While the recruiting season winds down for college football programs and the last scholarships are being filled, it is often the case that schools will take ‘a reach’ on players just to see if they will blossom later on. This is, to me, is one of the most intriguing aspects of the recruiting season.
We’ve been able to keep the core group of inherited recruits together pretty well so far. However, we have had some recruits who would have contributed to the program turn their attentions elsewhere; Conwell Dakota (LB) to ASU, William Parks (DB) to UofA, Marzett Geter (DB ) to a remedial tweeting class, Brandon Cook (C) to Miami of Ohio and Corey Jones to Toledo. In what may be our biggest loss OT Adam Pankey is looking hard at WVU and I think he’ll fall that way.
What is interesting about those defections is the debate on whether the recruits were ‘encouraged’ to go elsewhere or whether they made the move themselves. I think Jones, Geter and Cook didn’t really have a place under the new staff, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run because the fact is that they will not be at PITT in 2012.
In addition, Chryst has added everyone’s favorite J.P. Holtz, a TE who decommitted from PSU and who could see action sooner than later. We also pulled in two lower ranked kids in CB Ryan Lewis of WA State who, due to an injury in his JR year, was somewhat under the radar to recruiters and LB Mike Caprara the leading tackler in Woodland Hills history which isn’t shabby.
I do think Paul Chryst and his staff is doing more long range planning right now, whether out of necessity because high impact players aren’t signing on at this late date or by staff choice, we really don’t know. In two days we will see what’s what when the players start signing and faxing their Letters of Intent to the school of their choice. We still have some HVTs (High Value Targets) out there who our staff still has a shot at.
Deaysean Rippy, a great or not so great LB depending on what day it is, has stated that he’ll choose between the Good Guys (PITT) and the Bad Guys (WVU).
Bam Bradley, a Safety out of Ohio is being courted by a slew of good schools but still has PITT near the top of his list.
Anthony Standifer, a CB from Illinois who will choose between Boise State and PITT. A strange thing is he has a scheduled visit to PITT on Feb 10th – 10 days after LOI Day. Never saw that before.
As to those ‘reaches’…there are some others but at this point I’m thinking that what we see is what we get with a few late additions. OL Gabe Roberts is one. He’s a non-ranked kid out of Wisconsin who was waiting for a Wisky offer that never came. He may be just the type of player who Bostad & Chryst can turn into a player at this level.
Add to all this the public confusion regarding just how many scholarships we have to use this year due to academic casualties (as many as four Graham recruits may not make the academic qualifying cut) and 5th year seniors being asked to move on. We may very well be at our limit but we also will surely find room for one or two highly ranked players if they commit. It could be also the case that Chryst is saving slots for the 2013 class.