First off, a heartfelt thank you to veterans. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to be focused on football today. Let’s abuse our freedoms by focusing on the whims of teenaged man-children and where they will go to college!
Not only was the victory over Notre Dame a huge win for 2013, it was a huge win for the following five years due to the impression it made on recruits. I mentioned early Sunday morning that there were upwards of 50 recruits at the game. I’ll stick to only available 2014 recruits for now, but needless to say this victory will go a long way towards closing a few key targets.
The bad news headed into the weekend was that Dravon Henry, the Aliquippa standout, would not be at the game. He was at the WVU-Texas game instead. This was countered by a surprise visitor: Rutgers verbal Adonis Jennings. The heralded WR wasn’t there to just take advantage of a good game. He’s available.
Jennings is no longer committed to Rutgers and he has scheduled his official visit (his trip for Notre Dame was unofficial; a player can only go on an official visit once per school) for January 17th. It appears the race is now between Pitt and Iowa. Jennings throws a good problem into the coaches’ hands. It appeared as if they were all-in on Virginia WR Jamil Kamara as their top WR target. With Jennings now in the picture, the coaches have another option. It’s a toss-up in terms of which player is a better prospect and it’s possible Jennings could be more desired than Kamara.
There were five other players in attendance the coaches are very interested in: OT Alex Bookser, LB James Folston Jr. (brother of Irish RB Tarean Folston), Safety Montae Nicholson, Safety Rasaan Stewart, and DE Hez Trahan. Best case scenario, the coaches have nine spots left, but that’s a .00001% chance number. It would mean the coaches add 27 new players, two of which would enroll in January (meaning they could towards the 2013 class). With 17 players graduating and 2 currently open scholarships, it would require eight players lost to attrition, which won’t happen. I see a few players who could transfer or be asked to move on, but I won’t publicly speculate as to whom. However, I doubt it’s eight.
Realistically speaking, I think there are six or seven spots left, which would give the new class 24 or 25. There certainly is a large possibility a quality player will want to come to Pitt but a scholarship isn’t available. There are a few players the coaches will find a way to fit in no matter what: Dravon Henry, Montae Nicholson, RB Shai McKenzie, RB Chris James, WR Jamil Kamara, and OT Alex Bookser.
I highly doubt we get all six of those guys, which explains why they’re still heavily recruiting other options. But, it’s easy to say that the big win along with the great gameday atmosphere will go a long way on closing Nicholson and Bookser. One thing to keep in mind: there’s no such thing as make or break recruits. I recall when Rushel Shell and Deaysean Rippy were “must get” players. They’re both gone and no one misses them. The important thing is bringing in numerous talented players and not relying on a few guys to be your impact players.
Keep riding the happiness of a win, everyone. This Saturday is a huge game in terms of perception. This team needs to show that the Notre Dame win wasn’t a fluke. Beat UNC and all of the sudden it’s no longer *if* there will be a bowl game, it’s which one. The Notre Dame victory cannot be for naught, it has to mean something moving forward.