January 19, 2012

Football Recruiting Notes

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 11:17 am

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.

thanks Frankcan. Appreciate all your hard work on here on recruiting. Keep us posted. A CB with speed who can cover is a must. Saw he has offers from Colorado & Utah.

Comment by Bossdaws 01.19.12 @ 8:24 pm

Also our head coach may have had a gentleman’s agreement with his former employee that he would take a couple coaches with him but please don’t go after their recruits. Plus, he seems a lot more ethical and professional than our former coach, so maybe he finds it to be a sleazy move to recruit too many guys who had picked Wisconsin.

Also, since Ped State went after our top recruit, I say we go after their top 4 recruits as payback – and kick em while they’re down. Oh wait, I just finished saying our coach wouldn’t likely do stuff like that, damn … Maybe once he could get old school eye for an eye. We are very fortunate both Voytik and Shell are staying with Pitt.

Comment by Dish 01.19.12 @ 8:43 pm

It makes no difference to me what “Jerry’s kids” in State College do or who they offer. They are scum…liars and gutless cowards…not a man among them.
We have what appears to be a proven group of coaches. It is not their style to talk alot…by comparison, it is precisely the stye of Graham and that filth in Morganhole. I don’t think we can out scum the scum bags of the world. That is not in Pitt’s DNA and thank God for it!!
Whatever the last 12 months have done, they have brought out the best in our players…man, I can’t think of a better result than that….hard times don’t mold character as much as they reveal it…..I love what I have seen.
Now, we have a man at the helm who will lead by example and not the sound bite….
God Bless for sure on that…

Comment by SFPitt 01.19.12 @ 9:11 pm

ok..i know im gonna catch some heat for bringing up psu..but, i was just wondering…Im 37 and i grew up hating psu..but things have changed..ever since jo pa gont canned(YES!!) i kind of dont hate them anymore….does anyone else feel this way??

Comment by pitt-for-life 01.19.12 @ 9:52 pm


I am sad about PSU. Not the program, but how they sold their souls and still live in denial.

Hey there was some time ago where I posted here how a lot of us would die to have the longevity, stability, program that PSU had under JoePa.

I had stated that my hope was that Wanny would’ve been that guy.

But that was all an illusion. I was wrong to believe that illusion.

I will say this as a proud Pitt fan. I never want a successful program at the cost of my very soul.

You can say that is a no brainer, but look at a lot of the lost souls in Happy Valley. They care more about their football and reputation then the fact that this god awful sin was perpetuated for an illusion.

That is why I feel sad for PSU. It has lost it’s way and really has shown little to no remorse. Only what the PR firm tells them to show.


Comment by DaveD 01.19.12 @ 10:14 pm

I think Chryst and company are out there talking to a lot of propects and we’re not going to know whole alot about unless it happens to at a local ball game like the other night at Shaler, when Paul Chryst was recruiting Holtz. I do think they pull out a few surprizes by signing day. They only have 5 slots yet to fill. Good night and
Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Justinian 01.19.12 @ 10:21 pm

pitt for life no i hate them more every day

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.19.12 @ 10:21 pm


I couldnt have said it better myself..good post

Comment by pitt-for-life 01.19.12 @ 10:30 pm

Dish i dont want theguys that picked wisconsin
i want some of theguys off there list who they were working on but who have not picked a school yet

like these OTs jake meador jordan diamond dan gibbs all over 6 foot 4 and 300 pounds or rb keith byars or LB IKE SPERMAN OR DT VINCENT VALENTINE and many more who are on wisconsin list but not commited

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.19.12 @ 10:32 pm

I have no sadness or pity for Penn State. They continue to be in COMPLETE denial and they still just don’t get it. I can’t say it enough – they JUST DON’T GET IT. They want things to go back the way they were as fast as possible and don’t give a crap about the lives they helped ruin. I thought I couldn’t hate a program more than I hated PSU before all this, but my hate strengthens every day despite my best efforts to not let them get to me. I have friends that went there. Many smart people went and still go there. It’s just so disturbing that otherwise reasonable people act like they’re in a cult when it comes to all this crap. Their ongoing abject arrogance and willful obliviousness equals if not exceeds Enron. Offering Voytik, the most vocal and loyal recruit, is proof positive of that.

Sandusky is going to burn in hell but I have little doubt that PSU will receive anything but a slap on the wrist. It is so very unfortunate that their arrogance may be founded as far as escaping any kind of meaningful punishment. I thought I was I better person but I wish them nothing but the worst.

Comment by stevie mac 01.19.12 @ 11:29 pm

Hey Frank, I think I may be able to ease your sould a bit.

Yes, I understand exactly what you are saying. I do believe we are kind of close to being filled up for this year allready.

Not many spots open.

Now, follow me, come next year, after a full year at Pitt, when recruiting starts, I would like to think we will see some kids from each of our recruiting coaches areas. Probably some kids from Wisconsin, Illinois and North Carolina.

Think about how late they got to get started. Then, they look at the list, and there is only a few spots open.

Maybe the guy has a few guys from Illinois, maybe Chryst told him, “hey, we allready have targeted the last 2 or 3 guys for this year”.

Maybe the fella from N. Carolina said, “I have a couple guys I could see if they want to come”, again, maybe Chryst said, “is there really a chance for them to totally change their mind and come to Pitt at this point?”

The answer being, “no, but, I could give it a shot”, and Chryst answers back, “hey, lets just concentrate on the 5 or 6 we have targeted and hope we can get 2 or 3.

Hard to believe we’re saying this again, almost unfathomable, but, our new head coach just got thrown into the fire.

I think next year, you will see a lot of recruits coming for visits, from the coaches special geographical area of concentration.

Comment by Dan 01.19.12 @ 11:33 pm

Just got home, from somewhere I had no access to tv or radio…

Pens beat the Rangers in NYC??? Sweet!!!!

Comment by Dan 01.19.12 @ 11:36 pm

Chas, Thanks for the great article and recruiting info. Its much appreciated. Suppose thanks goes out to everyone on this board for their additional feedback and info.
My impressions of the new head coach can best be described by taking a look at former Pitt players Scott and Chris McKillop. To me, they were not extremely gifted with natural athletisim, yet still they played their positions as well as most anyone in the country. I attribute that to how they were coached. When a player has that deep of an understanding of the game, they can do amazing things on the field. This is by far the greatest assest Paul Cryst brings to the table. He seems like the type of coach who can turn the McKillops of the country into All-Americans. Most college coaches have a vast understanding of the game of football, but not all of them are able to teach and pass on that knowledge. It’s like in school: Some teachers can teach, some know everything but can’t teach, and a few are able to do both. I believe PC is of the latter type and if the players are willing to work at what he teaches we are in for one heck of a run.

Comment by PittFan28 01.19.12 @ 11:43 pm

DAN thanks at least you under stand what i ment and i understand you
but look up these 2 ot who are on wisconsins list and tell if you would like them to be 2 of the 5 we have left
jake meador and dan gibbs just type name and word
football after name.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.19.12 @ 11:57 pm

On the discussion about Penn State. Let’s not paint with too wide a brush here. I think that the ruling class of Penn State, the Board of Directors, wasn’t in denial at all. The fact is they were kept in the dark on purpose…”Spanier, the trustees said, had minimized the grand jury probe during a May briefing on the investigation.”

Spanier had been telling them as far back as 2008 that this issue was a minor one involving the retired Sandusky and was centered on his actions in another county. However, Spanier knew from the minute he was called into testify in front of the Grand Jury that the case revolved around incidents on the PSU campus in the Lasch building and he didn’t inform the BOT of that.

In fact, as soon as they were made aware of the extent of the situation they took quick and decisive action, include something that was sure to be controversial as hell in firing Joe Paterno. I’ve linked the article below in which the BOT interview reveals that the BOT was basically lied to about the Grand Jury report by the university president – who BTW could have legally divulged almost every detail of the report.

I think us PITT fans look at those in “denial” as being all of PSU but IMO in reality it is mostly the students and some fanatic alumni there. In my experience talking with PSU grads, of which there are tons down here in Maryland, almost all of them agreed with the BOT’s actions.

PSU isn’t going to get rid of or minimize the football program as some PITT fans want – that is just never going to happen especially when it has been bringing in a steady $70M a year. PSU will weather the storm and take some serious hits but in five years the university will be back to functioning normally.

link to

Comment by Reed 01.20.12 @ 5:46 am

Here is an excellent article in the NY Times about how the decision to fire Paterno was made.

link to

Comment by Reed 01.20.12 @ 5:49 am

From the PG – for those north of the city that may be interested:

Steven Adams is a Pitt recruit who is ranked among the top 10 players in the country by some scouting services. He will play in the Pittsburgh area Jan. 29.

Adams, a 6-foot-10 forward at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., will play in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Legends Classic at Ambridge High School. Notre Dame Prep will play Massanutten Academy (Va.) at 2 p.m. in the four-game event. At noon, Lincoln Park meets Shaler. Beaver Falls plays Sharon at 3:30 and West Allegheny takes on Highlands at 5.

Comment by wbb 01.20.12 @ 7:19 am

Reed, I agree. The PSU alunms that I know (I grew up with a handful) are all embarrassed and take no issue with JoePa’s firing and the other actions taken b y their board.

In fact, there is on alum who I know well that is adamant that they should shut down the FB program for a year. He insists that would be the true “Penn State Way.” However, he agrees with me that the the real PS Way is making $70m year.

Comment by wbb 01.20.12 @ 7:26 am

Ive seen on many different sites that steven adams has been “off to a slow start” and “unimpressive”. This is BS. They say this because in only his second game in america, he only had 4 points 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. Ill tell you why its garbage: in that game he had s head injury because he dove ob after a loose ball, something pitt fans should appreciate, and barely played in the first hslf. In his first game against the #1 center in 2013 he had 23 points 13 rbs 3 blocks and 2 assts. plus, hes only been with his team for 2 weeks whfn most hsve been with theirs for an entire summer. The kid looked impressive.

I also saw james robinson play on espnu the other day and he looked like the ultimate game manager. He had something like 12 points 7 assists 5 rebounds 1 to. He had some beautiful passes and made sone vlutch shots and it just seemed like he had a freat bball iq. These kids will be great players but i cant stress enough pitts need for another quality forward or 2 guard for the 2012 class

Comment by Pk 01.20.12 @ 7:29 am

Pk, I agree — 2 games, and one a double-double!!

Comment by wbb 01.20.12 @ 8:52 am

Interesting article on ESPN….

How did top Big East top 2008 recruits do?

January, 19, 2012
Jan 19




By Andrea Adelson

Our friends at ESPN Recruiting Nation took a look back at the ESPNU 150 recruits in the class of 2008 to see how they fared. The Big East had four players on that list, all at Pitt.

No. 25 Jonathan Baldwin, WR. Baldwin was a top performer at Pitt,with 127 catches for 2,304 yards and 16 touchdowns over three seasons. He declared for the NFL draft after his junior season and was selected 26th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011.

No. 102 Shayne Hale, ILB. Hale redshirted his first year and then was moved to defensive end. He has appeared in just three games over the past two seasons.

No. 110 Chris Burns, RB. Burns transferred to Massachusetts following the 2010 season because of limited playing time. He played in four games and will have one more year of eligibility next fall.

No. 124 Lucas Nix, OL. Nix has been a mainstay on the offensive line for the past three seasons, but a knee injury early this season limited him to seven games. He has the potential to be third- or fourth-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comment by markp 01.20.12 @ 9:20 am

markp’s thread just shows how accurate these recruiting rankings can be. Two of the four where very good players. Burns was a bust and the jury is still out on Hale. But he is very close to being labeled as a bust.

Comment by winedogs 01.20.12 @ 9:59 am

Frank, I’ll take both of them!!

Comment by Dan 01.20.12 @ 10:05 am

Dan yes so would I

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.20.12 @ 12:03 pm

I agree with some of the posters above regarding PSU. There are too many people indicting the entire institution for the isolated actions of a few people, who are now being properly dealt with. You can’t judge the reaction of the entire community based on the dillusional statements of a bunch of drunk students and a small group of fanatical fans.

I am a Pitt grad and a Pitt fan, but I’ve been working at PSU for almost a decade, and I can tell you that the perception that everyone up here is some kind of bleed-blue-and-white nutjob is completely off base. There are those people, but they are a minority (and I think most of them live in Philly and NJ anyway). Most people up here that I know agree with firing JoePa and the others. I think most PSU employees are glad to be rid of Spanier in any case. Believe it or not, there are also a very large number of people here who view this as an academic institution first and don’t give a rat’s a** about the football progam, but even we don’t see how punishing the current players or staff serves any purpose.

The bottom line is that a few people did the wrong things to protect a football program that they considered too important than it should be. There is nothing unique or insidious about the culture at PSU, and the same kind of fan idiocy exists elsewhere, including Pitt. People need to realize that the same thing could happen, and may already be happening, at ANY university. There’s too much money invovled, too many greedy administrators, and too many weirdos out there – and the clever ones can always find ways to hide inside a big organization, just like these guys did. So, some people really need to stop looking at everyone associated with PSU with their self-righteous indignation – they are the clueless ones.

Comment by Steve 01.20.12 @ 4:47 pm

this is guess but i think pitts DL coach
will be al holcomb

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.20.12 @ 8:00 pm

Have to disagree that the PSU thing could have happened at any university…you are throwing everyone else under the same PSU bus.
If you read the NYTimes article you will see that the Trustees fretted over firing the football coach but no real angst over firing the university president.
Sorry Steve, that could not have happened at “any university”. It happens where people have absolute power. I am not into righteous indignation, but neither am I inclined to but every university in the same low place that the leaders at PSU were for so long.

Comment by SFPitt 01.20.12 @ 8:19 pm

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