We have exactly 11 days left before the 2017 National Letter Of Intent day on Feb 1st and that is a short time to try to land the recruits that we want to have on the Pitt roster for next season. The problem is that for most of the recruits we are trying to sway toward Pitt is that they have formal offers from other programs and are being hounded by all those other school’s recruiters as well.
After further review of each 2017 recruit I’m more impressed with this class than last year’s and more than I was just a few weeks ago. They almost all have at least one FBS offer and most have Power Five offers also – other than the Pitt one of course.
Fans tend to look at different things when assessing a prospective recruit. Some love the star system; some rely on the national rankings given out and others look at the different football program’s quality level of scholarship offers the player has received.
But when you rely on offers received you have to be a bit wary that 1) they are true offers and 2) they are recorded correctly by each site. You’ll see that they don’t always match up between the three recruiting sites and I know for a fact that some recruits who attended elsewhere publicly said they had a Pitt offer when there never was an offer from Pitt at all.
Bottom line is that what we fans get from the recruiting sites is opinions by some beat writers and that based on info they receive from their site’s scouts, the recruit and his parents and sometimes the recruit’s HS coach also.
Because of all the above when I write about recruiting I always use Rivals.com as the standard because that avoids cherry-picking different recruits’ star rankings from other sites to bolster a point being made. Plus I trust Rival’s Chris Peak’s and their scouts’ take on the recruits more than the other sites. I just believe what Peak writes based on my post-recruitment reviews (after a kid has some time on-roster) of his opinions more that other recruiting writers.
A clear reminder of how differently the recruiting sites value players is when Pitt’s 2010 QB recruit Mark Myers was assessed by the recruiting sites. Rivals had him at 4*s and 11th nationally; Scout at 3*s and around 34th and ESPN had him at a low 2*s and the 103rd ranked QB. That is a huge swing between the three major sites and happens, albeit not always so dramatically, all the time. And where was he finally in his D1 college career? Much closer to ESPN’s 2* & 103rd ratings.
Recruits should really have the same disclaimer attached to them as Mutual Funds do… you know – “Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results“
As of this Saturday morning writing this is who Rivals.com has listed as our verbally committed players:
|Charles Reeves||TE||Steubenville, OH||6’5″||265||4||5.8|
|Paris Ford||DB||Munhall, PA||6’0″||172||4||6|
|Michael Smith||WR||Vero Beach, FL||6’2″||205||3||5.6|
|Jason Pinnock||DB||Windsor, CT||6’0″||180||3||5.5|
|Damarri Mathis||DB||Lakeland, FL||5’11”||178||3||5.7|
|Deslin Alexandre||DE||Deerfield Beach, FL||6’3″||229||3||5.5|
|Jerry Drake||OL||Palm Beach, FL||6’7″||300||3||5.5|
|Carter Warren||OL||Wayne, NJ||6’6″||320||3||5.7|
|Grant Carrigan||TE||Gibsonia, PA||6’7″||235||3||5.5|
|Tyler Sear||TE||New Castle, PA||6’5″||255||3||5.5|
|Kirk Christodoulou||K||North Balwyn (AU),||6’2″||215||3||5.3|
|Gabe Houy||OL||Pittsburgh, PA||6’6″||270||3||5.5|
|Dontavius Butler||WR||Plantation, FL||6’2″||197||3||5.5|
|Albert Tucker||DB||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||6’3″||205||3||5.5|
|Carson Van Lynn||OL||Worthington, OH||6’6″||235||3||5.5|
|Owen Drexel||OL||Montclair, NJ||6’4″||280||3||5.4|
|Todd Sibley||RB||Akron, OH||5’10”||211||3||5.7|
|Darian Street||WR||Bethlehem, PA||6’2″||170||3||5.5|
|Cameron Bright||LB||Montgomery, AL||6’1″||210||3||5.5|
|Kenny Pickett||QB||Oakhurst, NJ||6’3″||191||3||5.5|
|Kyle Nunn||ATH||Findlay, OH||6’3″||190||3||5.6|
This is a total, so far, of 21 recruits with a national class rank of 33rd which is pretty good. Our historic rankings are shown in the table below so you can see this is one of the better classes we have had in the past ten years.
Getting back to this year’s class; I like the following players in particular aside from the obvious 4* Paris Ford and some others.
֍ RB Todd Silby is a 3* recruit who has come to us after verballing to Ohio State first then decided to have a mutual agreement with the OSU coaches to decommit when OSU kept picking up other RB verbals. He’s the 24th nationally ranked running back and the 17th ranked player of all positions in the state of Ohio.
One of the things that makes me interested in him is that his back story is much like the last Ohio State player we got in DE Ejuan Price. After some injury filled seasons earlier on he has become one of the nation’s best defensive player in college ball. let’s hope lightning strikes twice.
֍ In a real position of need I like what 4* TE Charles Reeves brings to Pitt. As the 13th ranked TE he has offers from Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn state and that’s just a sampling of a damn nice offer list.
He’s big at 6’5″ and 265 and fast and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up at DE down the road… especially if Chris Clark lives up to hype.
But one of the reasons I’m hoping for him to really excel and to do it early is that I’m suspect of our current roster TE Chris Clark and that may be for no other reason that I don’t trust kids who make promises to multiple schools and then don’t keep them.
You can see a nice 12 minute video of Reeves here and he;s going to be a grand player for us.
֍ My last player to watch is the unheralded 2* Aussie punter Kirk Christodoulou. This guy came out of nowhere and there is almost no info on any recruiting sites about him at all.
Now remember that our current punter rsSR Ryan Winslow has another year of eligibility with us so the pressure will be off Christodoulou to fill that role right away. But Winslow only averaged 42.6 yards per punt (the national leader was at 47.9) so if Christodoulou can start booming them right away, and his leg is supposed to be very strong, then maybe he takes over the punting duties sooner rather than later.
Hey folks, with the horrible defense we had last year and may have again in 2017 every yard we can push the opponent back is sorely needed.
Here is a good Pittsburgh Sports Now article on how he came to be a Panther. He loves them bridges!
The upshot of my recent positive change of heart about this recruiting class aside, and I do like it more than before, is that I think we still have some major question marks with it. First off I’m not all that impressed with the offensive lineman recruited although I have no grounds to think they can’t do well in a few years. I’m spoiled by the OLs Paul Chryst recruited.
I also hope unranked 3* Kenny Pickett works out at QB for us because Ben DiNucci’s relief play in the Pinstripe Bowl aside he most probably isn’t in the mix for any solid playing time in the future.
In this season we will have rsSR Max Browne as the starter and rsSO MacVitte taking the QB2 snaps. After that in ’18 I think we’ll see MacVitte as the starter and Pickett backing him up. Bo Schneider will take off soon I believe so he’ll be out of the equation. That leaves Pitt with a rsFR as the back up in ’18 and that is a tricky situation with any personnel.
We need to close this class with a bang and I thought we’d have done more with quality verbals since the dead period stopped than we have. Time is running out and even though we closed out the 2016 with five players verballed after Jan 21st it’s coming down to the wire.
Two 4* kids in a class isn’t enough really – we need solid star power to win championships and while I see some real contributors this year; DB Paris Ford, WR Michael Smith and ATH Kyle Nunn among them, and some others will be good future starters for us, I don’t see any real superstar players there.
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