Sunday, January 24, 2016

Panthers land two more for defense

It's been a very good weekend for Pat Narduzzi and his staff. On Saturday, New York linebacker Elias Reynolds chose the Panthers. The previous Rutgers commit is solidly built at 6'3" and 230 pounds. Known as a tough, strong run defender, I expect that Reynolds will eventually end up in the mix at middle linebacker. He is the third Rutgers commit to flip to Pitt, joining giant offensive lineman Justin Morgan and hard-hitting safety Phil Campbell.

On Sunday night things got dramatically better when former Western Michigan commit Amir Watts committed. The 6'3" 260 pound Chicago native exploded in the past six months and was courted by the likes of Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa State, and Kentucky. He became a 4-star prospect after wowing at the Semper Fidelis All-American Game practices. Watts can play at defensive end or defensive tackle. I think he will end up at tackle where he can use his brute strength and catlike quickness.

Watts was on of two prospects that officially visited the Panthers over the weekend. The other was 4-star defensive tackle Keyshon Camp, 6'3" 275 pounds, of Lakeland, FL. The former USC commit de-commited while on his visit to Pittsburgh. He is still considering Michigan, Missouri, and possibly Ohio State. He already visited Michigan and is considering visiting Missouri next weekend. His defensive line coach at USC is now the defensive line coach at Missouri, but Camp enjoyed his visit to Pittsburgh very much.  He's expected to announce on Signing Day, Feb. 3rd.

Wide receiver target K'von Wallace dropped Virginia Tech as a suitor, which was looking good for the Panthers since Wallace is a Virginia native, but he just picked up a Clemson offer on Sunday and that is making things more iffy.

Darnell Salomon, the much discussed 4-star wide receiver from Florida, visited Temple this past weekend. The city got covered in snow, and it was the first time Salomon ever saw snow in person. He is visiting Pitt next weekend, along with many others (including Damar Hamlin), and there isn't expected to be snow. With it basically a two school race between Pitt and Temple, you have to like Pitt's chances.

On the downside, McKeesport HS star Khaleke Hudson has announced that Michigan and Penn State lead over Pitt and UCLA. His mother was quoted as saying that she felt at home at Michigan, and it was clear that she loved it there. Hudson left there without committing, and did the same at Penn State this weekend, but it's not looking good for the Panthers. He's scheduled to visit Pitt next weekend, but we'll have to see if he still makes it.

Also possibly troubling is that New Jersey speedster Maurice Ffrench is now being wooed heavily by Penn State. You can't really blame him considering the talent the Panthers are bringing in at wide receiver and cornerback, the two positions he could play at Pitt, but he's a fast and exciting player that will be tough to lose, especially to the evil ones.

As of now, Pitt has EIGHT prospects that were ranked 4-stars by one of the recruiting services, and I'm including transfer Chris Clark in that. The other seven are Thomas MacVittie, Ruben Flowers, Juwann Winfree, Amir Watts, Chase Pine, George Hill, and Kaezon Pugh. The Panthers have a legitimate chance of landing three more in Salomon, Camp, and Damar Hamlin. That would give the Panthers at least a top 25 recruiting class.


19 comments:

  1. At this point, I would trade Miller and Ffrench for Hamlin, Camp and Salomon. Still a top 25 class. That said, I lllllike Ffrench a lot.

    Noted that the dairy college keeps slipping in the rankings. I think they end up top 20.

    Hudson may not get a committable offer from Michigan. Mich is getting high ranked db's leaning heavily to them, plus what they already have which would shut out Hudson in the numbers game. That leaves Dairy Land U or Pitt. Dairy is not a solid pick right now due to coaching instability and lack of security if their current head coach fails to win 8 games this year.

    I wouldn't give up on Hudson due to numbers. Obviously, Dairy College was not his top choice or he wouldn't have gone to visit Michigan with his mom. The grass isn't greener in Dairyland, there is just more of it. The grass is greener where you take care of it and where better to do that but in your backyard. Stay at home kid.

    Really like the quickness of Watts. Looks like a Jr Donald, but taller.

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    1. If the grass looks greener at the Dairy College, it's b/c there are so many cows to fertilize it!!

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    2. I don't know whether to say Harbaugh is doing it the right way or not. He seems to be pulling offers pretty late to kids that have been committed for a long time. You feel awful for the kids and while it seems pretty shady, Harbaugh could end up with the top recruiting class. So I wouldn't say the crunch bothers Michigan much, if they want a kid they will make it happen. I don't get the whole Hudson thing. The kid seems like an elite talent and is being courted by a couple of teams who almost act like his is their backup plan. Meanwhile Pitt has always really wanted him and he just seems to be waiting. A lot like Mathews. It looks like we are going to have 23 or so scholarships going into signing day and that could jump up or stay there. Camp and Alexander we will make room for and just wait and see.

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  2. You gotta love the trend: Pitt is landing kids this year -- especially out of state kids, and extra especially on defense -- that wouldn't have even looked our way under the previous regime.

    Which hopefully translates into (dare we dream?) another 1-2 wins this coming season. Which should continue to yield excellent recruiting classes.

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  3. While I understand coaching instability at PSU, lets not forget our OC up and left us after one season, as well as we haven't been exactly stable the past few years a well. I know we are trending up, but lets not get too ahead of ourselves. Plus I think we are also making too much out of all the player transfers from there. If you look most were either reserves or graduates and were getting recruited over, i.e. Voytik. Only Reeder appears to be one that was a surprise to them per the PG.

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  4. Chris,
    were you drunk or half awake when writing this?
    Reynolds is a run blocker? Run stuffer I'd assume you meant to write. Hudson is front McKeesport not Gateway. Hudson left without an offer? You mean left without committing?

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    1. I think you meant, from McKeesport... ;-)

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  5. It was late and I was trying to hurry before going to bed. I didn't even look at it after writing it.

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  6. Scout showing tackle Zack Williams as a soft verbal. I have seen nowhere else that he is wavering. What's up?

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  7. Any chance these guys could Dixon some pointers on recruiting?

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    1. Not Remotely Pitt of DreamsJanuary 26, 2016 at 11:17 AM

      Different sport.
      Plus, going after those types of players actually hurt the hoops program.

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    2. You mean, going after good players hurt the hoops program? LOL...Dixon groupies will stop at nothing to defend him...

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  8. Chris, will you have any analysis on the class once it's completed in a week? Also, do they still plan on moving NLI day up at all?

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    1. I've been writing a giant in depth article for signing day but it's touch and go because a lot of the class is still undecided.

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  9. Chris,

    I saw on your twitter feed about LB TJ Neal from Illinois wanting to be closer to home as a grad transfer. Do we take him? Is he any good? Do we have room for him? Your thoughts please?

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    1. I would definitely take him. I don't know how Pitt feels about it, though. He's averaged about 100 tackles a year as a two year starter. But they love Galambos for some reason.

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  10. Can someone explain how a K'von Wallace goes from committing to Cincinnati back in July. Which was understandable with offers from schools like Coastal Carolina and James Madison - To in one month (Jan 16) offers from Pitt, Arizona, Maryland, and VT. Then just this week more offers from the likes of Clemson, Ohio State and Michigan State?

    How did this kid go under the radar until January?

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  11. Chris, do you think we will get Chase Pine to stick to his commitment? Since he's taking these visits will the staff go after the grad transfer from Illinois?

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    1. I think he'll stick with Pitt but I can't guarantee that. Pitt was so confident that I'm not sure there's a great backup plan.

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