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?