January 24, 2012

Not Sure Pitt Can Be This Picky

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 1:55 pm

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.

I’m sure Zeise would take your story over face surgery also.

Comment by Cnorwood 01.24.12 @ 8:46 pm

..Most important thing for this class, is the RB in Quippa and the stud QB from Tenn…Biznowatty from Fox Chapel too..

Comment by Yup 01.24.12 @ 8:48 pm

pk whats up

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.24.12 @ 9:24 pm

Frank, he never responded sorry. I tried man ill ask again tommorrow.

Comment by Pk 01.24.12 @ 9:47 pm

I like this move by Chryst. Let’s get back to having big nasty lineman. I want big guys with nasty smash-mouth blue collar attitudes and similar work ethic. I’ll also take some of the mid-west cornfed boys that typically go to the Big10/11.

This is a good move.

Comment by Pitt it Is 01.24.12 @ 10:25 pm

Good look FRANKCAN, you know what’s up haha

Comment by Timmeh 01.24.12 @ 11:48 pm

Pitt just picked up a CB out of the state of Washington.

link to

Comment by Mailman 01.25.12 @ 12:02 am

Here’s a little more info on the latest commit link to

Comment by Cnorwood 01.25.12 @ 12:20 am

I’ll trade a 5’9″ three-star WR for a 6′ three-star CB any day. Regarding the OL, has anybody given a look to see what kid of 2013 prospects are out there? …just a thought.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:34 am

6′ CB with NFL bloodlines, I’d add.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:37 am

Tino Sunseri has had a red carpet here from the day he set foot onto campus. Whether or not it was because he is a legacy I don’t know, but when he is given the job, with no competition allowed, the fix is in.

We had a QB who had started 11 games and contributed to wins in Pat Bostick but DW didn’t see the need for him to be ab;e to compete for an OPEN QB slot.

I don’t know if Sunseri is the worst QB in PITT history or not and I’ll say that sometimes he makes some very good plays, but he is so damned inconsistent that you can see something is wrong with him out there. His play in the fourth quarters of close games is atrocious and you can’t blame his panic and poor decision making at those times on anyone but him.

Personally, I think the sense of entitlement he copped from DW’s decision making back when the 2009 bowl game ended helped to screw him up. It would have been better all around had he competed and won the starting job in 2010 on his merits.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:31 am

Looks like we’ll get Terrell Jackson soon also. he’s a three star DL out of Ohio, see link below:

link to

J. P. Holtz commits today. Everyone believes it will be PITT but we’ve been down that road before. It isn’t happening until it actually happens, there are things we know that we don’t know also.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:36 am

See guys, pitt could end up with lewis, jackson, and holtz within 48 hours. Like reed said it hasnt happened til it happens but its lookin good as of this second.

Comment by Pk 01.25.12 @ 6:30 am

I love it when a plan comes together.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.12 @ 7:28 am

Reed, I agree with you wholeheartedly that Bostick should have been given a chance to compete for the starting job back in the spring of 2010.

However, last year at this time, Tino had the same amount of experience in Graham’s new system as did Myers and Gonzalez — 0 … yet Graham never waivered about making and keeping him No. 1 until the Utah game when he gave Anderson more snaps … and as we saw he fared worse than Tino …. because, any QB who is constantly pressured and doesn’t have WRs open is going to fail.

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 7:49 am

.. and BTW, Tino was much better in the 4th quarter under your manWanny than he was under Graham .. look it up!!

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 7:53 am

The 49ers staff is coaching the Pro Bowl which is why our WR coach isn’t here yet. Also – an O’Brien quote.”When you turn on the TV, you know it’s Penn State because: No. 1, it’s a tough, smart team; and No. 2, the uniforms,

One was once able to do the same for Pitt – but the uniforms don’t look like Pitt any more.

Comment by markp 01.25.12 @ 8:14 am

I will trust Paul Chryst’s judgement until he gives me reason to not. He seems to have been very straight forward and honest with this kid giving him a chance to sign somewhere else as opposed to potentially wasting his time at Pitt.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.25.12 @ 8:15 am

If they get Jackson and Holtz that would be a great pick up, also if Holtz comes on board does that mean Uncle Lou becomes part of the Pitt family???? LOL!

Comment by Jim from Dallas 01.25.12 @ 9:01 am

“because, any QB who is constantly pressured and doesn’t have WRs open is going to fail.
Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 7:49 am
.. and BTW, Tino was much better in the 4th quarter under your manWanny than he was under Graham .. look it up!!Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 7:53 am

and your point is? Well, one answer to your “pressured with no receivers open” question is to throw the damn ball away if you can’t run for yardage, but are we really having this discussion about Tino again? Without question wbb, you are Tino’s biggest defender on this blog, for whatever reason. You get pts for resiliency and debate, but we have all seen enough of Tino’s perfomances on the field to form contrary opinions(as you call it “simpleton analysis”). And posting Danny Marino’s o-line in defense of Tino? are you saying Tino would have been a 1st round NFL draft pick and lead his team to a Super Bowl in his rookie season with that line? We had a poor choice of QBs last year due to poor recruiting and Tino may have been our best option given the dearth of talent, but he still sucked as a D-1 QB. Put this to bed until it rears its ugly head again with spring camp. On to promising recruits, with Frankcan, pk and Reed updates. HTP

Comment by Bossdaws 01.25.12 @ 9:28 am

Who does PITT play out of cenference next year? Heard VA Tech is wanting PITT as their cross-over rivalry game == if so, PITT would be in the Atlantic Division w/FSU,Clemson,Wake,NC State & BC. Nice schedule == makes conference championship more challenging.

Comment by DC33 01.25.12 @ 9:32 am

I confess to not reading all the posts so sorry if this is a duplicate… BUT

The players we are losing are moving on to small schools. That should say worlds about the players we are losing. Let Chryst do his thing.

Comment by Big Time 01.25.12 @ 9:44 am

Bossdaws, do you honestly believe that throwing the ball away is the answer to all of Pitt’s offensive woes? If so, there is no reason for me to go much further.

And I already explained that I wasn’t comparing Tino to Marino .. I was just pointing to the fact that even with that OL Pitt had, the greatest passer in Pitt history could not put up a TD in a bowl game … meaning that a QB cannot do it all. And Tino didn’t even have the protection that Dan had , and certainly didn’t have the recivers (Dawkins and Collins.)

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 9:51 am

wbb, I enjoy most of your posts. We can just agree to disagree on Tino. We ALL hope for better QB play in 2012. That will play out in the spring. Getting Zaire along with Voytik would be sweet.

Comment by Bossdaws 01.25.12 @ 10:03 am

Pitts a 12 pt favorite tonight. I’ll take a 1 pt. win.

Comment by alcofan 01.25.12 @ 10:13 am

I’ll take a tie.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.12 @ 10:17 am

for the umpteenth time, I don’t think Tino is a very good QB .. and I have said many times that I hope someone beats him out due to his physical limitations.

What I’m saying is that the offesne this past year had MANY, MANY more issues than just the QB .. and both the OL and the WRs were every bit as pathetic than the QB

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 10:27 am

Have to wonder though if the OL and WRs would have been as bad if not for Fraud’s offense

Comment by giveitarest 01.25.12 @ 10:31 am

I’ve been out of circulation for a few days, it looks like Pitt’s recruiting has taken a very positive turn. Things are looking up. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Justinian 01.25.12 @ 11:05 am

Good to very good Pitt QB’s I have seen play

Alex Van Pelt
Pete Gonzalez
Dan Marino
Rod Rutherford
Tyler Palko

I hope I can add a current roster player to this list. Time will tell

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.25.12 @ 11:12 am

Bossdaws you are the man.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.25.12 @ 11:22 am

The fact that high profile recruit Yuri Wright posted some dirty stuff on twitter will be remembered as a key thing for Pitt. since he lost his scholarship offer at Michigan he decided to go with Colorado. it sealed the deal for Ryan Lewis then picking Pitt over Colorado as Colorado’s defensive backfield was filling up.

Really excited about Ryan Lewis- looks fast, athletic, and has a family football background so he’ll probably come in working hard- I think he was a steal

Comment by Chicken little 01.25.12 @ 11:34 am


Comment by Dan 01.25.12 @ 11:36 am

Good post Chicken little. I’m upbeat on him too. Interesting how that might have helped send him our way.

Comment by Dan 01.25.12 @ 11:42 am

Have to wonder though if the OL and WRs would have been as bad if not for Fraud’s offense

That should be obvious … Shanahan had more drops in the 1st half vs USF than he had his entire 1st 2 years. This entire offense was out of sorts, playig without any confidence .. and missing blocking and route assignments.

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 11:56 am

Looks like the biggest difference in the offense was the number of sacks 63 in 2011 vs 23 in 2010. That big of an increase could be a combination of QB, OL, WR and coaching. Poor all the way around. Hopefully we will have improved the coaching. Have we done enough to improve the other issues?

Comment by Houston Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:04 pm

Sounded like Frauds blocking schemes where extremely complex which created a huge problem (Tino gets his fair share of the blame too) I agree the WRs had too many drops and where not a great fit to that offense as well. I have faith he we return and have much success.

Comment by giveitarest 01.25.12 @ 12:24 pm

Just thinking i wonder we have at pitt one of the best OL coachs in the game this is true.
but we have no OL commits there are 5 good one out there still taking vists 3 of them 4 stars and 2 of them 3 stars and 3 of them are to vist wisconsin and one has WVU on his list.

but they are not visting here and are coachs
in the past have talked to them when they were at wisconsin and you know were JJ Denmen went

so my point is if you have the best coach then they should at least vist or denmen should be here unless they know something we dont is our OL
COACH goin to the bears pitt never came out and said he wasent. no offical statement.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.25.12 @ 12:28 pm

Run more, Pass less. Tino is very good at handing the ball off. Bring Meyers in when you need to pass.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:35 pm

we might even fool them once in a while have Myers hand off

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 12:39 pm

The Badgers have had excellent O-lines for years, and Chryst and company did very well at continuing that tradition. So, I’m willing to defer to their judgement on this.

I just hope that they are actually able to land the kinds of kids that they want in that regard, or it will be a short tenure. The O-line has been the major problem with Pitt teams now for a number of years, and that’s a big reason why I’ve advocated getting away from pro-style offenses here, which don’t work if you can’t consistenly get the really big boys up-front. Hopefully these guys will prove me wrong.

Comment by SDS 01.25.12 @ 1:09 pm

not counting new recruits, here is what Bostad (hopefully) has to work with:

54 Chris Jacobson OG Sr. RS 6-3/295 Pittsburgh, PA (Keystone Oaks )
55 Tom Ricketts OT Fr. RS 6-6/285 Pittsburgh, PA (North Allegheny)
56 Arthur Doakes OT Fr. RS 6-6/360 Lebanon, PA (Lebanon)
57 Artie Rowell C Fr. 6-2/275 Harrisburg, PA (Central Dauphin)
58 Kevin Barthelemy LS So. RS 6-3/240 Moon Township, PA (Moon Area)
64 Shane Johnson OG Fr. RS 6-5/325 Fort Washington, MD (DeMatha Catholic)
66 Justin Virbitsky OT Jr. RS 6-4/280 Jermyn, PA (Lakeland)
70 Juantez Hollins OG So. RS 6-5/305 Aliquippa, PA (Aliquippa)
74 Matt Rotheram OG Fr. RS 6-6/350 North Olmsted, OH (North Olmsted)
75 Ryan Turnley C Jr. RS 6-6/320 Hopewell, PA (Hopewell)
76 Ryan Schlieper OG So. RS 6-5/305 Wexford, PA (North Allegheny)
77 Zenel Demhasaj OG Jr. 6-7/330 Brooklyn, NY (New Utrecht H.S.)

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 3:36 pm

SDS, I think you are asking a very good question. You have to have the right players for any system to work. The best summary that I saw on one of the blogs:
Big, slow players-run pro style
Small, fast players-run the spread
Big, fast players-system doesn’t matter, you’ll win
Small, slow players-system doesn’t matter, you’ll lose
It remains to be seen if he can get the players he needs to run his system.

Comment by Houston Panther 01.25.12 @ 3:42 pm

WBB – we tend to agree on some things when discussing Tino Sunseri. The fact that his 4th quarter play was so visibly worst in 2011 than it was in 2010 is very interesting from a psychological standpoint also.

It was like this last season his mind just went completely blank under pressure from both the DL and from just the circumstances of the game itself. He made mistakes that even Pee Wee players know not to make.

I’ll still say that Sunseri has the physical tools to succeed at QB in college – except for his deep throws. Not being able to do that though allows defenses to adapt their play to stopping him in other ways and that hurt him and us last year.

I think the best thing Chryst and staff can do with him is let him know in no uncertain terms that he is at the same starting point as all the other QBs on the roster in competing for the starting spot.

Then, if he wins it, and you know he probably will, let him know that they expect the same level of effort and production as any other member of the starting offense.

I think Graham put way too much pressure on Sunseri’s head and it got to him in a big way.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:18 pm

Also, I’ve a good feeling about how our OL is going to fare in 2012.

I think we have a pretty decent set of returning personnel there and if Jacobson can come back that’s a bonus. Turnley was very good at Center. Rotheram, if he stays healthy might just blow up with increased playing time and Ricketts is well though of also.

However, I don’t expect a miracle and all of a sudden we’ll be as good as Wisconsin has been over the last decade, but I think Chryst will ID the potential starters, simplify the blocking schemes and adapt the offense to function behind those guys.

If we can get to the level of how the OL was functioning in the latter DW years then I think we’ll do well. McCoy, Lewis and Graham didn’t pick up all those yards on their own you know.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:27 pm

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