Monday, November 30, 2015

Final Top 15 for PA in the 2016 class

1. Miles Sanders, Woodland Hills HS (Pittsburgh) RB- Athletically built at 5'11" and 205 pounds. Can add muscle without losing speed and that will help him with running between the tackles, though he's already not afraid of running between the tackles. Excellent speed, quickness, and vision.  All around back that has very good hands, too.  Committed to PENN STATE early, but he's been looking around. It's possible that he'll stay with Penn State but  Pittsburgh is the most obvious choice should he flip. Other offers include Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Notre Dame, USC, and many more.

2. Michal Menet, Exeter Township HS (Reading) OT- Needs to add weight to 6'5" 270 pound frame, but he has the feet, strength, and technique to be a big time college player. Extremely high upside. Committed to PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, Alabama, Duke, Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, South Carolina, Stanford, UCLA, and more.

3. Damar Hamlin, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) CB- Thin, but nice length at 6'1" and 180 pounds. More athletic than blazing fast, but he does have good speed. Can play cornerback or safety at the next level, but his size at cornerback makes him a player that's high in demand. He committed to PITTSBURGH over Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State are the leaders, Michigan, Michigan State, Auburn, Clemson, Stanford, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Miami, Virginia Tech, and UCLA.

4. Naseir Upshur, Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia) TE- Not big at 6'2" and 240 pounds, but he is athletic, strong, and equally good in the run or pass game.  Excellent blocker. Committed to FLORIDA STATE over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Miami, Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Michigan State, USC, Ohio State, Florida, Auburn, and just about everybody else.

5. Karamo Dioubate, Prep Charter HS (Philadelphia) DE/DT- Nicknamed "The Reaper" for good reason. Tough and athletic at 6'4" 275 pounds, with a great burst.  Has the athleticism and speed to play end and the toughness and size to play inside. Committed to TEMPLE over Penn State, Pittsburgh, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan State, Miami, Florida, Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech.

6. Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport Area HS (McKeesport) S- Athletic safety with great range. Maybe the hardest hitter in the state. Solidly built at 5'11" and 200 pounds. Has the ability to also be an excellent college running back but he was born to be a safety. Committed to MICHIGAN over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin,  North Carolina, UCLA, and Virginia Tech.

7. Kaezon Pugh, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) LB- Athletic, fast, and tough at 6'2" and 220 pounds. Built like a rock already.  Could also be a college running back but he appears best suited for linebacker. Committed to PITTSBURGH over West Virginia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Miami, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona, Maryland, and Virginia Tech.

8. Brandon McIlwain, Council Rock North HS (Newtown) QB- Doesn't possess ideal size at 6'0" and 200 pounds, but he has a solid, athletic build. Athletic runner with good speed. Better than average arm. Suspect accuracy until this summer when he performed very well. Committed to SOUTH CAROLINA over Penn State, West Virginia, Auburn, Florida, Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Michigan State, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and many others, but now that Steve Spurrier is out at South Carolina, he may end up at somewhere like Penn State.

9. Connor McGovern, Lake-Lehman (Lehman) C- Stocky, tenacious 6'4 1/2" 295 pounder with good feet and technique.  Considered by some as the best center prospect in the country.  Chose PENN STATE over Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Stanford, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Miami, and Duke.

10. Therran Coleman, Brashear HS (Pittsburgh) CB- Nice corner size at 6'1" and 180 pounds. Very good speed and athleticism. One of the more underrated prospects in the state, which is what often happens with City League kids.  Committed to PITTSBURGH over West Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.

11. Cary Angeline, Downingtown HS (Exeter) TE- At 6'7" he's obviously a great target. Basically a wide receiver in high school, and though he's up to 230 pounds he still has to gain a lot of weight to be an every down player. He's mostly just a pass receiver now so he will have to work a lot on in line blocking. Committed to SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA over Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Oregon, UCLA, and Notre Dame, and many more.

12. Johncarlo Valentin, Imhotep Institute Charter HS (Philadelphia) OG- Enormous size at 6'4" and 340 pounds. Obviously he will need to get in better shape but he moves well at that size and is a load to move. His recruitment has taken many twists and turns so it's still very much in the air where he'll end up. Committed to OKLAHOMA over Pittsburgh, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Auburn, and South Carolina.

13. Andrew Pryts, Hickory HS (Hermitage) S- Solidly built at 6'1" and 200 pounds. Good athleticism. Smart.  Vicious hitter.  Committed to STANFORD over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, and Michigan State.

14. Rashad Wheeler, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) DT- Excels on maybe the most talented team in the entire state. And at 6'3" and 280 pounds he has good size and athleticism. Has the frame to get bigger and stronger. Committed to PITTSBURGH over Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Boston College, Rutgers, and Virginia, among others.

15. Aaron Matthews, Clairton HS (Clairton) WR/S- Great length at 6'4" but needs to add a lot of  weight to his 180 pound frame. Not a blazer, but because of his really long legs he gets from point A to point B faster than it looks. Great hands on offense, though he played quarterback this year and hasn't had a chance to do much from the wide receiver position. Not afraid to hit on defense. Committed to PITTSBURGH over Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Boston College, Temple, and Minnesota.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Chris Clark is a Panther

UCLA transfer Chris Clark has committed to Pitt, before their game today against Notre Dame. He has taken a circuitous route as we all know, but the 6'5" 250 pound Clark was the No. 1 tight end prospect in the 2015 class. He will sit out next season and then have three years to play three years.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Most realistic best case scenario to fill out '16 class

The Panthers currently have eleven verbal commits and with the expected total to be around twenty in total, here's a look at who the final nine could be. This is not a prediction, but a realist best case scenario.

Miles Sanders, RB- I'm not going to get into details about where this stands for obvious reasons, but for many reasons this would be a huge get. The Panthers really aren't desperate for numbers at the position with Qadree Ollison, Chris James, Darrin Hall, and Rachid Ibrahim all still having at least two years left, and Chawntez Moss already committed, but the program still may not have that elite talent at the position. Don't get me wrong, all of these players are good and could definitely have at least a 1,000 yard season in them. In fact, Ollison may get one this season. But even lesser recruited running backs that turned into stars, like James Conner and Dion Lewis, showed their great talents immediately. We haven't seen that yet from any of these backs, and until we do, you have to worry about their ceiling. As far as pure talent, Sanders has the most of the group, so getting him would help the unit immensely.

Juawann Winfree, WR- The Maryland transfer tried to join Pitt for this season, but the Panthers weren't ready for him yet. He's playing well again in junior college this year, and the Panthers officially offered him long ago. Another receiver is needed and Pitt is his best offer right now, plus he knows he will start right away if he commits. But maybe the most telling thing is that the Panthers aren't recruiting any other wide receivers hard right now so you have to think that both sides already know what's going to happen. A wide receiver class of Winfree, Ruben Flowers, and Maurice Ffrench would be excellent.

Chris Clark, TE- Last year's No. 1 tight end prospect has committed to a handful of schools, and with a visit coming this weekend, it's safe to say that Pitt is next. I know fans make fun of him, but you don't pass up a talent like this. He's so good that he'll probably only play for the Panthers for one year anyway, before going to the NFL. A tight end is desperately needed and he will be a great fit. At worse he's a flake, but so is Rob Gronkowski. Enough said.

Justin Morgan, OT- The Panthers haven't done well with adding offensive linemen this year with only Brandon Ford having committed so far.  Usually you want to add at least three or four but this year two seems to be the maximum or they will be scraping the bottom of the barrel. There are a few options here, but Morgan, who is committed to Rutgers, seems to be ripe for the picking since Kyle Flood is probably going to get fired. The fact that he already visited Pitt after committing to Rutgers shows he has serious interest.

Zack Gilbert, DE- The son of Sean Gilbert would be an excellent pickup, and this is one that seems like it's just a matter of time. He visited Virginia Tech recently, but with a coaching change there I doubt that he will still think about them. That leaves the Panthers.

Amir Watts, DT- The Chicago native committed to Western Michigan but opened up his recruitment a few months ago. He hasn't visited Pitt yet, and he seems to be a bit of a backup plan at this point, or the Panthers would be much more aggressive with him. They clearly want another tackle, and the prize would be USC commit Keyshon Camp, who says he wants to visit, but the competition may be too fierce. Plus, the Florida native looks like he wants to play somewhere warm. Penn State de-commit Christian Colon is a talent, but he's been thrown off his high school team, so that's never a good sign. There are others, too, but I'm going out on a limb here and saying Watts just by using the process of elimination. Floridian Aaron Thompson is another real possibility.

Damar Hamlin, CB- I know a lot of fans overreacted to his attendance comments, but I still think he'll eventually end up as a Panther. I think that's definitely who he wants to play for and when Heinz Field is packed this Saturday, he will be much happier.

Khaleke Hudson, S- Despite what you hear, the Panthers are very much in the mix with the McKeesport star. I was leaning towards Virginia Tech for Hudson about a month ago, but with Frank Beamer gone, that could remove them from the list. But that's not the only reason why I think Pitt has a strong chance. He also likes them much more then people realize.

For the remaining one (or two should one of the above force a de-commit), it could easily come from this list:

Elijah Deveaux, RB- He's been strong with Duke since he committed to them but the Panthers never stopped recruiting him hard. And with his dad, Glenn, being a former player at Pitt, the family is huge Panther fans. But if Sanders flips, then any chance that Derveaux will, too, is much slimmer.

Aaron Mathews, S- The fact that Pitt isn't taking him as a receiver shows me that Winfree is inevitable, but as a 6'4' safety Mathews would be interesting. He seems to be higher on Pitt now more than ever, and he's visiting this weekend, so maybe he feels he has a real chance again.

George Hill, RB/WR/S- He de-commited from Ohio State, and just about everybody thinks he'll end up at Michigan State, but he hasn't ended up there yet, so there's still a chance. Big time athlete.

Nate Swart, TE- Local tight end is a Toledo commit, but he's visiting the Panthers this weekend. If he gets an offer I assume he'll flip to Pitt. Even though the starting tight end will presumably go from JP Holtz, to Scott Orndoff, to Clark, there needs to be another tight end for date.

Zack Williams, OT- Florida big man with some offers from Miami, Louisville, NC State, and West Virginia, as well as Pitt. A lot of good Florida kids commit later in the cycle, and he'd be a good late pickup.

Quayshon Alexander, DE- Excellent NJ end that is already committed to Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers are struggling big time and Alexander wants to visit Michigan and Pitt.

Desmond Chapple, DE- Apparently the Panthers are looking for yet another end because beyond Gilbert they are still heavily pursuing a few. This Illinois native is visiting Pitt this weekend.

Andre Mintze, DE- Undersized Philadelphia kid but he is lightning quick and was pretty impressive at Pitt camp this summer. if he can out on good weight over the years he could be very good. He's visiting Pitt this weekend.

Aaron Thompson, DT- Undersized, but talented tackle from Florida. He continually claims that Pitt is his leader.