Recruiting The Top 10 Pennsylvania players year by year.

A while ago Rivals.com Chris Peak was asked what he felt the Pitt coaching staff would say when asked if they were satisfied with their 2017 recruiting class.  His candid answer was that he though they were disappointed in the final class as they missed too many of the blue chip players who went elsewhere… some from right in Oakland itself.

Let’s start with last year’s Top 10 PA players, then look at the Top Ten in this current 2018 class… then bounce back to Narduzzi’s first year of 2016 ( which was the best so far in my opinion).

2017


1.   **** D’Andre Swift, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) RB- Solidly built at 5’10” 208, very fast, great feet and vision, and he even has very good hands. He’s the total package and that’s why his top five  right now is Penn State, Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, and Florida State.  GEORGIA

2.   ****  Lamont Wade, Clairton Area HS (Clairton) CB- At 5’9″ and 185 pounds, he doesn’t have ideal size for the position, but he’s very strong, fast, and quick. He also has the fire necessary for the position. Ohio State and Penn State seem like the most obvious leaders, and Pitt is a bit of a sleeper. PENN STATE

3.   **** Paris Ford, Steel Valley HS (Munhall) FS Thin, but has room to grow at 6’1″ and 175 pounds. Excellent speed and athleticism. Plays with a lot of emotion. Projects just as well at wide receiver. Has committed to PITTSBURGH.

4.   **** David Adams, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) LB- Typical rugged western PA kid that was born to play linebacker. Good speed and athleticism. Has the range to make tackles all over the field. Committed to NOTRE DAME.

5.   **** Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls Area HS (Beaver Falls) DE- Big, strong, and athletic at 6’4″ and 265 pounds. Shed some weight so that he can play defensive end, but he could also be just as good at defensive tackle. Pittsburgh appears to be the leader with Penn State probably second. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame are some of his other offers.  MICHIGAN

6.  **** Mark Webb, Archbishop Wood Catholic HS (Warminster) WR- Good size at 6’2″ and 195 pounds with the frame to add more size. Has steadily been on the rise with impressive camp performances. At one point he seemed like he was destined for Penn State, but Georgia may lead now. Alabama and North Carolina are also heavily involved.  GEORGIA

7.  **** C.J. Thorpe, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) OG- Short and stocky at 6’3″ and 320 pounds, but has good feet for his size. He could also move over to DT if he doesn’t pan out on offense. Has committed to PENN STATE.

8.   ****  Josh Lugg, North Allegheny HS (Wexford) OT- At 6’7″ and 290 pounds he has great length, and he also moves very well. However he appears to be this year’s candidate for overrated PA lineman that national recruiting services do every year. At least for now since Lugg has yet to perform at a high level. He does have great natural attributes, though, so that still may come. Has committed to NOTRE DAME.

9.   **** Kurt Hinish, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh) DT- Probably the biggest surprise prospect of the season because nobody expected him to get the attention that he has. But he’s a solid 6’2″ and 285 pounds, and he moves well for his size. Has already committed to NOTRE DAME.

10.   **** Kenny Robinson, University Prep HS (Pittsburgh) LB- Maybe the most under recruited prospect in the state, but that’s often the case when you play in Pittsburgh’s City League. At 6’3″ and 205 pounds he has a strong, athletic frame to go with his good speed and quickness. When it all comes together for him he could be a special player. It’s believed that Pittsburgh is the strong leader.  WEST VIRGINIA

So – one out of 10 blue chip players decided on Pitt after we were very much in the race for two more.  What hurts even worse is that three of the 10 were Pittsburgh Central Catholic players and committed elsewhere way early in the process.

2018

1.  **** Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland HS (Gibsonia) QB- Started as a sophomore last year and already dominated. At 6’5″ and 190 pounds he has the frame, and if that’s not enough he’s a big time athlete. Could be the national No. 1 QB in the class. Committed to NOTRE DAME.

2.  **** Micah Parsons, Central Dauphin HS (Harrisburg) DE- Already 6’3″ and 235 pounds and he’s still going to fill out a lot over the next two years. Big time rush end that could be the top DE in the country for the class. Committed to PENN STATE.

3.  **** Isheem Young, Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia) FS- Currently just 5’10” and 180 pounds, but he hasn’t started his junior season yet so he still has a lot of time to grow. Plays like a high school version of Ed Reed with great range and hard hits. Pitt, Penn State, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina are some of his very early offers.  Strong PSU lean (95%) and Pitt isn’t in top five.

4.  **** Kwantel Raines, Aliquippa HS (Aliquippa) S- Already 6’3″ and 190 pounds so he may eventually grow into a linebacker, but wherever he ends up he has a chance to be the next great Quip thanks to his speed, athleticism, size, and toughness. Pitt has to be considered a major player because of the connection between the schools.

5.  **** Matthew Bauer, Cathedral Prep HS (Erie) LB- Typically tough PA linebacker that flies all over the field and makes great hits. Has the frame to add to his 6’2″ and 200 pounds. He seems destined for Penn State.  NOTRE DAME

6.  **** Zack Kuntz, Camp Hill HS (Camp Hill) TE- Very skinny at 210 pounds and because he’s 6’7′ that means he has a lot of weight to put on. Despite doing well as a track performer he’s not highly explosive and he has to learn to be a tight end since he’s more of a wide receiver now. These reasons are why I have him a little lower than others. But 6’7″ is still 6’7″ so if it all comes together down the road, look out.  PENN STATE

7.  **** Darryle Simmons, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia)- Already a very immersive 6’2″ and 200 pounds with good speed and athleticism. Early offers include Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, There will be many more.  VIRGINIA TECH

8. *** Kevin Doyle, Malvern Prep (Malvern) QB- Currently a solid 6’3″ and 190 pounds but he needs to get stronger, including arm strength. But he has a lot to work with including accuracy and very good mobility in the pocket. Has early offers from Pitt, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kentucky, among others.  57% PITT at this time, but we just had Nick Patti commit to us – doubt we’ll take two QBs but who knows…

9.  *** Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Harrisburg HS (Harrisburg) WR- Explosive and speedy at 6’0″ and 160 pounds. Early offers include Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, and Rutgers.  No sites show a Pitt offer…

10. *** David Green, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) DE- Already a very solid 6’2″ and 250 pounds so he may grow into a defensive tackle. Very athletic and tough. Has the potential to move way up in the rankings. West Virginia and Iowa State are his first two big offers.

So we pretty much have been striking out of the best 2018 in-state talent also to this point.  We very much want S Kwantel Raines to come aboard as his work might be needed as early as his freshman year next season.  

Now lets jump back to our 2016 rankings…

2016

top 10 16

Now hold on – we did get three more high-ranking players within the next five slots:

PA 15

Bottom line for me? These have been average type recruiting classes so far and will be good for playing at the level we are now – but for us to really get this program moving upward the word “PITT” has to show up next to a lot more blue chip players’ names staring with the rest of the 2018 class.

Here are two articles about the age-old problem of how to attract more fans and alumni to Heinz Field for the Pitt home games… good luck with that.  It is a recurring problem but AD Lyke has changed things up a bit to allow alumni who just graduated a discounted rate on season tickets.

https://www.cardiachill.com/2017/7/9/15943862/fixing-pitt-footballs-home-field-environment-disclaimer-not-an-ocs

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/college/2017/07/09/NCAA-attendance-Pitt-football-tickets-millennials/stories/201707090131

… And some interesting news about our WR Jester Weah being named the #4 WR in the ACC for 2018.  Interesting because his 24.22 yards per catch was over five (5!) whole yards better than the #2 guy, Miami’s WR Ahmmon Richards’ 19.06.

As Rodney Dangerfield says “We don’t get no respect!”.

https://www.cardiachill.com/2017/7/9/15942322/jester-weah-ranked-as-no-4-receiver-in-acc-by-the-conference-website

From the POV’s Politically Incorrect Vault; here is a blast from the past:

f25dc6e1713d4650bdc11065b010e379

161 thoughts on “POV: Recruiting & FB Bits & Pieces; July 11th, 2017

  1. Also, give the students preferred seating like we do at the Pete. Seating them behind the home bench so that their cheering is heard by the players would go a long way to improving the atmosphere.

    Face it, the corporate types and old farts (I”m one of them, but not a quiet one) that have the preferred seating because they can afford it, don’t add much to the atmosphere. If you want a college atmosphere put the kids where the do the most good and have the best experience so they come back as alum.

    Like

  2. Ike, your last paragraph is why Heinz is a better option. If Pitt put no money into Pitt Stadium, why would you think they would pay for upkeep on a new one? Where would the money come from? Pitt pays a percentage of the gate for the use of Heinz, a sweetheart deal with only upside and no fixed costs. It should give Pitt a real competitive advantage vs. schools that have to maintain and operate large facilities. This is why we will never see an OCS or Pitt only stadium.

    PA just passed another budget without income to support it, do you think they are going to build any stadiums in the near future?

    Like

  3. The Penguins had attendance problems years ago, but overcame that with good marketing and winning teams. Pitt should talk to the Penguins and try some new ideas. Look at Pitt basketball. For the winning years they were selling out, but the past few years have been more difficult. TV is the major culprit, but the number of weekday games in basketball make it difficult for working people to get to Oakland on a workday. For football, more effort should be made to get out-of-towners back to Pittsburgh for games. They need to come up with a game by game draw that will bring the out-of-towners back.

    Like

    1. I used to work and live in Morgantown when the Penguins won their 1st two titles in early 90s. I went to a downtown bar with a big screen to watch some of the games in the finals … it was packed with penguins’ fans.

      The point is that just about everyone who has an interest in sports roots for the local pro teams …. all of WPa, northern WV and SE Ohio. That is not the case for Pitt. Allegheny County used to have the highest concentration of PSU alums than any other county in the world .. maybe it still does. There is also a large concentration of WVU fans in SW PA.

      Lastly, women who are not Pitt fans have very little interest in college sports (unless they are alums of other schools.) How many women you know that claim to be FB fans but can care less about anything else but the Steelers.

      Like

  4. I’m not exactly fixated on the idea of a PITT only stadium as I know it may never happen in anyone’s lifetime let alone this old man’s. I just lament the loss of an iconic building that should have never been in such disrepair in the first place. I also don’t like the non college football atmosphere at Heinz.

    I do think and give credit to the student body and how well they attend games. Apparently there isn’t the regular spill over of diehard fans from this group over the years. By theory the fan base should have been growing over the past 4 decades but it doesn’t look like it has. Excuse the word but I believe playing at Heinz Field has retarded the process of building a student carry over fan-base.

    I guess we all agree that there are somethings that can be done to help attendance but for a massive upswing it’s going to take a PITT administration jihad to hold people hostage to raise the numbers. ike

    Like

  5. If you are not winning forget about attendance. Our problem is that even when winning (Clemson) attendance at the next two games was abysmal. Agree that Pitt needs to get creative. I have said before, create a package for out of towners with hotels, campus tours etc. pre and post game festivities and make it affordable, not like Pitt Bowl packages. Make alumni want to come because it is so great.

    Like

    1. attendance would have been better for the two games after clemson if pitt hadn’t already lost in infuriating fashion to UNC, VT and OK St earlier in the year

      Like

  6. It is time to get over the loss of Pitt Stadium, I miss Forbes Field too. Pitt Fans need to embrace Heinz if we are to make Pitt Football relevant NOW. Quit whining about what might have been and what could be (an OCS) and focus on what we have and how to improve it.

    Like

    1. Glad to hear it Ike, but others keep bringing it up. The real issue is having a football team we can be proud of and having a decent showing at Heinz.

      Like

  7. How many years has Pitt been playing at Heinz? There are already a growing number of Pitt graduates that never attended a game at Pitt Stadium. These folks can’t even make a real comparison since Heinz is all they know. The Heinz Field experience needs to stand on its own with appropriate draws that will attract both Pitt graduates, both local and out-of-towners, and other local college football lovers. The Pitt graduates want to see farmer and hillbilly games, but most others just want to see a good game with a good college team.

    Like

  8. Generally, a few big attendance games will push the average up for the season, but the appearance of the empty seats on TV for some games is a bigger problem. Businesses need to create a demand for their product, and Pitt is no different. If tickets are scarce, people will buy the early, and give them away if they can’t go.

    Like

  9. Reed needs to chip in his 2 cents worth. He has brought a large group of fans together through his efforts and I would guess we are a large group. Reed has given us a place to express our POVs. That seem to be one of the disconnects with our management. They have open hands for the pesos but do they really give a damn and care what we think? I know Nordy and arrogant Stevie didn’t.

    Like

  10. What’s the first thing Lyke and company need to do to fix the PITT game’s sporadic attendance? Ask the people who don’t go to the games. Seems like everyone on the POV go to the games or would if they could. Maybe collect ideas from the jolly jackers who don’t and won’t attend games?

    I think this is it guys. This could be as good as it gets?? ike

    Like

    1. I don’t go to games unless it’s maybe one per year. I probably never will go to games consistently. Driving 5 hours to Pittsburgh every other weekend is not really on my to-do list.

      Like

  11. Agree that the North Upper Deck seats should be covered along with the very ends of the side upper decks. Ridiculous to spread people all over the stadium to make it look less crowded. Who the heck wants to sit there anyway?

    Many pro teams do it or have done it. The Devil Rays, Jacksonville Jaguars, Athletics, Raiders, etc. Just google ‘tarped stadium seats’. As mentioned, this will be a union job that the university will have to eat the cost of each game.

    The Steelers will end up renovating Heinz before another is ever built. Too bad they don’t have the insight to do it like Miami. Hard Rock stadium is pretty nice now compared to what it was when it opened as Joe Robbie and the reduced the seating.

    Like

  12. To increase attendance for the smaller market games, do you know if they have ever offered a buy two get one free deal? I can’t imagine their revenue would be affected negatively since only 30-40k will be there at those particular games.

    Like

  13. All the gimmicks have been tried. Pitt’s AD must look at new ideas. It shouldn’t be about the price of a ticket. They need to find a way to get the football fans that live in outlying communities to the games. Maybe have programs for local alums of the visiting teams to get them to come and see their schools play Pitt. Maybe transportation is a problem from the suburban communities that might have people who would like to come to the games, but are afraid to drive in heavy city traffic.

    Like

  14. One thing that controls attendance more than anything is to win when your supposed to win. I don’t care where the stadium is, but winning is everything when it comes to attendance.

    We never seem to be able to do so. In 02 and especially 03 Heniz Field had very little empty seats because we had the best receiver in football and a pretty good supporting cast. Sadly when the house was packed we often Lost. Then to compound the matter if we have a good home crowd and some excitement we often blow a huge game on the road when we are favored which impacts home attendance of the following games. How about the slide game at UCONN, or the Toledo debacle in the egg bowl. How about the home loss to 1AA South Florida in 01. These games kill interest from the casual fan.

    Move forward to the Wanny years. We opened the 05 campaign as a Top 25 team that if I recall was favored to beat ND. We got blasted in front of a Sell out crowd as J. Jones rushed for a single game ND record. By the end of the 09 season every home game was actually enjoyable with 50k plus. All excitement was lost when we blew a 21 point 4 qtr lead. This loss killed attendance and was really the end of Wanny. Remember The momentum and excitement to start 08 was great but we laid and egg at home to Bowling Green. In front of a packed house with all the marbles on the table we fumbled and bumbled the Cincy game away like only a Pitt team can.

    Move forward to Paul Chryst. We open with a home loss to a heavy underdog in 1AA YSU. This game still upsets me. How about the lame effort at home when the Akron Zips (you know that team that is never even a contender in the MAC) dominated us on the line of scrimmage. Their tailback had a career day (the only one of his career) because the Zips line just manhandled us.

    These games were killers.

    You want good attendance at this years games here is the fastest way to do it. Stream roll YSU in the opener in front of the typical 35K. Then beat PSU on the road. Then come home and spank OSU in front of 45 to 50k and the attendance problem will disappear.

    Like

    1. reconstructed history — we blew a 21 point SECOND period lead vs Cincy in 2009, and while attendance deceased in2010, it didn’t decrease by that much. 2008 thru 2010 are among the top attendance years along with 2002, 2013 (ist year in ACC and fSU and ND at home) and 2015.

      Like

  15. Timmeh, you would fall under the category of those that would if they could. A 5 hour drive is too far for anyone to expect you at the games. Some may do it but circumstances are different for everyone. Like I said I only drive 1 hour to get to Heinz and I still stay overnight. It’s my vacation spread out over an entire football season. (my wife made me cut it down to only one night) ………………………. ike

    We Are All Brothers
    We Are All From Different Mothers……….

    We all We Got
    We All We Need
    H2P!

    Like

  16. FWIW, I attend 3 to 4 games per year — a 2 1/2 hour drive. However, I’m not sure I would go to that many if I had to get into Oakland on game day after that drive (at least for some of the less attractive games)

    Like

  17. One other factor worth mentioning: the team played a pretty ugly, uninspiring brand of football under basically every coach they’ve had in the last 20 years, too, until PN arrived. That hasn’t helped, either. Even when they won, which didn’t happen enough, it wasn’t terribly fun to watch. Too much sloppiness and stupidity.

    Think about it. From Harris’ overly complicated scheme that led to an illegal procedure penalty on every fourth play to Wannstedt’s “running to the outside is too risky, let’s have Shady run a dive for the 12th play in a row” ‘fraidy cat conservatism to the idiocy of Todd Graham trying to run an offense he clearly didn’t have the personnel for and Paul Chryst’s inability to get either his offense or his defense to play a full 60 minutes, it has been a cavalcade of WTF Are They Doing Out There Buffoonery through four successive coaching regimes.

    Season tickets become a hard sell after about year 5 of that kind run of unsuccess. By 2014, we were on what, year 17? All the while the Steelers are winning two Super Bowls and nearly adding a 3rd behind one of the top five QB’s in the game and numerous Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball. This gave the unmistakeable impression of Pitt being kind of a minor league team which, when there’s major league ball on the tube 24 hours later (sometimes less), why bother with the minor league stuff? Maybe now that Pitt is actually providing some entertainment value, people will begin to show up and be willing to pay for it?

    Like

  18. Increasing the base of Pitt fans who will actually go to the stadium to see the games will take years of work in the local communities. Pitt needs to build relationships with local fans – it will take time and Pitt needs to keep at it.

    Johnny Majors used to go to local schools and had a Pitt show which school kids attended. Might sound crazy, but we need to go back to the kids. Give them a Pitt T-shirt and get them saying “Hail to Pitt.” In other words, brainwash them into becoming Pitt fans.

    In the Gottfried years, Pitt used to have a couple of coaches do “Chalk Talks” at local high schools. I took my 10-year old to one of them at Mt. Lebanon HS. I loved it and so did my son. He never went to Pitt, but he’s a diehard Pitt fan. (Not because of that one chalk talk, but because I brainwashed him – in a good way…)

    So Pitt should get back to the local schools. I really enjoy the chalk talks and love to learn the inside poop on football coaching. Wanny’s chalk talks at Heinz seemed to be well received too.

    It will take years, but start by getting the kids wearing Pitt gear and saying “Hail to Pitt.”

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  19. No doubt the comments about failure are on the money. Pittsburgh only supports winners.

    The fact is that there are not enough alum to fill the stadium so Pitt needs the average fan to show up.

    That will only happen if you win consistently.

    How many will go to this year’s bowl game after the past two?

    If Narduzzi can keep winning some big games attendance will increase. Especially as ACC rivalries develop and games become more meaningful. We played ND, PSU and WVU for a hundred years, it takes time to develop rivalries.

    Villanova, St Johns, Georgetown also took time to hate.

    Both Players and Fans need that emotional response to get up for a game. It will come with time.

    Like

    1. According to the Pitt alumni association, there are 307,000 Pitt alumni worldwide and 130,000 living in Southwest Pennsylvania within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh and that’s not counting current students in a major metropolitan area of over 2.2 million people. Count the alum’s spouses, significant others, girlfriends, boyfriends, kids, friends and relatives and Pitt has enough people to have at least 50,000 people at every home game especially in a region that’s known for its love and passion for football.

      http://ir.pitt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FactBook2015.pdf

      Like

  20. A full stadium leads to a much better environment in which to recruit the 4 and 5 stars. I think most of us here realize that’s the case that has some key recruits choosing to go elsewhere. So understand it just ain’t going to happen at Pitt and Narduzzi will just have to recruit around that fact. Right now his best recruiting pitch has to be the possibility of early playing time for those highly rated players.

    Like

  21. I just loving going to the games and so do my kids. They are now teenagers, but I have been taking them for years, just as my Dad did for me growing up.
    8 hour drive one way. Go to 3-4 home games a year + 2-3 away. Also, bowl games.
    Pitt football is my vice. My wife is a saint!
    Hail to Pitt!!!

    Like

  22. Altoona, you and Jeff put up some pretty depressing memories 😦 If/when Pitt gets to be nationally recognized there will be more people willing to make the hour or two drive to get a seat for a good local football game. And get more away team fans into the stadium to watch their schools play a ranked power 5 school. When I lived in Shenango years ago, Chuck Tanner lived not far from there and when they were winning divisions there would be bus loads of fans coming down to Three Rivers for the baseball game. When winning gets Pitt more of a national reputation, the fans will come.

    Like

  23. Haven’t noticed if above included this – Available 150 Acres of Land in Oakland. The mayor of Pittsburgh as I posted several months ago has indicated he plans to purchase the VA Hospital from the feds. This facility has several sports fields. Further Pittsburgh is in distressed status – gotta see where that money comes from, I smell private pockets being enriched. Finally, the City and County already have the facilities for training etc so this is a boondogle of some sort. There will not be this much land available in Oakland again. Calling Gallagher and Lyke.

    http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/12501474-74/pittsburgh-looks-to-buy-former-va-site

    Like

Leave a Comment Please (and don't hold back...)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s