Friday, March 3, 2017

Top 10 WPIAL 2018 Prospects (Pre-Spring Edition)

A look at the top 10 prospects in the WPIAL heading into the camp and combine season.

1. Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland HS (Gibsonia) QB- Already 6'5" 190 pounds, he's also very athletic, and he has a good arm. An elite, nationally recruited player, he would have been a huge coup for Pitt, but he has already committed to Notre Dame. The Panthers will continue to recruit him, but I doubt that anything will come of it.

2. Kwantel Raines, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) S- Great length at 6'3" 190 pounds, plus he has very good speed and athleticism. Also has the frame to add enough weight to be a smaller linebacker, too. Should come down to Pitt or Penn State, but other early offers have come from WVU, Louisville, Virginia Tech, LSU, Michigan State, Wisconsin, California, Maryland, and TCU.

3. Devin Danielson, Thomas Jefferson HS (Jefferson Hills) DT- Already a solid 6'3" and 290 pounds, this kid is quick, strong, and tenacious. Appears to like Pitt the most so far, and the Panthers have offered, as have WVU, Virginia, Louisville, UCLA, and others.

4. Blake Zubovic, Belle Vernon Area HS (Belle Vernon) OT- A true left tackle prospect, who is also very quick for a kid that's already 6'6" and 295 pounds. He is also has a body with little fat, so he can get much bigger. Played some defensive end last year and was a bit of a force at that huge size, which shows you just how mobile he is. Pitt was the first offer, and they may appear to be the leader, but other offers so far include WVU, Virginia, Northwestern, NC State, Maryland, Boston College, and Minnesota.

5. Jake Kradel, Butler Area HS (Butler) OG/DT- Tough kid that will get a lot of offers, not only because of talent, but because he can project at center, guard, offensive tackle, and defensive tackle. Most want him for offense, but the Panthers like him as a defensive tackle. He definitely has the size and quickness to be a good defensive player in college. He and his family are big Pitt fans, and season ticket holders, so that can't hurt. Pitt has offered, and other offers include WVU, Boston College, NC State, Maryland, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Iowa State, Purdue, and Rutgers.

6. David Green, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) DT- Even though he's currently listed at 6'2" and 250 pounds, he looks much bigger than that. Moves well, strong, and tenacious. Should eventually be around 285 pounds, and when he reaches that size, he could be a destructive wrecking ball in college. Early offers include Pitt, WVU, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Rutgers, and Iowa State.

7. TJ Banks, East Allegheny HS (North Versailles) TE- Has the great frame at 6'5" and 230 pounds to easily had 25 or 30 pounds in college. At that size, with his strength and athleticism, he could be a beast. Pitt has offered, and are in great shape. WVU, Maryland, and Syracuse are among his other offers.

8. Julian Major, Penn Hills HS (Pittsburgh) WR- At 6'1" and 170 pounds, he needs to fill out a lot, but he is a fast and slick receiver that could be very good in college. I have no idea why Pitt hasn't offered, but Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kentucky, Boston College, and Iowa State have so far.

9. Marcus Hooker, New Castle HS (New Castle) S- Doesn't have blazing speed, and he's not really big at 5'11" 185, but he's athletic, strong, and tough. The younger brother of  former Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, and to me strong safety seems looks like his best position. Early offers include WVU, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Temple.

10. Kenny White, West Allegheny HS (Imperial) CB/S- A solid 6'0" 185 with good straight line speed. Could project at safety, or maybe cornerback. Iowa State and Buffalo are his early offers so far.

39 comments:

  1. Seems like Pitt has a good shot at guys 2 thru 10, but won't take them all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These high school linemen always have a high upside on paper. They allready have offers from some good schools. Your blog seems to indicate maybe a slight preference to Pitt. What are the chances some stay home this recruiting year? I know it's still early but it kills me every year they take their talents to the likes of Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan; and rarely are they heard from again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These kids don't have PSU ties like Thorpe did in the last class, and they aren't obsessed by ND like many did either. So Pitt is looking much better. But if they lose Raines after already losing Jurkovec, that won't be great.

      Delete
    2. Agreed Chris. As much as i like the current Fla. pipeline, i'd still like to see as much local talent within reason stay home. Pittsburgh proud. If Raines is determined to be the no. 2 recruit, then i'd hate to lose him, like we did with Wade.

      Delete
  3. I think Wade is overrated and will have a difficult transition to D1 football, he's small. Adams and Hinish last year were always ND fans as is Jurkovic, don't understand it. However, we have the 2nd largest St. Patty's day parade in the country. As far as this year, I believe we'll be in very good shape and continue the Florida pipeline

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Pitt already has plenty of 5'-9" cornerbacks trying -- and usually failing -- to cover 6'-4" wide receivers. Too-short CBs was a large part of our defense problem this season.

      Delete
    2. Agree with you that Wade is overrated. Unlike Boyd, he doesn't have the measurables to project much of anything in D1, whereas Boyd did. Don't quite understand why these guys fall in love with football in shorts performances, those don't always translate to the field, especially so with small Class stars.

      Delete
    3. We'll see. I have a hard time believing coaches like Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, etc. would have chased after Wade for so long if it is so obvious he is overrated. Also, I saw several 5'9" CBs show up on the NFL All-Pro team this year so one does not have to be 6"1"+ to be a great corner.

      Delete
    4. yea, once a local star goes elsewhere (especially to an in-state rival)and not the home team, he becomes an over-rated, too small, too slow, not ready for D1 play player. He made a choice. Are we going to re-live the Robert Foster pick??

      Delete
    5. Dobie - If Wade had picked Pitt and you'd called him overrated, these same guys would be destroying you and saying you know nothing about football....

      Delete
    6. Wade is so small that the pedo's are already talking about moving him to safety, lol!

      Delete
    7. Anthony, I'd agree with you if Wade was anywhere around 5'9", problem is that he isn't. He's a superior athlete, I don't think that can be questioned, but given his size and real lack of any comparable competition playing at Clairton, I don't see this kid becoming a star.

      Hope he does well and proves me wrong, he's a good kid.

      Delete
  4. Chris: Of the local kids that we lost, Jeter is the one who puzzles me the most. I can understand the ND guys, and Wade's father seemed to have a major role in that decision. But what were the factors at play with Jeter? His brother is at Pitt, but he seemed to have no interest in Pitt. Any insights about this?

    Also, is there any chance that Pitt's tenth coach would be someone with WPIAL ties, who could do for Pitt what Terry Smith has done for Penn State with local recruiting?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wade is a player and it was a miss but life goes on. The kid might be a bit undersized but he has really good technique and athletic ability that can be refined with the proper coaching. Barring injury he has the potential to be a star.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @anonymous

    I think Jeter just wanted to get away and playing in front of a 100k people coupled along with a head coach who portrays himself as a guru was too much to overcome. Narduzzi personally recruited Jeter for an extended time period and Michigan just came in and scooped him up after he decided to leave his ND pledge and by the way ND also didn't spend a lot of time chasing him. I wish him the best at Michigan it's an excellent school.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Speaking of Robt. Foster and other grad transfers; any possibility of a Pitt matriculation?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It appears as if Pitt is the frontrunner for most of the top ten (minus Jurkavec) which is a complete turn of events. Pitt should OWN Western PA. OWN it. H2P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your are right and that is a good sign hopefully. However, if you look at the 247 PA rankings only the top 4 here are in the top 15 and only 2 are in the top 10 statewide so hopefully they are good players overall and not just being taken since they are WPIAL.

      Delete
  9. Its the end of basketball season and I just want to address your defense of Stallings with some facts.

    Your first impression was horrible, then after 24 hours and realizing there was little to be done by complaining, you chose the other approach of give him a chance.

    Fact 1. This is the second team in a row that Stallings has coached where it has been said there is turmoil between coach and players. I get the whole idea of coming in and trying to mesh with Sr. as hard, but this is the same stuff they were saying at Vandy at the end. I want the players to be held accountable too, it was hard to watch those guys at time with their lack of effort, but ultimately it falls on the coaches shoulders and two years in a row is a bad trend.

    Fact 2. The school that Stallings left and the school that Dixon left to are both still alive, both have had better seasons than Pitt and could both make the tourny. Say all you want about not having a PG or a C(It was inexcusable how Dixon recruited C after Adams left early) but I don't know many people who wouldn't put Pitt in the Tourny if Dixon was still the head coach(all those people that were unhappy with him got what they deserve).

    Fact 3. Pitt has a lot of spots to fill, a lot of playing time to be had, lesser restrictions than Vandy, a better history than TCU, they are in the ACC and it has been said Stallings is a good recruiter.
    Right now Pitt has 7 recruits and by most peoples opinion has a worse recruiting class than both TCU and Vandy. The only reason people would put Pitt infront of Vandy is because of the numbers 7 to 3 and not talent level. They have two PG coming in that they are going to ask to log a lot of minutes. I hope they are up to the task, but typically the kids that are able to step in and take over right away are the kids that are leaving after one year. Pitt doesn't have any of those kids coming in. They have players that could evolve into really good players, but next year is going to be a struggle.
    The 2018 class is a long ways a way, but so far there is nothing to get excited about or even be hopeful for. This is another class that will be looked upon to deliver right away. Playing time will once again be up for grabs and interest in Pitt at this point isn't very high.

    Lets call a spade a spade, the program is in the worst shape it has been in a long long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll make this easy. It's been one season, Stallings hasn't brought any players in yet, and the rational thing to do is to wait a few years to see what he can do. Every situation is different. Ben Howland and Shaka Smart are struggling in year two. Do they suck? It's pretty simple.

      Delete
    2. Ben Howland had a top ten recruiting class last year and a top 20 one this year. Shaka Smart has two top ten classes coming in. Do you really believe Stallings is bringing in "his guys"? I'll give you Carr, and Thompson, I'll even say I think those guys are both better than they are being rated on most sites. That still leaves a huge gap in talent. I have no problem with taking players and developing them rather than getting talent. The issue is that it will take longer to build a program and at this pace, being in the ACC, Stallings will be gone before he has the chance to develop players. I wouldn't bet on Stallings having a winning record in either of the next two seasons. Unless he some how comes up with a top 20 recruiting class for 18, where do you look and see greener days ahead?

      Delete
    3. Where did I say they'll be greener days ahead? I said, literally probably 50 times, that I don't know if he'll succeed or not. I just said he's going to be there for awhile, and we'll know in a few years if he succeeded. Declaring him a failure before he brings in any players is ridiculous.

      Delete
  10. Jamie left this program in horrible shape and please remember prior to Stallings coming on board Pitt made the NCAA's 3 out of the last 5 seasons when Dixon was in charge.

    Dixon had his run at Pitt but it was time for a change for all parties. Is Stallings the guy? Who knows?

    We will see but he is here for at least 2 seasons.



    ReplyDelete
  11. I think the concern for people is that the players he's bringing in(the "his players" everyone keeps referring to) aren't really rated any higher than the ones Dixon brought in to get them in this position. It seems more exciting because there are more of them, but they aren't necessarily more talented. Yeah recruiting rankings aren't everthing, but you can talk about Carr and Thompson all you want but you were saying pretty much the exact same things about Kithcart last year and Wilson two years ago and their ratings more or less matched those of the new guys as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stallings isn't as good as Dixon. Anyone that's better than Dixon isn't coming here. That's what I always said, but few believed me. Pitt isn't getting a known top 20 coach. It's just a fact.

      Delete
  12. I'm not a Stallings basher. For all the great that he did for Pitt basketball and for as good of a coach as he is, I do think he left behind a pretty lousy situation. I really think the recruiting, the lack of a PG and C, and poor leadership from the team's best two players lead to a 16-17 record. I believe Stallings could have manipulated the situation for a better outcome, but I really doubt the results would have been far different.

    We will begin to see if Kevin Stallings will be able to right this ship. There is enough evidence to support that he can and enough evidence to support the opinion that he will ultimately fail.

    This post is coming way late, I know. But I think back to the coaching search, and I wonder why we didn't hear more about a coach who Chris put on his initial list of potential candidates, Russell Turner. The guy is leading UC Irvine to another tourney bid. He has P5 assistant experience at successful programs. Stanford under Mike Momtgomery and more relevantly, Dave Odom, at Wake. He has NBA assistant experience as well and is originally from ACC territory (Roanoke). Were the tires kicked on this guy even a little bit last year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know of about 10 or 12 guys that were asked if they were interested. His name wasn't one of them.

      Delete
  13. Meant to say not a Dixon or Stallings basher. Oops.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The rationale being not big time enough?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Any info on the potential Pitt AD?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's something that won't get out until it's announced, or just before it's announced.

      Delete
  16. Ok, Why hasn't any media outlet interview Anthony Lubrano (PSU Trustee aka blowhard).
    Also, Lubrano has been awfully quiet as have Paterno's.
    So much for them leading the charge of suing that company that did the investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awhile ago a few of us questioned the logic of Kaezon Pugh moving to d end. Bulking up to 245# seems to make that move logical. I might have been short sighted and forgot the old adage that safties move to linebacker and backer to the d line. Looking pretty impressive from a conditioning standpoint going forward.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'd rather see Pugh as a "MLB in training" for another year than trying to fit him into a DE role that he is not built for, and less likely to succeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pugh will transfer if Pitt puts him at DE. His HS coach thought he would be a SS in NFL due to his speed. He is an LB.

      Delete
    2. He's the one that wanted to move to DE. He wants to sack quarterbacks.

      Delete
    3. Not if his HS Coach Dan has any say.

      Delete
    4. Look a rush end in college transitions into outside linebacker in pros. You let sentimentality get in the way of logic. Pugh technically still has 4 years of eligibility. Great athletes will sort out their true worth during this time.

      Delete