Well, while waiting to learn if Bostad is or is not going to be the O-line coach at Pitt or the Chicago Bears, here are some little things from the world of recruiting. Info is limited at this time. The Trib doesn’t do much with recruiting. The P-G sticks mainly to WPIAL stuff with Mike White. Neithe newspaper beat writer for Pitt has had any real chance to build a relationship with the new coaches to get any inside slant. So for the most part, the only place to get info is from the recruited players themselves. Most of which falls behind the paywalls of the recruiting sites.
The biggest casualty in the questions about the status of (presently) Pitt O-line Coach Bostad may be J.J. Denman. Denman, to recap, initially committed to Penn State. Then decommitted and chose Wisconsin. Then Chryst and Bostad left for Pitt. He’s visited Pitt, but is now taking a second Wisconsin visit this weekend (Insider subs).
“I think it went fine,” Denman’s high school coach Galen Snyder said, “but I think he is still weighing his options.”
Denman, who lives near Philadelphia, began looking at Pitt when Chryst was hired. Chryst served as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator before taking the Pitt job in December. Denman’s lead recruiter at Wisconsin, however, is Thomas Hammock, who is still on staff.
Denman is a 4-star OT, and would be a big get for Pitt. His HS Coach indicated that Denman would likely make his decision by next week. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he waits to announce on signing day. Heck, given the way he has shifted, I don’t know if it is solid until after the NLI is faxed.
This is the list of recruits coming in for an official visit this weekend. Keep that in mind for the basketball game on Saturday night. Four of the seven players are uncommitted, including Terrell Jackson, who Chris Peak of PantherLair indicates Pitt has an excellent shot at getting (his other best offer is Illinois). We will see. The uncommitted visiting players are all on the defensive side, playing DT or CB.
Hey did you hear? Penn State got around to offering Chad Voytik? Apparently that got Pitt fans into a bit of tizzy. Not sure if it is left over memories of Anthony Morrelli still haunting them. The general feeling of angst whenever Penn State comes sniffing. Or something else. It made no sense to get worked up over it. Voytik has remained firmly committed to Pitt after everything else that has happened, but a late offer from PSU would make him wobble? Uh, no.
“He thanked him for calling, but he wants to go to Pitt,” Gary Voytik said. “O’Brien said he looked at some of his tapes and wanted to offer him, but Chad remains committed to Pitt.”
Gary Voytik said Chad wants to make a visit to Pitt before signing day Feb. 1, but those plans have not been finalized.
Speaking of firmly committed to Pitt, Rushell Shell:
Shell, who’s playing on Hopewell’s basketball team this winter, plans to move into his dorm at Pitt in June. When training camp begins in August, he’ll compete for playing time with a host of running backs already on the roster. Among them will be returning starter Ray Graham, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in November; sophomore Isaac Bennett and redshirt freshman Desmond Brown, the younger brother of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“There are a lot of good backs, definitely,” Shell said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can during the off-season and when it’s time to go to camp, I’m going to go in and show everyone I’m ready to compete. I’m going to try to earn some playing time.
“I’m just glad Coach Chryst is bringing in a (pro-style) offense that’s more suited for me. Montee Ball rushed for 33 touchdowns this year at Wisconsin. That offense is probably 10 times better for me than (Graham’s) spread offense.”
In the past month or so while playing basketball, Shell said he’s lost about 20 pounds. Once basketball season is over, he plans on working out with two personal trainers to help him get bigger and stronger.
Shell will be visiting Pitt unofficially this weekend.
“I’ve talked to him on the phone a few times,” said Shell, the Hopewell running back who owns the state rushing record. “I heard he’s a cool guy, a little laid back but very serious about what he does. He’s a great offensive coach, probably one of the best. So I’m excited about that.”
Shell will introduce himself to Paul Chryst for the first time Saturday when several Panther football recruits take in the Louisville vs. Pitt basketball game at the Petersen Events Center.
Blackhawk sophomore QB and very early Pitt verbal, Chandler Kincade, is also excited about Chryst.
“Coach Chryst coming to Pitt is great for Pitt,” said Kincade, a Blackhawk sophomore who made a verbal commitment in November. “If you’ve ever seen Wisconsin play, you know they put up amazing offensive stats.”
Kincade is expected to meet Chryst for the first time Wednesday night when he takes in the Providence vs. Pitt basketball game.
Pitt basketball may be down this year, but it is still a draw. Fan enthusiasm serves as a big selling point for recruiting.