Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Top Pitt football targets to keep an eye on for '16



Aaron Mathews, Clairton, WR- At 6'4" and 185 pounds, Mathews is a tall drink of water. And despite the lack of elite speed, he still is a handful due to his long strides, frame, and hands. Despite rumors that he's waiting for Penn State (not true), he still hasn't committed to Pitt despite the Panthers being the obvious leader. You have to think it will happen eventually and that maybe he's simply a kid that does things on his own schedule.

Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport, S- At 5'11" and about 200 pounds, he's a little small for a linebacker, though he could maybe get about to about 220 and be a smaller linebacker. He could be a force if that would happen, despite his lack of size for the position. But strong safety seems to be his most ideal position. Wherever you put him, he will be good because he's tough, fast, and athletic. McKeesport kids don't go to Pitt as any Panthers fan knows but I heard through the grapevine that ace recruiter Rob Harley was offended by the thought when he heard this.  Whether Hudson goes to Pitt is still very much in the air. He's very secretive with his thoughts, and he takes great pride in that. Pitt is still very much in the mix, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he chooses the Panthers. But for some reason I'm thinking Virginia Tech. 

Damar Hamlin, Central Catholic, CB- He doesn't have elite speed which makes some think he will be a safety, but he's fast enough for corner, especially since he also has length at 6'1" and 180 pounds, great quickness, and anticipation. His close friends are going to Pitt, and Pat Narduzzi defensive backs do well, to say the least. I think Notre Dame intrigues him, but I think he will choose Pitt eventually.

Miles Sanders, Woodland Hills, RB- I will make this short and sweet. Everybody I know in the recruiting business thinks he will flip to Pitt, or at the very least, thinks there's a very good chance. He would make an instant impact on next year's team, and the PR of flipping an elite recruit from Penn State would obviously send reverberations around the college football world. I am not saying for sure that it will happen but if it does nobody should really be surprised. 

Justin Morgan, Poly Prep HS (Brooklyn, NY) OT- Giant 6'6" and 330 pound pound lineman is already committed to Rutgers, but he has since visited the Panthers. For now he's still sticking with Rutgers, but Pitt keeps putting pressure on him to flip. He'd be a very nice pickup as his stock has been rising. Plus, the Panthers need to add another offensive lineman.

Zack Gilbert, South Mecklenburg HS (Charlotte) DE- The son of Sean Gilbert is a 6'1" 255 pound lineman with a very high ceiling. He moves extremely well and has great strength and explosiveness. He also is very mature and great character. He reminds me a lot of Ejuan Price. Pitt is considered the favorite, and the Panthers merely have to hold off Virginia Tech to get an excellent player. 

Quayshown Alexander, DePaul Catholic HS (Wayne, NJ) DE- The 6'2" 235 pound Nebraska commit is planning official visits, including Pitt. He is a big Steelers fan and was very interested in Pitt before somewhat surprisingly committing to the Cornhuskers. He's very good and you can never have too many big time athletes.

Jamal Smith, American HS (Hialeah, FL) DE- Northern schools like Pitt usually get under the radar Florida kids late in the recruiting cycle, and I expect the same this year. The 6'2" 248 pound Smith is one such possibility. Some may feel like Pitt is recruiting so well that getting perceived leftovers is not a good thing, but there are so many excellent players in Florida that it's impossible for the top programs in the region to have room for them all. Plus, Harley and defensive coordinator Josh Conklin knows the Florida players very well.  Smith wants to visit Pitt soon. Kentucky and Oregon State are his other top suitors.

George Hill, Hubbard (OH) HS, RB/WR/S- The Ohio State de-commit visited Pitt and even though almost everybody thinks he will end up at Michigan State, the Panthers are still right in there. An excellent athlete that can play multiple positions. If Pitt could technically flip a player from Penn State and Ohio State then things would get even more interesting. I see him probably ending up at Michigan State, but you never know.

Amir Watts, Phillips HS (Chicago, IL) DT- Previously committed to Western Michigan but then he got hot and he's now back on the market. Just 6'3" and 270 pounds but he's very quick. In fact, he even catches passes from the the wide receiver position at times. Minnesota may be the biggest obstacle. 



25 comments:

  1. Chris:

    How many more scholarships do we have to offer for 2016?

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    1. Nobody really knows for sure, including the staff because you never know who will leave. But I'm guessing somewhere around 20 so they'll probably take 8-10 more.

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  2. Excellent piece, Chris. Per usual.

    I haven't been this stoked about a recruiting cycle since Wanny was at the helm. Having guys that actually know how to recruit finally in place for a whole year, pitching exciting trends -- presumably a decent winning record and upgraded facilities, maybe even something better than the Compass Bowl for once -- plus the chance to practice next to the Steelers? This could be the start of something truly memorable!

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  3. If Pitt was to land five of these kids I'd pick: Matthews, Hamlin, Sanders, Gilbert and Watts.

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  4. Pitt needs to keep winning and if the coaches keep doing what they are doing then the recruiting will take care of itself.

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  5. Doke, any insight Aaron Thompson out of Ft. Lauderdale. I thought I read somewhere last week he is coming in for a official, a few weeks back a 247 guy picked him going to Pitt

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    1. I haven't heard about him much lately so I didn't include him.

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  6. Thanks for the recruiting update Chris. I think Coach Duzz and staff are going to be lights out recruiting wise, and it seems there is a buzz about Pitt right now that we haven't seen in some time.

    P.S. I hope you're dead wrong about Hillary Clinton.

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  7. Hillary will win which is scarier than Steve p running an athletic department. Amazing an irresponsible liar can win but as long as the handouts keep coming and our new entitled generation is voting for that and social issues the gop has no chance. Let's go Pitt.

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    1. I wouldn't vote for her for dog catcher. Anything that comes out of her mouth I reflexively do not believe.

      Hard to imagine that in a country this size, this is the best we can come up with for president.

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    2. If you nominate Trump then you're not allowed to complain for at least 4 years.

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  8. Chris do you think the Matthews kid isn't getting enough love from pitt that's why he's looking at West Virginia now.he was down to Pitt and Maryland now I see his taking official to West Virginia.

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    1. Pitt liked Ruben Flowers more, as they should. I think the only other WR they will take is Juwann Winfree.

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  9. Did anyone read Ron Cook's article about the renewal of Pitt/PSU rivalry? I don't hate PSU as a football program, it's their fans that drive me crazy. They haven't been relevant in 20 years either, where does this superiority complex come from? Last time I checked there weren't three professional sports teams playing in central PA.

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  10. Travis, not sure how old you are (not asking...), but my time at Pitt starts with Dorsett and ends with Marino. So I was lucky to be there during the absolute heydays. And my utter hatred of all things Nits hasn't waned even since they stopped playing, even though it has for some.

    I joke that I even have trouble enjoy clear skies and the ocean because they're blue and white. But it's only kindova joke, half joking.

    Point being, at one time the Pitt-PSU rivalry was as hot as Michigan-OSU or Oklahoma-Okie State or Utah-BYU, or any other truly hot (read: fun) college rivalries. Maybe not quite as bad as the naked hatred of 'Bama-Auburn, but you get the point. And I miss it.

    For younger fans, WVU in some ways replaced PSU as Pitt's main rival. But trust me, it paled in comparison to the epic rivalry with the Nits. Heck, I even root hard against PSU's women's volleyball team, and take GREAT pleasure in seeing them lose!

    I for one CANNOT WAIT for the football series to resume on the field. I live out west, and I'll be at the game next year even if I gotta walk there.

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    1. IM 40,

      I'm with you on the Nits. Since Pitt is returning to traditions with the new Chancellor and AD, I think the band should go back to the old fight song that has the fans shouting "Penn State sucks".

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    2. 1981 was the year Pitt lost to the Nits 48-14 after leading 14-0 (and the Nits had negative total yards) after the first quarter. Pitt's equivalent of 13-9.

      That game doubtless cost us a national championship, and it still hurts nearly 35 years later. In fact, it hurts worse than my divorce! Divorce, you eventually get over. A loss like THAT? To those goobers? You never recover, I'll take that agony to my grave.

      For me, nothing in heaven or on Earth would equal the satisfaction of payback for that. So I'm actually hoping they're good again when we play & (hopefully) whip them four straight years....

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    3. I was at that game with my 3 other brothers and from that day on, we simply refered to it as the debacle.

      I remember they brought out the Panther mascot on a throne as we were #1 at the time.

      If you recall, we were up 14-0 and my one brother said to us - "Geez, I wanted Pitt to win but, I didn't want them to slaughter them."

      48 straight points later.... there was a slaughter all right.

      Worst loss in Pitt history - no question and very similar to the 13-9 loss to Pitt by WVU.

      Crushing - I'll never forget it.

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    4. Imma and ZM,

      I, too, was at that game. It tore the heart out of my chest. Family and friends called after to see if I "took the bridge". My view toward PS changed from that game forward. Looking to next September.

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    5. I was there also, with 3 friends from PSU. It was beyond horrible, being up 14-0, and then getting routed. It was like a bad dream that you can't wake up from.

      I never heard the end of it from my PSU buddies. For me, it was the worst loss since I started following Pitt in the mid 70s.

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  11. @ James Conner, Mathews to announce late November during WPIAL championship games around the 28th according to Karlo.

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  12. Any thoughts on why we aren't going after more WRs? I know we have some young talent and Mathews could be a big target on the field, but I feel like we should be pursuing at least a few more heavily to replace Boyd.

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    1. It sounds like they only wanted one big WR, and that's Ruben Flowers. And I'm thinking they feel pretty good about Juwann Winfree. Then for a fast slot WR I can see Maurice Ffrench ending up there.

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  13. I think Aaron Mathews waited too long which is always risky. I like his skill set for sure and wish he would pull the trigger before Winfree. WVU wants him as a defensive back because of his hip turn, ball skills and length. I just don't see him as a db. If he could block and had the desire to do so, I would redshirt him, have him gain 50 pounds of muscle and make him a tight end.

    Hamlin is an interesting story. There is an allure about ND. I was recently offered a position there and it was hard to turn it down. They know how to sell. I don't trust Brian Kelly, sorry. Also, VT and WVU may be looking for new head coaches this year or next at the latest.

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  14. Chris, any thoughts on Christian Colon, the big DT who recently decommitted from PSU? I have heard that he plans to take an official visit to Pitt.

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