May 20, 2013

OvP: Keller Chryst

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Justin @ 2:47 pm

If there’s one thing anyone who follows Pitt will notice, it’s that there are two dueling factions: optimists and pessimists. There are some, like myself, who look for the silver lining and inevitably take too long to see a problem. Then there are the pessimists who see the faults in everything and given Pitt’s recent history, end up right more often than not. While an optimist, I can’t argue that the pessimistic side of Pitt fans has sadly been correct a lot lately. This inspired me to create a new weekly column here on Pitt Blather. It’s called OvP: Optimist vs. Pessimist.

Today’s subject is Keller Chryst. For those who aren’t aware, Keller is one of the top QB recruits in the 2014 class and the son of Geep Chryst, Paul’s brother. Keller has consistently listed Pitt as one of his top 2 or 3 schools and the interest appears to be legitimate. Even with the family connection, if Pitt lands Keller it will be a huge addition and give the program a ton of positive publicity. The addition of Keller will enable the staff to recruit much more effectively with a top QB prospect on the way.

But is Keller sincerely interested or is he just helping his Uncle out by listing Pitt as an option?

The Optimist: Keller is legitimately interested in Pitt and the main reason is that Keller and Geep trust in Paul’s ability to develop Keller into a top flight QB. If Keller has aspirations of starting for 2 or 3 years and playing at a high level, a coach who can develop his skill set is vital. Paul has shown a tremendous ability to develop QBs in the past. Scott Tolzien is an NFL backup thanks to Paul. Russell Wilson was NFL ready from day 1 because of the growth he achieved in his 1 year at Wisconsin. Last year’s QB who shall not be named improved dramatically from the previous year. If Tom Savage has a great year, it’ll show what Paul can do with a highly talented QB.

If Paul is a QB guru then Keller would be doing himself a disservice if he went to a school that does not have a coach capable of developing QBs, like Lane Kiffin at USC.  With the family ties, a coach capable of developing QBs and a program on the upswing, Keller is very interested in playing for his uncle.

The Pessimist: Keller is only paying lip service to Pitt to help his uncle out. If your nephew is a top prospect and he spurns you early in the recruiting process what does that say to other recruits? If your own nephew isn’t interested, why should anyone else be, especially a QB? Keller is only interested in a program that is a proven contender, like Stanford or Alabama. The allure of USC is also quite tempting. Pitt is just not good enough for a player of Keller’s caliber. Keller is also concerned about the talent level of the players around him. The family is quite close and Keller wants to help his uncle out as much as possible without actually playing for Pitt.

Hopefully the tactic works and Pitt isn’t hurt much when Keller goes elsewhere. If Keller chooses Stanford over Pitt in a “close decision” he can save face due to the proximity of his dad (QB Coach of the 49ers) and Stanford’s undeniable value proposition. If he goes to USC or Bama, it’ll be a tougher sell, but at least Pitt was allegedly in it until the end, even if it was a façade. Paul can claim they were close to recruits and that it had nothing to do with Pitt as a program. If the truth comes out, that Keller only called Pitt an option to help his uncle, the fallout would be ugly.

Who is correct: the optimist of the pessimist? There’s only one way we’ll know for certain: if Keller chooses Pitt. If Keller goes elsewhere, we’ll never truly know if he was interested or not. All of the reports indicate that the interest is legitimate, but the pessimist could be correct that Keller is just being nice to his Uncle by pretending to be interested. So, what say you, Pitt fans? Is Keller actually interested in Pitt or is he pretending for a little while so he doesn’t hurt his uncle’s recruiting?

I’m an optimist. Guilty.

“So what” is that you can’t predict the role family dynamics will play in one’s decision making. If it were my nephew, I would advise him to think hard about his choices, go where he felt most comfortable, and I will be here for any questions along the way — and not steer him in any particular direction whatsoever. Which if I were a betting man, I would say that is likely exactly what PC is doing.

Comment by JCE 05.21.13 @ 9:01 am

“most comfortable”.
That is the most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard in recruiting and hear is mostly from kids or coaches that select Pitt.

Kids that select Alabama say things like, this will put me in the best position to take my game to the next level, to get to the NFL, I have to compete with the best players just to get playing time will make me a better player down the road, etc.

but, hey, at Pitt, I’m comfy cozy.
and what you said is Chryst’s approach to recruiting which is why he can’t land the big fish.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 05.21.13 @ 9:20 am

That is because you are a hardass and possibly a jackass too. You have your hard knocks approach. I have mine. Life is not black and white, and neither are decisions. As ridiculous as you think my response is, I think yours is equally so.

Comment by JCE 05.21.13 @ 9:48 am

Besides that we were not talking about what a coach would say to a recruit. We were talking about what an uncle would say to his nephew.

Comment by JCE 05.21.13 @ 9:50 am

You are well aware, that is Chryst approach to recruiting whether it be some recruit or his nephew.

Is it really in Keller Chryst best interest to attend Pitt because his uncle is the HC?
for numerous reasons.
and a good Uncle would point that out!! At least I would.

If Keller Chryst lived in Pittsburgh area, I would still say he should make his decision on what puts him in the best position to make the NFL. I said the same thing about Foster last year and I never thought Foster would go to Pitt nor would I recommend it.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 05.21.13 @ 10:09 am

“Is it really in Keller Chryst best interest to attend Pitt because his uncle is the HC?”

Never said this, nor did I even imply it.

I’m done. Bad uncle that I am. I can’t argue with someone who distorts the discourse to fit his point of view.

Comment by JCE 05.21.13 @ 10:16 am

No, they’re not mutually exclusive terms. Being a realist will lead you to have an optimistic or pessimistic view on individual subjects. Of course.

They, however, are three different ways people view things. One is not better than the other, we’re all different, and views intertwine certainly. There are others views also.

These three do go together well, to make up different corners of a triangle.

Also, people should not make the mistake of thinking realist people are “middle of the roaders”. Not the case at all.

Comment by Dan 05.21.13 @ 10:20 am

I’m betting KC is a good and loyal member of the Chryst family and is genuinely thinking about coming to play for his uncle who, despite all the pessimists on the site who disagree, has shown himself to be an accomplished college football offensive mind.
However, as long as KC picks USC/Stanford on the West Coast instead of Pitt, then I don’t think it will negatively reflect on PC’s recruiting efforts as geography and proximity to family and friends is always a legitimate reason to pick a school.
However, if KC picks Alabama then I think it will no longer be credible that he seriously considered Pitt.

Comment by Taxing Matters 05.21.13 @ 10:41 am

I would never wish summer away, but with this football talk lately, I’m already getting pumped for Labor Day Night against FSU!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 05.21.13 @ 10:58 am

New idea for 2013: I am bringing a white flag for each home game. When FSU is beating us 38-3 in the 3rd quarter, I will bring out the surrender bulletin. On one side spray painted will say, “Bring back Walt,” on the other side will say, “Down with Stevie P.” I’m a negative Nancy and the season hasn’t even started.

Comment by AJ 05.21.13 @ 11:48 am

@AJ, c’mon, I’m sure I’ve seen you post some good stuff and had some banter with you in the past!!


Some might say you’re being optimistic at 38-3!!!


Comment by Dan 05.21.13 @ 11:59 am

I laugh so hard when I read your post.

But which is the optimistic number, the 38 or the 3.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 05.21.13 @ 12:02 pm

ha ha lol, ya, Dan, you’re right, hadn’t thought about that!!!

Comment by Dan 05.21.13 @ 1:15 pm

-Keller comes to Pitt.
-Is better than Marino.
-Pitt wins a national championship.
-Heinz field is filled every weekend.
-Paul Chryst signs a ten year extension.

…the Pitt Blather pessimists still want SP fired because Pitt stadium is gone and Pitt still has the block letters.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.21.13 @ 1:33 pm

5 of the 5 have ZERO chance of happening.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.21.13 @ 2:17 pm

HCPC might actually think he is the best coach for his nephew. He clearly is a bright offensive coach and has to have some belief in his ability to develop quarterbacks. His brother may very well agree. This would be why it is possible for Kellen to end up at Pitt, despite other drawbacks.

Comment by Crackbaldo 05.21.13 @ 2:20 pm

The Chryst family is in the football business. If Keller comes here, the whole family knows what they’re getting. If he goes elsewhere, everything goes out of their control (coaching changes, transfers, etc.). I believe that HCPC has a fairly long leash and would be pretty sure to be here as long as Keller is. That alone has to be an important factor. Add in that he has success developing quarterbacks and that puts Keller in a pretty good situation. If Keller commits, that will make it much easier to obtain guys he can throw to. He already has added a bunch of big guys up front. I hope that he’s part of the resurgence of this program in the next few years.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 05.21.13 @ 3:14 pm

AJ, I’ll show you what an optimist I am. Give me Pitt and 35 for the middle of the 3rd quarter

Comment by wbb 05.21.13 @ 3:19 pm

Reed, isn’t it more likely that Saban is more of a negative to the Chrysts? Simply, such an established coaching family does need to that sort of coach/program promote to promote their son in order for him to reach the NFL. Remember, Stanford was still coming out of their really dark Wlat era when Luck signed. The Luck family didn’t need an established, nationally recognized brand and coach to promote their son, and neither do the Chrysts. Losing a kid from Hopewell with no family NFL or high-level coaching ties couldn’t be less similar or have any less bearing on what happens with Keller’s recruitment…

Comment by Greg in New Orleans 05.21.13 @ 3:39 pm

On another note: whatever PC is, he is certainly NOT about to engage in pretentious behavior.
That makes the theory that his nephew is “helping out” his uncle highly unlikely. Almost laughable.

Comment by SFPitt 05.21.13 @ 4:51 pm

I can’t believe this is still a topic guys. Go to Stanford or USC and their national relevance and exposure. Then go to Bama. Lastly compare those to Pitt and playing in front of 35k.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.21.13 @ 6:12 pm

Upittbaseball are a realist!!!

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 05.21.13 @ 6:31 pm

Reed, I had heard when Breckterfield was hired that Chryst felt Pitt could do more with JC players coming mostly from the west. Have you ever heard this? And is there a different approach to recruiting the JC ranks?

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 05.21.13 @ 7:35 pm

link to

Living next to Stanford I’m sure his high school honey will push the hometown team. Plus Dear old Dad can watch him when playing home.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.21.13 @ 8:08 pm

I am a realist with a slight slant towards optimist and a touch of cynic. How is this for a Keller Chryst scenario. Keller keeps Pitt in his top three for the entirety of his recruitment, which would be a positive. At the end he chooses a west coast team. When pushed for a differentiating factor he says that the main reason he didn’t choose Pitt at the end is because his uncles contract would expire during his redshirt junior year and he just didn’t want to chance it.

With that, Steve Pederson gets a raise and a bonus. Okay, the cynic won this post. I actually think Keller would love to come to Pitt. If he is to do so, it is in his interest to commit sooner rather than later so that Pitt can use that to attract the best talent to surround him. If we land him, they will come.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.21.13 @ 10:03 pm

Good concept for a post. Well done.

Comment by Pittscript 05.22.13 @ 3:10 pm

Greg in NOLA – when you have a blue chip recruit like Keller Chryst the first and foremost issue for them is whether or not they will make it and be drafted by the NFL.

‘Bama just had three 1st round picks and nine total players drafted in the 2013 draft. Their 2012 draft wasn’t far behind.

PITT had how many players drafted in the last two years? I’ll refresh your memory – zip, zilch, zero, none.

We are getting way down into the weeds in looking at this Keller Chryst situation. The Chryst family is doing public relations work big time here. It would look like a total snub if they didn’t have PITT, with Uncle Paul, in the running. That would be an unnecessary embarrassment.

What will happen befor Feb 2014 is that K. Chryst will pick a school other than PITT and say something along the lines of “We considered PITT but felt that University XXX better suited our needs.”

Saban is a great football coach and IMO the overwhelming negative reaction to him and his winning ways is a large dose of sour grapes. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing on his part and HS players, and their parents, drool at the prospect of playing for him.

To think that somehow it would be beneath a Chryst to play for Saban is pretty far fetched and. I think, a romantic vision of a family we really know nothing about.

Comment by Reed 05.24.13 @ 6:43 am

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