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February 1, 2012

Who’s class recruiting ranking do you want to choose to believe for Pitt? says Pitt is the 47th best class. Behind other Big East teams like Rutgers (23), Louisville (38) and WVU (45). has Pitt at 40th (they were very low on Voytik).  Rutgers (21) and WVU (36) in front of Pitt. at 39th. With WVU (26), Cinci (32) and Rutgers (33) ahead of Pitt. says 30th. Rutgers (25) and Louisville (27) are the only ones ahead.

I don’t pretend to understand it, except that the further you get from the top 15-20 recruiting classes the wider the variance between various rankings. The formulas are a mix of player rankings and volume. Which is how Cinci with 30 commits with an average star ranking of 2.73 on is up so high. only takes the top-25 players from a signing class in their rankings. What’s funny is Pitt will likely fall a little further in their rankings because lists Pitt with 18 kids — still including Pitts and Jarrett in there it seems. So Pitt will lose points based on overall volume.

This is not some rant on the recruiting rankings — merely an attempt to put context to the “class rankings”. Frankly, the individual rankings of players are useful. Not perfect but very useful. I highly recommend this short piece defending recruiting rankings.

Pitt definitely has a good recruiting class. Not just because of the “all things considered” issue of another coaching change. They filled some needs/stockpiled in the secondary, backfield and QB. The linebacking group got a little better/deeper.

At the same time, Pitt has some huge holes looming that needs to be addressed quickly in immediate future for recruiting. Primarily on the O-line and D-line. Including Ricketts, a transfer, and one JUCO Pitt only has added only¬† 8 O- and D-linemen in the past 2 years. Only 6 recruits in the past two signing classes. That’s not good considering how many don’t pan out, and how long it can take to develop players. Bostad may be one of the best O-line coaches in the country, but he still needs something with which to work. So for the future, the O-line will continue to be a point of angst.

There is a lot to like about this incoming class. Plenty to like about this coaching staff. There is also a lot of work ahead and a lot of needs still to be filled.

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

Defensive Line
90 T.J. Clemmings DE So. 6-6/295 Teaneck, NJ (Patterson Catholic)
97 Aaron Donald DT So. 6-0/270 Pittsburgh, PA (Penn Hills)
91 Tyrone Ezell DT So. RS 6-4/295 Munhall, PA (Steel Valley)
45 Shayne Hale DE Jr. RS 6-4/255 Monroeville, PA (Gateway)
72 Jack Lippert DT So. RS 6-4/265 Harrisburg, PA (Central Dauphin)
95 Khaynin Mosley-Smith DT Fr. 6-0/290 Pittsburgh, PA (Woodland Hills)

Comment by wbb 02.01.12 @ 7:30 pm

note that DE Pat Murphy is not on above list but I believe is supposed to be back

Comment by wbb 02.01.12 @ 7:32 pm

93 Bryan Murphy DE So. 6-3/250 Washingtonville, NY (Don Bosco Prep )

Comment by wbb 02.01.12 @ 7:36 pm

Class rankings are exponentially more silly than pre-season rankings, and neither of them mean anything at all.

Comment by Stfan 02.01.12 @ 7:36 pm

Holy crapp thats a lot of big horses on the OL. Bostad must be pretty happy with their overall size. Hopefully their new SC coach will be able to get the most out of their potential.

Comment by Hurriquake 02.01.12 @ 7:38 pm

Chas, I agree with you, regardless of the formulas the recruiting services use, this is a good Pitt recruiting class. Yes there are only 16 recruits, so it’s a small class, but I would rather have quality over quantity. Next year when Paul Chryst and his staff have a full year to recruit they can bring more players. Pennslvania, by all accounts, has a bumper crop of good players in next year’s graduating class. This is victory because, dispite the coaching transition for 2nd year in a row, they managed for the most part to keep the class together. In this morning’s interview Voytik was asked “Who on the staff helped and encouraged you to stay together and remain at Pitt.” and he mentioned Coach Junko. So the one remaining Pitt guy on Graham’s staff helped keep the class together. I also think, Voytik, Shell, Binowatski, etc. showed leadership to communicate with each other and stay the course. Kudos to all of them. I think that once Paul Chryst came on board, his manner and his sincerity also made a difference. The entire staff deserves credit because with all the turmoil they sold the recruits on themselves and the Pitt program.

Comment by Justinian 02.01.12 @ 7:49 pm

A broader analysis of the relevance of recruiting rankings:

link to

Even 5-star prospects mostly don’t make it to the NFL.

Comment by San Diego Panther 69 02.01.12 @ 7:50 pm

Pitts class is definitely top heavy but all of its members could develop into good players, which is good. Expects pitts class next year to be big and packed with talent.

Comment by Pk 02.01.12 @ 8:14 pm

Quality always means more than quantity er, except for one major exception.

Comment by SFPitt 02.01.12 @ 8:31 pm

Not to quibble, but I think you meant “whose” not “who’s” in the lead sentence.

Comment by BigEgg 02.01.12 @ 8:32 pm

we need to switch the 2 worst OL MEN OVER TO THE d line they need depth they would have the size coach them up then we would have 10 d line insted of 8 and the ol would have 13 enough for them afer all we are switching to 4 man line and 8 is not enough

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.01.12 @ 8:51 pm

B-ball rpi goes up as Duquesne beats Dayton

Comment by alcofan 02.01.12 @ 9:07 pm

These recruiting services have a bias against PITT anyway. What’s new. Ever notice how after the kid says he’s committed to PITT, that his ranking gets lowered. Wonder why…lol

Or if one commits super early, his ranking never goes up, but might go down. It’s mostly all a bunch of bs anyway. Just something for them to make money on.

We never even worried about who was going where back in Pitt’s latest ‘glory days’ other than Dan Marino & Tony Dorsett and to be frank it was no where as blown up back then, even over them.

Johnny & Jackie could coach em up!

Comment by Emel 02.01.12 @ 9:23 pm

We may only have 16, but they seem to include some high quality high potential players. Let’s not forget we have a few transfers from last year who will also be available for the first time ( can someone summarize who they are and what positions they play?). Also, I expect we may get a couple undecided players who did not sign today, and maybe a couple JC or other transfers. Would like to see an OL or FB or tall WR from JC ranks.

Comment by Dish 02.01.12 @ 9:36 pm

1) Ray Venable (sp) Safety
2) Christian Cullen DB
3) A transfer from ND I believe, as well.

I believe the first 2 started in the secondary for Michigan as true freshmen. So they must be pretty good. The ND kid must have been good too, ND doesn’t recruit low ranked kids. Too bad we don’t have a jr or sr. transfer QB coming in, which would truly change my excitement level.

Comment by Emel 02.01.12 @ 9:46 pm

we also have lafayette pitts coming off his redshirt year

Comment by Big Bill 02.01.12 @ 9:49 pm

TRuly amazes me that apparently no effort was made at all to land a 5th year senior qb, a juco qb or a transfer qb. They really don’t want any seasoned competition for Sir Tino.

I’d even go so far as to get Pat Bostick back on the field, he has one year of eligibility left. He is very intelligent, has a stronger arm than noodle arm and knows the pro-style offense.
Doubt that they’ll let it happen though. We know why…… don’t we.

Comment by Emel 02.01.12 @ 9:51 pm

pk if you are out there would you ask dockish some thing ?
there are 2 very high rated OLmen still free
bostad was recuiting this one when he was at wisconsin Alex Kozan og 6 foot 4 295
and Jordan Diamond 6 foot6 289 he was allso recuited to wisconsin so our coachs know them

are these kids trouble and if not has bostad called them they have not signed i just checked the one is the 12 best OG in the usa the outher is in the top 25 ot.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.01.12 @ 9:52 pm

Might be grades. Chryst seems to want athletes that have some brains. In fact it goes beyond intelligence. If you have decent grades and scores, it shows you are dedicated, serious and work hard. Those are very good traits to have. Pitt could probably lower its standards and accept criminals like Miami or dummys like Bama and get top 10 recruiting classes each year, but thankfully Pitt is better than that.

Comment by TX Panther 02.01.12 @ 10:09 pm

Emel, we also have Tom Ricketts, a 4-star OL who transferred and will be eligible to play in 2012.

In addition, we have Brendon Felder, a 3-star WR transfer from NC who is eligible and may see some time this season as a deep threat.

Justinian – not to put too fine a point on it but Bob Junko wasn’t on Graham’s staff at all. Ever since his heart attack a few years back. He’s been on PITT’s administrative staff since 2007.

But he was instrumental in keeping this class together almost single handily during the coaching changes. Both Bam Bradley and Deaysean Rippy credit his keeping on them as their deciding factor. Junko is somewhat of a legend in WPA HS football circles.

Comment by Reed 02.01.12 @ 10:17 pm

Forgot about Ricketts who is going to be a starter for PITT and more than likely a really good player.
Was shocked when he chose Ped State over PITT in the first place since father Tom played and starred at PITT
And the Felder kid should be good too.

Reed is there a kid transferring from ND that will be eligible next season?

Cudos to Bob Junko as well !!

Comment by Emel 02.01.12 @ 10:25 pm

TXPanther: You must have missed that SI article about Pitt being ThugU.

Comment by Krayz 02.01.12 @ 11:07 pm

Just remember this when evaluating recruit rankings:

Voytik’s rating on ESPN: 80
Sunseri’s rating on ESPN in 2008: 80

Comment by H2PInIN 02.01.12 @ 11:57 pm

I’m very pleased with Pitt’s recruiting class. Would it have been nice to perhaps keep Conwell, Pankey and Hilliard? Or maybe snag a J.J. Denman or Demetrious Cox? Sure. However, Chryst managed to keep Shell, Voytik, Bisnowaty and the Davis twins. Plus he was able to add the likes of Holtz, Rippy, Bradley and Jackson. That’s a very, very solid group of recruits. Kudos to Chryst for keeping them together, and kudos to the kids for wanting to stay together, even after the debacle at the end of the season. All in all, I find very little to quibble with here, particularly when things could have been so much worse.

I sincerely hope that this class will be able to lead Pitt to great things, a sentiment I suspect most of you share.


Comment by Swinging Gate 02.02.12 @ 2:12 am

EMel – that would be E.J. Banks at DB. He was the 26th rated Safety coming out of HS and he’s a good one.

He actually played sparingly last season if I remember because he had already red shirted at ND and was eligible this last season.

Comment by Reed 02.02.12 @ 6:12 am

That SI article was biased and misrepresented Pitt and Wanny. State Penn is in the top 10 for Fulmer Cup rankings over the past decade. Pitt had one bad year and it gets blown out of proportion. Pitt runs a clean program and graduates its athletes without producing basket weaving degrees or muskett history degrees like State Penn and West Fn Virginia. Wanny made sure players attended class and were good community citizens since he knew you represented the university in the classroom, on the field and in the community. It had to pain Wanny that his players let him down. That one bad arrest year and a mediocre record in season 6 cost Wanny his job. Nordy takes academics and image seriously. Our Pitt brand is a precious thing. State Penn will take years if ever to get theirs back. Miami will always be known as thug U. WVU will always be associated with hillbilly trash. I admire Chryst focusing on men of character. You cannot win on the field and in life without having values and being disciplined. The players Chryst held on and recruited appear to be leaders and excited to be part of something bigger than themselves. I think they will respresent Pitt well. I’m proud to call myself a Panther.

Comment by TX Panther 02.02.12 @ 6:21 am

No question that the comportment of the Pitt players in 2010 were way out of line and needed to be cleaned up. More importantly, this did not seem to be a trend as it was not an issue prior to that year, and hasn’t been an issue since.

You may recall that the poster boy of that SI article was Jabaal Sheard .. who was an exemplary student/citizen prior to that, and has been since. All Jabaal has done was become a 2nd roud draft pick, make the NFL all rookie team, and the people up here in Cleveland love him. (not bad for a hardened criminal!)

Comment by wbb 02.02.12 @ 8:00 am

[…] — for example — places a higher emphasis on quantity than most sites. Something that hurt Pitt in their rankings last year, but gives Pitt a huge boost this year. That said we, like to know where Pitt is considered to be […]

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