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December 20, 2012

Despite being a class AA all-state pick last year, Shakir Soto was not highly regarded (or 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 now a consensus 3-star defensive end, and one of the top-20 players in Pennsylvania. He will also be graduating this year, and enrolling at Pitt in January.

Before he gets to Pitt, he was once more named to the AA All-state team (h/t to Scott).

Soto, a Pittsburgh recruit, racked up 69 tackles and 3½ sacks while being the focal point of opposing offenses.

This is Soto’s second consecutive all-state selection.

“Pennsylvania is a great football state, so it feels great to know that you’re a part of that list, especially to do it twice in a row,” Soto said. “My family is really proud of me. It’s a great thing.”



The star ratings are such BS.

He is an awesome get. He’ll have time to bulk up and get stronger before spring. What an advantage to get early playing time.

Comment by notrocketscience 12.20.12 @ 10:53 am

Come college ball it is all about, “what have you done for me lately”? Then you earn it on a game by game basis. No insult to get a little love from the recruiting sites out there however, as long as the recepient doesn’t end up reading all of the hype and in the process starts believing hes something hes not, and thus forgets about the essential need to grind it out on a day to day basis to reach one’s true potential.

If everyone follows Mason’s example, the newcomers on the team will do just fine.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.20.12 @ 11:23 am

there are a handful of Pitt commit 2-3 stars who have more than proven themselves this year …. Challingsworth, Connor, Galambos, Green, Howard are all 2 stars on some rating services who fir in this category … heck, even 2-star kicker Blewitt made the DC all-metro team

Comment by wbb 12.20.12 @ 11:28 am

I think many of these 3-star players will really excel in Chryst’s system and will take to his coaching. There appears to be some good upside. Not elite talent but I think very solid pick-ups who will have decent careers at Pitt.

Comment by TX Panther 12.20.12 @ 12:07 pm

I think the Pitt staff can evaluate the qualities and talents they’re looking for. The stars may be nice, but a lot of guys fall short and others surprise people. If you look a back, Sherrill notiiced Hugh Green when they went to scout Rooster Jones. They both came to Pitt, but Green was the impact player.

Comment by Justinian 12.20.12 @ 12:35 pm

Something I have been thinking about while following all this recruiting stuff is that it seems to me PC and his staff have an eye for talent, a skill I am sure was honed in Wisconsin where lots of players flew under the radar. Many of the players who we–including myself–agonized over for only having MAC offers have picked up shiny new offers from BCS schools along with their higher star rankings, but have not waivered from Pitt. This is something that excites me for the future, because there are really only a handful of can’t-miss prospects. The rest slowly emerge over their high school careers as potential D-I BCS contributors. The earlier PC and Co identify them and offer them, the more likely they are to stick with Pitt. Furthermore, the longer PC stays in the area (hopefully for many more years) the better and better his grasp on the local talent will be and the better his relationships with local coaches and communities will be.

I don’t think you will find anyone but the most die-hard cheesehead who will say that Wisconsin (the state) has better high school football talent than Western PA. Given enough time to learn the high schools and their rosters, I am very, very optimistic PC will be able to stock Pitt’s roster with lots of good talent, and pick up enough of those “can’t-miss” guys to put Pitt over the top.

Whether or not PC gets Foster or Boyd or whoever is not the end of the world, because no one player has ever made or broken a team. I see a lot of encouraging signs in PC’s first full recruiting class (I don’t count last year for obvious reasons) that he understands how to build a team that has talent and depth and I am optimistic for the future.


Comment by TartanPanther 12.20.12 @ 12:44 pm

you said it, Justinian and HooWWW.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 12.20.12 @ 1:34 pm

tex panther has givening us a new name for
pitt DC kerry cooks coached at wiscosin
from 2006 till 2009 co dc at ND now .

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.20.12 @ 3:58 pm

Right on Justinian and Tartan. This little nugget about Mike Caprara from a article only further proves your statements. He was a zero-star recruit if I remember correctly.

“On defense, junior defensive tackle Aaron Donald said a number of players have stood out to him recently and have done so all season. He mentioned specifically freshman linebacker Mike Caprara from Woodland hills, who’s also redshirting this season, as an underclassman who’s been playing well on defense.”

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.20.12 @ 4:39 pm

notrocket I forgot to also give you some credit for this. What the heck I’ll also include Dr. Tom. Lets just make it a lovefest since we’re all on the same page here.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.20.12 @ 4:46 pm

@ wbb, I understand what you are conveying on your previous post that recruits will take to Coach Chryst’s style of coaching to reach their full potential but using Chris Blewett as an example of a lowly ranked recruit who has exceeded recruit expectations in his last HS year is inaccurate, IMO.

This kid is from West Potomac down here in the DC area and he has made a name for himself before this season. He is a dual threat kicker and punter and hit a 50 yard FG this season as a HS senior.

This recruit should be considered right up there with Dorian Johnson IMO as far as a great get in this recruiting class. Mark my words this kid is going to turn into MONEY for the Panthers in the future!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.20.12 @ 5:26 pm

I’m saying that Blewitt along with others rated as low as 2 star on at least one service but has proven to be better than that. My point is Chryst and staff appears to have a good eye on picking recruits that appear to be better than the are rated .. hope that makes sense

Comment by wbb 12.20.12 @ 6:42 pm

I don’t think Wisconsin typically has highly rated recruiting classes. In spite of this they competed at the highest level in the Big Ten over the last several years with teams such as Ohio State who had much better talent. I agree that Chryst can spot latent talent, but I believe it has alot more to do with his ability to coach up players and put them into positions where they can be successful.

Comment by Floyd 12.20.12 @ 6:59 pm

Its the holiday season, gotta have that lovefest!

I am encouraged to hear Blewitt will be a stud, Pitt has given away too many wins to count the past three years because of kicking . . . I think last gamewinning kick we had was Hutchins in Meineke Bowl against UNC back in ’09? Unless I am forgetting one, it has been a dismal couple of years for Pitt kickers

Comment by TartanPanther 12.20.12 @ 9:41 pm

from Pantherlair (and goes with a previous blog):

The Pennsylvania Sportswriters released their all-state teams teams this week, and there were plenty of Pitt commits and targets on the list.

Class AAAA all-state team
Erie McDowell RB James Conner (2013 commit)
Gateway DB Montae Nicholson (2014 target)

Here’s the Class AAAA all-state team

Class AAA all-state team
Central Valley WR Robert Foster (2013 target)
Belle Vernon OL Dorian Johnson (2013 commit)
Haverford School LB Matt Galambos (2013 commit)

Here’s the Class AAA all-state team

Class AA all-state team
Washington RB Shai McKenzie (2014 target)
South Fayette WR Zach Challingsworth (2013 commit)
Seton-La Salle TE Scott Orndoff (2013 commit)
Aliquippa OL Jaleel Fields (2014 target on the defensive line)
Aliquippa ATH Terry Swanson (2014 target)
Wilkes-Barre GAR DE Shakir Soto (2013 commit)
Aliquippa DB Dravon Henry (2014 target)

Here is the Class AA all-state team.

Pitt commits and targets on the Class A all-state team
Clairton WR Terrish Webb (2013 target)
Dunmore OL James McHale (2014 target)
Clairton ATH Tyler Boyd (2013 target)
Clairton DB Titus Howard (2013 commit)

Boyd was also named the Class A player of the year for the second consecutive year.

Comment by wbb 12.21.12 @ 1:18 pm

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