January 17, 2012

Well, it had to happen sooner than later.  PITT has its first defection of the 2012 recruiting class when Dakota Conwell left the fold yesterday.  His 100% commitment to PITT flip-flopped to being 100% committed to Arizona in the course of a two day visit.  We lose a four star LB right after we picked up a non-ranked LB.

That sounds a bit bitter and I’m really not.  This is how things work in the recruiting game. Conwell has now stated that he was ‘feeling’ Arizona for a couple weeks and I believe that.  Graham had recruited him to play either the Spur or the Panther LB position and Chryst will field a traditional 4-3; three LB defense where the LB play is rather confined.

Apparently Conwell wants to freelance a bit more than that entail and RR’s 3-3-5 will fit him better.

Conwell, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, said the 3-3-5 defense that new Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, formerly of West Virginia, is installing for coach Rich Rodriguez, is a better fit for him than Pitt’s 4-3 under its new coordinator Dave Huxtable.

“I’ll get to play in space a little bit more than I would have at Pitt,” he said. “I will have a little more (pass coverage) responsibilities at Arizona.”

Now I’m no Dick Lebeau but I can’t see how having an extra DB is somehow going to translate to Conwell having more pass coverage responsibilities.  You’d think having one less DB and an extra body on the DL would make that happen more often.

Anyway, there is no doubt in my mind that Chryst & Co. knew this was probably going to happened and with that they made sure that Caprara was onboard.  We’ll see in a couple of years if this was a decent trade off or not.

To be quite honest I thought we’d have lost more than one scholarship by this time anyway and I can’t fault the kid for changing his mind.  I caution PITT fans that this may not be over and we’ll have a few more change thier minds before Feb 3rd.  I hope not but it does usually follow coaching changes.  We’ll pick up some recruits between now and LOI Day also so it will balance out, unlike last year at this time.

We fans have to remember that, especially in PITT’s circumstances right now, these recruits were sold on Todd Graham, his staff and his offensive or defensive systems.  That is a powerful thing to just let drop and some of these kids feel that they were betrayed in some degree and whether we like it or not PITT is involved in that.

Having six HCs in 13 months doesn’t help our cause either.  What recruits and their parents want as much as anything is stability in the university’s coaching ranks.  That way they get what the HC who recruited them promised.  A new HC comes in and all that is out the window.

PITT may always honor recruit’s proffered scholarships, which is a great thing to do, but the new HC is in no way obligated to honor what was offered by the departing HC as an incentive to verbal with PITT.

As to RR or Graham trying to steal our recruits?  I suggest we hold off on complaining about that since PITT is trying to do the same thing to other recruits.  That is the nature of college football recruiting and how the game is played today.  If we don’t get anyone to switch commitments then we can scream about it.

And hold the complaints about “honoring a commitment” by these kids either.  That pretty much pales in comparison to what Todd Graham did at PITT and what happens in any coaching change.  Some recruits commit to the University itself and we are seeing that with the majority of our remaining recruits.  However, some others are looking at football only and this type of move fits their decision making well also.

The kid from USC is about to learn that the only time he will see RR is on media day. RR has no time for defense and his D in the otherwise average offense laden Big Ten was…well, it was “offensive”.
This kid just joined the AZ track team…he will be trying to catch up to speedsters from all over in practice. Point blank, the kid was the second best QB at USC. He will not start in college. Hope he goes to class…that is what it is really all about anyway as 99 out of 100 are finished after college.
As Sir Paul once wrote “you don’t know how lucky you are boy, back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR (USC)”

Comment by SFPitt 01.18.12 @ 2:37 am

Winedogs, yea he just committed to lsu a month ago but flipped to nd because his mom begged him to so he could be close to home( he lives in indiana). The kids a tease

Comment by Pk 01.18.12 @ 6:22 am

Kevin, even though Mason was on the sidelines at summer camp last year and play a down or two he wasn’t able to suit up at all in 2011. Personally, I doubt he’ll play much if at all in 2012.

I say that for two reasons; Mason’s injury was so severe, not just an ACL tear, that it will be hard to come back to form. Secondly, I wonder if he hasn’t been somewhat recruited over with the LBs we have playing now. Other PITT fans disagree with me on this but with Todd Thomas, LaQuentin Smith and Ejuan Price as the returning starters for 2012 we have a great group of young guys who have already produced with a year of full time experience.

Mason will have to comeback at 100% at least to be able to break into Huxtable’s defense I think especially because this staff didn’t recruit Mason and have no ties to him other than a roster spot.

I may be a bit pessimistic here, I hope he comes back like gangbusters but I’ll have to see it to believe it.

Comment by Reed 01.18.12 @ 6:27 am

It is very possible, and in fact probable, that Mason will never return to form … if at all. However. if he does come back 80-90%, he will be given every chance to play.

This is a guy who won BE weekly defneisve honors in his 3rd game as a frosh vs Navy ..(of course, he struggled the following week vs Russell Wilson) .. but he is known as an emotional leader; you may remember how down his teammates were when he was injured.

Although the 3 LBs listed above have shown at times to be skilled (and don’t forget Shame Graham and Nich Griglesby who may get much PT), Mason looked like he was going to be something special … in the Tire Bowl vs UNC, he played OLB for the 1st time and had a good game including an INT.

I wouldn’t give up on him just yet (but probably just wishful thinking.)

Comment by wbb 01.18.12 @ 7:19 am

I meant Shane Gordon (wonder if ‘Shame Graham’ was a Freudian slip)

Comment by wbb 01.18.12 @ 7:58 am

He should play for Arizona because the 3-3-5 alignment is all the rage in the NFL nowadays!

Comment by Pittastic 01.18.12 @ 8:48 am

As for Birch. He better develop some inside moves because the NBA is not just a run up and down league. Good luck in UNLV, but I know PITT will be fine.

Comment by Pittastic 01.18.12 @ 8:59 am

Bowling Green Panther i dont use pay sites what
info i get i get the hard way

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 9:32 am

Houston Panther put this on post is there any one
on staff who can recruit.
i would say yes but it is who they are recruiting that has me a little worryed ryan lewis
a rb with no stars a nother nr try talking to some 3 or 4 stars insted of all these NR kids

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 9:39 am

Who says they can’t recruit?

Comment by giveitarest 01.18.12 @ 9:49 am

pk dont you find it ironic one leaves becuse he did not fit the system so he says and 2 or 3 years ago he was the number what 2 or 3 rated pro
QB in his class and this year they sign the number one pro QBin this class how will he fit any better.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 10:23 am

Frankcan, I am concerned about the silence coming from Pitt about their recruiting successes. I would say that recruiting a nr player is not much of a success.
Something else I don’t understand is the move to the 4-3. From what I understand the 3-3-5 has been most successful in stopping the spread. The spread is run by a lot of ACC teams so why move away from it?

Comment by Houston Panther 01.18.12 @ 11:18 am

Houston panther abought recruiting i am with you dont know what is up with the NR thing may be they are haveing a hard time with the 3 or 4 stars
after all only one of new coachs was known as a good recruitier.

as far as the defence that is what they ran in wisconsin and they are very good at it so you have to let them run what they know and are good at 4 line men 3 LB it is there D you have to trust them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.18.12 @ 11:45 am

Losing the Conwell commitment is addition because of subtraction. If his father played at WVU there must be a reason that he did not even get a phone call from the Mountaineers. If you accumulate yardage stats Rivals will give a player 3 stars but it really doesn’t mean much unless it is backed up with speed, strength and size. Again, this is a plus for Pitt.

Comment by move_on 01.18.12 @ 10:22 pm

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