Recruiting Bits and Pieces; June 29th 2019

Recruiting Bits and Pieces; June 29th 2019

**** BREAKING RECRUITING NEWS ****

Well, not really, but interesting doings with the recruiting front lately.  Pitt just landed their QB of the future, possibly, perhaps, in local kid Jack Salopek from Norwin HS. A 3* recruit he grabbed the first actual offer that came along and will now be a Panther behind Pickett, Patti and 2019’s Davis Beville.

11041548_1132690643427165_7322152620158047212_nBeville’s mother, Cruella, said this about Salopek; “If he thinks he’s seeing the field as long as my son Davey is at Pitt he can crawl right back to that dirty, smelly steel mill his daddy probably works in.”  When the POV tried to explain that there were no more steel mills in Pittsburgh Cruella shouted “Of course not, it’s a loser town. I wanted Dangerous Dee to be a Gamecock at South Carolina but they didn’t offer him! Damn Muschamp to hell!”

Salopek has some pretty nice numbers after his sophomore year at Norwin so that’s all well and good – I just think committing yourself to a kid in 10th grade is premature but that’s the way of college ball these days.

So now Pitt fans can’t complain in June of next year that Narduzzi doesn’t have any commitments yet.  Hey, that maybe why we offered this kid!

In the “Duh” department 5* Paris Johnson Jr verballed to Ohio State.  You’ll remember Pitt signed his father on as a “FOP” (Friend of Pat’s) hire a while back.

The less cynical Pitt fans will point to his hire and say “Hey, he’s well qualified in his own right“.  Others will say it was an incentive for drawing his son to Pitt’s 2020 recruiting class.  Who knows really?  Doesn’t matter one bit because if you look at the kid’s offer sheet Pitt had virtually no shot at him anyway – new Director of Player Personnel or not.  But it does have a scent of ‘we swung and missed’ to it.

So what does Pitt do instead – jumps on the next bandwagon and is about to offer a kid from Imhotep Charter (I watched a bad movie about some dude named Imhotep a few years ago).  Here is a bit from PSN on the kid:

Pitt is still looking to add a big, athletic wide receiver for this recruiting class and Karam Cummings fits that profile.

The backstory to Cummings is an interesting one because he’s never played varsity football. 

Up until now he’s been a basketball player at Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia. However, a month ago, The 6-foot-4, 185 pound Cummings had a conversation with Imhotep Charter star safety Tykee Smith, who convinced him that he could be a star playing football.

Cummings has been working out with the team and opening some eyes. In fact, yesterday Cummings picked up a Power Five offer from Baylor.

Just like The Great Carnac I know what some Pitt fans are going to say even before they say it:  “But remember Sam Clancy – he didn’t play football in high school or Pitt and he was in the NFL!!”

Well, this kid hasn’t played a lick of football either or college BB so what does that mean…?  Maybe he’s not the best player to use an actual scholarship on?  Get him on the roster as a walk-on or something but if we offer this young man a football scholarship we’ll never hear the end of it. This smacks of desperation but its early days yet – let’s hope we find an actual WR to help us next season.

By the way – what happened to the last player who we talked about being so good even though he didn’t play much football in high school? Oh, that’s right – Thomas MacVitte.  How did that work out for us?

Pitt was pursuing 3* RB Brandon Wright but he chose PN’s old school rather than Pitt (and others).  Word is that Pitt was heavily recruiting Wright because 4* RB Daniel Carter took an official visit to Pitt last weekend then not only didn’t commit along with the bunch of other Florida recruits but went home and stated that ‘Pitt was in his Top 10’ after his visit.

That is a turn of events Pitt probably didn’t see coming.  Usually when a kid leaves his first official visit, and you know we rolled out the red carpet for him and his parents, then has less interest than before he arrived there is a problem – so Wright was Pitt’s second choice.  Next up!

The question burning through the Pitt Nation is when is Narduzzi going to get some offensive linemen committed in the ’19 class.  As of right now we have none.  Get on that Pat.  Last class we signed three of them – two of them from local areas.

Which is an interesting conundrum  – if Pitt fans keep saying there is no more talent in the WPIAL, then why are they jumping up and down about these 5.7 rated kids…from the WPIAL?

I’m confused. But you already knew that.

A Parody…or A Necessity?

A Parody…or A Necessity?

Pitt Athletics Creates Mental Health Partnership with Western
Psychiatric Institute to Help The Pitt POVers

Two full-time mental health counselors are joining the team of Pitt athletics/Pitt POV in a partnership with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC (WPIC). Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said the partnership will “provide early intervention for mental health and wellness issues in POV writers, readers and commentators.”

“The program reflects Pitt’s commitment to the POV experience and ensures Pitt’s responsiveness to POVers health and well-being,” Lyke said.  “If they aren’t happy, Pitt isn’t happy!”western_psychiatric_institute_-_thomas_detre_hall_1

The program’s focal points will include awareness and stress reduction strategies and one-on-one counseling. Counselors also will address issues such as blog addiction,  rampant optimism, too much golf, alcohol imbibing and commentator rage.

The new partnership will expand and enhance the role of behavioral health with two full-time counselors who will be housed within the athletic department and dedicated to POV readers and commentators,” said Jack Emhoff, chief of athlete services at WPIC.

“This innovative approach will radically increase education on support options, along with access and timeliness of counseling services, while increasing Reed’s stigma against commentator rage.  If I have learned one thing in my time doing this it is that when dealing with Pitt football too much optimism is as dangerous as smoking crack cocaine while driving a school bus.”

Image result for pitt dance team
Wassamatta in action

Two-time Pitt graduate and four-year Dance Team member (woo-hoo) Laurie Wassamatta, L.C.S.W., joins the program as lead clinical counselor. Since 2015 Wassamatta has been working as a member of a team of counselors who worked with aging male POVers when they were referred directly to the WPIC facility.

She has worked on POV readers’ and commentators’ psychiatric assessments and
referrals, individual therapy, as well as treatment for mood, stress and anxiety disorders. Janice Beauhoohoo, Ph.D., N.C.C., will serve as clinical counselor.  She has provided counseling and peak performance services to student-athletes at Liberty College and offered desperately needed individual and team-based services at West Virginia University  (boo!).

Image result for wvu head coach drunkWVU’s head coach Dan Hologorsen was a patient of her’s for the last five years and had this to say about Beauhoohoo:

“She really helped me a lot.  Everyone else said I absolutely had to quit drinking or I’d lose my job.  But she worked out a deal with the university’s administration so that if I quit drinking tequila in the mornings I could stay.  Boy, those POVers are getting a great asset with her in their back pocket…”

(Obviously this is a parody submitted by our great friend Hobie. Here is the real article about Pitt Athletics partnering with Western Psych…)

 

Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?

Or “How the Pitt Baseball Team + Trees Hall + an Econ Major Helped Shape My Journey to Pitt Football Fandom!”  Here is MajorMajors’ bio for all to read and enjoy…

I grew up on Mt. Washington overlooking Pittburgh’s Golden Triangle – though it wasn’t yet quite so golden when I was growing up in the 1950s. My very first memories of the Pitt Panther football team came from the local evening news on TV. When I was twelve years old, I remember seeing these dazzling highlights of guys named Paul Martha, Fred Mazurek, and Rick Leeson. When playing touch football in the playground, I wanted to be those guys, making those long, zigzagging touchdown runs, as much as I wanted to be Buddy Dial or Gary Ballman of the Steelers. (BTW, in 1963, the Martha/Mazurek led Panthers went 9-1; the Steelers had the odd record of 7-4-3.)

No one in my family had gone to college and we had no connections to Pitt. I went to Pitt as the home-town school and am a proud graduate of Pitt’s Civil Engineering program. But I attended Pitt during some really dark days for Pitt football — from 1967 to 1971. It happened that I played on the Pitt baseball team, coached for over three decades by Bobby Lewis. It was here that my connection to Pitt football was cemented for all time.

Unlike now, back then several of the football players played on the baseball team. (Though I always suspected that some of them came out just because the baseball team opened the 1968 and 1969 seasons with weeklong trips in March to play in tournaments at Riverside, CA and Miami, FL, respectively.) Back then, freshmen could not play on the varsity – so I had to play on the freshman team for the 1968 season.

I won a starting outfield job as a Sophomore and I was playing on the same baseball team with guys like pitcher Frank Gustine Jr., who played QB, and our ace pitcher George “Doc” Medich, who played tight-end. Others I can remember were Joe McCain, tailback, Jeff Barr, defensive back, John Simpson, offensive lineman, and Ray Reppert, QB.

Knowing these guys made me root for them on the football field all the more. I really wanted to play football, but as the guy in “Rudy” says, “at 100-and nothin’ and and 5-foot nothin’” that wasn’t going to happen. Even though our football team won few games during my time at Pitt, I went to every home game and rooted like crazy.

Continue reading “Am I a Lucky Guy Or What?”

Off-Season Time Out

Off-Season Time Out

Well, so many of you commenters have publicly wondered whether or not you should leave the site for a while and take a break from this blog I’ve decided to help you with that decision.

The Pitt POV will take a break also so whoever has sensitive feelings about Coach Narduzzi, his recruiting and the general state of Pitt football can look around elsewhere and read more cheery and positive writing and commenting.

The truth is that I am also tired of taking the time and effort to write detailed articles for you to read and discuss only to have certain commenters put words in my mouth and pretend they know what I, and other commenters, are thinking before we even write anything.

For solid Pitt football info I suggest Chris Peak over at Rivals.com. Better with a subscription.

For you ‘optimists’ I suggest Chris Dokish; he should calm your frayed beyond all hope nerves. After all he just said this “Last season’s offensive line was mostly above average, even after losing all-conference players Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson the year before.”  And he said that after the season when we were horrendous.

With thoughts like that you’ll be glad to be there and get the feeling we are in for double-digit wins this season.

Or if you feel the need to read what other Pitt fans are thinking try the message boards…if you want blinders-on opinions that is.

But do take it easy and enjoy the beginning of Summer however I’ll ask you one thing though.

Knowing that I don’t ban commenters on here and that I’ll give free rein to everyone’s opinions whether they are good or bad and right or wrong or if I agree with them or not and that will be the case still when or if you decide to start on here again – is it truly worth your while?

I mean this very seriously.  I have read so many posts about how hard it is to read my stuff and to read other’s comments on here and that it drives you crazy or compels you to lash out at others – then why do it?  Why put yourself through that?

You knew all along exactly what you were and are going to get from me – yet you keep reading even when it pains you to do so.

I sure as hell wouldn’t do it if it upset me the way it apparently upsets some of you. But you have to know that I just don’t care what other Pitt fans think or what the other media thinks or what Pat Narduzzi and Pitt thinks – I’ll do and write whatever I damn well please. Just so you know.

Anyway, whenever I feel like writing again I’ll do so, probably sooner than later and let’s hope it is because something very good happens.

A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

A Little Deeper Look Into Recruiting

Yesterday Pat Narduzzi was quoted in the media saying this about recruiting:

I don’t know if our staff needs reinforcement with what we’re doing here. They know the plan,” said Narduzzi. “I guess it’s the fans that need reinforcement. We have a plan and we’re going to execute it. We know who we’re talking to, who we’re texting, we know who we need to work harder on, that’s recruiting. Pitt football is on the way up.

“We know who we’re dealing with out there and we know who we like. No one out there, including the players know who we really like. We don’t care about star rankings, I don’t care about stars.”

I think every college head coach says this, the thing is the coaches themselves don’t believe or do it.  Case in point using Pitt as an example:  Here are the Top 17 offers we have out to 2019 recruits. Note their star rankings and hometowns (and here is the rest of the long list):

Top 17

Ask yourself this: How did Pitt know to offer all those 5* and 4* Blue Chip players from far away places?  Pitt is doing, and has always done, just the same thing every college football program does and that is relying on the recruiting sites star ranking system for early on targeting.

Pitt does not have staff, scouts or recruiters scouring California, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Hawaii, etc. yet all those offers from Pitt to players from those places went out many months and sometimes over a year ago.

You can bet  money that at any time in the recruiting process if any of those 17 kids listed, and remember those are only 17 out of the 97  5* and 4* offers we have out, called Pitt (or any school like Pitt)  and said “Coach I’d like play football for you and want to commit to you right now.” Pat Narduzzi wouldn’t jump up and down while he was saying “Oh Hell Yes!” and then start turning on ‘The Lights’.

Do we really think that he, or again, any college coach not named Nick Saban, would tell those highly ranked kids who called – “Well, let’s take a step back because we’d like to have you come to a camp or take an official visit first before accepting your commitment”? 

Not on your life.

I’d say that with the large majority of those 97  4* and 5* kids did that their name would be on Pitt’s official commitment list within an hour.  Positions needed of course, but even then many recruits get position-switched when they get to their school. The key is to lock the best kids in.

So again, how do the recruiting staffs know how good those far away kids are and why were they offering them so many months ago? Because they sure as anything look at recruiting star rankings when drafting up their first edition of their “Recruiting Big Board”.

Now all that said- when they get the uncommitted 3*, 2* and NR kids into the summer camps or on official visits like last weekend then perhaps those stars don’t matter to them but it is a whole different world with the highly ranked blue chip kids.

BTW – every HC says the same thing that our coach said the other day. I’m not really singling him out because I clearly remember Dave Wannstedt saying just about the exact same thing then when Feburary came around and they did the annual the fan’s LOI Day Signing Event he, or his staff coaches, very often mentioned that the kid was a four star or five star recruit.  The current staff has done so also.

It isn’t the end all and be to be sure, all but another example of college head coaches saying one thing then actually doing another. But tell you what – I’d love to hear Pat Narduzzi, or his position coaches, when up on the LOI Day stage this year say “…and here is another of our 4* kids for 2018…”  Fingers crossed.

Note: Here is an example of how early we jump on these blue chip kids to offer scholarships for the next year- this is a small sample of offers out for 2020:

Top 2020

BTW – we have 33  4* and 5* offers for 2020 out already and 13 total (all unranked at this point) for the 2021 class.

 

A Bit of Pitt Football History

This was sent to me via email from an older Pitt fan. It is interesting and opinions expressed are his.

I was just thinking about recruiting and fan interest in regard to Pitt football.  Here are some thoughts:

Looking back, the two periods of time that I have been most interested in Pitt football were from 1951 until 1965 (from when I first began going to games with my family, until I graduated from Pitt), and from 1973-1983 (when I was more active as an alumnus).  What was Pitt football experience that we knew like then?

1951-1965 During these 15 years, Pitt played the following teams (number of times in parentheses):

Penn State (15)

West Virginia (15)

Notre Dame (14)

Syracuse (11) (the Jim Brown years)

Miami (10)

Army (8) (Earl Blake’s time)

UCLA (7)

Navy (7) (Who can forget 1963 and Roger Staubach?)

Oklahoma (6) (Bud Wilkinson’s teams)

Southern Cal (5)

Nebraska (5)

Duke (5) (Made a powerhouse by Wade Wallace, Duke remained highly successful under Bill Murray.

The 1951 Pitt/Duke game on NBC was the first nationally televised sporting event in American history)

Minnesota (4)

California (4)

Oregon (4)

Ohio State (3)

Michigan State (3)

Washington (2)

Baylor (2)

TCU (2)

Iowa (2)

Northwestern (2)

Indiana (2)

Virginia (2)

North Carolina State (2)

Rice (1)

Boston College (1)

Holy Cross (1) 1958 (Holy Cross had finished in the top 20 five times from 1937-1951)

Marquette (1) 1959

William & Mary (1)

Other than Marquette and William and Mary, in these 15 years, every Saturday’s competition was against a good opponent.

1973-1983   During these 11 years, Pitt played the following teams

Penn State (11)

West Virginia (11)

Syracuse (11)

Temple (10)

Army (10)

Notre Dame (8)

Navy (8)

Boston College (7)

Florida State (6)

North Carolina (4)

Louisville (4)

Tulane (3)

Georgia (2)

Georgia Tech (2)

Tennessee (2)

Maryland (2)

Illinois (2)

Rutgers (2)

Kansas (2)

Cincinnati (2)

Duke (2)

William & Mary (2)

Oklahoma (1)

Miami (1)

Florida (1)

Washington (1)

South Carolina (1)

Baylor (1)

Northwestern (1)

Southern Cal (1)

The Big 10 and Pacific Coast Conference teams had largely disappeared, but there were some SEC teams, and other than William & Mary, Temple and perhaps Tulane, Pitt played good competition each week.

2008-2017  Who have been Pitt’s opponents during the last 10 years?    

Syracuse (10)

Notre Dame (7)

Virginia Tech (6)

Miami (6)

Louisville (6)

Cincinnati (5)

Georgia Tech (5)

Virginia (5)

North Carolina (5)

Duke (5)

UConn (5)

Rutgers (5)

USF (5)

West Virginia (4)

Youngstown State (4)

Buffalo (4)

Iowa (4)

Navy (3)

Oklahoma State (2)

Penn State (2)

Akron (2)

FIU (2)

North Carolina State (2)

Utah (2)

Boston College (1)

Rice (1)

Clemson (1)

Florida State (1)

There were also single games with Villanova, Marshall, Maine, Gardner Webb, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Bowling Green, New Hampshire, Delaware and Temple. (When you add to these the 4 games with Buffalo, 4 games with Youngstown State, 2 games with Akron, and 2 games with FIU, the scheduling in recent times is quite different from the prior eras.)

Penn State and West Virginia are gone as rivals.  We seem destined to play Notre Dame less frequently.  Future schedules will consist of the ACC Coastal Division teams and Syracuse (our crossover opponent), and the non-conference schedule (which will apparently have one or two cupcakes every season.)  We old Pitt football fans are certainly living in a different time.

Giving up its on-campus stadium, scheduling so many scrimmages against inferior competition, and getting only one major bowl game in the last 35 years (2004 Fiesta Bowl against Utah), it seems that Pitt has in fact done what fans long feared they would do, de-emphasize football.

Maybe Pitt could at least improve fan interest by getting games with some premier teams, becoming one of those teams’ cupcake games.  Wouldn’t it be better than hoping to eke out a seven-win season and play each year in some no-name, who-cares “bowl” game against some other mediocre team?   It might be better to lose to Ohio State than to beat Akron.  Pitt will never return to prominence on an ACC Coastal Division schedule with a non-challenging non-conference schedule.  Pitt has a mostly attractive non-conference schedule this season, but If Pitt wants to get good crowds at Heinz, I think it needs to drop Albany, Toledo and the rest of those lesser teams, and get some games with Big 10, Pac 12 and Big 12 teams.  And if we could get some games with SEC teams, all the better!

But then, what do I know anyhow?  Times have changed!