Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Odds of getting the best remaining recruits

50% or better:

Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon, PA)- The 6'6" 300 pound offensive tackle hasn't always endeared himself to Panthers fans thanks to his fake verbal commitment. He didn't help when he followed it up by saying that Pitt fans overreact to things that are said.  But he would be a great fit for a program that desperately needs elite talent.

The usual rule for WPIAL recruits is that if they aren't in love with a specific program, outside of the local school, they usually end up at Pitt.  I don't see him in love with Ohio State or Penn State, the two most obvious programs that could nab him, and I don't see him in love with anybody else either.  Of course that can always change so that's why I wouldn't actually predict him to Pitt as so many have.  But I do think that unless something changes Pitt has a good shot.

Shai McKenzie, Washington HS (Washington, PA)-  The Panthers are desperate for a big time running back and McKenzie fits the bill.  He's a perfect fit for the program because he is a workhorse who can grind down defenses with a lot of carries.

He also has been at odds with Panthers fans, many of whom see him as an attention seeking drama queen.  This is despite declaring that the Panthers were his second top choice.  The first choice, Florida State, has signed a running back that McKenzie publicly questioned (there's the attitude in question), but the Seminoles are still involved heavily.  McKenzie is close with Pittsburgh Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino, mainly because of their mutual love of Florida State, and he is close to the Seminoles' ace recruiter Sal Sunseri, but he has a fondness for the Pitt coaches as well.

Georgia, a one time possibility, is no longer a real option, though Georgia Tech could be an outside possibility.  At the end of the day, however, I think his desire to go to Florida State will fall down a little which leaves Pitt as a very possible destination.

Dravon Henry, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa, PA)-  The Aliquippa pipeline is well known, but that may be the thing that most hurts Pitt's chances.  Many schools, especially Penn State, have been telling the big time athlete that he has to plug the pipeline and instead be his own man.  Unfortunately he seems to be listening.

I still think Henry stays close to home, but that could also mean Penn State or West Virginia.  At the end of the day I don't see the Mountaineers being the choice, which means it could come down to Pitt and Penn State.  If he chooses the Nittany Lions it would take a lot of guts to go against all of the closely knit Aliquippa Pitt players of the past, but it wouldn't be shocking.

Juwann Winfree, Dwight Morrow HS (Englewood, NJ)-  The 6'2" 180 pound elite receiver would really fill a desperate need for receiving talent.  Right now it appears to be between Pitt and West Virginia, but he plans to visit more schools.  Bottom line, Pitt is looking strong at the moment but this one will still be a battle.

Marquese Dudley-Gordon, Cypress Bay HS (Fort Lauderdale, FL)-  I first reported his interest in Pitt many months ago, but most Florida kids don't get serious with recruiting until well into summer.

The Panthers rarely seem to get legacies with top talent, but in this case Dudley-Gordon is the younger brother of Pitt starting middle linebacker Shane Gordon. The 6'0" 190 pound safety has some nice offers, including Wisconsin, Arkansas, Louisville, and Michigan State, but he has made no qualms about saying that the Panthers are his current heavy favorite.


Less than 50%:

Qadree Ollison, Canisuis HS (Buffalo, NY)- Another perfect fit for the Panthers system thanks to his 6'1" 225 pound size.  He's not in McKenzie's league because he doesn't have the same kind of speed, but he would be a helluva consolation prize if they miss out on McKenzie.

It's looking like a three team race between Pitt, Wisconsin, and Penn State.  Many feel like the Badgers are the team to beat but he has yet to visit them.  He will be at Pitt on a long Labor Day weekend. The Panthers performance, and the game atmosphere, may go a long way in helping him determine if Pitt is it for him.  And if Pitt can get him I don't believe they will wait to see what McKenzie does. And if they do get him I think there's a good chance that McKenzie goes elsewhere.  But Pitt can't take a chance and miss out on Ollison if the opportunity presents itself.

Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville, PA)- The kind of big, fast, long NFL talent that the program desperately needs but rarely seems to get.  Unfortunately they probably won't get this one either, though I think there is at least a small chance.  Nicholson loves the Pitt coaches, especially Paul Chryst and Matt House, but when push comes to shove I suspect that he will probably end up at Michigan.


Little or No chance:

Chris James, Notre Dame (Niles, IL)-  Excellent midwestern running back who would do well for Pitt, but unless something completely unexpected happens he will probably end up at Michigan State.

Jamil Kamara, Bishop Sullivan Catholic HS (Virginia Beach, VA)-  The Panthers desperately need a big time receiver like this, but the chances are excellent that he will go elsewhere, probably Virginia.

Frank Ragnow, Chanhassen HS (Chanhassen, MN)- If the Panthers land Bookser they won't worry about losing the big offensive tackle, and that's a good thing because he's not going to Pitt.

Ricky Walker, Bethel HS (Hampton, VA)-  The program could use an elite defensive tackle like Walker, but even though Pitt is in his top five the Panthers have no chance.

33 comments:

  1. So, they have a good chance on missing on all. GREAT!!!!

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  2. What about CJ Leggett they were in his top two

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    Replies
    1. I was just concentrating on the top prospects.

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    2. According to some, Leggett is better than Ollison

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  3. Pitt is in the top two for Kamara with Virginia. Even though it seems he is likely headed for UVA, the fact that we are in his top top 2 is nice. Another poor UVA season maybe their coach gets fired and then who knows.

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  4. Barry J in da houseAugust 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Can Joe D provide 40 times for each of the prospects?

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    1. Shai McKenzie... 4.58.
      but he is a drama queen.

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  5. Chris, if we win against Florida State do you Shai committing to Pitt?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think it's that simple but it should definitely help.

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  6. Bookser, McKenzie, Leggett, Winfree, Henry, Dudley-Gordon and Fields would be a terrific finish to this class. What if Pitt goes 4-8/5-7? Could they lose five of those guys and end up with Fields and one other?

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost all of them, but I think they will probably end up with at least half. I don't know if they are really going after Fields hard anymore, though.

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  7. Pitt isn't beating FSU, so this staff will earn its money if it can get Shai to Oakland.

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    1. Thanks for the brilliant insight.

      Find a name so we can keep track.

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  8. FWIW--ESPN rates Pitt's RB targets in the following order nationally--

    Leggett #17, 4-stars
    James #46, 3-stars
    McKenzie #50, 3-stars
    Ollison #87, 3-stars

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    1. When ESPN is actually out there recruiting kids then I will defer to them. Until then I will continue to talk to actual college coaches who get paid for doing it. Major programs did not go after Leggett. He's not considered an elite recruit by college coaches.

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    2. I'm sure Jim Mora would be shocked to hear that his program isn't major.

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  9. Chris, sifting through your twitter. A couple of questions.

    Don't you think Doakes was worth keeping around despite having to sit a season?

    Isn't it odd no PSU players ran into any disciplinary issues this offseason? No sour grapes on my end, but the odds just seem there though the odds do go down when you have only 65 players compared to 80-plus.

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    Replies
    1. For depth reasons a lot of those who left could help, but none of them were anything special.

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    2. Yes, Doakes would've been worth keeping around. I thought he played well down the stretch, especially at Notre Dame. However, PC's biggest challenge by far is changing the culture. That's why Doakes had to go, Shell couldn't come back, etc...

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  10. Chris -

    What will it take for this program to start actually being a destination for PA talent instead of a fallback? I get that coaching instability had an impact, but even when Pitt was doing relatively well under Wanny, we still weren't recruiting that many guys who went on to be impact players at the collegiate levle.

    And if better recruits necessarily follow wins, why is it that Wisconsin didn't get better athletes even when they were regularly near the top of the Big 10?

    Do we just need to wait for the next coach, or do you think the lightbulb will eventually go on for Chryst the way it has for Dixon (acknowledging the latter is a far superior coach)?

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  11. Welcome back, Chris! I was starting to wonder if maybe you'd abandoned us (since we didn't bring any pecan pies to the table...).

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  12. Is it hoop season yet?

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  13. I think I read somewhere (Shanker of ESPN??) that Shai McKenzie has a new Top 5 but shai will not release the names.
    It wouldn't surprise me if FSU pulled the offer since Shai badmouthed a recent RB committ (Vickers).

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    1. McKenzie tweeted about a week ago that he has a new top 5 but that he's not revealing it.

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    2. Shai not revealing new list... lol so that was true.
      smh
      Something I noticed months ago, Shai has "Shellitis".

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    3. You guys kill me badmouthing the kids. When was the last time that you saw a coaching staff stay together for four to five years without coaches realizing new opportunities elsewhere. Shai or no other recruit on this list is not even committed to any school right now. So what if his list keeps changing, it's his life, let him live it.

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    4. Anony 12:12
      You missed the point.
      Its not that he has a new list, it's that he is not revealing the list. When he first put out the list it was a marketing campaign announcement, etc.
      Like I said, he has "Shellitis" and is a drama queen.

      Regarding coaching changes, just excuses for inability to recruit/attract/retain top players in your backyard.

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    5. Maybe you're missing his point Joe D. The only people that he feels really needs to know his list are those closest to him. It doesn't seem as if he wants the world to know until he's ready for the world to know, which is a very respectable move for a kid his age. He's going against the grain, be patient and see how everything plays out

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  14. By the way, Mike White tweeted today that McKenzie told him his new favorite is Virginia Tech. He's the type that we won't really know for sure until he actually physically signs.

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    1. Would make sense.
      That is halfway between his family in Washington PA and Georgia.

      Also, I suspect FSU pull the scholarship after his comments on Vickers.
      If you don't know. Shai said, Vickers is "ONLY" a 3 star and not really that talented.
      Ouch coming from a potential teammate.

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    2. VTech was ranked #5 on his first "ranked" list.
      Now it jumped to #1.

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  15. BarryJ in da houseAugust 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Joe D - Can you please provide the 40 times for Mike White and Chris Dokish? Thanks

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  16. The Florida State game is going to be a pivotal point in the recruiting season. I for one love this second class. I believe we get Bookser, Kamara, Custis, Gordon, Leggett, Ollison, Stewart, Rawlins. Really outside shot at Nicholson and Shai. I think Henry is confused and will end up on that awful defense at WVU, which is a shame.

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