Brandyn Cook is a consensus 3-star center out of Ohio. He was one of the earlier commits to Pitt. But while Coach Chryst stated that all scholarships would be honored, that did not mean he wouldn’t make it clear what kind of opportunities would (or in this case would not) be available to actually play.
Cook, 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, said new Pitt coach Paul Chryst suggested he look elsewhere because of his height.
“He didn’t think I would be able to get a fair shot at Pitt, basically because of my height,” Cook said. “Being a competitor, I wanted to go where I can play and to a place where I am needed and a place where I am wanted.”
Cook said he committed to Graham two days after receiving a scholarship offer and did not entertain further offers.
“I am a man of my word,” Cook said. “I shut it down.”
So Cook is heading to Miami (Ohio) instead.
Cook’s weight, on the recruiting sites, is listed at 265 to 290.
I realize you could and very legitimately argue this is no big deal. Losing a 3-star player that is now heading to the MAC hardly seems like losing a stud. And there has to be a level of trust that the coach knows what he is doing — and what he wants from the center spot.
But I admit, this one has me a little surprised for a few reasons. The first is that Pitt needs centers. Yes, Ryan Turnley turned out to be a revelation, and at 6-6, 320 pounds is probably more along the lines of what Chyrst and OC Bostad want. But after Turnley — and especially for the future things are not that simple.
Backing up Turnley would be Chris Jacobson (6-3, 295 pounds) — assuming Jacobson gets that 6th year. But that only covers next season as both will be seniors. Otherwise, the only other center listed on the 2-deep from last year is Left Guard Ryan Schlieper (6-4, 305). I have no idea what he can actually do at the spot, as he has never actually played center.
The second issue is that Pitt has only one actual center on the squad — by which I mean he was actually was recruited to play center. Artie Rowell, from the 2010 class. Rowell redshirted this past season, but guess what? He might have gotten bigger in mass from his 275 pounds freshman weight, but I doubt he grew beyond his 6-2 frame.
Rowell cannot be looking at what Cook says as a good sign for his own future. Basically Rowell and Cook are the same height and reasonably close in weight.
I’m sure that Chryst and Bostad have some plan. Maybe they have a JUCO in mind for this class or next year. And I know that the O-line is a big deal for both of them. I also know that the O-line has been a complete question mark nearly every year this millennium. Even cutting loose an average recruit from that area seems extra risky at this point.