Monday, August 24, 2015

My bios for Pitt football starters as high school players

I thought it would be interesting to see how I did as far as predicting what would become of Pitt players as they entered the program. For the players that's been around for a long time, I don't have bios, but here are the ones that I do have. The players listed are the projected starters, and when there is doubt who will be the starter, I added several options.

QB- Chad Voytik- "At 6'1" and 185 pounds he could use some weight, but his height is fine, despite some naysayers.  In fact, Chryst's star QB at Wisconsin, Russell Wilson, is 5'10 1/2".  He is not considered a running quarterback but he is very mobile and possesses good speed, so he can take off and run extremely well when he needs. His best trait, however, is seen when he passes.  His arm strength is very good and his lightning quick release is considered by some to be the best in the class. He's also already shown he is a leader as he is the player most responsible for keeping the best of the class together."

RB- James Conner- "At 6'2" and 230 pounds, he's a big, tough runner with very good straight line speed at that size. Doesn't make a lot of moves, but he runs hard between the tackles. Once he breaks though the line, he utilizes his excellent speed with his quick, choppy steps. Was considered a defensive end prospect by most scouts but after a huge year of running the ball, the Panthers staff decided to try him at running back. But this is a player who, if he can prove he can be a running back at the college level,  has the chance to be very effective at running hard behind Pitt's massive line. The fact that he could move to defense is an added bonus because he has very good pass rush skills."

WR- Tyler Boyd- "Thin at 6'1" and 168 pounds. He's never been a full-time wide receiver, but he clearly won't have a problem learning the position immediately.  Has excellent speed, athleticism, and hands.  Excellent with the ball in his hands and is also an exceptional return man. Very reminiscent of former Woodland Hills, Michigan, and NFL star Steve Breaston.  An excellent receiver/returner who was a must even before Robert Foster chose to go to Alabama. Could be all-star caliber."

WR- Dontez Ford- Transfer so no bio.

WR- Elijah Zeise- "Solidly built at 6'2" and 185 pounds with a frame that could add a lot more weight. Physically he does not have one trait that stands out at an elite level, but he is good to very good in size, speed, athleticism, and hands. A good football player that could also project at safety or even linebacker some day."

WR- Zach Challingsworth- "Highly productive receiver on the high school level. A little thin but otherwise he has nice 6'2" 185 pound size. Quicker and faster than given credit for, but he's not considered an elite speed/athleticism kid.  Excellent hands and makes a lot of circus catches.  Young for his class and will begin his freshman season at Pitt as a 17-year old. To be honest, this kid seems to be a little under recruited. He has better than average size and speed, and he has excellent hands.  He's a football player so even if he doesn't star in college, he can help the program.  Likely redshirt candidate and then a possible No.2 or No.3 receiver sometime in his future."

WR- Quadree Henderson- "Very small at 5'8" and 170 pounds, but he's a water bug type with blazing speed (10.8 100m) and elite level quickness. Game breaker who runs extremely well with the ball in his hands. Also could factor in as a kick returner."

TE- JP Holtz- "Ideal for Paul Chryst's tight end friendly offense but he is also versatile enough to move to defensive end or linebacker in the future if need be. He possesses very good speed and athleticism, and even though he looks nothing like a true halfback he often ran out of the I-formation like a much smaller player, until he eventually steamrolled any would be tacklers. Bottom line, this is one of my favorite players from the hundreds of Pitt prospects this year.  He's just a tough, hard nosed football player that hustles.  Combine that with his natural talent and Chryst's offense, and Holtz could be a bonafide star down the road."

LT- Adam Bisnowaty- "I'll put him down as a guard for now but he has the ability to play tackle and even center for the Panthers.  At 6'6", he has great length but at 280 pounds he obviously has to gain a lot of weight, especially on a Bob Bostad line. A little stiff, but very strong.  Plays with a mean streak.  Was considered a bit of an underachiever at one point, but then decided to turn it on.  The result was offers by Florida, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Virginia among others. Bottom line-  A big, tough, nasty lineman who has the ability to be an All-American under Bostad."

LG- Dorian Johnson- "Ideally he's not big enough to play as a freshman, but he's talented enough that he may not only play, but he could start, too, possibly at guard where he won't be on an island in his first year.  He has future all-star ability and I would be surprised if he doesn't reach that level."

C- Artie Rowell- No bio found.

RG- Alex Officer- "Excellent run blocker with quick feet and agility.  Once he latches on to a defender, he often destroys him. Plays nasty.  Projects as a guard or even center, though he played tackle in high school. Two of the top 20 prospects in the upcoming draft are 6'3" guards and both are consensus All-Americans.  Major programs aren't going to make a special stop to Rochester so he is very much under the radar. He's raw, but the more I watch this kid, the more I think he has the potential to be very good in a few years."

RT- Alex Bookser- "Already a fit 6'6" and 300 pounds, and he can get bigger. Very quick feet which could make him an ideal left tackle candidate down the road. Like most freshmen linemen he will need to get stronger, so he'll very likely redshirt. But in a few years, if he lives up to his potential, he can be a big time left tackle. And if he doesn't? He very possibly could be an all-star defensive tackle since at the moment he's actually a better defensive player."

DE- Shakir Soto- "Already has excellent 6'4" 245 pound size and has a slender athletic build that could add another 20 pounds of good weight.  Very strong run defender but he has developed nice pass rushing skills this past season.  Good student and very mature. High character kid who plays hard and has good size and athleticism.  Because he enrolled early and is advanced both physically and mentally, he could possibly see time as a freshman."

DT- Khaynin Mosley-Smith- No bio found.

DT- Darryl Render- "Committed under previous regime as a pass rushing defensive end/linebacker, but while he has decent pass rushing skills, stopping the run is his forte. Strong base on his 6'3" 250 pound frame.  Good hustler with good athleticism.  Has the ability to add a lot of weight to become a defensive tackle down the line. Bottom line:  Tough, high character kid from an excellent high school football program. Has the potential to be a good strong side end or can add weight to move inside."

DT- Tyrique Jarrett- "Giant 6'3" and 320 man child with nasty aggressiveness, brute strength, and quick feet. He had almost no chance to qualify last season and still got offers from not only Pitt, but also Cincinnati, UConn, and Temple.  If grades weren't an issue, he would have had more and bigger offers. Big, nasty players that can move like him are rare.  Perhaps the sleeper of the class and somebody with a lot of potential."

DE- Rori Blair- "Very skinny at 6'3" at a listed 220 pounds, and he looks skinnier than that. But he has the frame to get bigger. Needs a lot more strength. Right now he gets overpowered too often. Good straight line speed and athleticism. Could potentially be an outside linebacker if he can't put on enough weight. An interesting project for many reasons. He's come a long way but he still has a long way to go."

OLB- Mike Caprara- "The lack of size is what kept Caprara from getting major offers.  At most he's 6'0" and 210 pounds, and it remains to be seen how much bigger he can get, but he has good speed and excellent instincts. Bottom line:  A born football player who would get a huge amount of offers if he was bigger.  At the very worst, he can be a special teams wiz who provides leadership on and off the field.  At best, he adapts to his smaller size and becomes a good player."

OLB- Bam Bradley- "The Panthers may tell him he's a safety officially, and they may even try him there, but look for him to be a linebacker eventually.  As a safety, he lacks the top level athleticism and speed, and as a linebacker he will have to add to his 6'1" and 200 pounds.  But it's easier to get bigger than faster.  He wants to play safety. Tough hard hitter as his name suggests (his real name is George), with good instincts.  Speed and athleticism is okay, but he could be a liability defending as a safety.  Spends most of his time in the box making tackles close to the line of scrimmage.  Brother Nicholas Grigsby was a freshman linebacker this year for the Panthers.  Bottom line: Tough kid who loves to play football and hits like a ton of bricks.  If he gets into the right position he could be a future ringleader on defense."

MLB- Matt Galambos- "Tough, relentless 6'2" and 225 pound young man that makes plays all over the field.  A sleeper who many in his area consider to be the best player in that part of the state. Don't be fooled by the Ivy League offers, which was indicative of his academics, not his playing level.  Not only is it great to have a kid like this in your program but he's also a really good football player who has everything it takes to excel in college football and life."

OLB- Nicolas Grigsby- No bio found.

CB- Lafayette Pitts- No bio found.

CB- Avonte Maddox- "Small at 5'9" and 160 pounds, but he can flat out fly. Probably the most electrifying player in Michigan this season and that's saying something.    Would be a big time slot receiver in some offenses, but at Pitt he will be at cornerback. Could be a star return man. Good student and leader."

FS- Reggie Mitchell- Transfer so no recruiting bio.

SS- Jordan Whitehead- "Solidly built at 5'11" and 195 pounds, excellent speed, and topnotch quickness. One of the most electrifying players in the state. Could also play safety on defense, plus wide receiver, and return kicks and punts."

SS- Patrick Amara- " Long frame at 6'2" and 175 pounds. Not a blazer on the stopwatch but he plays much faster on the field because of his smarts, anticipation, and quickness. Could turn out to be a very good college player."

PK- Chris Blewitt- "Small at just 5'10" and 175 pounds, but he has recently added size and strength.  Strong leg on kickoffs. People will have fun with his last name, but he will have the last laugh if he lives up to his ability."

P- Ryan Winslow- "Very big punter at 6'5" and 210 pounds.  Good athlete. Can also placekick and kickoff, though he probably won't be asked to in college. Hasn't put up big averages as a punter but the frame and leg are there so he just needs to learn to maximum his talents."


  1. Chris, is this the only Bio you wrote for James Conner?

    Seems I remember another... maybe a report you wrote earlier while he was still in High School... where you emphasized his likely future as a Defensive Player rather than anything he might accomplish as a Runningback.


    1. These are the official bios I wrote. I have no idea if I wrote anything like that. If I did I don't remember it.

  2. This was pretty interesting. I think the only real miss was Soto. He's not athletic at all, he moves very poorly and he's clearly not a character kid from the way he lost control of himself in the Miami game getting in a fight with his own teammates on national TV.

    Voytik was more or less right, but unfortunately while everyone seems to agree he had great arm strength coming out of high school, he hasn't been able to add to it.

    Good stuff.

  3. Soto needed a redshirt season, like most linemen do. In fact, the last staff blew Jarrett's redshirt as well. These two will already be seniors next season. Ibrahim should have been redshirted and it looks like he blew his Achilles, so he'll get that redshirt and will have two more seasons to contribute.

    1. You can't redshirt players if they are your best option. You have to play your best players and sadly there was nobody else to play over them at the time.

    2. Jarrett sat behind Donald and we never saw much of him in 2013. That was a blown redshirt if there ever was one. Some of these coaches play freshmen even sparingly just to generate that buzz with recruits that if you come here you can play early, etc. Chryst definitely did that in 2013 with some players. The truth is Pitt is one of the schools where it's healthier to redshirt a kid over a few snaps in a season. Sounds like Hall's redshirt is going to burned and for how many carries? Won't be much with Connor, James and Ollison. If Hall wins a game for Pitt I'll come back even as Anonymous and say I was wrong.

      I sure hope the linebacker from Ohio doesn’t have his redshirt burned for just special teams. He’s woefully undersized for the position.

    3. Complaining about Soto not being redshirted is the height of stupidity. Obviously you weren't around his freshman year when, thanks to the revolving door of coaches/systems, there were no DE's available. Soto HAD to play even though everyone acknowledged he wasn't truly ready.

  4. The coaching staff has already said no player will have their redshirt burned for special teams. Only freshmen who earn time on offense or defense will be considered for special teams.

    For what it's worth - coach Powell had said Hall wasn't getting redshirted before Ibrahim's injury. From he sounds of it, he was #3 behind Conner and James.

  5. What are the expectations for the offensive line? JJ-S gets hurt and it’s like the past regimes: a redshirt freshman is the new starter. Now there might be two redshirt freshmen on the right side if Rowell can’t play. All indications are is he will, so that will help.

    1. I'm not worried about it at the moment. It's a good line. Now if there is more injuries then I may change my opinion.

  6. False alarm on the JuCo hoops recruit. It seemed too good to be true. Last decade things went right. This decade it seems to be evening out. I just hope Wilson is declared eligible soon.