Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shane Gordon is # 20

Pitt has addressed a big area of concern today by landing linebacker Shane Gordon. With Gordon and Mason, Pitt now has 2 legitimate solid prospects to become linebackers of the future. I will say that I was surprised with the Gordon commitment as I thought some of the other schools may be a little more lucrative for him, but in the end he chose Pitt.

One thing you will see posted every where is that he is a "soft-verbal". Don't read too much into that folks. The only reason he is listed as that is due to his visit to Kansas this weekend. While Shane has said he is not sure if he is going to go or not, I fully expect him to make the trip. I, however, do not expect him to waver from his commitment. He has friends on the team and a teammate headed here in the summer with him.

I think that Shane could be a star of this class down the road. I, like many others, feel that Florida is one area we cannot allow to go untapped for the Panthers. We should, and hopefully will, remain a player with many of the prospects in Florida. We have had luck with the guys we have pulled from there not only because of our scouting abilities, but also because there is an abundance of talent in Florida.

Another impact of this signing is that we are now 5 scholarships ahead of where we thought we would be at the beginning of this season. Only a few months ago it looked as if we were only going to take around 14-16 guys, and with the list we had it did not look that impressive. Now we are up to 20 with some good players coming in for next year.

We are still heavily recruiting 3 others: Bush, Holmes, and Evans. If we are able to land at least 2 of those 3 guys, this class will have went from being a decent class to a very strong class. Landing all 3 would make this a great class.

We are still showing some interest in some other guys but no real noise is being made as the 3 above are our main targets and rounding out with those 3 would put a close on our 2009 recruits. If we do lose one or two of those guys then some others will eventually pop up as we have seen in the past. Hopefully Evans enjoys his visit this weekend and tells Wanny and staff that he is on board with us.


rkohberger said...

The numbers of verbals and scholarship openings are still not adding up. This makes me nervous every year at this time. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop as we wait to hear which underclassman aren't returning - or 5th year seniors not offed a scholarship.

I like the looks of this class - as much as i can get excited about recruits. I always have to hedge how I feel with reminding myself I felt exactly the same way about last years class, and the year before, and the year before that....

Danny said...

The way I always look at it is, not so much the entire class, but the top guys. There are usually around 20 guys per class, but only 22 guys play each saturday.

Obviously my way of thinking isn't flawless because for the highly rated guys who have excelled: Nate, Shady, and Larry

We have seen some highly rated guys struggle: Thomas, Brockenbrough, and Dorin.

If a guy isn't recruited heavily that usually is a sign he is a stand out. Before I get attacked on that, I will say that I love being proved wrong and guys like Romeus, Sheard, and McKillop are all guys whom I have over looked in the past that ended up turning into great players that weren't very highly recruited or rated.

rkohberger said...

"If a guy isn't recruited heavily that usually is a sign he is a stand out."

OK, I had to read that two or three times to be sure but I get your drift. Except that I'd say "Even if a guy isn't heavily recruited he can still be a standout"

Which is why I say we can't tell anything about a recruiting class for 2-3 years anyway. I do get sick of PITT fans always screaming for the 'next best thing' when it comes to DW and his personnel decisions. It's the height of arrogance to think that because we read the (overly hyped) scouting reports on these recruits, and the decidedly one-sided camp reports written by beat reporters, we somehow know what's better for the team make-up than the staff who sees these same kids in meetings, film sessions and practices.

We'll hear the same things this season for Gordon and Mason as we did last year for Baldwin and Cross, yada, yada, yada...

Fans assume a kid is going to be an impact player and a star as a true freshman just because they want them to be - without thinking that that kid is competing with other players who have more experience at this level, are bigger and stronger and have worked their asses off for a chance to play.

Danny said...

RKO, I agree 100%. In 3 years we will be lucky if 5 of these guys are starters since they will only be redshirt sophomores.

The one thing we can't argue about Wannstedt's philosophy is that he prefers to play the upperclassmen. So as you said, maybe in 4 years we will have a better idea of where this class stands, but just based on today we do not know enough to proclaim most of these kids will be superstars.

Wishing they will be standouts is one thing, but being realistic is a better way to go. I think a better way to approach it is, which guys have the chance to become great in there time here. The ones I see with that chance are Mason and Holmes if he signs. I'd put Graham and Thomas as big question marks since their eligibility is in question and if you don't make it here on your first shot then it is a truly up hill battle to make it back on the 2nd shot because you have to go to prep school for a year and completely reopen your recruiting.

For the rest of the recruits we have, they all have a chance to stand out, but they'll need to prove it on the field instead of simply proving it with their star ratings.

rkohberger said...

Danny - ... and the most interesting dynamic of all this is the fact that while reasonable fans wait those two or three years to see how kids in a certain class pan out, other fans are screaming for the newer and 'better' recruits.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've read some FR or SO player - who hasn't even seen action in a game yet - is deemed to have been "recruited over".

It's almost like PITT fans select a few kids each recruiting class to be immediate impact players(first or second year starters) and if that doesn't happen the are forgotten or labelled 'busts'.

That irritates me almost as much as reading a fan write that a kid who stayed at PITT 4 or five years but was never a starter was a 'bust'. They conveniently forget that to be at PITT for those years and stay on the roster that kid had to meet certain responsibilities - tough ones that include academics and behavior standards - to say nothing of the countless hours of practicing (mostly to get the actual starters ready to play).