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April 23, 2012

First Defensive Commit

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 10:34 am

Had to take the weekend away from the computer. Saturday was my son’s 5th birthday. A house with a dozen or so kids his age running about for the afternoon led to a night of necessary drinking and silence. Sunday was more family time. So glad the kids are in school today.

While of the grid, Pitt got another commitment. Another relatively unknown, unheralded and unranked commit (mostly, 24/7 has 3-stars for him), but a verbal nonetheless. Future Pitt DE Shakir Soto from GAR (not to be confused with GWAR) Memorial High, verballed over the weekend.

“It was his third time he’d been out there,” GAR coach Paul Wiedlich Jr. said. “He was pretty fired up about them. He kind of knew he was going to commit to them. He just wanted to do it in person because they’ve treated him so well.

“Now he can focus on playing football and enjoying the rest of his junior year.”

Soto was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class 2A all-state team, Wyoming Valley Conference Coaches Association Small School all-star team and The Times Leader All-WVC team. He made a team-high 114 tackles and nine sacks. He also returned an interception for a touchdown and blocked a punt.

Soto also started on the offensive line for the Grenadiers, but has been recruited as a defensive end.

“First of all, they are getting a great student,” Wiedlich Jr. said. “He’s in the top 20 of his class. As far as a person, the kid has a tremendous work ethic that just transfers to the field.”

Because Soto plays at a relatively small school, it factored into not being noticed until recently.

Soto began getting noticed in February, when he scored well at a camp (Insider subs).

Soto was one of the top performers at the Philadelphia Nike Combine in February when he posted an electronically-timed 4.92 40-yard dash, 4.47 20-yard shuttle, 31.4-inch vertical and 84.69 SPARQ.

I have no idea what those numbers actually mean, but they look good.

In no small part, because of his relative anonymity, the recruiting sites have him listed at 6-3 or 6-4 and put his weight from 229 to 238.

The offers for Soto seemed to have been increasing. He had offers from rebuilding, sliding and freefalling ACC programs (Virginia, BC and Maryland). Rutgers and Penn State had been showing interest, but had not actually offered.

Here’s some highlights of Soto from this past season.

Once he learns to use his hands to keep linemen off him, he can utilize his quickness and speed.

He has the size for sure and is a two way player…that is what you look for at that level.

He is a good football player.

Comment by SFPitt 04.23.12 @ 10:42 am

I have no issue with Soto or the offensive lineman they just signed, being under the radar. I have confidense in the staff’s ability recognize talent when they see it. Considering where things stand right now, they are going to have to find a few sleepers and take a chance or two on a few kids.

Comment by Justinian 04.23.12 @ 11:32 am

“Now he can focus on playing football and enjoying the rest of his junior year.”

I’m hoping that PC and his staff are so on top of things, that they are a step ahead of others, and picking fruit before it is completely “ripe”

Comment by CompLit 04.23.12 @ 12:07 pm

Greg Romeus, Dion Lewis, Max Gruder and Mark Myers are a few examples of under the radar propsects .. Myers tested well in the June camp, mainly arm strength and althetic (remember, he ran the high hurdles in high school)

Comment by wbb 04.23.12 @ 1:36 pm

Someone who could help us compete in the top half of the Big East: probably. Someone who can help us compete on a BCS Bowl level: probably not. Same goes w/ the other two recruits thus far.

Comment by Get the Glory 04.23.12 @ 2:28 pm

Almost every 2013 recruit is unranked at this time except for the 5 stars and a few 4 stars.

Comment by Reed 04.23.12 @ 2:47 pm

I was really hoping we could recruit GWAR.

Comment by Dalek 04.23.12 @ 2:54 pm

I know we’re used to getting some top quality recruits here, but I’m hoping Chryst turns into a Jamie-Dixon type recruiter, where he finds those “diamond in the rough” type of players and leads to a whole bunch of wins.

Comment by Greg 04.23.12 @ 3:05 pm

Good stats from his junior season, good measurables and, most importantly, the staff likes him. I’ll put my faith in the staff and their evaluations. Not much else you can do from a fan’s perspective as far as recruiting goes. Also, for what it is worth, 24/7 has him as the 14th overall DE prospect.

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 04.23.12 @ 3:39 pm

Seems to me the staff has confidence that they can teach anyone to play football. They are looking for players with an ideal position size say (6’7″285 OT) and a work ethic that would make them coachable. Then the coaches will mold and train the player into what they want instead of a kid with pure talent and try to fit him in somewhere.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 04.23.12 @ 4:50 pm

The coach will take the players he wants and we
will give him the time to see how it works out
but if this were dave takeing NRs we would be pissed we would want to know what the hell he was doeing.
but after 2 years of this type of player if they dont shine dont make us better
you know we will be asking for his head
I say give him his time lets us not bitch but i have to say it is hard for me to keep the fath
i was so used to dave bringing in highley rated players but i will bite my lip and give him time.
but it is hard when penn state has six 4 stars
and ohio state eight 4 stars
i hate to see penn state beat us in anything.
even recruting.

Comment by Frankcan 04.23.12 @ 5:41 pm

Today i was talking to scott orndoff about shakir and he said that they met a few days ago. Scott said he was a legit 6’4″ 235. The thing ive noticed is shakir is fairly lean. He could easily get to 250 by next year, maybe push 260 further down the line. If im pitt, im taking all of these under rated and undervalued players i can assuming we cant get the top guys close to home. Its looking like dorian johnson a top 5 ot and robert foster are still pitt leans and boyd has pitt at the top of his list w/ wvu. Thats about as good as pitt can get after all this coaching crap and consistant mediocrity

Comment by Pk 04.23.12 @ 6:24 pm

FRANKCAN Steelcurtain55 over on Inside The Huddle message board did a comparision between PITT and Alabama’s recruiting over the last four years…

PITT 3.38
BAMA 3.08

BAMA 3.66
PITT 3.37

BAMA 3.67
PITT 3.10

BAMA 3.38
PITT 3.21

“Those would make up the majority of the players that played in last year’s NC for BAMA

Does anyone actually think were that close to BAMA in talent? That is why I look at the star system w/ a grain of salt.”

You’ve seen the comparisons between PITT and Wisconsin’s players also. In both cases PITT fell far short even with good recruiting… to say nothing of every other BE team other than us winning the conference yet not recruiting as well.

Comment by Reed 04.24.12 @ 7:23 am

Dang PK that’s some nice inside information. If we can land 2 of those three (Johnson, Foster, Boyd) and then put a solid class of diamonds in the rough together around them we should have a pretty legit freshman class on our hands next year.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 04.24.12 @ 10:55 am

The star system is BS for the most part. It is all about player development.
Not to start any Tino talk but…I just watched the spring game online. Tino was horrible…actually he was himself. I hope Chryst has both Tino and Myers ready to go come fall because Tino is not going to cut it. He better recruit another QB besides Voytik.

Comment by notrocketscience 04.24.12 @ 11:37 am

Well it’s G.A.R. not Gar, but call it whatever you want – they were my high school’s main rival.

Pitt doesn’t go after very many recruits from small schools in NEPA, and the ones they have gotten have flamed out early. I’ll be rooting for this kid to do well, but I honestly don’t expect much out of the kids that play single A.

Comment by ChrisA 04.24.12 @ 7:01 pm

Soto will be a great defensive end. Explosive, plays like a big LB and can carry another 20-30lbs. easily. Great student to boot. He is a Wannstedt type of DE and if there was one position Wanny could recruit it was D-Line. A coach must recruit players that fit his schemes, then develop and win with them. These first four commits are exactly that.

Comment by Cooper Barr 04.25.12 @ 7:33 pm

[…] evaluated). Yes, he played in a low classification, but he definitely flew under the radar. When he verballed to Pitt in April. Since that time, his profile has risen enough to be evaluated and ranked by all the sites. He is […]

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