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).