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May 8, 2012

Yesterday was an eventful off-season day for the Panthers.  We had one verified recruit commitment in Jaymar Parrish, a big FB from local Gateway HS along with one unconfirmed rumor about former Rutgers QB Tom Savage transferring to PITT after a short lay-over in Arizona.

First let’s look at the recruitment.  So far Paul Chryst has recruited five players, four of them on offense.  He’s gotten two big OL, a TE and a powerful FB in Parrish.

“They’re going to line him up as a traditional fullback because they’re a pro-style offense team,” said Gateway coach Terry Smith.  ”He’s an extremely physical blocker and just a tough, hard-nosed kid who is really athletic.”

Now, think back to what Chryst said he was going to put out on the field offensively and what he built so well at Wisconsin; a highly productive running game with big, strong players up the middle.  That is exactly what he’s recruited so far at PITT.

Jaymar Parrish has not been ranked yet but look at Scout’s FB prospects for 2013. Parrish is on the list but the telling thing is that only three FBs are awarded any stars at all by at this point nationally. has five FBs total with all being three star kids.

At Wisconsin Chryst loved this type of FB and used them pretty regularly.  Last year they had Bradie Ewing, a 6’0/245 FB who ended being drafted in the 5th round by the Atlanta Falcons.  Ewing had only seven rushing attempts for 33 yards but also caught 28 passes for 328 yards (11.7 ypc) in his two years of play with the Badgers. He was also the #1 rated FB going into the draft.

Just for fun compare that with what Henry Hynoski did at PITT over the course of his career where he had 37 carries for 134 yards and 40 receptions for 283 (7.1 ypc).  Of course Hyno didn’t have three 1000 yards rushers on his team one year either.

This is the FB model Chryst wants to replicate when he gets his kids on the field over the next few years and is what we were used to seeing at PITT under DW.  Whisky hasn’t rushed their FBs much but used them mostly as a lead blocker and receiver out of the backfield.  Parrish, at 6’2” and 235 lbs and having been a TE who caught 22 passes for 524 yards and four touchdowns, is well equipped with size and good hands to be that pass receiving FB Chryst has had and wants now.

As an example of Parrish’s blocking ability, last season when Gateway played Bishop McDevitt he went up against #1 nationally ranked five star DE Noah Spence and blocked him effectively enough call it a draw.  When the rankings come out he will probably be at least a three star recruit.

Tom Savage’s rumored transfer is an interesting issue.  According to his Twitter feed he alludes to playing for PITT (good luck finding it, I can’t read more than three or four Tweets before getting dizzy).  Here is what Chris Dokish had to say about Savage:

Last but not least, Rutgers and Arizona transfer Tom Savage has hinted that he may be transferring to Pitt.  A one time elite recruit out of Cardinal O’Hara HS in suburban Philly, the 6’5″ 240 pounder had a big freshman season before his losing his job as a sophomore.  He then transferred to Arizona and sat out last year.  

However, before being eligible to play a game Savage left Arizona after the season. Citing family matters, he tried to be eligible immediately and transfer back to Rutgers, but the NCAA denied him.  For that reason, it looks like Savage will have just one year of eligibility remaining and that won’t be until 2013.  In that case, it just may be better to start Chad Voytik in his second season rather than Savage in his first- and last- season, but since there’s no guarantee that Voytik will be good enough, I guess Savage would be an excellent fallback option.”

  For a little background on what he did at RU here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Savage enrolled at Rutgers University in 2009, and after Rutgers opened the season with a loss to Cincinnati, he was named the starting quarterback. He led the team to a 9-4 record. During his freshman year at Rutgers, Savage passed for 2,211 yards and 14 touchdowns, while throwing only 7 interceptions. In arguably his best game of the year, he completed 14 of 27 passes for a season-high 294 yards and 2 touchdowns against the University of Central Florida in the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl.

He was named on the All-American Freshman Team by the Football Writers Association of America.

In 2010, Savage threw for 521 passing yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.  Early in the season, he was sidelined by an injury to his hand and replaced with freshman quarterback Chas Dodd. Dodd remained the starting QB based on his performance against Connecticut in his first ever start. 

  Savage would be nice to have on the roster I suppose but IMO we can forget about his playing over Sunseri in 2012 regardless of if he can get eligibility to or not.  Here are their numbers from their first year of playing (Savage as a FR).

                   CMP   ATT        YDS     CMP%  YDS/A       TD       INT      RAT

Savage      149     285        2211     52.3       7.76          14        7         128.7

Sunseri      223     346        2572     64.5       7.43          16        9         137.0

As you can see, and even though they are only stats, Sunseri was more productive.  Add to that Sunseri has two years experience under his belt with this team it would be a tough decision for a HC to sit him down and I don’t think Chryst would even if he had that option.

However, if this transfer is true and Chryst has been courting Savage, it sends a strong message about how Chryst feels about Myers as a QB on his team in the future.

Pretty good day for PITT football all around…

Note:  As an update on dates of recruiting here are how many kids we had commit each year before June 1st:

’13 – 5 PC – so far
’12 – 1 TG
’11 – 1 DW
’10 – 2 DW
’09 – 0 DW
’08 – 2 DW
’07 – 2 DW
’06 – 3 DW
’05 – 3 DW

Ewing was actually drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round.

Comment by Lollard 05.08.12 @ 10:24 am

Thanks Lollard, I made the correction.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 10:34 am

A fullback?! Does this mean Pitt will be able to score touchdowns from inside the 5 yard line again? I am excited about that, one thing drives me crazy about spread teams is when they get bogged down close to the goal line, and Pitt last year seemed to do that way too often and settle for field goals. I think the Notre Dame game was one case where if Pitt had just punched in a TD they could have gotten a big win, but perhaps my memory is off.

I could take or leave Savage. Why spend a scholarship on a player with just one year of eligibility? There has to be a juco transfer worth a shot. If anything, Savage is way more of a bust than Tino. From what I remember seeing him play at Rutgers, he had a rocket arm, granted, but he was immobile, did not have great awareness, and lacked touch on his short passes. Granted, he was a freshman, but he also will not have played a game in 3 years when he finally suits up for Pitt. That is a heckuva lot of rust to shake off. Someone prove me wrong please, I’d love to be excited about Savage coming, but I’m just not feeling it.

Comment by TartanPanther 05.08.12 @ 11:04 am

Tartan – I’m not jumping up and down about Savage anyway but if Chryst wants an experienced QB on the roster next year Savage would fit the bill. remember, no one knows how Voytik will be in college.

As far as FBs scoring TDs I really thought that would be the case with Hynoski, as big and strong as he was. But he was actually pretty ineffective in close to the goal line and only scored one TD in his three years at PITT. It would be great if Parrish turned out to be a reliable short yardage back.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 12:02 pm

Reed, you mentioned that “We had one verified recruit commitment . . .”. What is a verified commitment? Not verified until the LOI is signed, sealed and delivered! Wasn’t Anthony Morelli and the RB from Cent Cath (can’t think of his name Johnson??) verified commitments?

Comment by DobieGillis 05.08.12 @ 12:33 pm

This rumor is just that, even if it comes to pass and Savage ends up at Pitt, he will never see the field. Our experienced QB’s for 2013 should then be Anderson, Myers and Voltyk, even if Sunseri holds on to his starting role for the entire season. If Chryst doesn’t play at least two of these guys guys, in mop up duty against the likes of Youngstown State, Gardener-Webb and any other games that we have in the bag (hopefully many) by the middle of the fourth quarter, then he is not the coach I take him for.

It makes absolutely no sense to waste time and energy, not to mention a scholarship on a one year wonder. And by “wonder”, I mean after you see him start, you wonder why Chryst is playing him.

Put the effort into the guys who are already on the roster and have been putting in the time to work themselves into playing time.

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.08.12 @ 12:34 pm

Reed, how many TDs did Lewis score whie at Pitt with Hyno leading the way? It seemed to me that he scored a lor despite his diminutive stature?

Comment by wbb 05.08.12 @ 12:35 pm

Reed when PC looks at the QBs on his roster he darned well knows of the need to find others asap. He will do his best to shield Tino from having to do too much but has no credible back-up other than Anderson. Voytik would have to turn out to be the rare true freshman starter who comes along every now and then. Not much for PC to feel comfortable in respect to the QB position.

Comment by Kenny 05.08.12 @ 12:46 pm

WBB – 30 and you are correct Hyno really helped to make that happen. Still it would be nice to have a FB who you could depend on to bull his way through for two or three yards. Hyno really wasn’t like that.

Dobie – I meant ‘verified’ in contrast to the unconfirmed rumors about Savage. Of course nothing is set with recruits until LOI Day.

Dr. Tom – even if two of those QBs you mentioned get playing time this season it still is no guarentee we’d find a starting QB there except by default.

Voytik is a big question mark, Myers hasn’t shown anything in three years and Anderson may not be built for D1 ball.

I think that if Savage, who had one full and productive year of experience at this level of play is one the roster next year he very well may get a chance to either start or be QB2.

One scholarship for one year is a drop in the bucket to have a proven QB as back-up. The last thing we would want is a return to 2007 when we went through our top two QBs and ended up having a true FR play almost the whole season.

Why not have that insurance in case it was needed?

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 12:52 pm

Kenny, See post above ^^^.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 12:53 pm

Reed totally agree with the one scholarship, if you can get a QB with exp via transfer or what you do it without worry because you need to take care of a worry. Or is HCPC says “Its a no brainer. Its not like were splitting the atom.”

Comment by Kenny 05.08.12 @ 1:02 pm

Savage can’t hurt, even if it’s just for one year. We have no idea what Voytik will be, and it looks like Myers is never going to get it. Anderson isn;t an answer either. Remember the year that Stull got hurt and we had to watch Kevan Smith attempt to play QB? That should be a reminder that you can’t have enough depth, at least Savage would be able to handle a snap and not flinch everytime a defender gets close to him.

Comment by Jaimz 05.08.12 @ 1:32 pm

Can’t see why most are excited about the recruits two 3 stars and 3 NRs. Get Robert Foster and then I will start to get excited.

Comment by JP 05.08.12 @ 1:40 pm

because they are solid football players JP…It all starts up front!

Comment by Gordo 05.08.12 @ 1:59 pm

We need Robert Foster. We have no playmakers on the outside

Comment by Tony C 05.08.12 @ 2:10 pm

Reed I have a tough time comparing Savage to Sunseri based on statistics only (as you mentioned). Everyone who has seen a Pitt game knows Tino hits his ceiling early due to his lack of possessing the intangibles necessary to win games. I have never seen Savage play, but I wish I have in order to accurately judge what kind of possible replacement we’d be getting.

Comment by Timmeh 05.08.12 @ 2:43 pm

I’m excited about the recruiting, because they seem to be some solid football players, good size, and……….

the guy just got here 6 months ago, after the chaos that preceded him.

Gonna take a couple years to get to know the local high school coaches, gain their trust.

Same with the asst. coaches and recruiting their areas.

Gotta be tough to recruit anyone, with the mess we’ve had the past couple years, no???

Now, if he sticks around, and this is his class in 3 or 4 years, then maybe I’m a little iffy.

For coming here on the fly, cleaning up the disaster, and getting some of these guys to come to Pitt, that’s why I’m a little unexpectedley excited.

But, that’s me.

Comment by Dan 05.08.12 @ 3:13 pm

Timmeh, that is a good question – whether or not Savage would be an upgrade over Sunseri were Savage eligible and at PITT for 2012.

One thing to remember that after Savage’s productive 2009 true FR year he had an injury in 2010 and lost his job permanently to Chas Dodd who was mediocre in his play with RU. So you have to wonder what Schiano was thinking about Savage at that time.

Savage was a highly rated 4* on and was tagged the 8th best QB nationally so he’s got talent. Since he last played in 2010 that might factor in also.

I still think that Savage on the roster in 2012 would be a win/win for both parties. Best case scenario would be Savage comes in, plays well and wins the starting job from our incumbent; worst case is that we’d have an experienced QB behind Sunseri and someone who would make Sunseri look over his shoulder.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 3:17 pm

Dan, I believe Chryst has already made great headway with the local PA coaches between inviting them to the practices and hosting them at lunches.

I hear two different WPIAL HCs tell Chryst ‘I’ve got a kid for you coming up’.

I wouldn’t say I’m excited about the recruiting so far but I wanted Orndoff and lately I really wanted Parrish after I did some research on him.

I’m certainly satisfied though and think we’ll land some big fish during the season. I don’t think too many WPIAL/PA coaches are going to automatically steer their best away from PITT like they did last year (Shell was a different issue).

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 3:24 pm

Dan how are you to day
panther lair says paul chryst will add a former 4 star QB to the roster this summer
must be savage yes no

Comment by Frankcan 05.08.12 @ 3:28 pm

AND HIT THE WR becuse tino cant.

Comment by Frankcan 05.08.12 @ 3:35 pm

Doing good Frank, hard to believe it’s May allready.

Ya Reed, you’re right. I am very happy with him.

I guess I mean, a couple years, just to start getting a little pipeline going, where the coaches send their kids to Pitt for their first stop.

Ahh, we both know what each other means!!!

Real happy with Pitt right now, pigskin and roundball!!

Comment by Dan 05.08.12 @ 4:34 pm

I gotta believe PC thinks there’s a way, Savage could be eligible to play this season. And if that’s the case, I say get him here as quickly as possible. He has a cannon of an arm and can certainly stretch the field vertically, which would certainly help the running game. Can you imagine what some of our RB’s would have done had they played with a QB who could keep the defense honest. Dion’s freshmen season was an indication when Blll Stull had a pretty good year and Dion ran for almost 1800 yards, prompting the Sporting News to say this:
Heading into the 2010, the Sporting News, in its 2010 College Football Yearbook, called Lewis “the game’s most complete runner” and listed him as one of the five leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

Well we saw what having a non-threatening QB did to “the game’s most complete runner” and his Heisman trophy candidacy. Teams stacked the line of scrimmage and our running game suffered.

Savage’s stats, his true freshmen year are very good, considering he didn’t dink & dunk his was down the field, like you know who does. And his 14 TD’s and only 7 intercepts were better than anything Sunseri has done, even though Sir Tino had 4 NFL players and 1 first round draft pick WR on his team in that comparison. That being the magnificent Jonathan Baldwin, who if I remember correctly, the media trid to make the scapegoat for Sir Tino’s lack of talent. (actually some on this site as well) Whereas if it wasn’t for Baldwin’s acrobatic and one handed catches of poorly thrown passes, Sunseri’s stats would have been far worse. Fact !

Let’s all hope somehow, someway they can get Savage eligible for this season.

Comment by Emel 05.08.12 @ 8:22 pm

Emel – I’m not seeing what you do about Sunseri’s impact on our rushing game in 2010. I think its a real reach to say he had a negative impact at all.

The fact is that in 2009 we had 2344 yards for 4.9 ypc and 25 TDs. In 2010 we had 2154 yards for 4.6 ypc and 24 TDs, virtually the same numbers save for 14 yards per game less in 2010.

As to Lewis he was injured in 2010 – that had nothing at all to do with Sunseri and Graham was ripping off runs at a 6.2 yps average which was much higher than Lewis did in either year. Graham had 922 yards in 2010, that and Lewis’ injury are what brought his numbers down. Lewis had 325 carries in 2009 and 219 in 2010 (106 less), of course he had less production and part of that was because Sunseri was passing the ball pretty well.

As to the impact Sunseri had on our rushers in 2010? Well, as stated above Graham had 6.2 ypc and Lewis had 4.8 which was exactly what McCoy had in his two years at PITT. Our running game didn’t suffer one bit.

C’mon man, there are things to blame Sunseri for but not everything under the sun and certainly not this issue.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 9:01 pm

Reed you must know EMel is never wrong
hi EMel how are you bud.

Comment by Frankcan 05.08.12 @ 9:23 pm

Frank, he isn’t wrong about this. If anything it is a feeling we all get that with Sunseri other aspects of our offense will suffer and I feel the same way sometimes… it certainly happened that way last year.

Comment by Reed 05.08.12 @ 9:29 pm

I know Reed you make a lot of sence most of the
time you are right abought most things most of the
time but you know i must allways back my man
and with tino my dislikefor what he has done to
pitt football clouds my jugement of him i cant
help my self.

he just plays like a first year freshmen and this
is his last year he makes me want to get drunk on game day.

Comment by Frankcan 05.08.12 @ 9:49 pm

Every thing is pederson and tinos fult
they come from the shadows part of the dark ones host begone smiley steve and take tino with you.

Comment by Frankcan 05.08.12 @ 10:21 pm

LMAO…..They come from the shadows, part of the dark ones. Exactly how I feel Frank.

There has certainly been a dark cloud hanging over PITT football, which even extended out and hung over the basketball team last season. Whether it came from Sir Tino or Pederson or a combination of the two, fact is… certainly does exist. Maybe we should call Max Von Sydow and have an exorcism performed at the COL.

Veritas et Virtus !

Comment by EMel 05.09.12 @ 11:45 am

EMel sounds good to me

Comment by Frankcan 05.09.12 @ 3:14 pm

Savage will likely be available to play this year. I don’t think Pitt would have gone after him if he was 100% one and done in 2013.

Comment by dish 05.09.12 @ 5:25 pm

Dish savage was turned down he has to sit out a year he will not play this year were ever he goes here or some were else we are stuck with tino

Comment by Frankcan 05.09.12 @ 7:16 pm

I think the NCAA didn’t like the idea Savage transferring back to a school he left. Not sure NCAA rules but can he reapply for waiver since he will be attending Pitt?

Comment by why me 05.10.12 @ 10:21 am

I think each case is different so there is a possibility of Savage playing this year..

Comment by Tsingtao44 05.14.12 @ 8:43 pm

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