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.