April 20, 2012

An Unknown for the O-Line

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 10:12 am

I have not touched this for almost a week. Mainly because I was hoping to get or find something more on this. Pitt got a commit for the 2013 class. Offensive tackle Aaron Reese out of Chambersburg committed. Reese is an, uh, unheralded recruit. He has no rankings. No stars. No scouting reports and Pitt was his first 1-A offer.

Given Pitt’s lack of quality depth on the O-line, and faith that Chryst and Jim Heuber can develop him, there is some optimism. Not to mention the hope that Pitt found a diamond-in-the-rough before others. Since there was at least interest from programs like Wisconsin, Penn State and Rutgers. Reese is just thrilled about choosing Pitt.

“They have everything I wanted,” Reese said. “There are so many opportunities for me at Pitt, it’s just spectacular. I couldn’t find anything negative about it.”

Reese said Penn State may have been the original No. 1 school he was hoping to go to and he has visited Happy Valley many times.

“We didn’t think any school could top what they had,” Reese said, “but Pitt did. Somebody asked me if Penn State gave me an offer right now, would I take it? I’d have to say, no. I’m happy with my decision.”

Penn State and six other Division I schools have been in communication with Reese, as well as three FCS schools, but Pitt made a bold move early and it paid off.

Reese is listed at 6′ 5″ and between 280 and 290 pounds. He has a goal to be up around 305 by the fall.

Interesting side-note is that Reese really wanted to study culinary arts at school. Pitt and most of the other schools he had interest, however, don’t offer that option. Pitt will work with him to intern at local restaurants while Reese has opted to major in elementary education.

He’s got the frame to be a hog, just a matter of discipline and mental ability with the coaching staff’s history I would think.

Comment by tedsptman 04.20.12 @ 10:27 am

At 290 lbs I have the feeling he has mastered
his culinary arts already!

Comment by Pitt1969 04.20.12 @ 11:18 am

“Pitt has said they want to make the offensive line be the focus of the team, kind of like they did at Wisconsin. I want to help build a program like that, just like what we’re trying to do here at Chambersburg.”

You got to like the above. I watched the kid’s film. He seems to be really athletic and believe any weight he gains will be mostly muscle. I feel this coaching staff will get the most out of him, future and current O lineman. We are going to be smash mouth on O and with success Pitt will get its share of good/great O lineman. Now if we just had the trigger man to prod the bulls, hit the mustangs and most of all…stay on his freakin horse. But that is another story… LMAO

Comment by Kenny 04.20.12 @ 11:23 am

I’ve seen many highly touted prospects fall short and I seen overlooked players go on to make it in the pros. So I don’t worry about haw many stars a player has coming out of high school. The coaches know what they looking for in the players thay want. They obviously saw enough in this very big althletic kid, to warrent offering him a scholarship. He looked very mobile in the film clips that I saw of him and make no doubt about it, he is a very big player. You can’t coach size or speed and he seems to have both. As far as technique and development, that’s what Chryst and company are paid to do. Let’s hope he’s half as good as he appears to be.

Comment by Justinian 04.20.12 @ 1:32 pm

Put me in touch with him and I’ll put him in touch with my neighbor’s son, a Sophomore at Pitt. After his Freshman year, Andrew decided to transfer to Culinary Institute of America and then he returned to Pitt.

While at Pitt, he works at that fancy restaurant in Shadyside, name of which escapes me.

Comment by steve1 04.20.12 @ 1:53 pm

Marino opened 2 area pizza shops recently

Comment by wbb 04.20.12 @ 2:29 pm

after a large order of fries at the O, a apstrami and chees at Primanti’s, and bucket of Louisiana Lickers at Quaker Steak, he’ll say the heck with the culinary arts

Comment by wbb 04.20.12 @ 2:32 pm

ofcourse Culinary arts; he’s an O-Lineman!

Comment by Yup 04.20.12 @ 2:55 pm

Gotta disagree about the Louisiana Lickers. Some of the worst wings I’ve ever had. The Wings at Silky’s are better than that tourist food at Quaker State.

Comment by Chuck Morris 04.20.12 @ 4:38 pm

I had a friend who was a defensive lineman, and he would tell people he was a gourmond. When asked what a gourmond was, he would go on to say, a gourmet is a person who likes good food. A gourmond is a person who likes A LOT OF GOOD FOOD!

Comment by Justinian 04.20.12 @ 5:18 pm

Steve1 – you may want to rethink that offer – it’s a recruiting violation.

Comment by Reed 04.20.12 @ 6:11 pm

The best wings are medium, imo. Perfect amount of spice and a great flavor.

As for reese, i agree with those above. This staff knows what they want and they know a good player when they see one

Comment by Pk 04.20.12 @ 8:36 pm

We want them big 6 foot 5 or more for OT 6 foot3 or larger for G and 300 to 320 pounds

Comment by Frankcan 04.20.12 @ 8:44 pm

Now how about landing some nasties on the D line. We need more depth there as well. If this kid would have picked State Penn, he would have been a 4 star by the end of his senior year. Nitter recruits always get the benefit of doubt. Guess he wasn’t Penn State material. But stars in the end aren’t the end all. Pitt does need to recruit better in Eastern Pa. It appears that the Hawaian/Samoan guy is the recruiter for that part of the state? Also curious as to what Florida recruits that Chryst is targeting. Maybe Doke with have an update eventually. Pens won…I’m happy.

Comment by TX Panther 04.20.12 @ 10:25 pm

I know it’s a chain now or whatever, but, I like Quaker State’s wings. Now, I haven’t tried that Louisiana flavor if you are being specific??

Actually, I like any wing, that is crisp and crunchy on the outside.

Had some from a local place (which shall remain nameless, maybe just a bad night), and the outside skin and coating were wet and soggy.

Then, at work, someone said they like them that way????????

Anyhow, if anyone would like to send me a dozen over now, I promise I’ll try them and evaluate!!

GO PENS!!!!!!! Long way from being over, but I’d say they’re puckering up a little bit in Philthy!!!

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 10:30 pm

Haven’t had Silkys, a buddy swears by them too!!!

Had cold beers there, will give a try next time!!

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 10:32 pm

Tx panther, As for florida recruits, pitts offered a bunch of linebackers and some defensive linemen. It appears as though pitt has a shot at all of them.

Comment by Pk 04.20.12 @ 10:37 pm

The ACC loves us for our academics, and one more reason they’ll love us even more.

Check it out, especially those of you that live out of town.

Pitt #3 ranked university in receiving federal research dollars.

#5 overall!!!

Those are not typos!!!

link to

Comment by Dan 04.20.12 @ 11:04 pm

Some info Penn state has 8 commits so far 6 of
them 4 stars Ohio state has 10 commits one 5 star
8 of them 4 stars.
just info i am sure we will be fine as time goes by we will catch up.

Comment by Frankcan 04.20.12 @ 11:18 pm

Chambersburg is dead solid PSU turf. I like his attitude and don’t look now, but PSU is about to endure life after death so to speak and some proven head coaches .

The time is now to put our stamp on the Commonwealth.

Comment by SFPitt 04.21.12 @ 12:05 am

Pitt is fine in recruiting. Most of their top targets are still un committed but at the same time, a verbal commitment can change at any time. 4 star qb tra’von chapman is favoring pitt, 4/5 star OT dorian johnson is still considered a pitt lean despite blowing up and getting offers from powerhouses, and guys like tyler boyd, donovan munger, Devin washington, and corey cooper are just a few big time guys with pitt right in the mix.

After having only a class of 16 last year, im expecting a full class of 25 this year.
4/5 o linemen
4/5 d linemen
3/4 wr’s
2 qb’s
3 lb’s
1/2 rb’s
3/4 db’s
1 S

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 9:24 am

Oh, and i think for pitts recruiting of qb’s, they need one top tier recruit like tra’von chapman and i would probably go the juco route for the other. I dont see this staff playing voytik too often and they cant feel comfortable about the next few years of qb play so they need an upgrade in talent there, voytik and chapman in the stable is pretty damn good, and they need someone who is physically/mentally capable of producing for the first year in the acc.

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 9:29 am

Voytik often this year, that is

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 9:30 am

If you want gooooood wings go to Dan Marino’s place. Coal fired wings are the best I ever had.

Comment by alcofan 04.21.12 @ 9:40 am

Thanks for the tip, alcofan. I loves me some wings. (a little crispy, just like Dan)

Comment by Chuck Morris 04.21.12 @ 11:27 am

I think they might sign more than 3 linebackers. For one – they are versatile – make good DE’s and maybe if they are smaller and faster could even play safety. I think they have offered something like 11 linebackers already

Comment by AtlantaPanther 04.21.12 @ 4:13 pm

Pitt just got its third commitment. 3 star DE shakir soto commited today. Hes 6’4″ 230lbs. Very good measurables.

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 4:15 pm

DL has become a position of need .. this guy looks to have potential

link to

Comment by wbb 04.21.12 @ 4:56 pm

Slow time of the year so I’d thought I’d share this basically useless sentiment:

If you have not gone to Quaker Steak and had Buckeye Barbecue, you haven’t lived. My roommate went to OSU but somehow he’s never had it.

Comment by Cavalier Panther 04.21.12 @ 5:20 pm

Reed, even if the recruit contacts the student, not me?

Comment by steve1 04.21.12 @ 6:48 pm

San Francisco wings at Mad Mex fellas.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.21.12 @ 6:51 pm

This is just something to talk abought
just a thought i am not saying things are bad our new coach wants the kind of players he wants that is ok
but penn state has 6 players out of 8 that are 4 atar and ohio state has 8 players who are 4 star
and we have 1 3 star and 2 who are NR
the point is if dave was still coach we whould be upset we whould want to know what the hell he was doeing with so low ranked kids

just something to think abought on a slow news day.
how times change .

Comment by Frankcan 04.21.12 @ 7:42 pm

@CHUCK MORRIS, ya, it’s like two different foods in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll slurp the soggy’s down…………

@Tossing Thabeets. San Francisco’s at Med Mex, will give that a try. Used to go there quite a bit, friend I went with has moved to NYC, so I haven’t been.

Putting that on the list.

Comment by Dan 04.21.12 @ 8:10 pm

Good points Frank. Remember though, it’s gonna take him a few years to meet all the local coaches, get his assitants entrenched in their location specialty, and it’s gonna take some wins, before he can have a list of 4’s and 5’s.

If you said this 2 or 3 years from now, then I’d say, hey, what the hell is this guy doing, but, I think we need to give him some space.

Kids that are frosh, soph and junrs in high school are going to be the ones that will get to know him, and see what kind of product he puts on the field.

You’d always like to have more 4’s and 5’s, but, I think we’re moving along well.

Hope all is well with you FRANK!!

Comment by Dan 04.21.12 @ 8:14 pm

Frank, i understand your point, but if after the mess thats been the past two years you wouldve told me that by late april pitt would have three commitments that appear to be solid recruits i wouldve said youre crazy. Soto is 3 stars on 247 and he has great measurables and good speed. Same with Reese.

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 9:17 pm

hope things are well with you DAN good to hear
from you
dont get me wrong it was just something to talk abought on a slow day i love how things are love our HC. just saying it is funny how things change we would have had daves ass for singing NR when penn state has 6 players that are 4 star and we have none
we would have been so pissed then funny how things change.

Comment by Frankcan 04.21.12 @ 10:01 pm

I understand frank, its something to think about. I dont want to get philosophical but pitt has the potential to do great things. There have just been a lot of mistakes made that has causeed the program to suffer. Pitt has great facilities, great history, a good recruiting base, now a stable and respected conference, and is a great academic institution. I truly believe that chryst is the guy to put pitt where it can be. I warn you guys though, it wont happen over night

Comment by Pk 04.21.12 @ 10:42 pm

Keep in mind one thing about Chryst.

He’s a guy who goes his own way. That goes for the way he coaches. It also goes for the players he recruits.

Once Chryst racks up wins this year and everyone gets a look at what Chryst is about… recruits will be lining up at the door.

However you’ll still see him going after some lower rated or even non rated players that he believes in.

Comment by PittofDreams 04.22.12 @ 8:01 am

Shakir Soto, D-End, another find? Time will tell.

Comment by gc 04.22.12 @ 8:18 am

I’m not worried about recruiting stats – Dokish did a nice little analysis of recruiting rankings and Pitt had, overall, higher rated players than Wisconsin. The type of offense Pitt will be running does not require elite athletes – save them for the defensive side of the ball. On offense, RBs OL and TE’s will be clamoring to play for Chryst. Focus on athletes for defense and QB and he’ll be fine.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.22.12 @ 9:41 am

^^^ Tossing Thabeets – That wasn’t Dokish that was my comment on his Blog. here it is and I think worth reviewing when looking at how recruiting is going so far (well IMO).

In the past seven years under DW had 17th, 8th and 11th years.

“In the past seven years under ESPN DW had 21st, 19th and 16th years. Under ESPN Wisconsin didn’t make the Top 25 cut at all.

Wisconsin was in the Rivals Top 50 three times; 41st, 34th, 40th. In the best year they had was 26th.

1) It shakes out the same really – According to star rankings, PITT far our recruited Wisconsin over that seven year time period but didn’t produce the quality football play that Wisconsin did with lesser recruiting classes.

2) Even with that clear lead in recruiting PITT was greatly trounced in the W/L record by records of 60/19 for Wisconsin and 45/32 for PITT. Wisconsin went to seven straight bowl games in that period with two BCS games in the Rose Bowls.

3) PITT only had one year where their W/L record was better than Wisconsin’s – 2008 by 9/4 to 7/6.

4) The final AP Top 25 rankings had Wisconsin in it five times over those seven years with finishes as follows: 10th, 7th, 16th, 24th, 7th. PITT was in it one time with a 15th ranking in 2009.

Chris may be correct with his opinion that it took years to build that but that also might not be the case here. We just don’t know until Chryst’s recruits start playing ball.”

Comment by Reed 04.22.12 @ 9:57 am

If pitt had more talent at qb id be very optimistic about this season. With this schedule they could go 11-1 if they had quality qb play and stayed injury free in the trenches

Comment by Pk 04.22.12 @ 10:06 am

I didn’t mean to discredit you Reed, but I was referring to Dokish’s article article here:

link to

I generally agree with your opinions (minus Sunseri) so it’s probably why I overlooked it.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.22.12 @ 10:21 am

Two of the top three rated Guards/Centers in the upcoming NFL draft are from Wisconsin (DeCastro & Zeitler). I think a recruit for those positions with NFL aspirations would be crazy not to commit to Pitt if offered the opportunity.

Comment by 66Goat 04.22.12 @ 12:18 pm

Dont worry about commits right now. They may have interest but theyre gonna wait to see us with a new head coach. Penn st and ohio st will get early commits off brand name alone. We went through this last year too. Any word on Robert Foster’s interest?

Comment by Tony C 04.22.12 @ 2:20 pm

I love the “I don’t put too much stock in recruiting rankings, but here’s a bunch of recruiting ranking statistics” discussions on Pitt Blather.

Felt the research bug:

Last Year’s BCS Teams and their Recruiting Rankings the three previous years:

Oregon (11, 13, 26)
Wisconsin (38, 33, 53)
Oklahoma State (18, 18, 45)
Stanford (23, 24, 15)
Michigan (29, 12, 14)
Virginia Tech (21, 37, 41)
West Virginia (53, 30, 22)
Clemson (14, 23, 42)
Alabama (7, 4, 2)
LSU (9, 7, 3)

(irony alert – worst rankings = WVU and Wisconsin tied at 53)

Also, in the past 8 years, the highest recruiting ranking of any National Champion in the three years preceding their championship was 18 (Auburn 2008 – 6 and 2 the other years).

So the morals of that story are? Have a top 8 recruiting class or forget about winning a National Championship. There’s no reason Pitt can’t get to a BCS game in the ACC. And Pitt fans really should jump for joy when the team wins double digit games (and apologize to Dave Wannstedt – ha ha ha).

Comment by cnorwoodaz 04.22.12 @ 2:37 pm

cnorwoodaz – The difference is that Pitt is in the tier of college football programs that can’t realistically expect to compete for a championship every year. I believe top ten every 4 years is realistic however. Depth will always be an issue when you don’t have top 15 recruiting classes every year. Pitt would also need a lot of luck and for all the chips to fall just right to compete at that level.

Pitt’s had two throw away classes do to coaching changes. It’s going to take a couple years for Pitt to regain some confidence in the High School coaches sending kids our way. Chryst seems to be the type of coach to do that. That is why I said I’m not worried about the rankings – 3 years down the line, I’ll probably be singing a different tune. In the present, however, Pitt has put itself in a difficult situation recruiting wise.

Based on your stats Pitt would need two top 25 classes in a 3 year period which is realistic IF they start winning.

I won’t be apologizing to Wanny anytime soon. Unlike Dixon, who has had a #1 ranking, #1 seed and a few top 10 finishes, Wanny never even won a weak Big East with the best talent in the league, zero top ten finishes and zero BCS games.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.22.12 @ 5:50 pm

It think your expectations are right in line with mine TT. A top 10 finish every so often. Legit shot at a conference title/BCS bowl more often than not. Keeping the recruiting interest high and excitement going in western PA, OH and the mid Atlantic. The fact that we have one of the highest ranked QBs and RBs coming in next year after the disaster that was Pitt football the past few years is stunning.

IMHO there’s not much difference between a #25 class and a #40 class. Were talking one 5 star (maybe) and 3 or 4 more middle of the road 4 stars who may or may not pan out.. And I was kidding about Wannstedt, FYI.

Comment by CnorwoodAZ 04.22.12 @ 6:48 pm

LOL – I was hoping you were kidding about Wanny. There are a lot of Wanny apologist out there though. I have the same expectations of the football team as I do the basketball team. Occasionally crack the top ten. Occasionally win your conference. Put yourself in positions to succeed. Pitt’s due some good luck after watching the way the ‘nova and Butler games ended. Two top 25 recruiting classes every 3 years should not be unrealistic.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.22.12 @ 6:59 pm

Check out the entire spring scrimmage on youtube: link to

Comment by Tony C 04.22.12 @ 7:28 pm

@Tossing Thabeets and CNORWOOD, I don’t need to post with you two posting.

Right on the money. I have no delusions of a National Championship. If we would ever get in position, that would be fantastic.

Competing in the ACC, having a meaningful game some day against Clemson, Fla. St. or Georgia Tech, that the country might say, “hey, gotta watch that Pitt-Clemson game at 7:00” is what i’m after.

Ya, a top 10 every 3-4 years, with consistenly being a top 25 program, and a bcs bowl every once in awhile would be nice.

Very difficult to compete with football factories i.e. (Alabama, LSU, USC, OHIO STATE). Almost impossible.

I’m not throwing out the possibility, that if things ever fell right and Pitt went 12-0 in the ACC, we probably would be in the mix.

Not what I’m after though. Back to being a good solid program, dare I say, possibly all fans very disappointed with an 8 or 9 win season!!! That would be fantastic. Could you imagine if winning 8 or 9 games was a bad season???

Allthough we’ll never be a football factory, I do hold out a bit of hope, that if Chryst is the real deal, and stays for awhile, we could become a pretty good football power again.

Kind of funny, as the ACC gets nearer. Everyone including myself always kind of said, “well, the ACC is right above the Big Least”.

Ah, no, it’s quite a ways ahead. Think of the scheduling. With ND and PSU and a cupcake, add UNC, Miami, NC St. Fla. St, BC, Maryland, that’s a HUGE step above the Big Least.

No, it’s not SEC, but, it also cannot be spoken about in the same breath as the BE.

Could be a good thing though, if you beat those teams, you suddenly are on the national radar.

Comment by Dan 04.22.12 @ 9:11 pm

I agree with dan, cnorwood, and thabeets. The alabamas and the lsus are simply on a level that pitt could only compete with if there was a miracle. Pitt has the capability of being in the 9-11 win range every year and the ability to compete for conference and bcs championships. The past two recruiting years have been down, but there have still been bright spots that maybe werent expected such as landing lafayette pitts, getting what appears to be a great group of transfers with christian, vinopal, felder, and banks, plus the emergence of guys like isaac bennett. This team isnt as talented as some past pitt teams but there are some great players on this roster. I expect that to continue and it appears it will but it will takes at least a year or two to get the talent level to where it COULD be.

Comment by Pk 04.22.12 @ 9:22 pm

Ahhh….the refreshing sound of optimism and rationality. Pitt is not in the royalty of college football and expectations have to be tempered. I do believe that Pitt can rise to the level of a Va Tech on the football field though…which would make me ecstatic.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 04.22.12 @ 10:07 pm

Shakir Soto Junior highlight reel:
link to

Looks like he has a good motor and a frame with room to bulk up. Most importantly, he looks like he might be an actual football player and not just a 6’4″ guy.

Comment by Dan35 04.22.12 @ 10:55 pm

I like the way he blew up that fullback and then made the tackle on the second play of the reel. Nice job PC & Co!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 04.23.12 @ 12:04 am

I tried watching the spring game and it put me to sleep almost instantly. Wake me up in September!

Comment by Tony C 04.23.12 @ 2:00 am

I am convinced that Chryst has taken the first steps to remaking the culture of Pitt football.

While known for having a great offensive mind, the one big misgiving coming in was that Chryst was lacking in the kind of charisma that would translate into he being a great recruiter.

But all you have to catch from the Blue Gold game was his interaction early on with Ray Graham. It was very telling about the kind of rapport Chryst has already established with his players.

He’s real. They know it. And that is going to go a long way when it comes to recruiting… not to mention how Moms and Dads are going to take to entrusting him with their son’s future.

Can Pitt compete for a National Championship against the Alabamas or the Oklahomas or Floridas?

You betcha.

It just takes a bit of a perfect storm… a season or two where a few key elements fall into place… starting with a quarterback who is a winner.

However, in the meantime, as we wait for the perfect storm… I for one am going to really enjoy watching a team that can be counted on to be organized and show up ready to compete on Saturdays without having to worry the game would be lost simply because of boneheaded decisions or a lack of trust on the part of its Head Coach.

Comment by PittofDreams 04.23.12 @ 9:30 am

Haha, PittofDreams you’ve picked an appropriate screen name. That’s some pretty lofty thinking you’ve got there. I like the optimism though! And I do agree with you about Chryst’s character. Now, will we get the horses we need over time…well I hope so too. HTP!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 04.23.12 @ 9:46 am

One thing I notice about all our recruits is size. So far 3 recruits and none of them is smaller than 6″4′. Granted it’s two linemen and a tight end…

Comment by Atlanta Panther 04.23.12 @ 9:47 am

No smurfs. I like that. The game is won in the trenches so I like Chryst’s focus. Need to be strong up the middle. Skill positions should be the last recruited once the hogs are in place. Seems like we may have our QB in Chad. RB in Shell. Still need that WR on the outside…maybe Foster. Seems to me that the recruiting is picking up and Pitt’s got some momentum going.

Comment by TX Panther 04.23.12 @ 10:33 am

Of all the skilled position recruits, to me, Foster clearly stands out.

Not to go negative on Shell, but Foster clearly stole the show during their nationally televised game on ESPN. This was despite Shell racking up big numbers and Foster being forced to leave the game after suffering an injury to his arm.

Reminds me of a young Michael Irvin.

Comment by PittofDreams 04.23.12 @ 3:34 pm

“Reminds me of a young Michael Irvin.” – without the cocaine hopefully.

Comment by Reed 04.24.12 @ 6:34 pm

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