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.