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January 23, 2013

Poker? I Hardly — Oh, Forget It

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 4:17 pm

Hey another verbal.

Zach Poker out of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He’s listed as a tight end, but by all accounts he will be converting to a linebacker., and 247 have him unranked. says 2-stars. And in the most shocking rarity, all 4 sites agree on his size and weight. He’s listed at 6-4. 220 pounds.

Poker had offers from Syracuse, Army and Air Force. Wisconsin showed some late interest, but only so far as offering to let him walk-on (Insider subs).

“I heard from [Wisconsin] this morning,” Poker said, “but I committed to Pitt.”

Poker officially visited Pittsburgh this weekend and added an offer while on the visit. He also held FBS offers from Air Force and Syracuse.

“The visit went well,” Poker said Wednesday night. “I got to see the city of Pittsburgh and meet the coaching staff and current players. It seemed like it was a cool city to be in.”

The Panthers coaches want Poker as a strongside linebacker, but they have not ruled out playing offense.

Part of the appeal of Pitt — aside from being the best scholarship offer received — is that Poker plans to major in engineering.

Another Wisconsin native, Jester Weah, plans to decide on Pitt, BGSU, Colorado State or Wyoming this weekend. After he completes finals (Insider subs).

The early enrollees still have 5 years to play their 4 years of football.

Comment by rayhpgh 01.24.13 @ 2:58 pm

Dr. Tom,
The scholarship numbers are more of an accounting trick than anything else. The early enrollees count toward the previous year’s limit, if you have room for them. They still have 5 seasons to play 4, starting with the upcming fall.
I believe they count toward the previous year because they are enrolling in this school year. It does not effect their sports eligiblity at all.

Comment by Rob 01.24.13 @ 3:00 pm

Yep, and the SEC coaches and Urban are the Ken Lay’s of recruiting.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.24.13 @ 3:19 pm

I thought your posts were good wbb. My post, was actually on it’s own really.

Human nature, especially these days, to do the what have you done for me lately, instantaneous success.

I have to remind myself at times, of what I’ve always said. “would like a guy to come in and stabilize the program, and build a program.”.

It’s hard, as a fan sometimes to maintain that thought pattern. We all want to win, and win now.

Anyhow, your posts are always good, educational and well thought out.

For my specific post, I was just thinking out loud.

Comment by Dan 01.24.13 @ 3:22 pm

I like this Poker kid.

I always enjoy learning how to pronounce names of high schools in Wisconsin.

This is one of the better ones.

Oconomowoc (hope I spelled that right) 🙂

Comment by EMel 01.24.13 @ 3:47 pm

And who wouldn’t want a cat quick 300 pound Somomian kid on your roster.

I really like that kid who lives on Oahu as I’ve been all over that island.

That is awesome, he’s gonna be good. We have in inroad now to recruiting Somoa. Which is better than Florida. Go Inoke !

Comment by EMel 01.24.13 @ 3:51 pm

As per the good statements late last night by some people about “smart” players… it referred “football smart”.

Poker is a tough player who is a heady ‘football smart’ player and that is precisely the type of player (irregardless of Polk) that we traditionally have in this region and that will allow PC to successfully run his pro style system.

PC doesnt want great athletes who cant handle college and will get to know the Pitt police personally… He doesnt want players who need a coach who slams headsets on the turf (WVU) and gets all ‘fired up’….

He wants tough intense players who get it when told something once… wow, what a concept…

Graham actually did us a favor by taking off because no one would have had the courage to fire him yr 2… Graham figured out quickly he had no way of being successful with his type of football here. And screw “high octane” anyway. and that is point … we have the coach, philosophy, and system that will work here… and that we will enjoy watching.

Also get real about why we are in the ACC folks… its because of our academic strength now as a university which fits the ACC brand of university. It certainly was not because of the strength of our sports programs (rather their potential over time). That is a fact.

yeah we need players that can read and write at a college level… good. Plenty of universities are successful that way period. PC is from Wisconsin which is an academically very challenging university.

Meanwhile PC now has an upper tier ranked recruiting class in the country, is addressing areas of chronic weakness (line play)… good QBs, running backs… etc. etc…. well positioned for 2014 local blue chippers… oh and now we are projected as a upper tier team right out of the gate in the ACC….

and our recruiting class is upper ranked in ACC…

… and we all know the star system is basically bullshit anyway (And do note that Dorian Johnson now has the coveted 5 star status… if that is important to someone).

The look and feel of what PC is doing is exactly right for rebuilding a program to be truly solid and successful. Fun to watch unfold so I’ll trust his judgment on how many slots he still has and how he knows the kids still on his list of prospects…

Comment by PittScript 01.24.13 @ 3:53 pm

Some people have very short memories it seems.

Didn’t we have two kids names Dion Lewis & Greg Romeus. Who nobody was recruiting.

And how did they turn out. Anyone older than say 16 should know college recruiting is a crap shoot.

Sheesh, take it easy.

Comment by EMel 01.24.13 @ 3:55 pm

Very good post PittScript.

Though I would disagree with this stmt;
“Graham figured out quickly he had no way of being successful with his type of football here. ”

We lost 4 games by a total of 12 points. And had we had a real D-1 QB those 4 games could have been won. That would have made us 10-2.

It was doomed to failure the minute he named Sir Tino starting QB. Just as the past season was as well. (let the sparks fly)

Comment by EMel 01.24.13 @ 4:03 pm

Could somebody address the effect of this class on the total max number of 85 scholarships .. the current roster on shows 70 players – no seniors and doesn’t look like any other players who’ve left/transferred .. 4 early enrollees and 26 verbals comes to 100 players potentially on scholarship .. how do those numbers work?

Comment by Hoopzebra 01.24.13 @ 4:06 pm

Well said PittScript! Anyone who is down on the current status of this program only needs to remember what the past few years have been like. It feels great to be heading into a season with a coach who actually coached the team the previous year. A coach who secured a solid recruiting class which hopefully will be a spring board for this program in a new and much improved conference. A conference that is going to pay Pitt much more which will hopefully translate into more funds being invested in the program. The future looks bright from where I’m sitting.

Comment by Floyd 01.24.13 @ 4:22 pm

I’m all in with this Pitt class. Who wants to call me?

Comment by TX Panther 01.24.13 @ 7:15 pm

i highly doubt ed donatell will be the dc. hes a candidate to be the new dc for the philadelphia eagles.

as for poker.. hes big and hes fast and hes smart. what more d you want in a linebacker?

Comment by pk 01.24.13 @ 8:22 pm

Boyd not visiting Rocky top. Thank god right. Are class is deep with 2 or 3 top prospects at the top. Deep program building class like most said. Of course I would prefer ***** recruits but hey if coach sees it and he wants to play for Pitt and is a smart good kid every program could use one of them.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.24.13 @ 8:24 pm

I’ll call TX, and raise ya a Foster..

Comment by Jackagain 01.24.13 @ 9:13 pm

Thanks rayhpgh and Rob for that info. Now who can answer Hoopzebra’s question? I can’t make the numbers crunch and I counted 74 current players on the roster, however I don’t know if that includes walk-on non-scholarship athletes in that total. But in any case the numbers do not seem to crunch correctly. Does Chryst say good bye to fifteen current players or what?

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.24.13 @ 9:21 pm

Another Top 20 team bites the dust tonight.

#19 VCU loses by 12 to Richmond.

Don’t know how VCU was ranked that high to begin with, but there it is.

Currently 11 of the Top 25 have lost their last game. Talk about parity. Every week almost half of the Top 25 loses.

This could be a year for Pitt to do the opposite of all those years, we seemed to peak in Jan/early Feb and then faded.

Maybe we keep getting better and actually make a run this year in a very parity filled Big Dance come March.

Comment by EMel 01.24.13 @ 9:40 pm

Thank God we all went to Pitt and are smart enough to figure this out. God forbid we were a bunch of WVU alum trying to muddle through this word problem.


Like Dr. Tom I currenlty see 74 players on the roster. Using my best judgement I can filter out 10 players that I don’t *think* are on scholarship. That leaves 64. This 64 includes transfers Savage and Durham.

Now if Tom Savage gets on a train heading West from New Jersey traveling at exactly 60 miles per hour and exactly one hour later David Durham gets on a train heading east from Columbus at 55 miles per hour… heheh


Footnote – Here are a list of players I *believe* are not on scholarship:

1. Brad Lukasak
2. Ethan Brown
3. Brett Zuck
4. Keegan Buck
5. Anthony Rippole
6. Pat Fisher
7. Drake Greer
8. Pat Quirin
9. John Guy
10. David Murphy

link to

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.24.13 @ 9:55 pm

Pitt Script, I think you summarize what many of us are feeling. HCPC has a plan and recruiting smarts. Seeing what he is doing so far I have no qualms at all at this time. “Neat” post.

Comment by OPFIM 01.24.13 @ 10:33 pm

@Emel – and Ben Howland took an unranked UCLA to Tucson and spanked Sean Miller’s #6 Wildcats – going to be a very interesting March Madness

Comment by Pitt Dad 01.24.13 @ 11:24 pm

That’s why Pitt just has to get in. They may surprise and go on a roll.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.13 @ 6:32 am

weah is announcing today at noon. jojo kemp will announce sometime next week. that would put pitt at 28. the staff wanted to take 29 but it looks like there arent any more options other than possibly nigel harris an olb from florida. He might visit pitt but hes pushed back pitt visits a couple times now so the chances there are slim. If that extra spot that wouldve gone to the 29th recruit opens up, chris britton may be able to enroll this year if he chose pitts grayshirt offer and if he quaifies

Comment by pk 01.25.13 @ 6:54 am

oh and pitt is supposed to be the favorite for josh jones, the michigan safety

Comment by pk 01.25.13 @ 6:56 am

@ Atlanta Panther, yeah, I’m a Pitt grad but apparently I’m not smart enough to figure this math problem out, at least not to my satisfaction.

Even with 10 walk-ons on the current updated roster, that makes 64 players on scholarship. Add 27 to that (current verbal commits) equals 91. So my math tells me Coach Chryst has to drop the axe on at least six current scholarship players, unless there are kids in this recruiting class that are NOT going to qualify academically and have to go the prep school route for the 2013-14 season. Chime in here FRANKCAN you usually have all the answers on the recruiting scene. (and don’t try to side step the question by telling me how many days its been since we haven’t had a DC on board) LOL.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.25.13 @ 7:46 am

Signing day is Feb,2nd ?? (saturday) Becoming quite excited about the potential for this recruiting class & the manner in which PC & staff are forming the future National Champion Panthers. TX Panther I see your class & raise you a LB & RB. HTP!!

Comment by DC33 01.25.13 @ 9:23 am

Dr. Tom–Here’s how the math will likely be worked out (not in any logical order)–

(1) Any greyshirts enrolling in January 2014 do not count toward the limit of 85 ships. They are not counted until they enroll in January 2014. By then all 2013 5th year seniors will have graduated.

(2) Any 5th year seniors who are not on the 2-deep by the end of summer 2013 will be dropped–and presumably all who are dropped then will have graduated by summer’s end.

(3) There are usually a few guys with injuries that end their playing days–they can be kept on scholarship and not count against the 85–like we already know has happened with Ricketts. Additional injuries of this sort could crop up during spring ball or fall camp this summer.

(4) Some upperclassmen who by the end by the end of spring ball realize they will never see a down the rest of their career will transfer over the summer to a school at a level where they know they can play.

(5) A couple more upperclassmen possibly could reach the the same conclusion during fall camp in the summer and transfer out at that time.

Somehow, through all of these possibilities the number of players counted toward the 85 limit will drop from your current 91 (+/-) count by the start of school in fall 2013 to meet the NCAA overall limit of 85 which applies at that time.

Even the coaches probably don’t know how that is going to precisely work out at this time so they are rolling the dice just a little.

Comment by pitt1972 01.25.13 @ 9:38 am

FYI DC33, LOI signing day is Wed Feb 6th.

@ pitt1972, looked at and accounted for many of those contingencies you’ve itemized already in my list of 64. And I concur with your final analysis, that by the fall, when the season is ready to start there will be a half dozen players who will have determined, on their own, that it is time to move on or else they will need to be encouraged to move on by the coaching staff simply as a matter of necessity to comply with the 85 roster limit.

In most cases, it still sucks for them, whoever “them” are, since it requires either a financial burden, with a loss of scholarship if they want to continue their education at Pitt or an upheaval of their lifestyle if transferring to another school that may offer up a scholarship for them to finish their education.

Hard to make an omelette without breaking a few eggs however, I guess.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.25.13 @ 9:59 am

Yea not a great situation for the transferees but survival of the fittest makes the whole team stronger. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.25.13 @ 10:45 am

Atlanta Panther, Pat Quinn still on the roster? He has to be in his 40th year of eligibility!

Comment by wbb 01.25.13 @ 11:17 am

Weah is a panther. His coach said he William Gault fast. Lightly recruited but tall and 4.5 speed so some thing to work with.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.25.13 @ 2:33 pm

O and Nigel Harris committed to USF the other day. so its down to Joshua Jones, Jojo Kemp, and Britton.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.25.13 @ 2:36 pm

good to see about Weah, thanks.
went out and found this nice review on Weah after hearing this here.
link to

4 WRs in this recruiting class now.

Comment by PittScript 01.25.13 @ 3:01 pm

Word is PC and Joe Rudolph were looking at Weah as a sophomore when they were at Wisconsin .. ran a 4.54 – 40 at the Nike HS combine .. averages 20 ppg in basketball .. has a 40″ vertical

Comment by Hoopzebra 01.25.13 @ 4:49 pm

Four good wide receiver recruits. Great competition with existing players.

Comment by Frank MD 01.25.13 @ 5:57 pm

Another thing I like about this class is the diversity. I mean look at the last few commits. 1 Jester Weah tall speedy nephew of a former Liberian presidential candidate from Wisconsin. 2. Poker, a tall rangy engineer LB from rural Wisconsin. 3. Taleni a beast DT somoan from hawaii. 4. Smith a south philly monster OT. 5. Webb an athletic WR/DB from a dynasty high school football program right here in Pittsburgh.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.25.13 @ 7:46 pm

Good perspective Beantown…. interesting.

Comment by PittScript 01.25.13 @ 9:57 pm

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