August 24, 2012

Looking A Little Ahead

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:48 am

Some things on a few of the players we will see next year.

Pitt’s top recruit, QB Tra’von Chapman talks about how he decided that Pitt was his choice.

So how did the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Chapman tab Pitt while forsaking nearby Kent State where his father, Thad Jemison, and one of his mentors, Darrell Hazell, coach, along with his hometown school of Cincinnati?

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Chapman said. “My dad played at Ohio State and we, coach Tressel and coach Hazell are all so connected. Growing up, I was a Buckeye through most of high school. But when that stuff went down with Tressel leaving, it changed everything.”

Chapman had his choices down to Pitt, Wisconsin, Kent St. and Cinci. Ultimately Kent State wasn’t enough of a challenge. Then a lot of the decision had to do with geography. Cinci was too close. Wisconsin too far. But Pitt was just right.

“Part of the reason I left Cincinnati [to come live with his father in Kent] is because there’s a lot of negative things happening there,” he said. “I wanted to stay out of trouble and keep focused on school and football. If I would have gone back to Cincinnati for college, those same negative things would have been there.”

In the end, that’s why Chapman believed Pitt offered the best mix of everything he was looking for.

“Pitt gave me the best chance to grow as a man, without being too far away,” he said. “That, and the [Paul Chryst] coaching staff made me feel comfortable. The facilities, the way the uniforms look, going to a situation where I might be able to play right away might be what some kids look for. But for me, I feel comfortable saying I can see myself there for four years. Those coaches, they blew it out of the water to me.”

Part of me died a little inside when he said the uniforms.

Tyrique Jarrett signed with Pitt for this year, but the DT will be spending this season at Milford Academy getting his academics in order. It will be interesting to see if he can take home defensive MVP honors at Milford. That would make it four straight year a Pitt commit did it. Todd Thomas, K.K. Smith and Jevonte Pitts have taken the honor.

[By the way, if you need a reminder of how old you are getting, Keith Byars, Jr. is on the Milford roster.]

Shakir Soto was one of the early verbals to this 2013 class. He is also going to be one of the first on campus.

Soto plans on leaving GAR and enrolling at Pitt for the spring semester, which starts Jan. 7. By doing so, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman will get to participate in offseason workouts at Pitt and be eligible to play in the spring game.

“Scott Orndoff, one of the commitments from Pitt, he’s doing it too,” Soto said. “He told me about it and one of the coaches said, ‘Yeah, you should do it.’ I looked into it, and being out there and having an extra semester of school and an extra semester of football, I’ll be ahead of everyone else.”

Anything to bring more depth to the D-line.

dhuffdaddy i dont know no what you say to them
may be you bring outher RBin if you can in case he leaves may be you ask him what the hell is up
may be you ask him why he cant keep his word once
it is given.
may be you become a hard ass and say we want you
to stay but if you are leaveing go so we can get some one else.
i dont know what you say.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.24.12 @ 9:47 pm

Joe D,–Hermosa Beach and you were chasing skirt?! You should have been chasing bikinis!

Comment by opfim 08.24.12 @ 10:21 pm

You verbal, you don’t back out. If you begin looking, coach makes it clear when that scholie number is up, you are screwed. Why do kids commit and then still look? To me, that’s stupid. And as a coach, I wouldn’t want stupid kids on my team. I would tell that kid to make sure the door didn’t hit your ass on the way out. To me, its disrepctful. If someone I offered did that, they would lose that offer. That’s the business world. Applicants don’t get the right to fuck with me.

Comment by TX Panther 08.24.12 @ 10:27 pm

tx panther, i agree with you, but pitt cant affprd to do that. thats something michigan and texas do, but they can replace a clement with another clement. i dont know if pitt can. plus, clement has raved about pitt so it will take a lot to flip him i think

Comment by pk 08.24.12 @ 10:53 pm

@Pitt and Emel…There you go again talking sense! Why should Pitt play in a stadium with bright yellow seats and also expect to have that color in their uniforms? Don’t you know that SP did market research that shows our current color scheme was the most popular selling color scheme and that after we changed to those colors, our apparel sales went way up? Of course this analysis was done at a time following Pitt’s worst football in my lifetime (the early to mid 90s). You could have put real gold in our jerseys at the mall and nobody was going to buy them. Once our play began to improve so did our apparel sales. Heinz will never feel like home until Pitt has more of a connection with it beyond the carved steel gates and the always impressive white chalk “PITT” on the fifty yard line (for those of you that sit too high or too low in the stadium, that is what the white splotch in the middle of the field says!) Seriously, most of the time the field looks like just what it is…a generic, cheap imitation of a real college football field, inside of an otherwise spectacular venue. Of course the field is not up to SP. We need help from the Steelers. Dear Steelers, please put in a modern fake field so that both teams that play there can have full, real signage on the field. I’m sure the HS teams would also appreciate this for their playoffs. The atmosphere is fine at Heinz for big games, but it will never really feel like home until we make it look that way. I want the opposing team to come out on that field and know that they are playing on Pitt’s home field. Right now, I think they come in their all jacked up because the are playing on the Steelers field. I want to look around the stadium and see a lot of yellow….jerseys not seats. Bring back the royal blue and yellow, block or script, I don’t care. Put the Pitt back in Pitt football in more than name only! Or, we can go back to the “Pittsburgh” since that is what one of our end zones already says!

Comment by HbgFrank 08.24.12 @ 11:00 pm

coaching staff made me feel comfortable…facilities, the way the uniforms look, going to a..

Whoa! Whoa.. “the way the uniforms look…”

Do you really mean that unis draw recruits? Really? Really?

Umm… WOW. It’s true? This Jersey versus that Jersey thing might really persuade a commit or two in some fashion-manner or another?

Seriously, all I can say is Holy Sh*t Batman.

Comment by Neil 08.24.12 @ 11:13 pm

Every four years of my life are cool, it’s what you make it.

But if I were a kid that age again (with insane football skills), I’d definitely bypass the last few months of partying with HS chicks and dudes to go be a BMOC at Pitt AND get a head start on my football career.

You can always head back home to party with your boys and homegirls on a random long weekend if you feel the need, AND you’d be the man back home when you did.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 08.24.12 @ 11:26 pm

Drugs are bad, mmmkay?
The context from which in the statement is afforded is somewhat clouded to me… One should hope it is not about the “look” of a uniform, ever.
Otherwise Nike et al. are genius I hadn’t guessed previously.
In Direct Reg to all comments similarly stating/
“Yeah, as a couple of people pointed out, Chapman was actually saying that while uniforms are important to other people, it was the coaches that matter most to him.”
Comment by EveryLoyalSon 08.24.12 @ 2:03 pm

Comment by Neil 08.24.12 @ 11:27 pm

So you should understand that this kid is getting two free trips out of this. He idolized LeShon McCoy and Michael Vick. Yes MICHAEL FREAKIN VICK sat him down and said he should go to Pitt. MICHAEL VICK!!! LE SHON MCCOY!!!! He’s not going to decommit.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.25.12 @ 1:54 am

I like the design of our current uniforms and Vegas Gold/Navy is fine by me. I’d like to see a Mustard Gold/royal blue/Script throwback for the right game, though.

Anyone who likes the procombat uniform has terrible taste and anyone who thinks senior year of HIGH SCHOOL was the most special, memorable time of their lives needs to get out more.

Comment by Kyle 08.25.12 @ 6:10 am

dhuff – we had more than one verbal take visits elsewhere and not have his scholarship offer pulled by Wannstedt. Mike Cruz is the first name that pops up but there are others. If you remember, Cruz was actually pretty critical of PITT when he started taking other visits and DW still wanted him to play here.

This happens all the time at PITT and while for marginal players it could mean an offer being pulled, any good and highly rated recruit is going to be kept on PITT’s scholarship list until he calls the staff and says he’s definitely going elsewhere. Even then the staff will stay on him until LOI Day.

I don’t want to sound like a jerk but saying that ‘PITT shouldn’t be the place to go when other things don’t work out’ is a romantic thought and just not the reality of the situation.

Our best player in the last few years, LeSean McCoy, had PITT as a fallback when things didn’t work out at other places. Our best FR player so far this season – J. P. Holtz – only came to be because of the PSU scandal.

Two of our (possible) starting DBs only came to PITT because the situation at Michigan was intolerable. Every transfer we get had PITT as a second choice when the situations changed elsewhere. They are ALL kids we whiffed on when we were first recruiting them.

As pk says above – PITT just isn’t that strong or well liked as a football program to be choosy about who we get to play here. That is just how it is now and truth be told for the last 30 years. Recruits are not beating the door down to play football at PITT. Really, when was the last time you heard any very good recruit say that PITT was their dream school? None, they all had to be seriously chased and convinced to come here. In all honesty, I even think Shell wouldn’t be at PITT if it weren’t for his twin daughters.

This is why we need at least a winning season with no off the field drama right now and for at least two years in a row. if not our recruiting is going to get worse and not better.

Comment by Reed 08.25.12 @ 7:39 am

I believe that was JoePa’s policy, not Wanny’s about commits taking visits elsewhere.

Comment by wbb 08.25.12 @ 8:20 am

When you are landing mostly 4 and 5 stars and your program recuits itself you can take that attitude; otherwise not.

Comment by pitt1972 08.25.12 @ 8:24 am

Clement is probably being told by other school’s recruiters that he will get buried on Pitt’s depth chart at RB, especially (as Reed noted on another site) if Shell were to get red-shirted. A strong season for Pitt with more than one RB getting significant plays and yardage will go a long way to relieve such concerns that are almost certainly being pushed by recruiters for other schools. Recruiting, like politics, is a sleezy business.

Comment by pitt1972 08.25.12 @ 8:29 am

Re: Clements…
Put your sales hat on… you keep selling…
you bite your tongue… the deal is not done until they sign on the bottom line… you smile and swallow your pride.
Clement is the Buyer…. Pitt is the Seller…
He can shop around even if he verbal. Do I like it… NO… but it is what it is… and I’m not big on Clement as he comes from a Group 1 school in a powderpuff league.

Now does Pitt keep looking… absolutely… if a better prospect comes along and you know will sign 100%… then perhaps you pull the ship from Clement… otherwise… keep selling!!

Comment by Joe D 08.25.12 @ 8:32 am

the only thing Pitt can do is have a good season.

This coaching staff is untested, the team plays in front of many empty seats, and this program has been in nothing but turmoil over the past year and a half.

I’ve been saying this for a while and will continue to shout it …. this program needs stability

Comment by wbb 08.25.12 @ 8:34 am

To re-iterate what wbb said, the kid said the two things he was concerned about, and happy about, were staying somewhat close to home and the coaching staff.

The facilities, the uniforms and playing time may be what some other kids look for!!

Comment by Dan 08.25.12 @ 9:01 am

Emel, I happen to like the Gold the best which I remember as a kid. I had no problem with rusty mustard of the early Major’s era, a lighter version of mustard, or the bright yellow when Godfried was here. If the Panters are winning, whatever version of blue and gold they are wearing will be ok with me. As long as they don’t resemble the Penn State whites. One more thing that Pederson needs to know, alumns, fans, and anyone who grew up within 150 miles the university like to use our trademark name “PITT” not Pittsburgh.

Comment by Justinian 08.25.12 @ 9:04 am

I’m clouded also!! I see that everyone realized that now. My fault.

Comment by Dan 08.25.12 @ 9:13 am

the good news with the clement situation is, even if he bolts, there are plenty of really good backs that were/are high on pitt. for instance, wvu commit zaire williams, florida back lorenzo woodley, kareem hunt, and if clement was out of the picture, david williams might have a renewed interest in pitt.

Comment by pk 08.25.12 @ 9:25 am

of course, clement might remain committed and all of this ranting is meaningless!

Comment by pk 08.25.12 @ 9:26 am

Reed, Amen you get the best players you can get! Whether they come because it’s a fall back, or they’re injured like Shady McCoy was and schools shy away from them. Remember Tony Dorsett wanted to go to Notre Dame, but Parsegian thought he was too small to play. Dorsett always played well against them.

Comment by Justinian 08.25.12 @ 9:32 am


The rusty mustard yellowish uni’s were from the 2nd Major’s era, I know we all try to forget those 3 years or so, but he toned down the yellow part of the Uni’s and the helmet as well.

I was trying to post a pic of Dorsett or Marino in the first version of the heinz mustard uni’s but the post wouldn’t post. We wore those from 1973 to 1993 I believe and then Majors came back the 2nd time and changed to the rusty yellowish/brown look.

Cause I know Alex Van Pelt wore the same uni’s as when I was at Pitt in the late 70’s, early 80’s.
As I was on the sidelines for some of the early 90’s games with Van Pelt as QB.

I agree I didn’t like the way they changed the yellow to the rusty brown/yellow look when Majors 2 era began.

It did look like the yellow crud at the rim of the mustard jar, Pitt2Cali made a good analogy there.
He just had the years mixed up. Those were from the Majors 2 era (1993-1996)

Bring back the 1973-1983 circa uniform, when we had our best years since the 1930’s.
And that yellow is close to the Heinz seat yellow.
Or if it isn’t just make the pants that color yellow and the helmets. Script of course too !

Comment by Emel 08.25.12 @ 9:50 am

Frankly, I see a trend…
Players will verbally commit but keep looking.

I’ve never seen this many players commit by July 1 across the US.
Teams only have so many slots open for certain positions… once they are filled, they start pulling ships or advise players to look elsewhere as they met their quota.
Players know this… so the verbally commit securing a slot… keep others away (ie. Zaire Williams)… but keep looking.
It’s only going to get worse.

Comment by Joe D 08.25.12 @ 9:53 am

remember, when Dorsett came out, I believe Pitt just completed 4 straigt 1-9 seasons … or at least tthey were in the recent past.

Dorsett was 1 of 80 people put on scholarship in 1973 by Majors in his first year — many of them from western PA. Because of that, NCA start limiting the number of schollies.

When you bring in 80, you’re bound to find a large handful of good players … and it certainly didn’t hurt that western PA was as fertile as any recuting area back then … times have changed!

Comment by wbb 08.25.12 @ 10:04 am

They also brought in kids from Eastern Ohio and from Florida back then.

Comment by pitt1972 08.25.12 @ 11:36 am

RE: Corey Clement situation. Someone in another Pitt internet site’s Clement thread mentions that Clement’s planning other visits (to be accurate he only has said Nebraska for sure and “maybe” ND and Wisconsin) is not a new development as most of us (including Dokish) appear to have assumed. Rather, thisw is no more than his publicly announced plan (stated by he and his HS coach) ever since the day he committed to Pitt.

Bottom line: One can either view it as Clement never being fully committed to begin with (glass half empty view) or that he is just as committed as he ever was and is just following through to make certain he has really made the correct decision(glass half-full view).

In either case, there appears to not be any brand new case of “cold feet.”

Comment by pitt1972 08.25.12 @ 12:02 pm

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