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June 15, 2013

Jalen Williams became verbal #2 yesterday when he committed to Coach Chryst and company. Williams is a Safety from Newburgh, New York (maybe the h after the burg closed the deal) and a 3 star prospect on both Rivals and Scout. Rivals also has him ranked as the 6th best prospect in New York. While New York isn’t exactly a football hotbed, it’s still impressive to be a top 10 prospect in the state. One quote from an interview with PantherLair jumped out at me and really affirms the recruiting philosophy:

When they were recruiting me, they weren’t arrogant about anything, they weren’t lying to me; they were being honest with me. They’re just a good staff.

Williams is listed at 6’2 180 and had offers from Syracuse, Temple, Buffalo, and a few others. He was on an unofficial visit and was here to participate in an invite only workout with 10 or 11 other players.  His primary recruiter was DE/LB coach John Palermo.

I know a lot of people aren’t pleased with the lack of results thus far and a few of the players we haven’t landed, but as I mentioned on the Optimistic portion of my OvP column on recruiting: it’s an end game. It’s not over a player chisels his name into stone faxes over his Herbie Hancock. Sorry, I forgot which antiquated method of communication is used to submit a verbal.

One chiseled stone we’re eager to get is Washington, PA RB Shai McKenzie. McKenzie released his top 5 in order of preference yesterday. Right now, the list is Florida State, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas. Local paper the Observer Reporter had an interview with Shai and he told Jason Mackey how he narrowed his list down.

“Who was honest,” McKenzie answered. “Relationships. What did I like about a lot of these schools. Which coaches kept in contact with me and showed their interest. If I was a priority or not.”

That seems to bode well for us. If we aren’t showing McKenzie that he’s a top priority something is very wrong. Given that we’re #2 on his list it’s safe to assume he knows how desperately he’s wanted. If Chryst and company land McKenzie and Keller Chryst, no one will complain about recruiting for a few months.

Who the hell am I kidding? Yinz will always find something to complain about; it’s Pitt sports. There’s always a reason. On a personal note, sorry for the lack of posts from me lately. I’ve been busy and had some personal issues to deal with (sorry for the twitter whining, followers) but hopefully things will ease up a little bit soon.

dhuffdaddy – Actually Andrew Ford choose Virginia Tech over Pitt. According to the Harrisburg paper (near where Ford goes to high school)Pitt came in 2nd. Which is the usual Pitt MO when it comes to recruits.

link to

Comment by oliviapitt 06.16.13 @ 8:21 pm

Elsewhere (eg Dokish) I read Pitt did not offer to Ford.

Comment by auggiefrom latrobe 06.16.13 @ 8:31 pm

awesome….pitt gets a dude from Rutgers(Randall) His minutes went done as a sophomore with a bad team…I’m suppose to be excited about this?…please!!

Comment by Keith 06.16.13 @ 9:21 pm

EMel you will like this if you are on randell
is the second player we took away from little
rickeys little boy rickey jr.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.16.13 @ 9:21 pm

Keith it gives us 11 players we had 10 depth was
needed plus he is 6 foot 8 240 pounds we need size
we only had one center now we have 2 he played center at rutgers i think he was there tallest player.
he came out of high school listed as a center bye
rival as 3 star he will give us D
when you dont have a lot every bit helps plus
he is dixons type of player he will just need a little work.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.16.13 @ 9:37 pm

No one cares if you’re excited, Keith.

Comment by panther94 06.16.13 @ 11:25 pm

Good weekend for the Gold & Blue (vegas or old gold)

Our top recruit stole the show at the Big 33 game.
Boy did he ever ! This kid Boyd is better than the kid who went to hicksville, Alabami.

And we finally got another hoop recruit:

Pitt landed a transfer when former Rutgers forward/center Derrick Randall committed to the Panthers. Randall (6 feet 8, 240 pounds) played two seasons for the Scarlet Knights and averaged 2.1 points in 8.2 minutes per game in 2012-13.

This kid has nice size and good potential. Say what you about Mike Rice, but the guy knows talent.

Vev !

Comment by EMel 06.17.13 @ 5:42 am

Buccos took 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, beating two of the best pitchers in MLB. After taking 2 of 3 from the 2012 World Champion SF Giants.

This all with Burnett, McDonald, Gomez, Karstens and Rodriguez on the DL.

Let’s go Bucs !
Let’s go Pitt !

Comment by EMel 06.17.13 @ 5:53 am

It’s actually 6:53 am DST

Comment by EMel 06.17.13 @ 5:54 am

Lets hope Boyd is as good as advertised because he’ll be desperately needed in the coming years, starting with this season.

I’m pretty worried about what our offense will be able to do. I’m not sold that either of our two leading QBs can carry the team and the jury is out regarding how well our current RBs will play as starters. I’m more optimistic about the running game then the passing game though.

I’d really like to see Boyd put on 20+ pounds over the next year and switch to RB. We’d still be able to get the ball to him in the air and I think he’d be a very good college RB.

Comment by Reed 06.17.13 @ 6:47 am


You are spot on about Boyd bulking up(in general)..but in no way should he convert to rb…maybe in a HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE that would fit.

Comment by yup 06.17.13 @ 7:33 am

RE: Ford choosing Va Tech over Pitt:

Maybe he did actually do that; or maybe Pitt wasn’t so interested in the end. The article linked above says the decision was VA Tech over both Pitt and Virginia it doesn’t say Pitt was 2nd.

I do know this first hand (I was there)–Ford arrived late at Pitt’s June 7 prospect camp (he missed the morning sessions). This was not an “invite only” camp but rather the open to all HS footballers (grades 9-12) camp; but, maybe he was unable to make one of the invite camps. I heard he had been at some other camp the previous day and that is why he was late to the Pitt camp. He worked out during the afternoon session with about 12-15 other QBs and, at least IMHO, he didn’t stand out as far superior to many/most of the others in the group. It is certainly a possibility that Pitt’s interest in him may have dropped off based on his performance that day. Do I know that is what happened or did not happen? Absolutely not.

However, I wasn’t very impressed by what I saw of his performance and I was focusing on him a bit because my nephew pointed him out as a player he had competed against in an elite 11 regional camp competition. Ford had finished in the top 2 in that (Northeast Region) elite 11 camp (vs the nephew finishing a tier below–in the top 6) in that same camp.

Comment by pitt1972 06.17.13 @ 8:20 am

Upitbaseball, you are losing all creditability with your post. You ALWAYS are the first to question or doubt the validity of any good things happening at Pitt, but ALWAYS the first to pile on when any bad thing happens. Boyd is technically still a HS kid, who just had the game of his career. If you can’t see the half full glass after that performance, then just admit that absolutely nothing will ever be good enough for you except an undefeated, national championship season.
Its not Kool-aid drinking to simply acknowledge the obvious fact, a Pitt recruit had one of the greatest performances of all time in an all-star game. Will he do this in the ACC, neither you, nor anyone else knows this, but honestly complaining about his height is like complaining that winning the lottery sucks because you have to pay taxes on the winnings.

Comment by Taxing Matters 06.17.13 @ 9:41 am

@ Reed, I think that Boyd will prove his true value in the open field as a WR. It will be the responsibility of Bennett and Crockett to carry the load in the back field this season. I’m also optimistic that the running game will come through and remain productive without the services of Graham/Shell duo this season. If that happens Boyd stays at WR for sure. Talking RBs, I was impressed by the development of our walk on RB, Brown in the Spring. I kind of hope that he rides the bench all season, since that would infer that the other two stay healthy and are productive, but Brown might not be “just” a scout RB based on his recent development. Another guy that may end up providing some depth at the RB position this year is our true Freshman James Conner. He could end up being our third down RB of choice at 225 lbs coming out of HS. He’s just the kind of “3 yards and a cloud of dust” type inside the tackles running back that gets those critical short yardage third downs to keep drives going.

Concerning the offense, the only thing that I’m really worried about is how the newly arranged OL will gel. And if the injury bug hits the OL hard this season, then we may actually see true Freshmen in a tough place before their time because of the obvious lack of depth still plaguing that position. We’ll see.

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.17.13 @ 9:52 am

Panther Lair reports Bollinger is close to offers for QBs…I’m not subscriber – does anyone know who this is referring to?

Comment by markp 06.17.13 @ 10:01 am

markp//// For some reason i cannot figure out how to unsubscribe to lair, so i might as well share info on the qb’s from this am…Per Peak:

Another quarterback to watch is Davie (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas three-star Wade Freebeck. He was one of the quarterbacks we featured in the QB Big Board we ran a month ago. Quarterbacks coach Brooks Bollinger visited Freebeck and evaluated him this spring; Freebeck will be making a trip to Pittsburgh this week for an unofficial visit on Thursday.

I have had limited communication with Freebeck – only enough to gather the info I presented in that paragraph – so I haven’t confirmed that he has an offer, but I hope to speak with him on Monday to clarify things. In the meantime, here are Freebeck’s junior highlights.

One quarterback I have spoken with – who was also featured in the QB Big Board – is Maria Stein (Oh.) Marion’s Adam Bertke. And when I spoke with Bertke, he confirmed that he does have an offer from Pitt.

Now, Bertke has not been rated by, and his only other BCS offer is from Illinois, so before everyone gets upset about the offer, at least look at his junior highlights.

Pitt has been recruiting Bertke since the spring, and it seems like the coaches liked him quite a bit. They wanted him to come to the prospect camp primarily to spend time around the staff and make sure everyone’s personalities meshed; they did, and Bertke walked away with an offer.

I’ll have an article on Bertke Monday morning, but here’s the meat of it:

Bertke will be visiting Pitt on Tuesday. Before that happens, he’ll probably be making a call to Purdue to see if the coaches there have rendered a verdict on his camp performance in West Lafayette. If Purdue offers, Bertke will have a tough decision, since he is, by his own admission from a small town full of cornfields, which is kind of a good description for the state of Indiana.

But if Purdue doesn’t offer, there is a fairly good chance he will commit to Pitt on his visit Tuesday.

I have heard there are four quarterback recruits with offers from Pitt right now. Keller Chryst is one. Andrew Ford appears to be another. Adam Bertke is a third. Wade Freebeck could be the fourth; I hope to confirm that (one way or the other) on Monday.

Comment by yup 06.17.13 @ 10:05 am

@dhuffdaddy. Good point. Myself, personally, was not complaining. I specifically said “in the future”, and referenced “as time goes on” several times.

I stand by my comments, and find them hard to be disproved as a whole.

Yes, you can get some recruits that slip by who not many teams want. Some over-achievers.

That does happen, no question.

I also admit, like the star system, “other offers” is no science by any means and is only a barometer. No question about that, understood.

However, going forward for Pitt recruiting, in the future, 2 or 3 years from now, the recruiting level must rise if we’re to be winning program.

If two teams, each get 20 or so recruits for a period of 3 or 4 years in a row……..

I will take the team that has recruits that for the most part, received other offers from

( NC St., UVA, Va.Tech, Penn St., WVU, Iowa, Illinois, Ga. Tech, Purdue, North Carolina).

as opposed to the team that has their roster filled with players that for the most part received offers from

(Villanova, UMass, Ohio, Kent St., Temple, Akron, Bowling Green, and Buffalo).

Can you have some of these type players in your recruiting class, sure, you can have a couple or even 3, 4 or 5 or so.

But, you can’t build your team, if you want them to be a top 20, top 25 team around them.

The caliber of athlete Pitt recruits has got to step up as a whole if we’re to be a consistent top 20 team.

Your Va.Tech example is an excellent example of a player making it, and how you have to look at all players. You never know. I understand that.

I would bet however, if you looked at Va.Tech’s roster, most of their players “other offers” are loaded with

(Clemson, Fla. St., Penn St., S.Carolina, N. Carolina, Miami, Virginia) and not

(Wofford, James Madison, App.St., Coastal Carolina, UAB and FIU).

I think I’m overstating the obvious. Chryst has a few years in my book, but going forward, you can’t make a living battling Temple and Akron for recruits.

Comment by Dan 06.17.13 @ 10:12 am

the only QB besides chryst that i know of is
sean white from FL. A 6 FOOT 3 180 POUND 3 STAR
i think they will be sorry they let kincadie get away.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.17.13 @ 10:14 am

I’ve said, Pitt needs 5 committs by today.
It doesn’t. It doesn’t look good.

Right now, of the 14 ACC teams, Pitt is ranked dead last and also has the least amount of commits.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.17.13 @ 10:28 am

HCPC has a couple years to get his win-loss situation organized before he sees the villagers coming with the pitch forks and torches but the win-loss formula is baked from a recipe that consists of solid recruiting classes from previous years. I think that 2013 will prove to be a good one! That being said, without following it up with another class that is just as good, if not better in 2014, then the Panthers will soon find themselves in a heap of trouble come 2015 and 2016 when 6 or 7 wins a season in the ACC just won’t be acceptable any longer.

This grand experiment of Coach Chryst’s recruiting style has still not concluded but, like many other Pitt fans, I’m also concerned with the early results, or lack there of. I hope that patience will prevail and that we will see our 2014 recruiting class flush with 3 and 4 star players who have had a lot of interest from other BCS type programs filling up our roster when it counts come Feb 2014, but for right now, i’m just down right nervous with the lack of early verbal commitments. my question to anyone with an opposing POV is, “why shouldn’t we be nervous”????

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.17.13 @ 11:07 am

YUP/ thanks – getting 1 of the 4 to commit would be good!

Comment by markp 06.17.13 @ 11:41 am


Thanks for the good info. I can attest to the quality of player in QB Adam Bertke. His high school is local to me and they actually beat my high school in the state semifinals last year.

Don’t let his small school (Ohio Div. 6)or lack of offers fool you. He is a beast of an athlete. Very similar in build to Kinkaide (6-5, 200 lbs) but with excellent results on the field. Marion Local is a town in the cornfields with about 2,000 people, but they are an atheltic powerhouse. 6 state titles in football and favored to win their 3rd straight this fall. Bertke has all the tools of a great qb but will need a year or 2 to develop in a pro-style offense.

Bertke has offers from Illinos, Cincinnati and Toledo but has had contact from Purdue, OSU and Michigan in addition to Pitt. I see little chance Pitt has with him IF Ohio State or Michigan offer. Purdue & Pitt seems about 50/50.

If I had to choose between Bertke & Kinkaide I would defintley pick Bertke. But I don’t think there’s anything Pitt can do to win him from OSU or Michigan IF they offer.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 06.17.13 @ 12:01 pm

Whats up with Chapman? Any update?
The last update didn’t look good for Chapman.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.17.13 @ 12:46 pm

here is the Rivals page on Bertke

link to

Comment by wbb 06.17.13 @ 12:57 pm

i know nothing but i think he is gone how can you fire a coach for that then keep him.
i dont see it i think he is history.
that QB from FL sean white has a offer from pitt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.17.13 @ 1:00 pm

link to

Scout page for Bertke … 3 star. Doesn’t have Pitt listed but he is supposed to come for a visit

Sean White, also a 3 star, has many more (big name) offers

Comment by wbb 06.17.13 @ 1:05 pm

60 Sean White
(University School of Nova S.)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 6-3/180 Med Interest:

Yes Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Hawaii, Houston, Miami (Fl), Miami (Oh), North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Comment by wbb 06.17.13 @ 1:07 pm

@yup, great info brother!!

Comment by Dan 06.17.13 @ 1:50 pm

Id take as many of the Lauderdale kids as we can can get. Aquinas and kids from Dade County and or from the muck bowl. WVU recruits there heavily with their old qb from there on the staff.

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.17.13 @ 1:53 pm

HCPC’s recruiting can’t be totally on him imo, with the recent history of losing, disarray, etc. it would be a miracle if he pulled out a top class so soon in his tenure. I don’t think he nor anyone else could do it.
It may just take some time.

Comment by frankarms 06.17.13 @ 2:04 pm

frankarms the second year coach at kentucky has a top 10 recruting class in football he was never
a head coach any were.
it is not going to take him some time and kentucky
has less going for football then pitt they dont have the history pitt does in football
and in the last 7 years they have won way less games then pitt.
they have been in less bowls then pitt but in his second year he has a top 10 class
so why should chryst get all this time if there coach can do that in 2 years chryst should do it to

give me a brake.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.17.13 @ 2:43 pm

No, give me a brake. In fact brakes for both front wheels.

Thanks for the reminder Frank

Comment by steve1 06.17.13 @ 2:46 pm

Sorry frankarms I’m with FRANKCAN on this recruiting subject. IMHO, it is ALL on HCPC and Co. regarding his recruiting results. True, you can’t change history and you’ve got to live with that, both the good and the bad.

However, a great head football coach has to have the ability to “SELL” his vision for the future of his football program to the potential recruits, no matter what the past has shown to be reality. In fact sometimes it is easier for a new head coach to sell his vision because he’s not burdened with his own historical baggage at his current institution because there is none. At this point, Coach Chryst is at liberty to paint the picture of the future of Pitt Football ashe envisions it as elaborately as he chooses to do so at this point in his Pitt career, and my suggestion to him would be to get crackin!

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.17.13 @ 3:35 pm

I assume Kincaid’s commitment to Akron is verbal. If Chryst makes verbal at Stanford as we all expect him to do certainly Kincaid can decommit to Akron, he has done it before, and come back to Pitt.
Any comments regarding this scenario with Kincaid. (Chyrist is a long shot)

Comment by pittisit 06.17.13 @ 3:39 pm

ESPN says Chryst leaning to Stanford but Pitt a possibility.

Comment by Frank MD 06.17.13 @ 3:52 pm

rival has pitt football recruiting ranked 80 that
is the lowest ranking of any BCS school
i dont think i like that i need 2 asprin
and a stiff drink

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.17.13 @ 4:03 pm

I’m going to opt for a stiff aspirin and two drinks!

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.17.13 @ 4:31 pm

Relax… Keller Chryst is coming to Pitt.

Comment by PittofDreams 06.17.13 @ 4:35 pm

However, I would have liked to have seen Kincaid also at Pitt.

But that’s in a perfect world.

Comment by PittofDreams 06.17.13 @ 4:36 pm

What’s goin’ on here? Seems to be a lot of talk about stiff things on here.

This is a sports blog right??

Comment by Dan 06.17.13 @ 4:37 pm

@ Dan, are you refering to the original sport?, as I hear yelled from the gallery, “it’s in the hole”! I’m ready to get started on that 1st drink.LOL

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.17.13 @ 5:08 pm


Comment by Dan 06.17.13 @ 5:49 pm

Dan you are a funny man i needed that laugh .

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.17.13 @ 5:55 pm

You are right. Justin: lighten up. Appears you are a big Yinzer yourself.

Comment by TonyinHouston 06.17.13 @ 5:56 pm

With LOI day coming next week, I am REALLY concerned about PCs 2014 class………what?………not next week??……..huh?…….it’s actually 8 MONTHS FROM NOW?!?!?!…..really?

It’s true recruiting is all on PC and staff. HIs 2013 class (his first true class) rank was very good for a program coming off turmoil and a mediocre season. It is a long process and there’s 2/3 of a year until signing day.

I’ll wait until the faxes start humming before evaluating him and his staff in regards to 2014 recruiting.

Comment by pghFred 06.18.13 @ 8:58 am

I’m with you Fred.

Chryst is going to attract the kind of recruits he wants. High character kids with enough athletic ability to do what he needs them to do and win as a team. Smart, Tough, Dependable. Take a look at rivals. They have a ton of offers out to solid three-star recruits. I’d be perfectly happy with a class made up of all three stars with good character and solid upside, and that anticipate the needs of our program. With the right coaching these kinds of classes are the building blocks for a strong program.

Now if it was September and we only had two recruits then I’d be worried.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.18.13 @ 9:29 am

This thread may or may not be dead…but here’s a good take coaching vs. recruiting

link to

Take the survey as well…surprising result.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.18.13 @ 10:55 am

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