Thursday, April 2, 2015

Update

First of all, I'm not going to make a big deal about this but I am no longer tweeting. I am still on there because a lot of coaches and prospects contact me through there and it's too difficult to change that, but like I said, I'm over Twitter.  It takes up just too much time. For my real job I am writing on the computer a lot so I can easily keep abreast of things on Twitter. But now my career is taking off and I don't have time to continually look on there. My wife and I are also going to be traveling a lot more and I don't want to have to worry about keeping up with what people are tweeting.  As for this blog, I may continue it for a day or a year, I don't know, but I will announce with a post when I'm done so that people aren't waiting around for a post that doesn't come.

One last thing I want to say about Twitter, because I want to set the record straight, is this Donovan Jeter incident. Not long after Jeter tweeted something about Penn State having a lot more people at their game than Pitt, I tweeted that there are two WPIAL prospects whose attitudes I don't like, and that I hope they don't end up at Pitt. I guess the timing made people think I was talking about Jeter, but what people chose to ignore is that I immediately followed it up with a tweet that neither of those players in question are going to end up at Pitt or Penn State. The obvious implication, or so I thought, is that both aren't high major prospects. One has gang ties and one has a sexual assault charge. If I had to guess I think Jeter will end up at Pitt, so he didn't fit the description in any way. I can see why Penn State people took it and ran with it to make myself and Pitt look bad, but what's sad is that there were Pitt "fans" that did the same. And that's kinda pathetic that some crazy Pitt fans try to take out a Pitt writer. I can take crazy Penn State fans because that's a given, but when Pitt fans try to sink you too then it was obvious that Twitter is a pretty messed up place. And the fact that the poor kid felt compelled to apology over such an innocuous comment makes the situation even more tragic. Lastly, I've been doing this for twelve years and I've never been accused of trashing a kid for saying something bad about Pitt, or for any other reason. I couldn't be doing this for so long if I did such things. Look at the media, coaches, players, etc. that follow me on Twitter.  These people wouldn't follow me if I did such things.

Now on to actual sports. As of now I would pick not only Jeter to Pitt eventually, but also Damar Hamlin and Paris Ford. If it happens as I see it, they will be three big thoroughbreds in Pat Narduzzi's defense for the future. And imagine a future secondary with Hamlin, Ford, and Jordan Whitehead.

I also see Kaezon Pugh eventually committing to Pitt if the grades are there. His top four of Pitt, West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Rutgers is very telling. A player with his talent should have much better options, but the grades are a problem.  If the grades aren't up to snuff then West Virginia may be his best option.

As for others, I see Aaron Matthews and Rashad Wheeler to Pitt, Lamont Wade I would predict to Ohio State, and Robert Hainsey to Penn State. I don't have a feeling yet for Josh Lugg, CJ Thorpe, David Adams, Khaleke Hudson, and Therran Coleman.

I still love everything the new staff is doing at Pitt. Even though I get accused as a homer from time to time, I haven't been happy with the football program since Jackie Sherrill left, but now it's different. Some coaches have a certain gravitas that you just know they are going to be highly successful, and that's what I feel with Narduzzi. For many years many kids came to Pitt because they were the best option left or because they were the home team. But now it's different. Kids like Tony Butler and Thomas MacVittie would normally wait it out to see if they can do better, but Narduzzi and the staff blew them away. I've been hearing over and over again in the recruiting world a buzz for Pitt that I haven't heard since I've been doing this. Kids no longer see Pitt as second fiddle. They are looking at the program as someplace exciting.

As for the basketball program, with former Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassih moving on to join Chris Mullin at St. John's, everybody now thinks Cheick Diallo will automatically sign with the St. John's now.  By my calculation, this is now the fifth so-called favorite for Diallo, including Pitt.  The truth is, nobody knows what Diallo is thinking. He said again just two days ago that all are even. Are they really? Maybe, maybe not, but nobody I've talked to, and I've talked to many, knows for sure which way he's leaning. In fact, most tell me the same thing that Diallo says himself, and that's that he wants to see how things shake out. And why wouldn't he? Let's say, for instance, that he committed to Iowa State because of Abdelmassih. Where would he be now? It's smart to wait because he has no idea what's going to happen. Kentucky and Kansas especially are teams that could have a lot of shakeup with with additions and departures in the next few weeks. I'm not saying that Diallo will end up at Pitt because simple mathematics say that you have to start at a 20% chance since there's five finalists, but what I am saying is that it's a fluid situation and anything's possible.

I would be shocked if Maverick Rowan ended up at Pitt and despite what people are saying now, I still expect him to end up at an Adidas school.

On to center, I think the Panthers have a legitimate shot of landing Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne. The big man was rumored by many to be going to Virginia Tech, but they didn't even make the final three. The other two finalists, other than Pitt, are Kansas and Illinois. Like Kentucky, every time Kansas is mentioned with a player everybody expects they will end up there. But by the time Thorne will choose, Kansas may have found a better option, and that's a real possibility. Thorne is clearly Plan B, at best, for them, and I can easily see Kansas filling the spot well before Thorne visits. As for Illinois, it doesn't seem like it's as good a fit for the Charlotte native who could play in the ACC instead. Ideally, Thorne and Rozelle Nix are solid at the five, Mike Young moves to the four, and Jamel Artis finally learns the nuances of the three. I don't know if all of that will happen, but even if it doesn't it doesn't hurt to have a veteran 6'11" and 270 pounds player that can help out in the middle. Is he an instant impact player? Maybe not. But he's better than Derrick Randall and a one legged Joseph Uchebo.

A lot has been made of Jamie Dixon's late season recruiting, and more specifically how much he fails, but the truth is, not every player Dixon watches, or even offers, at the end of the season is somebody he really wants. In recruiting, you sometimes offer a player first almost like a placeholder, then decide  if he's really worth is, if he fits, etc. For Thorne, Dixon really wants him so this will be an interesting test.

51 comments:

  1. Doke want you to continue. This blog provides provides info, discussion and your take on all things Pitt Football/Basketball. Keep up the good work. H2P!

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  2. Chris:
    thanks for the update. I know for one that I really appreciate all the time and effort that you put into keeping me informed. Hope to see your continued reports because they are insightful. Have a nice Easter holiday!!!

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  3. I checked my twitter about 20 times to see what you tweeted. Sorry to see you go. Tough pill to swallow.

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  4. Doke,
    I have read your blog for quite a while and really enjoy your writing and insight. I have never commented on here before, but I feel compelled to say that I would love to see you continue!! Please don't let the minority of a few dictate to you your future and the blogs future. If you decide to leave God bless you and your family, you will be missed!

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  5. Good for you Chris...thanks for all the info you share on your blog regarding Pitt.

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  6. Always enjoyed your work. You could see the Twitter psychotic garbage coming. Hope you continue to post your thoughts here.

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  7. Chris, I am sorry to see you leave Twitter as I really enjoy your tweets and articles! The best to you and yours and thank you!

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  8. Chris, Many thanks for your hard work! I will miss your tweets and hope that you can continue writing articles for the blog. Thanks again and all the best to you and yours!

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  9. Doke, have really looked forward to your honest insite on Pitt sports & hope you continue! Glad to hear of your sucess and wish you the pest of luck in all future endevors!

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  10. I'd like to add my thanks to the list, too. I really appreciate your insight. Your blog has never been overly active, but I do check it frequently to make sure I am not missing anything. If you ever stop blogging, I'd be disappointed, but I'd also understand why. Thanks again.

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  11. Whatever you do best of luck to you. I'm someone you don't know (Class of '69) who has really appreciated your work. Not everyone has your good judgment and ever since I "discovered" you I have eagerly sought out everyone of your blogs and plenty of your tweets. A lot of people will miss you -- people you don't even know like me. Best of luck to you, truly.

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  12. Thanks for covering high school recruits. Your analysis of them is thorough and intuitive.
    Also enjoy the way you grade the Pitt players and the team before, during, and after the season. I don't Twitter so no comment there, but I check here often and would be a less knowledgeable fan without your insightful writing. Wish you the best and hope that you can still find a way to keep writing here on Panther's Prey.

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  13. Chris- another one of the silent majority who found your Twitter feed informative and entertaining. Best of luck and we hope you can keep up with the blog so that we selfishly can have an honest perspective on Pitt sports and recruiting.

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  14. Chris, I have not idea how to use twitter. I'm not sure what I'm reading when I venture into the site. I'm doing better understanding the i controls of my new car. So I won't miss you not being there.

    Chris, don't be so sensitive. All this is suppose to be fun. Congrads on your recent sucess.

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    1. That's what I try to tell people. I try to treat this like I'm having a spirited discussion at a bar- no harm, no foul, at the end of the night we buy each other a beer. But it was others that were too sensitive and took things way too seriously.

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  15. Chris, Sorry to see you leave twitter. I always enjoyed your posts. Hopefully you will keep the site going. Best of luck.

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  16. One more thing I forgot to mention is that Tony Butler always contacts me when I say he could change his commitment, and says he's staying with Pitt, but I have serious doubts about that.

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  17. Chris, I enjoy your insight into the program. I will miss your tweets about the players/prospects. Thank you for doing what you do. Wish you nothing but success in whatever you decide. H2P!

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  18. Chris,

    I , too, have very much enjoyed your work here and on Twitter. It's a shame a few bad apples ruined it for the rest of us. I sure hope you keep this blog up for much longer. Most thoughtful Pitt discussion on the web.

    RKR

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  19. Chris,

    Yours is the first blog I check for all things Pitt football and basketball. Really enjoy everyone's banter back and forth. It will be a sad day should this end.

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    1. Ideally I'd like to stay through one more season of Pitt football and basketball so that I can document the return to excellence of both.

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  20. Chris, you were my favorite twitter follow and it really stinks to see you leave. I will shift my focus to this blog and hope you continue to post in the future as I truly respect your insights and opinion on Pitt athletics. Thanks for all of your contributions in the past and future. H2P

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  21. I am not on twitter but I have read my fair share. This is not in reference to you chris but the whole hardcore twitter fan who blows up at recruits.

    These kids are 16, 17 and 18 years old and everywhere they go people are telling them how great they are and trying to impress them. Naturally the kids express these things in pictures and phrases on social media outlets. If a player goes to OSU and Meyer gives him some sort of insight..... the kid in turn goes to twitter and writes something like "lessons from the master" with a picture of he and Meyer. That is pretty cool to show your friends, but now the middle men in the media retweet it and the fans jump all over it telling the kid not to come back to said city or pull the offer or some other stupid comment that annoys people and gives the story legs. The whole thing is absolutely crazy.

    Some kids are going to sit down and logically feel out where their skills fit into a system and choose the most beneficial school for them. Some kids with go to the school that seems to be the most fun whether it be friends attending or girls they are dating. Some kids will go to schools because of academics whether that be strong or poor(only able to get in there). Some will want to stay close to home and still others will do anything they can to get far away. For all the prospects people are talking about, they may not even know what it is that will make them choose a school. For fans to be on an emotional roller coaster and spew negatives around like it is the cool thing to do is just ridiculous.

    For the record, I have a lot of respect for a young man like Jordan Whitehead or Diallo for that matter that keeps his decisions and feelings to himself and doesn't need to publicize the process he is going through.

    At the end of the day, we have a coach now that many trust to get the job done. So be excited about the recruits he does bring in(he thinks everyone he recruits is 5*) and wish the others well until the day they face Pitt on the field. When that day comes, I would love to see a bitter hatred between schools that makes the rivalries great. After the game is over shake hands and start planning for next year.

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  22. Best wishes, Chris, as a Pitt fan, I very much enjoyed your input.

    The Jeter issue really points out the problem with Twitter. Nowadays, everyone wants info fast but doesn't care if it's comprehensive. While you are able to fully explain yourself on any issue via blog, I have seen many, many when tweets have been misinterpreted ... in fact, I have done so a handful of times myself.

    For example, I thought WVU had a good chance with Whitehead back in Jan based on a few tweets by other parties ... and again, it was entirely based on a false assumption.

    bill

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  23. Chris - have enjoyed this blog and following and interacting with you on Twitter, especially during games. Too bad a few whackos spoiled it.

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  24. Twitter has unfortunately become extremely toxic.(Insert Brick Tamland "that got out of hand fast" joke here). Let me add my voice to the others on this post - I greatly appreciated your blogs and tweets. I made you my "go to" source for Pitt hoops and football. I didn't always agree, but was (and am) always to read your thoughts.

    Great to hear things are going well for you, and best of luck to you in this and future endeavors. If you can find the patience to keep talking about Pitt, either here, on Twitter, or elsewhere, I know I, and many others, appreciate it.

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  25. Twitter is a lot like eating blowfish, if you don't do it you can't get blowfish poisoning. I can't stand it, never look at the account my daughter set up for me and wouldn't believe 99.9% of the stuff I read on there is I did. Your's would be the exception if I did though.

    Someone actually tried to insult me once by saying I had only 13 followers on twitter and I didn't understand what he meant.

    I like your stuff Chris and can wholeheartedly understand the time consumption of writing articles and posts along with a full time job. Maybe if you set a goal of one post every two weeks or once a month we could still enjoy your thoughts & knowledge and you wouldn't feel that it was a required burden. After all no one is getting paid to do this I believe.

    Your take on recruiting, as evidenced above, is always right on the mark and interesting to read. That could be a seasonal thing for you maybe.

    Sorry all the external stuff happened and I hope you can settle back in at a later date. Good Luck.

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  26. Chris:
    I am a lurker on this and your twitter account. I enjoy both very much and want to wish you the best in the future. Although, I am pretty sure I don't like your politics ( to your great credit) you don't post about them.
    It is a shame that a vocal minority can ruin something many of us enjoyed.
    Thank You

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  27. Unfortunately I have to block a few nice messages because of certain references.

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    1. Chris, I think my post was one of the messages you're referring to, so let me give it another shot.

      Reading your Tweets became part of my daily routine. They ranged from insightful and informative, to downright laugh out loud funny. I will miss them a lot.

      I hope you keep the blog going for as long as possible. It's one of the best sources of Pitt information, and your "no holds barred" style is very refreshing. It's the only place I post messages regarding Pitt athletics.

      I hope wherever your travels take you and your wife, that they're always safe and enjoyable.

      I realize that you need to do what's best for you and your wife, but if you are able, please stick with us for as long as you can.

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  28. I wonder if the possibility of 7 Kentucky guys leaving changes things for Diallo (and maybe a Heron offer even). I have to think the bad luck recruiting Dixon has had has to turn around sooner or later. From Kobe Banks, to Mostella, to Rowan et al, he cant keep getting the raw deal.

    And as far as Twitter, yeah people who shouldnt be allowed to speak in public have to loud of a voice on twitter. I don't follow any of these recruits and your RTs of them keep me informed. Ill have to find some other fans to talk about the Americans on twitter now

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  29. Chris, for anything on Pitt, I followed your twitter the most ...by far. Aside from the guys at Pantherlair and the coaching staff, who would you suggest we Pitt fans should follow?

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  30. Chris, I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work. Your blogging and tweets rekindled my interest in Pitt sports. I will miss your Twitter an enormous amount - it's not like anything else out there. Thanks again.

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  31. Just wanted to thank you as well on the info. You have posted over the years. I found out about your blog when Smizik used to reference what you said. I may have to cancel twitter account because I mainly used it to follow your posts. I hope you stick on here for a while, but, if you leave, I cannot blame you.

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  32. Chris, Thank You! Your blog is the first and only blog that I ever commented on. You made me feel welcome. I really, really enjoy your insight. You are my number 1 guy I follow when it comes to Pitt sports. Please dont leave. You are the best.

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  33. Doke, enjoyed the production but not the dismissiveness when opinions, however un-supported were met with angst. For the most part, a good read. Hope you still make time to write here. I personally think you could have made a better run if you brought in some guest talent for more articles here and there.

    Look, I don't facespace and I surely don't twitter, but I have been called a twit before. I am too long winded for 140 characters. God's speed.

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  34. Chris, First of all this blog is excellent, and I hope it lasts more than just one more season. You mention your career is taking off. Where else can we read you?

    About Twitter, I have mixed feelings about your exit. You were definitely the most interesting person I followed, and my account is now boring without your tweets. You tweeted A LOT -- some of it great, some of it mindless, and some of it just out there. So it sounds like sour grapes to hear you write "Twitter is a pretty messed up place". Like someone above implied, Twitter is what you make of it. For someone like you that speaks his mind and shares it a lot and has a lot of followers, it's a bad combination. Eventually someone was going to take offense at (or misinterpret) something you wrote.

    Used properly, Twitter can be a great place to find and share info. But like you, I agree too many people use it unwisely. And honestly, you seemed to be on that slippery slope of getting sucked into it. So for your sake, I’m glad you exited. Based on your number of tweets, you had to be exhausted. I’m glad you are back to living in reality.

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  35. Chris, thanks for all your hard work on this site and on your Twitter account. I look forward to reading this blog as long as you continue publishing it!

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  36. Doke,

    I agree with this Dave guy above, you were the must read Pitt account on Twitter. I have been following your blog and work since LeSean McCoy was a HS prospect and considering Pitt. You always said there was a chance that Wannstedt could get McCoy to Oakland. You have become a source for Pitt Fball and Bball information, recruiting and debate that is truly unparalleled.

    Twitter is important because it allows for you to cast a wide net. The dark side of Twitter is that for many it becomes a game of "social currency." This is where many find themselves tweeting and replying and scanning for many hours per day. They see followers as a bank account. This is what can drag many down into a dark world. I think that if social media is something that takes you away from your life, than it's understandable that you should step away. You also should make sure that you have the desire to do it. It shouldn't need to be work for you, as you have a job and other family needs.

    I'm with you in that I am truly excited by the Pat Narduzzi hire. I don't really understand those who call you a homer because you've probably slanted more negative about Pitt in the past. To, me you've just been so damn realistic, and that's been the best reason for me to read your insights. I include you with Reed, Chas, Justin, Chris Peak (Paul Zeise and Kevin Gorman in the past), as guys who are intelligent and fair about the state of the program and its day-to-day operations. We all know that Pitt Athletics doesn't always get the media attention of a program like Penn State, but we've been fortunate to have some bloggers, publishers and a couple beat writers who have been exceptional reporters and debaters.

    I hope you will consider returning to Twitter. Pick your spots. Do not feel the need to engage the lunatic fringe. Take time away (especially in the off-season). Many of us will feel a bit empty in this new Pitt era without you.

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  37. Dokish - I was hoping you'd pop back up for major sporting events. Missing your daily POV.

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    1. I'm not going to lie, it was difficult not to do it during the Wisconsin and Kentucky game. It was a great test. My head almost exploded. Especially since I said before the tournament started I tweeted that somebody would beat Kentucky. They were obviously an excellent team but not nearly as unbeatable as people were making it seem.

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  38. Late to the party. I just wanted to quickly reiterate that your knowledge, candidness and recruiting expertise have made you my first source for Pitt sports. I appreciate anything you do to keep the blog going and wish you the best of luck in your career.

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  39. Can you please quit mentioning Kaezon's grades everytime that you talk about him. He has an extreme case of ADD/ADHD and he's come a long way. His grades are finally at a respectable average, with the help of an IEP, something he didn't have and really needed as a FR and SOPH. So can you please quit knocking him because he's not such a swift learner.

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    1. I'm not knocking him. I didn't call him dumb or put him down. I simply said that his academics may prevent him from getting into some schools.

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  40. Chris,

    As you can see, you have quite a loyal following. Count me among those who really enjoyed what you had to say and looked forward to seeing things from different angles. There are too many people on twitter with cyber muscles and all they do is troll. You're not missing anything jumping off Twitter but we will be missing you.

    One question: you said that you are going to focus on your writing...is there a site you can direct us to so that we may continue to get out "doke" fix?

    If you ever find yourself in Philly, DM me on Twitter (jlazinger) and I'll buy you a few beers.

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  41. Chris,

    I am not on twitter but follow you there because you are a breath of fresh air and provide so much great information.

    I echo everyone else here with a big thank you for your work and for whatever time you choose to leave this blog open, I will welcome it.

    Where can we find your work/writings online?

    Kudos my friend!

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  42. My regular job involves writing, but it's not in sports. There's a sports website that I've always wanted to do. I think it would be big and I'm amazed that nobody has done it yet. But unfortunately I have no clue how to build a website, and don't have the time to learn.

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  43. Chris, do you think the PSU offer for Wheeler changes the dynamic?

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    1. It's typical Pitt paranoia (not you, in general) to think he's going to go to PSU now just because he said he wanted an offer from them. He may very well end up there but kids like to collect offers, especially from a big in-state school. I still think he'll end up at Pitt.

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