Pitt can maintain some consistency, Pitt could surprise.
    Big IF though....
    Optimistic about the other positions.

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  8. I saw all of Bookser and Apke's games this fall. Bookser sometimes needs a little motivation and seemed a little soft at times, but when he decided to play, he made his presence known. It may take a year or two for the consistency to come through. As for Apke, his only downside was a tendency to fumble after the catch (or catching punts)

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    Replies
    1. All correctable. At this point, schools are just looking for the material to work with.

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    2. Bookser is anything but soft! The kid played every snap on offense and defense. Banging heads on every play. When he went one on one with both Kugler and Grimm he sure looked like the better player. I saw him pancake Grimm on a BP fieldgoal attempt and nearly blocked the kick. Check out the game films.

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  9. We could use Dontez Ford!!! Transferring from Cuse!!

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    1. I don't even know if he'll see the field to be honest with you. He's coming in as a walk on WR.

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    2. Ford from Sto-Rox... Pitt never offered him last year.
      I highly doubt Pitt is interested.

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    3. Pantherlair is reporting that Chryst announced Ford transferring.
      Did they give him a scholarship... sounds like it.
      For WR...
      Sounds like the Davis twins are out the door.

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    4. We already know about Ford. We've been talking about it for hours.

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    5. Trib confirmed what you said Chris...
      Ford will come on as a walk-on..
      Glad we are not burning a scholarship on him... if Chryst didn't give him one last year... what makes Ford think Chryst is going to give him one now!! I see Slippery Rock in Ford's future.

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  10. That changes everything!! Haha figured we could use some secondary help in a year or two!! Oh well!!

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  11. If I had to guess I think Pitt's over/under at the beginning of the season will be 6.5.

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  12. One name to remember if something happens with Kincade is Andrew Ford. He was Adam Breneman's QB at Cedar Cliff. About 6'2" but the lefty is going to be excellent in college. Just ran a 4.55 at a national combine.

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    1. i posted this on your keller chryst thread but this is the most recent one so..

      if the staff does somehow get chryst or another qb that would force kincade out. Do you think that would cause a rift between pitt and other beaver falls area recruits? i thought he was very good friends with a lot of them

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    2. No. The chances are that Chryst will stay out west. But if he does decide on Pitt, and Kincade leaves, I'm sure the team would just be happy to have one of the best quarterback prospects in the country on their team. And it's Chryst's nephew so it's not like he's out recruiting a stranger. They'll understand that.

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  13. Are there any RB recruits as a fallback if kemp commits elsewhere? Are they not recruiting that position hard to show shai they want him and he can play right away?
    KRF

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    Replies
    1. They don't do that. You have to get what you can get when you can get it. The RB situation may not work out this year unless they get Kemp or come up with somebody similar at the end.

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    2. Is Lorenzo Woodley still considering Pitt; or, as important, is Pitt still recruiting him?

      GZ

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  14. Any chance that we lock some of these kids up early? It would be nice to start the year with a strong core. Michigan had a bunch of elite talent committed before the end of March.

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  15. When I was browsing through twitter a week or two ago I came across Anthony Davis, and it sure looked like he was a WVU fan.

    And something off topic: I love how some 2014 recruits are already saying they aren't deciding until signing day. That's how you can figure out who loves the attention and also who's recruitment has a good chance of being a circus.

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    Replies
    1. Which ones have said they aren't deciding until LOI?

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  16. Cristobel to Delaware..
    He must be getting a divorce... but hey, Philly is an hour away... and the beaches 90 min away.

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    Replies
    1. Nope, he took the WR job with Miami

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    2. My fault, Cristobal is coaching TE and is associate head coach

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  17. Does taking so many scholarships this year hurt next years numbers. 29/85. I only counted about 15 juniors who should be returning unless he cuts more dead weight from Graham's makeshift class.
    KRF

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    1. We started the 2013 year with only 16 scholarships to give and now are up to 23 due to transfers, quit or kicked off team.
      Albeit 15 for 2014... I expect 18-20.

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    2. There's still going to be players that will move on next year. They will be close to 25 next year.

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    3. Why the holdup on naming a defensive coordinator, do you think he is still deciding or could it possibly indicate a choice or interviewee is on an NFL staff still playing?

      Austin, Tomsula and Tim Lewis's teams are still playing. None of those seem likely but don't understand what the holdup is.

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    4. I doubt any of those three will be the DC. I assume Chryst is just doing his due diligence.

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  18. JoJo Kemp down to Pitt, WVU and Kentucky. Will announce next week.

    "Pitt has a great environment with it being in the inner city," Kemp said. "I know there is a chance for me to go to Pittsburgh and right away in that pro-style offense. I'm just trying to debate if I want to go to pro-style or the spread." - Orlando Sentinel

    PittofDreams

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    Replies
    1. Jojo Kemp would be a BIG get for this group. We need more guys from the sunshine state and he would be a great compliment to Shell. Pitt needs to stay after him.

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  19. Doke - Is Todd Orlando a must-get for 2013?

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  20. Chris, Always a pleasure to read your work. Excellent site!!! HTP!

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  21. I'll take Fields over Boxen. If they get half, they will have done well, as long as it's the right half.

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  22. The last time I recall some many of My Lebo Blue Devils being on the hot list was back in the early 80's with Caesar Aldisert, Bob Schillken, John Rees and Chris Jelic.

    I will have to get up ther for a game this fall to see what all the excitement is about.... perhaps they will beat USC this time.

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    Replies
    1. Almost forgot John Frank who went to OSU and then on to the 49ers....

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  23. I see that Street is coming back thank god for that. I have seen a bunch of pitt writers talking about who will man our WR corps next year, none have mentioned that transfer from Wisc Garner. What's the story with him I thought he was decent a big possession wideout?

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  24. Chi-town, wasn't the transfer from Wiskey that you referred to was something like a WR/DE combo? It seems to me that it was a strange combination. Glad to hear that Street is coming back. He certainly can have a big year next fall. Has anyone heard about Aaron Donald? Has he decided to come back next fall? I think that they have until Jan 15 to forego their senior year.

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    Replies
    1. Donald and K'Waun Williams annouced before the bowl game that they will both be returning.

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    2. Yeh he was 6-2 200lb-ish LB out of high school. He played a hybrid defensive position at wiskey his freshmen year. He had a couple of catches last year. His size is promising thats why I asked plus his previous relationship with Rudolph and Chyrst. I just want to know if he'll sniff the field or pull a ricketts.

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    3. nobody talks about Brandon Ifill as a WR next year. He redshirted this year and played sparingly (but well) as DB last year. I certainly wouldn't give up on him yet, he has skills

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    4. And Ifill has the speed.
      Ran track in HS and did well.

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  25. Chris, It seems to me that the Pitt staff is putting together a pretty good recruiting class. Considering the circus that the program has gone through, that's no small achievement. Let's see if they can add a couple more good prospects by signing day. Many of us were concerned as to how they would recruit, but that's largely been answered. Hopefully as they achieve more success on the field, they will get an even better reception from prospective recruits.

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  26. It will never be answered completely until Joe D eats his humble pecan pie...

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    1. Recruiting.
      Quality matters not quantity...
      But with Boyd recently added... not so bad class. I never thought Boyd would go to Pitt. Lets see if he signs LOI... crossing fingers.
      That gives Pitt 3 of top 7 out of Wpial.
      Keep in mind, Pitt should be thankful of PSU otherwise Johnson was going to PSU... and Boyd may have selected PSU also as Boyd had a good relationship with incoming PSU QB.
      Therefore, I expected a good if not better class quite frankly due to PSU sanctions.

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    2. Smoky B, Joe D will never do that. He can't even mention Boyd without saying he might have selected Penn State. Good grief, just be happy and thankful he chose Pitt.

      I can also imagine a future post from him if Chryst and staff become ace recruiters, that the main reason they did well is because of the PSU sanctions.

      He seems to have an agenda against Coach Chryst, and won't be happy unless he fails.

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    3. I don't want Chryst to fail..
      I want him to get off his A$$ and be agressive in recruiting. He is analysis paralysis.
      Has he named a DC yet?
      Has he offered Fields of Quippa yet?
      Being first to offer matters.
      Chryst clearly has improved in recruiting albeit late in the game for 2013 class... but 2014 is off to a slow start.. again!!
      43 offers so far.... 12 out of wpial.. and 2014 the wpial has some talent to draw upon versus 2013.
      Talented Kids are committing much earlier than ever before.

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    4. Your words will have much more meaning when you give credit to Chryst when he does succeed intead of the constant negative carping you spew.

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    5. I give Chryst credit when credit is due.
      Frankly I'm glad he is staying instead of pursuing Wisky job... but I'm glad not due to his recruiting or coaching performance of 2012... but because Pitt cannot have another coach. We are stuck with Chryst for 3 years whether we like it or not.
      He's got 2 years to improve... he is on the clock so to say. Let's hope he improves.

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  27. This should end all the talk about Foster decommitting.

    http://triblive.com/sports/hssports/highschoolrecruiting/3296158-74/foster-pitt-alabama#axzz2IWV8WQ00

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