Monday, December 15, 2008

Recruiting update

This weekend was a big weekend for recruiting. We had about 10 visitors come to the Pitt vs UMBC game and all of the guys are either committed or considering Pitt.

The big story from the weekend is that it is now about a 99.9% chance that Jordan Hill will officially decommit from Rutgers and make the wise life choice and join the Panthers.

He engaged in some fun interactions with the Oakland Zoo who were holding up some signs on their white boards for him.

Also of note is that Ed Tinker was in the crowd. Last year it looked as if Tinker had eliminated Pitt and was headed to Colorado. Ed ended up never making it there and has been somewhat in hiding since then. Don't worry too much, it was all helped set up by the Pitt coaches so that he could go to prep school for a year and get everything lined up to become eligible for next season. Ed and his mom both want to stay local and that is great news for Pitt.

The Merrill twins, Dan Mason, and some other guys were in attendance. All of the players had guys currently on the staff show them around all weekend like we usually see. One difference between visits you see most often and this trip is that all of the guys that were in town raved about how much they enjoyed the visit. I wouldn't be shocked if every single one ended up as a Panther because they were raving about Pitt that much.

I was able to get 2 big pieces of info out of the coaches that should put some of this years recruiting into perspective. Many people were wondering why we were going so hard on trying to get guys despite only having between 14-17 ships available. The staff now believes that through academic ineligibility, off the field problems, and transfers that we will be able to take 20 - 22 guys this year. So there maybe some issues that have been down played during the season that will be resolved once we finish up after the Sun Bowl.

I was asking the staff about Kolby Gray because I'm all for big quarterbacks that can throw the ball well and are mobile. Kolby will be visiting Pitt on the weekend of January 9th. Pretty much the only thing holding us back from a commitment here is a campus visit. So I'm pretty sure after he comes here to check things out, gets to meet a few Steelers, and has a fun time on the visit he will be announcing his choice to come here.

It's pretty interesting how we got involved with him. One of the assistants who was instrumental in recruiting Shady was the purpose for finding him. Due to the poor qb play this year, the staff went on a hunt for quarterbacks that they felt could fit our system and could be ready to play sooner rather than later. So, after doing some investigating, the assistant coach came across footage of Kolby and was blown away. He took what he found to Coach Wannstedt. Since he is a Texas guy, Phil Bennett called in a few favors to get more information about him. We were very lucky to have Phil on the staff because through his contacts, we found out that Kolby was on the short list for schools like Texas and Oklahoma but they did not recruit him hard since they already had quarterbacks who committed. This is a lucky find for us and I hope we're able to get him to stick around as I'm ready to anoint him as the #1 qb on the roster after signing day.

The last piece of news is that it looks like junior day will be on February 14th for the Pitt/Cincy basketball game.


In Statu Viae said...

Great update! I am a little concerned to see who we lose with the academic issues etc, but it sounds like Wanny is well on the way to find some more than capable replacements! That news about Kolby Gray is terrific... not sure that I believe that Wannstedt would play a true freshman at qb again, but we can dream can't we.

johnny said...

The best part of having a QB from Texas is that it may deflect some of the talk about Script Pitt and on-campus stadiums to the virtue of having a WPIAL guy at QB instead.

On a serious note, great news about the way that this class is shaping. It may not be the most highly regarded of DW's classes in terms of star rankings, but they are bringing in solid depth along the lines and adding nice pieces to other key positions.

I maintain that the bigger bounce will come from the inertia of a (hopefully) 10 win season and Sun Bowl invite, plus some off season hype to propel us to a fantastic 2010 class.

More importantly, in what was perceived to be a down year in the WPIAL and PA, we showed that we've developed some quality inroads into Maryland and NJ to shape our class. Plus Florida and hopefully now Texas can continue to send us a couple of under-recruited 2 or 3 star sleepers in the future.