Thursday, June 27, 2013

Elite WPIAL prospects have generally been better off at Pitt

Looking at WPIAL 4 and 5 star prospects, according to Rivals and Scout, from 2002-2011, to determine their success rate at Pittsburgh, Penn State, and for out of state.


*Steve Breaston, Michigan (Woodland Hills 2002)- 156 catches and one of the best return men ever in major college football, so it's safe to say that he was a huge success.

*Ryan Mundy, Michigan (Woodland Hills 2003)- He was never a star, but at least he started two seasons, the last one at WVU where he transferred as a fifth year senior. We'll call him a minor success though he clearly did not live up to his expectations.

Travis Thomas, Notre Dame (Washington 2003)- Ran for 409 yards as a running back and started one year at linebacker where he was tenth in tackles. He can't really be called a success.

Kevin McCabe, Virginia (Pine-Richland 2003)- Played very sparingly before transferring to California (PA) in his last season.

Rory Nicol, Ohio State (Beaver, 2004)- 38 catches in his career.

Devon Lyons, Ohio State (Woodland Hills, 2004)-  2 career catches then transferred to WVU where he quit before playing a down.

Andrew Johnson, Miami (North Hills, 2004)- Played three seasons at Miami before transferring to Akron.  He ran for a total of 450 yards in his career.

Chris Rogers, Michigan (North Allegheny 2004)- Transferred after one season to Penn State and never had much of a career.

*Darrin Walls, Notre Dame (2006)- He left one year for personal reasons and he never became a star but  he did start for two years so we will call him a minor success.

*Rob Gronkowski, Arizona (Woodland Hills 2007)- He was only a WPIAL kid for a year since he moved from Buffalo to play in the area, so he really wasn't your normal WPIAL kid, but he did become all-conference and was considered one of the better tight ends in the country.

Toney Clemons, Michigan (Valley 2007)- Had a decent career after he transferred to Colorado after his freshman season, but the for the sake of this study you have to say he was not a success because he transferred from the school he originally left the area for.

Steve Paskorz, Notre Dame (Hampton 2007)- Career backup.

Andrew Devlin, Virginia (Mt. Lebanon 2007)- Transferred to Pitt.

*Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State (Jeannette 2008)- Things got ugly for him, and he never lived up to his huge expectations, but he was also the runner up to Denard Robinson as Big 10 player of the year. Technically on the field he did enough to be called a success, and for the sake of this story we'll call him that, but it many ways you can also say he failed.

*Andrew Sweat, Ohio State (Trinity 2008)- Never was a star but he started and was second team all-conference as a senior so he was a minor success on the field.

Christian Wilson, North Carolina (Montour 2008)- 22 career catches as a tight end.

Kaleb Ramsey, Boston College (Laurel Highlands 2008)- Played six seasons but only accumulated 62 total tackles.

Dorian Bell, Ohio State (Gateway 2009)- He got suspended at Ohio State and ended up at Duquesne.

Corey Brown, Ohio State (Gateway 2009)-  May start as a fifth year senior but has been a reserve throughout his career.

*Jordan Hall, Ohio State (Jeanette 2009)-  Ran for just 1,032 yards in his career but got a fifth year due to injuries and he's expected to be the slotback. His top season was only 405 yards rushing but I'll add in his return skills and call him a success.

Ken Wilkins, Michigan (Trinity 2010)- Transferred after his redshirt sophomore season. He did not play a single down.

Cullen Christian, Michigan (Penn Hills 2010)- Transferred to Pitt.

Delvon Simmons, Texas Tech (McKeesport 2011)- He just transferred to USC so he could still turn out to be a very good player, but so far he has started one season and had 27 tackles in that season.

Total: 23
Success: 7 
Ratio: 30%


Mark Farris (North Hills 2002)- Rarely played at all.

Brian Borgoyn (Woodland Hills 2002)- Career ended before it started because of an injury.

*Paul Posluszny, Penn State (Hopewell 2003)- Went down as one of the better linebackers in college football history.

*Anthony Morelli (Penn Hills 2004)- Though he was a major disappointment, because of his 5,275 passing yards over his last two seasons, I will call him a success for the sake of this article.

*A.Q. Shipley (Moon 2004)- All-American and Rimington Award winner.

*Tyrell Sales (Butler 2004)- Two year starter.

*Justin King (Gateway 2005)- Didn't live up to the huge expectations for him but he was a two year starter for leaving for the NFL after his junior year.

*Stefen Wisniewski (Pittsburgh Central Catholic 2007)- Three year starter, all-coference, and had some All-American recognition.

*Nick Sukay (Greensburg Central Catholic 2007)- Two year starter.

Jon Ditto (Gateway 2007)- Played little and transferred to IUP.

*Derek Moye (Rochester 2007)- Ended his career with 2,395 receiving yards.

Mike Yancich (Trinity 2008)- Career reserve and special teams player.

*Miles Dieffenbach (Fox Chapel 2010)- As a redshirt junior this season he is starting for the second year.

Mike Hull (Canon McMillan 2010)- There is a lot of talk from Penn State that he will break through in this, his redshirt junior season, but he hasn't started yet so for now he will not be considered a success.

Paul Jones (Sto- Rox 2010)- Transferred to Robert Morris.

Tom Ricketts (North Allegheny 2010)- Transferred to Pitt then left after a year.

Total: 16
Success: 9
Ratio: 56%


*Tyler Palko (West Allegheny 2002)- Three year started who threw for over 8,300 yards in his career.

Steve Buches (Pittsburgh Central Catholic 2002)- 52 career receptions at tight end.

Craig Bokor (Hopewell 2005)- Played sparingly. 

*Dorin Dickerson (West Allegheny 2006)- Bounced around at different positions until as a senior he became an All-American tight end.

*John Malecki (Franklin Regional 2006)- Never a star but lettered for four years and started the last two years on the offensive line.

Aaron Smith (Gateway 2006)- Career reserve.

Elijah Fields (Duquesne 2006)- Started as a junior then was kicked off the team before senior season. 

*Jason Pinkston (Baldwin 2006)- Three year starter, all-conference, and some All-American recognition as a senior.

Nate Nix (Thomas Jefferson 2006)- Career reserve and special teams player. 

*Chris Jacobson (Keystone Oaks 2007)- He wasn't a huge star but he was a three year starter. 

*Brandon Lindsey (Aliquippa 2007)- Two year starter and all-conference player. 

*Dom DeCicco (Thomas Jefferson 2007)- Three year starter and all-conference player.

*Myles Caragein (Keystone Oaks 2007)- two year starter and amassed 74 tackles in those two seasons. 

*Jonathan Baldwin (Aliquippa 2008)- Left to become first round pick after junior season but before that he was a two year starter and amassed 1,902 receiving yards in those two seasons.

Cameron Saddler (Gateway 2008)- Played mostly as a reserve and as a return man.

*Lucas Nix (Thomas Jefferson 2008)- Never became a big star but he was a three year starter 

Shayne Hale (Gateway 2008)- Performed well at the end of his career but was mostly a reserve.

*Dan Mason (Penn Hills 2009)- Two year starter that never lived up expectations due to major issues. 

*Todd Thomas (Beaver Falls 2009)- Only a redshirt junior because of an injury redshirt and a prep school season, but he's considered the best linebacker on the team and a potential star. Will start his second season this year.

*Tyrone Ezell (2009)- Has 39 tackles as a giant defensive lineman and will be a two year starter and a four year letterman after this season.

*Aaron Donald (Penn Hills 2010)- All-conference and an All-American candidate. Considered one of the best defensive lineman in the country.

Total: 21
Success: 14
Ratio: 67%

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Panthers add two more on defense

The commitment train keeps going for Paul Chryst and the staff as the Panthers add a giant defensive tackle and a local linebacker.

Defensive tackle Mike Herndon played linebacker at Riverheads HS in Staunton, VA, but at 6'4" and 320 pounds he will obviously make the move to defensive tackle in college.  Herndon recently participated in Pitt's camp.  His other offers include Virginia Tech, UConn, Western Michigan, James Madison, and Old Dominion.

Linebacker Quintin Wirginis is another player who impressed recently at camp, and he also committed to the Panthers tonight.  The other offers for 6'2" 225 pound Wirginis came from Temple, VMI, Robert Morris, and Slippery Rock. Wirginis plays at Fox Chapel HS in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Panthers land Grimm

It has seemed inevitable for a long time, but today giant Bethel Park offensive lineman Mike Grimm made it official by committing to the Panthers.  The 6'6" 320 pound Grimm is naturally big and is considered one of the strongest players in the country.  He is an ideal fit for what Paul Chryst wants to do. Other offers include West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, and Baylor.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Panthers land big Ohio quarterback

Paul Chryst finally added a quarterback for the current recruiting class, as Adam Bertke of Marion HS of Maria Stein, OH, has reportedly committed to the Panthers.  The 6'5" 195 pound Bertke obviously has great height, but just as obviously he needs to add a lot more muscle. Bertke is a pocket passer who isn't a runner, but does move well in the pocket.  He also has above average arm strength.  Other offers included Illinois, Toledo, Akron, Kent State, and Bowling Green.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top 25 Prospects in PA for 2014 Prospects (Spring 2013 edition)

1. Dravon Henry, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) RB/CB/S- He's not the biggest, strongest, fastest, quickest, or most athletic player in the state but right now he's the best player in the state, and he's also the closest thing to a sure thing in college.  While he can play running back or cornerback to a high degree at the college level, safety is probably where he'll end up.  He's not big for the position at 5'11" and 190 pounds, but he's been filling out his frame in the past year and can fill out even more. Has very good speed and great athleticism.  An Ed Reed style of playmaker with great range and top playmaking ability.  Right now his top four are Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, and West Virginia.  All four have offered as has Michigan, Nebraska, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Arkansas, Louisville, Virginia, and Tennessee.  Bottom line- Has all the makings of a future All-American safety. 

2. Montae Nicholson, Gateway HS (Monroeville) WR/S-  May be the best athlete in the state and that's at 6'3" and 200 pounds.  On film he looks even better at receiver, but most expect him to be at safety at the college level.  At the recent state track championships he won three medals, and has the WPIAL record in the 110m hurdles. This despite participating in track for the first time just this year. He has also proven himself in camps and combines over the last two years.  Some of his biggest offers have come from Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Stanford, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. Bottom line-  He's proven himself on the field and against national competition at combines, plus he has the size, speed, and athleticism already of an NFL star. If he performs on the field this season like he has in the offseason then he may jump to the No.1 position.

3. Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) OT- Great 6'6" 295 pound size with the frame to get much bigger. Has been a force at defensive tackle as well but has decided that at the college level he wants to be on the offensive side. Now that he is focusing on that he should be even better during his final season in high school. Has great feet and can really move for a big kid. Very tenacious.  Local schools Pittsburgh and Penn State have to be looked at as major players, and both have offered, and Ohio State and Virginia are also in the top group, but others who have have offered includes Alabama, West Virginia, USC, Florida State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Georgia, and Tennessee. Bottom line- Has the size, feet, and talent to be a big time left tackle, especially now that he realizes how good he can be. Enormous potential.

4. Shai McKenzie, Washington Area HS (Washington) RB-  Strongly built at 5'11" and 215 pounds with very good vision and feet.  Had a spectacular junior season.  Has very good speed and runs track.  His recent times have not been as blazing as has been reported previously and that has given ammo to those who say he doesn't appear to be as fast as was previously thought.  He still probably runs in the low to mid 4.5s at 215 pounds, which is fast for such a strong back, but it definitely changes the thought that he's a home run threat.  Pittsburgh and Florida State may be the teams to beat, but other offers have come from Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Arkansas, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and many others.  Bottom Line- His speed may not be as once thought and he's yet to prove his worth against great competition. He hasn't competed in combines yet and he didn't do anything against Aliquippa last season, the only highly talented team he has played against. But he still has great potential thanks to his size, speed, and toughness. 

5. K.J. Williams, Liberty HS (Bethlehem) WR- Excellent all around receiver prospect with nice 6'2" 190 pound size to go along with very good speed and athleticism.  Hands are topnotch.  Michigan has been considered the favorite for awhile now, but other offers have come from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Missouri, UConn, Wisconsin, Syracuse, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Arizona.  Bottom line- Excellent prospect and to be honest it's pretty amazing that he doesn't have more big time offers.

6. Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills) LB- Tall and long at 6'4" and 215 pounds, but obviously he needs to put on a lot of weight.  That shouldn't be a problem, though.  Very quick with superb range.  Flies all over the field.  Chose MICHIGAN over Pittsburgh, Ohio State, West Virginia, Oregon, Michigan State, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas. Bottom line- Most linebackers these days are musclebound safeties, but Winovich has the frame to be a legit linebacker while holding on to his range.  That's why the major offers came.

7. Mike Grimm, Bethel Park HS (Bethel Park) OT-  Enormous 6'7" and 315 pounds and he looks even bigger than that. Most lineman have to add size through eating or by adding muscle, but few are as naturally big and strong as Grimm. One of the strongest prospects in the country.  Feet are better than he's given credit for, but probably not good enough for left tackle.  Pittsburgh leads over West Virginia, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, and Baylor, among others.  Bottom line- If you want a lineman who can wear out a defender by leaning on him all day, this is your man.

8. Andrew Ford, Cedar Cliff HS (Camp Hill) QB-  Crafty lefty (is there any other kind?), who followed up a huge junior year with an Elite 11 invitation. Not huge at 6'2" and 185 pounds, but he has a good, accurate arm. He also has brains, good leadership, and can even run in the 4.6s.  Chose VIRGINIA TECH over Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Temple, among others.  Bottom line- He went out this spring and proved how good he really is. He has the potential to be a star for the Hokies.

9.  Malik Hooker, New Castle HS (New Castle) WR/S- Every year a kid comes out of nowhere in the spring to jump near the top of the rankings, and this year the kid came from the basketball court. Hooker always saw himself as a basketball player, but his off the charts athleticism, excellent speed, and 6'2" 185 pound size makes him an ideal fit at receiver or safety.  Offers have come from Pittsburgh,  Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, and Michigan.  Bottom line-  He would prefer to play college basketball but he's become such a top football prospect that he will likely choose football.

10. Anthony Davis, Gateway Area HS (Monroeville) CB/S-  Good corner size at 6'0" and 175, though obviously he needs to fill out some.  Excellent range and good speed.  Good, aggressive tackler.  Should have the ability to stay at corner but if not he can't then he could make an effective move to safety.  Offers include Penn State, West Virginia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Miami, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, and Virginia.  Bottom line-  Very good prospect that should be a good college defensive back.

11. JJ Cosentino, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) QB- The former Kiski Area transfer has good athleticism and a strong arm to go with a big 6'4" 215 pound frame, but as a starter last season he did not have a good year. Has performed very well in offseason camps and combines. Committed to FLORIDA STATE and also had offers from Penn State, Temple, South Florida, and Akron.  Bottom line-  He has everything it takes to be a top five prospect in the state and maybe even No.1, but first he has to perform better in actual games.

12. Aaron Ruff, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) OG-  Imhotep has quickly become a PA powerhouse and like all excellent football teams, it begins on the line.  Ruff has good 6'4" 285 pound size to go with great feet and good strength.  Decided to stay home and play for TEMPLE over Wisconsin, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech.  Bottom line-  An excellent coup for Temple to keep such a good player at home.

13. Robert Martin, Harrisburg HS (Harrisburg) RB- Not a big back at 6'0" and 190 pounds, but he has the frame to get bigger in time.  Home run hitter with excellent speed and quickness.  Great vision.  Hard to say if he can run well between the tackles because he usually just breaks a long run.  Chose RUTGERS over Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Syracuse, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Temple, and Arizona.  Bottom line-  Big play back with very good potential. 

14. DeAndre Scott, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) CB- Only 5'9" and 175 pounds but he runs well and he hits like a brick despite his size.  Also has excellent return skills.  West Virginia currently leads over many offers that include Pittsburgh, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan State, Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.  Bottom line- His size has to be a concern (and it may be generous to even call him 5'9"), but he has very good speed and he's a really good player.

15. Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon HS (Mt. Lebanon) WR- Needs to add a lot of weight but he is a very long 6'2" and 175 pounds now so that shouldn't be a problem.  Very good speed and runs hard.  Also has some return skills.  Father, Steve, was a star linebacker at Pitt but he surprised many by choosing PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Minnesota, Toledo, and Bowling Green. Bottom line-  Great length and speed should translate well into college.

16.  Noah Beh, Scranton Prep (Scranton) OT- Great frame at 6'6" and 250 pounds, but obviously he needs to gain a ton of weight.  Some recruited him as a defensive end so he has the quick feet to go with the great frame.  Tough kid.  Chose PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Boston College, Virginia, UConn, Maryland, Syracuse, and Temple.  Bottom line- He's a project because he's raw as an offensive tackle and he's very lean, but he's a project that's worth trying because the potential size/quickness combo can be excellent.

17. Ricky Rogers, Gateway Area HS (Gateway) WR-  Built like an NFL safety at a stocky and muscular 6'2" and 200 pounds.  A world class dancer so he has great feet, leaping ability, and strength in his legs.  Makes a lot of circus catches.  Good speed.  Chose WEST VIRGINIA early over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Toledo.  Bottom line- Hasn't had a chance to catch a lot of passes in high school but he has a lot of attributes that should help him be very good in college.

18. Tyler Burke, Coatesville Area HS (Coatesville) TE/LB/DE- Already a big frame at 6'4" and 240 pounds, but he can get even bigger if need be. Can project at any of the three positions equally. Good athleticism and speed.  Offers include Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Boston College, UConn, and Temple.  Bottom line- Underrated prospect who is good enough to project at three different positions.

19. Thadd Smith Cardinal O'Hara HS (Springfield) WR- At 5'9" and 170 pounds, he's going to have to  play in the slot.  He isn't a speed demon but he has good speed and topnotch quickness.  Also has return skills.  Chose BOSTON COLLEGE over Rutgers, Temple, and Toledo.  Bottom line- Small, but quick.  Could have a good career if he can overcome his lack of ideal size.

20. Daquan Worley, Coatesville Area HS (Coatesville) CB-  Versatile small school star who has very good speed and athleticism. Smallish at 5'10" and 175 pounds, but he's solidly built.  Chose PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, UMass, and Old Dominion.  Bottom line-  Very good athlete who should see time early due to Penn State's depleted roster.

21. Zaire Franklin, LaSalle College HS (Wyndmoor) LB-  On the smallish side at 6'0" and 220 pounds, but he runs well and hits very hard.  Plays the run and pass equally well.  Chose SYRACUSE over Pittsburgh, Arizona, Temple, Tulane, Villanova, Navy, and UMass.  Bottom line-  An under the radar sleeper who could be a very solid multiyear starter at the college level.

22. Trey Klock, Lower Dauphin HS (Hummelstown) TE/DT/OT-  Naturally big, strong kid at 6'4" and 260 pounds.  Athletic enough to be a tight end, but strong enough to play on the line.  Chose GEORGIA TECH over Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, and UConn.  Bottom line- A good kid who will be good for any program, both on and off the field.

23. Elijah Zeise, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) WR/S-  Good 6'2" 185 pound size, with good speed and athleticism.  A winner who plays for the best high school program in the state, and he's started since he's a sophomore.  Can project just as well to either side of the ball.  Offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Arizona, and Temple.  Bottom line- Has a nice combination of skills to go with good size so he has a lot going for him.

24. Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk HS (Beaver Falls) QB- He has to add a lot of muscle but he has good size to start with at 6'4" and 215 pounds.  Good arm and moves well in the pocket.  Originally committed to Pittsburgh but after both sides decided to part ways, he committed to AKRON.  Bottom line- The one time big name has seen his status fall recently, but he still could be a very good quarterback in the MAC.

25. Jaleel Fields, Alquippa HS (Aliquippa) DT- Another big sleeper which is strange because Aliquippa is so well known in recruiting circles. A solid 6'2" and 280 pounds with good speed, athleticism, and strength.  Pittsburgh leads over West Virginia, Temple, and UConn.  Bottom line- A winner who could make many schools regret not offering him.   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Panthers basketball adds transfer

Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall has committed to Pitt.  He is expected to get a waiver to play immediately.  The 6'8" 240 pound Randall played just 8.2 minutes a game as a sophomore and averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.5 rpg.  A native of Brooklyn, Randall is raw but has good strength and is expected to give the Panthers help on defense and rebounding, as a reserve.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pitt basketball lands big time 2016 prospect

There's been a lot of handwringing from Pitt fans about whether or not Jamie Dixon can get enough good players to salvage next season, but Dixon took a big step for the distant future by landing 6'6" Maverick Rowan of Lincoln Park HS in Midland (Beaver County).

Rowan recently finished his freshman season and averaged 23.6 ppg on a very loaded squad.  A good athlete and an exceptional shooter (both from three and at the line where he shot 88%), Rowan was already being recruited by Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina, and UCLA.  While he still has many years to play in high school, many think he will be at least a top 50 prospect.

Rowan's father, Ron, played at Beaver Falls, and also collegiately at Notre Dame and St. John's, where he played on the same team as Mark Jackson, Walter Berry, and Chris Mullin.