December 14, 2013

Adding a BloodLinebacker

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 9:07 pm

Pitt football got a verbal today.

Pitt landed its 20th verbal commitment of the 2014 high school class Saturday night when Cocoa, Fla., linebacker James Folston, Jr., gave his pledge to coach Paul Chryst and the Panthers, according to multiple reports.

Folston is rated as a two-star prospect on and chose Pitt over offers from Minnesota and South Florida. and 247 and says 2-star. and ESPN don’t have him ranked.

His father was also an underrated recruit. James Folston, Sr. played in the NFL after becoming a standout at Louisiana-Monroe.

I like this signing. Sure I would like to see more stars next to his name but I think we can all agree that can be overrated.

I love the fact that he is from Florida, and has good bloodlines. Also, I believe this is the 1st year he ever played LB, so you would think there is plenty of room to learn and grow.

Also think this class desperately needs a couple more recruits on defense.

Comment by Pap76 12.14.13 @ 9:40 pm

I think the types of other offers these guys have say more about their potential than the stars or ratings do. Offers from Minnesota and USF aren’t stellar, but they are solid programs. So, he must be a good player with some potential.

We need to rebuild depth at every position on the field before we can be consistent enough to attract top recruits, and that is going to require bringing in a lot of 2 and 3-star players for a few years to fill-out the roster. PC is doing just that – his classes may not have had a lot of star power, but they have been pretty balanced across the positions and fill the most important needs. The bottom line is that there are a lot of positions where we just need to get some more able bodies in there as soon as possible, and can’t wait around for a star to appear.

People harp-on about how great Wannstedt was at recruiting, but I never saw it. He was good at getting D-linemen and RBs, but he couldn’t recruit an entire team. We are suffering now because he left gigantic holes in the roster that are going to take at least four years with a stable coaching staff to fill with adequate depth. The Heywood and Graham disasters probably set us back two recruiting classes before PC ever set foot on campus. Patience is going to be required.

Comment by Steve S 12.14.13 @ 10:21 pm

He is a linebacker and he is from FL. Two things we need.

Welcome to Pitt James.

Comment by gc 12.14.13 @ 10:34 pm

Good get. This staff seems to be willing to take guys that are long on potential and short on experience. As long as they can coach ‘em up, it’s a pretty good strategy.

It’s also good to see we can beat out the Minnesota’s and USF’s of the world.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.14.13 @ 11:19 pm

I like that we got a player from Florida. Other than that what are the chances we land the big names still? I say

Comment by Shawn 12.14.13 @ 11:44 pm

100 plus tackles for a Cocoa, FL player is a terrific senior season. His size and speed, if accurately reported is a bonus. Currently at 6’3″ 200+ pounds grows into about 225 in a red shirt year. Solid addition in my estimation.

Perhaps that opens some doors for the future. Welcome aboard Mr. Folston. Glad to have you. I hope he hits hard!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.15.13 @ 1:15 am

USF won 2 whopping games with Florida leftovers this year.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 12.15.13 @ 3:44 am

How many did UCF win?

Comment by Dacs 12.15.13 @ 6:11 am

It’s always good to have a footprint in Florida and/or Texas. Walt and Wanny always got Florida guys and Graham had Texas-it’s big for HCPC to have inroads in one of the two since we are already good in PA and Ohio

Comment by John 12.15.13 @ 6:48 am

Under recruited because he only weighed 170 before senior year. Pitt got a good one. Not elite but he will make a difference.

Comment by TX Panther 12.15.13 @ 7:31 am

According to the P-G we will have four players from Florida next season. Slowly…building….a…pipeline.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.15.13 @ 8:37 am

Why Florida? Why not Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi?

I really, really don’t get it.

Comment by steve1 12.15.13 @ 8:48 am

Good get.

Comment by notrocketscience 12.15.13 @ 8:56 am

LSU makes a living in LA, MS and TX. Florida is where you want the LB’s and skilled position players. Wish the kid had more looks than Minnesota and USF but it is a start.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.15.13 @ 9:07 am

Todd Graham to Texas? Don’t be surprised if it happens. Big names are not exactly beating down Tex’s door for the job. The new Texas AD hired Graham at Az St.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 12.15.13 @ 9:09 am


Uh, check again about who hired Graham at ASU. Not the guy who is now at Texas.

H2P and H2AD

Comment by pmdH2P 12.15.13 @ 9:20 am

Texas will never hire the Fraud. I have a better chance at winning Mega Millions than Graham getting that gig.

Donald wasn’t even in the top ten of Heisman votes. That award is a joke. So it goes to a frosh accused of rape instead.

Comment by TX Panther 12.15.13 @ 9:45 am


Given Central Catholic’s success this year does anyone else find it interesting that Pitt has not
recruited anyone from that school???

Comment by JR 12.15.13 @ 10:08 am

I think former ASU AD agreed not to hire any current ASU staff at Texas.

Comment by HbgFrank 12.15.13 @ 10:18 am

Checked again:

Steve Patterson was hired as ASU Chief Operating Officer of Athletic Department by Michael Crow, President ASU on 7/7/2011.Lisa Love was then the AD, also reporting to Crow.
Fraud was hired(as we all know) in December of 2011. Lisa Love was fired on 3/12/2012 and Patterson took over her AD responsibilities.

How about we go with, “Current Texas AD was part of the executive management team at ASU when Todd Graham was hired”? Better?

Regardless, there is a strong ASU connection with Graham. The ASU president, Crow, is on record as saying that Patterson is not legally able to hire ASU coaches. We all know what kind of value Graham and Patterson place on those legal details, none.

ESPN is reporting that Graham is being mentioned for the job.

Again, to be precise, I am not saying Graham is going to be hired, but I would not be surprised if he were when their top choices all turn them down.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 12.15.13 @ 10:23 am

Perusing some of the stuff from…

Breckterfield and Haering handled recruitment of Folston. Credit to them for landing him and even more credit if this kid pans out.

Breckterfield is also apparently handling the primary recruiting of Cypress Bay (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) safety Marquise Dudley-Gordon. This kid is one of Pitt’s targets that has really piqued my interest. He’s 6’1″, 190, rated by the site as a Top 150 player in the state of FL. Pitt is currently his favorite over Cincy and Iowa State. He also has offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Arkansas, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Here’s a link to their current commits/targets list.

link to

Some interesting stuff there, particularly regarding the footprint that this coaching staff is covering, especially if you expand the “Scout Look” bar at the bottom.

I like what I’m seeing with a lot of it. Lots of concentration in eastern PA and then NJ, MD and Virginia for those Atlantic coastal regions. They’ve also reached out to a lot more prospects in Florida and Georgia than I initially expected to see. And of course they have the strong focus on Ohio and the surrounding Big 10 areas, which I’d expect given Chryst’s history.

It’s a pretty good footprint for a regional program like this. I hope they can deliver on some of these kids.

Comment by Stoosh 12.15.13 @ 10:23 am

Apparently the AD who left ASU for Texas had an agreement if he left, and that was not hiring anyone from ASU. As much as I would like for it to happen, Fraud will stay at ASU. Or if Texas hires the Oklahoma State coach, I could see Fraud trying to go there! Can’t believe how well he has done out there, but I believe in Chryst and have faith in him! At least he is a good guy and represents the University well! Remember all of the complaints about Fraud that were out there? He’s a jag off!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.15.13 @ 10:25 am

Sumlin – Option
Petrino – ?????? (I like that option) – He would bring some flash… Just get him a cute intern.
Jimbo – Never know…
Miles – Could be???

But here is who I think gets the job…. Briles from Baylor.

Either way, search will be done in 7 days.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.15.13 @ 10:27 am

Howsabout a couple of Sumo wrestlers?

American has direct flights to Tokyo.

Comment by steve1 12.15.13 @ 10:30 am

If this kid can run and plays defense I’ll take him. Agree with Pap76, we are desperate for defensive recruits.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.15.13 @ 10:32 am

The stars don’t matter in recruiting. But developing players and coaching them up does.

I am still not sold on this staff’s ability to crank up players. A lot of the players on our roster – which I will not break my rule and name kids on the net if it provokes negative discussion – were top talent coming out of HS – they continue to put forth effort but are in a system that does not bring out the best.

I also note several of our signees are way underweight, which in and of itself is the one thing a program can control in development. We do things when signing these players – we lack the speed and explosiveness in our strength and conditioning program and play them way too early instead of redshirting. I can think of several names on this year’s roster that should have kept the redshirt on – they added little to nothing on the field but would have benefitted from a full year of growth.

Comment by PittMan 12.15.13 @ 10:36 am

How about O’Brien from PSU?

He has proven he can coach. He can recruit and develop QB’s, that was a big issue with Mack Brown. He could have had RGIII, Johnny Football and Jameis Winston. He missed on all three.

Not sure what his contract situation looks like and everyone suspects he wants to get back to the NFL someday, but if Texas comes calling and throws a big wad of cash at you, it is going to be hard to say no.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 12.15.13 @ 10:44 am

It think it’s too early to tell if this staff is doing a good job coaching players up or not.

Positive Discussion:

Vinopal – say what you want but he is light years better than when he started

Gonzales – now one of our best linebackers. Who could have said that in the beginning of the year?

Devin Cook – I believe he has been noted as playing well of late.

Bryan Murphy / Juan Price – both were getting pressure on opposing QB’s by midseason before they got hurt.

TJ Clemmings – Developed into our best offensive lineman after just one season

WR’s – If you think the coaching here is bad I’m going to ask Chad to throw you off the board.

Savage – Showed marked improvement as the year went on, especially with his pre-snap reads and checkdowns.

Running Backs – not a ton to work with here but you have to admit that getting 4.7 YPC with our less-than-stellar o-line and the talent / experience level here is pretty solid work.

And yep, for every guy that has developed, there is a guy that hasn’t, but overall I think the guys who are putting in the effort are reaping the rewards.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.15.13 @ 10:51 am

Stoosh I think you made a pretty good comment about our recruiting footprint. It looks like the changes that Chryst made to the staff prior to the season (Moving Desmond Robinson to Player / Personnel Director) have started to pay dividends. Heck, last year they couldn’t even figure out how to offer kids a scholarship at times. Major improvement here.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.15.13 @ 10:56 am

@ Atlanta Panther, you’re the one who might get banned from the Blather, your posts read like you’re mainlining the Pitt Koolaid, you are sounding waaaaay too positive to be associated this website! (Sarcasim implied)

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.15.13 @ 11:17 am

Texas will hire a Southern Coach. No chance on a anyone from the Shit 10

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.15.13 @ 11:32 am


Does anybody really care who Texas hires
as the FB coach? Also I refuse to discuss
or use the name of a former coach who
is a consummate low life.

More importantly what is happening at
our 15 bowl practices?

Comment by JR 12.15.13 @ 11:49 am

As John at 6:48am noted, Pitt’s recruiting footprint is already established in the state of Ohio, where of course the Gorillas in the room are the BIG 10 boys, especially THE Ohio State. That’s why a win in our puny bowl game, (“little” is even in the name of it), is so large for a Pitt program that is attempting to go toe to toe recruiting in those home states of the BIG 10 Gorillas.

We will seldom get the cream of the crop there in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and the like, but there is a deep enough pool of talent in the Midwest for many programs to harvest from. Many of those players get heavily recruited by MAC teams simply because of their geography, being in the midst of that region. Many posters on the Blather see those kind of MAC offers as some sort of Scarlet Letter indictment against those recruit’s talent upside for some reason, I don’t.

Many of these guys end up in the major college programs anyhow and some eventually in the ranks of the NFL. Often it’s just that the MAC schools get these recruits on their respective radars first and tend to offer them early in an attempt to snatch them up before they are offered late by the big boys to fill out their recruiting rosters later in the process.

So winning the Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Pizza Bowl is important for recruiting because people in the midwest actually DO follow the MAC schools, believe it or not. And a loss to BGSU will be remembered by many future recruits that Pitt will be offering from the Midwest in the near future. A Pitt win paints a very different picture to these kids of where the Pitt program is going.

Beat Bowling Green and Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.15.13 @ 11:49 am

@ JR, couldn’t agree with you more, that motherfu!%*ker is the consummate carpet bagger if I ever saw one in the ranks of college football coaches. He is dead to me after the way he dissed our program. Look up the word low-life in the dictionary and there’s a picture of him next to it.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.15.13 @ 11:54 am

BTW, back to the subjest of this thread, Florida recruits are of primo importance going forward for Pitt, even when they are lightly recruited and of lower ratings. And you have to like his bloodline. No matter how good a coach that you are, you can never coach up who your Mommy and Daddy are.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.15.13 @ 11:56 am

ESPNU just replayed FSU vs Pitt. FSU has a QB that may be wanting to transfer. Winston still 25 for 27.

Looking back at the season, our lack of depth really hurt the results the most. Games missed by Street, Conners, Gordon, Price, Murphy, Coles. Certainly, not unusual and a part of the game, but when you have a major drop in quality because you lack depth it make a bigger difference.

FSU has third stingers that could start for us.

This recruiting class is important if for no other reason, we need warm bodies. A few guys that can make an impact next year could make a big difference. Depth will help most on special teams.

Good to hear we are making inroads in FL.

Comment by gc 12.15.13 @ 12:21 pm

Also on the FSU vs Pitt game, have there ever been that many future big time trophy winners on a field a one time?

Comment by gc 12.15.13 @ 12:39 pm

Ahh good old sarcasm. +1 Dr. Tom

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.15.13 @ 1:20 pm

His dad does know what it takes. And they have a close relationship I read. Good support system. Pitt needs more help on D.

Comment by TX Panther 12.15.13 @ 1:21 pm

As long as he is from Florida and/or has a lot of stars. Then he’s worth the scholarship.

The reigning winner of the Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, and Outland awards was a three star athlete from Penn Hills, PA. The reigning ACC defensive player of the year had offers from Akron and Toledo besides Pitt.

We should definitely stick to number of stars, Florida players (cause Miami and UF looked so dominant this year), and whether an athlete has been recruited to a MAC school as the yardsticks for whether a scholarship offer to a Pitt athlete is warranted.

Three stars or less, local, or MAC offer and he’s out.

Bye Aaron Donald. Thanks for all that you’ve done for this program over the last four years.

Comment by Barvo 12.15.13 @ 1:50 pm

we have recruited so few LB that any LB is a good get but we cant live on 2 star players and win in the ACC so as DR Tom has said recruiting must pick up .
and bye next year i hope it does we need better players that is a fact i dont care how you spin it
a study diet of 2 stars wont cut it.

Comment by Frankcan 12.15.13 @ 2:42 pm

One word makes me excited about this signing…SPEED.


Comment by Pitt it IS 12.15.13 @ 3:59 pm

It’s time to stop the Graham-bashing. You are starting to sound like crybabies. Graham was the PAC-12 coach of the year. He doesn’t need Pitt fans.

The Texas job does matter to anyone who follows college football. It’s the wealthiest college football conglomerate. Texas plays in the region every other year.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.15.13 @ 5:22 pm

I bash the fucker because he has no integrity. I catch him in my part of Texas, he’ll know what honor means. How you treat people you are responsible for is what separates scum from normal human beings.

Comment by TX Panther 12.15.13 @ 5:29 pm

Tony – JR, I also care about the Texas search. I live in Fort Worth and it’s still all about UT here. My newspaper and my nightly news is about UT. Not all of us live in Pitt and only follow Pitt.

As far as Graham is concerned I agree. The guy is an awesome coach. Yes he is an asshole but let it go guys. The guy is PAC-12 COY and is happy at Az. St.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.15.13 @ 5:42 pm

i dont like Graham as a person but had he stayed at pitt i am sure we would be winning 9 or 10 games a year.
and i do think part of the reaso he left was that are AD stuck his nose into the program to far and i do belive he lied to graham abought some things and graham more or less said fuck peterson and left.

Comment by Frankcan 12.15.13 @ 6:08 pm

Pitt Is It, I saw on ESPN that Folston runs a 4.76 at 190#. That’s average at best for his size. If he can put on 30 lbs and maintain that, I’ll be happier.

Graham is a decent coach, not sure I would go so far as to call him awesome; whether he can sustain success over time remains to be seen. So far he wins and moves on (except here).

Give Graham credit, nothing is automatic, but he dropped into a fantastic situation at ASU. I’ll say this for him; he is a shrewd ladder climber. Just to be mentioned for the Texas job is impressive.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.15.13 @ 6:30 pm

Screw Graham, the PAC 12 sucked this year the only good team was Stanford and they waxed the gnome twice. Oregon was to good for the Rose Bowl and I hope Texas sends out Mack a winner. I hate the B1G but I would like to see Michigan State beat Stanford they have a good coach. 4 stars are not lining up to come to Pitt so getting a guy from Florida with a good petigree is how this program will have to be rebuilt, welcome and I hope you enjoy Pittsburgh Mr. Folston!

Comment by Steve h 12.15.13 @ 7:45 pm

Not to mention the fluke win Fraud got vs wisky! Remember that game? Game should of been a Wisconsin win! And I encourage all Fraud bashing! You don’t do that to Pitt and get away with it! He will get his! Karma is a bitch!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.15.13 @ 10:38 pm

And I agree it was because of our AD! Still no excuse! But once Smiley is gone we will do better in football that’s for sure!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.15.13 @ 10:40 pm

Army fired their head coach Sunday. He would make an awesome hire as a Defensive Coordinator.

Comment by ChrisA 12.15.13 @ 10:48 pm

Need to start recruiting the south harder. Who recruits Virginia for us? I say if we get 40 percent from WPA, 20 percent from EPA, and then the remaining 40 percent split between NJ, OH, VA and FL, we’ll do fine. We need to play bowl games in Florida to help with recruiting. Detroit does us no good. We don’t pull players from Michigan. And t OSU gets most of the four stars from OHIO and Michigan scoops up the rest. Wanny built a fence around WPA. Chryst needs to expand that fence. But first it needs mended.

Comment by TX Panther 12.16.13 @ 7:49 am

I beg to disagree that if Fraudie would have stayed that we would be winning 9 or 10 games a year. His assistants, who were fired/unemployed DickRod minions, were working for a one year paycheck until DickRod hired them back at Arizona. They were all former ex-Hoopie coaches who had no loyalty to the University of Pittsburgh. I am much happier where the program is headed now than if he had stayed. HCPC is gonna take us to the next level. Be patient and give him a few more years. He isn’t a quick-fix guy to an anemic football program. H2p!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 12.16.13 @ 8:59 am

Fla. St. is the only favorite in the bowl games, all of the rest of the teams are underdogs.

Comment by markp 12.16.13 @ 9:02 am

I like this recruit, I like his speed, I like us hitting Florida. That’s good.

A couple comments about “coaching them up” though.

C’mon fellas.

Whistling through the graveyard on recruiting.

You can certainly “coach up” some of your recruits.

But, you ain’t gonna make a livin’ if you gotta “coach up” your whole recruiting class.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Quicker is what gets you into the top 25.

I’m not criticizing HCPC. I’m still giving him time on building a recruiting base.

Let’s not fool ourselves though, if we want to be a top 25 program, our recruiting classes have got to get progressively better and better.

I hope they do. I’m still hoping on some the big time recruits out there signing on for Pitt.

Comment by Dan 12.16.13 @ 10:07 am

Ya, ya, I know about Boise State and the perennial MAC team making the top 25.

Lightning in a bottle.

Is that who we’re striving to be??

I have no delusions of Alabama or LSU, but a consistent top 25 program, and to do that, you have to have the horses.

Comment by Dan 12.16.13 @ 10:09 am

@Tx Panther, currently there are 13 guys from the Midwest on the Pitt roster or coming in with this recruiting class, with six from Ohio. With Chryst & Co. having a history from the Midwest that would be expected, so the game in Detroit against the MAC Champion isn’t a total washout from the recruiting perspective but agreed, it would have been lot better if we had been invited to play in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando though. Recruiting the South is a key for future success. That’s a steep climb to the #3 spot in the ACC this year however which was the requirement for that invite to the Russell Athletic Bowl!

We can get there however. Our division is definitely the weaker of the two in the ACC and even though we lost 4 out of the 6 in our division we were in every one of those games while beating the eventual Costal Division winner!

This was a huge transition year for the Panthers. I think that we will be pleasantly surprised at the difference one more year under the belts of this team and coaching staff will have on the program now that we’ve made that transition into the ACC.

I know, I know, “wait till next year” mantra continues, but Chryst IS building something from the ground up here. Everybody on the inside sees and understands that. It was even mentioned by Aaron Donald this past week during his national tour of fame.

If we are lucky enough to seal the deal with guys like Jennings, Kamara and or Nicholson, who can see that for themselves and decide that they want to be a part of that, than this incoming recruiting class will be adequate to keep that rebuilding process going in a positive direction.

I also think that we will see an improvement in both the OL and the RB situation next year, with the guys that we have on board right now. And the anticipated drop off that we are all anticipating in the interior of the DL might just not be as steep a downward spiral as we all anticipate, if the guys in the wings have been using their time effectively this season. I feel that we are going to be pleasantly surprised by the likes of some BIG new faces with names like Taleni and Jarrett who should see playing time backing up guys with the last names of “Smith” who both HAVE TO be able to step into that huge void vacated by Aaron Donald with some attitude. K. K. Mosley-Smith especially is a key in that equation. I sure hope that he cherishes the second chance that he has been given for 2014. I really thought he was going to get his walking papers along with the other two involved in that drug issue this year. I’m wondering how he is going to respond to that opportunity?

Next year is THE LAST free ride for Chryst though. If he can end up with a win next week and build on that into a winning season next year, then I think that we will be OK in the recruiting dept going forward because the record will be reflecting that rebuilding process that is currently underway. If Pitt stumbles badly next season, then Chryst & Co. are going to be in some deep $hit going into 2015. This fan base despartly needs to see the process translated into wins on the field to keep the natives from becoming a lynch mob next season. That starts with a win on the day after Christmas.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.16.13 @ 10:47 am

BTW, I hold out hope for K.K. because anybody who’s Facebook page shows the Pitt team decked out in the old colors dressed in the “Script” unis has to have the Panther Pride coursing through his veins!

link to

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.16.13 @ 11:10 am

Let’s go out with a win and close strong in recruiting. Maybe next year it will be Orlando.

Comment by TX Panther 12.16.13 @ 11:21 am

That’s what I’m talkin bout too, TX Panther!

Beat the bejeebers out of Bowling Green!
What are bejeebers” anyhow?

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.16.13 @ 12:05 pm

This is a good get. Anytime you can get a Florida kid, it’s good. Overall, I think this is shaping up to be a solid recruiting class. Most of the kids are 3***. If PITT can close out on a couple of the remaining 4**** targets, then it could be great (and BTW, you can win with 3***s – Johnny Football was a 3*** prospect for what its worth).

Interesting note though, from the Trib: 20 recruits and only 17 seniors leaving. Looks like another interesting off season.


Comment by VAYinzer 12.16.13 @ 12:08 pm

In a recent interview didn’t hear todd “the snake” graham dismiss the Texas job. I would laugh if he took it up.

Comment by Shawn 12.16.13 @ 12:49 pm

Todd Graham would NEVER be considered for the UT job guys. That is the cream of the crop and there is no way they would take him on. Although, Peggy would probably love it, LOL. I’d love for them to hire Petrino, no bs. He would win fast. I think they still hire Briles from Baylor.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.16.13 @ 1:24 pm

Nicholson will pick his school on thur day

Vayinzer over one third of pitts recruiting class are 2 star players we have 20 in class and 7 of them are 2 star.

Comment by Frankcan 12.16.13 @ 2:41 pm

@VAYinzer, I respect your opinion, glad to see you posting.

However, Manziel was playing with a bunch of top recruits. 7 (4′s) in 08. 5 (4′s) in 09. 9 (4′s)
in 10.

They recruited very few 2′s. Even less the past two years since they’ve become very good.

Hey, 2 stars have become great players and gone to the pros. I get it. 5 stars have failed. Got it.

As a body of 20 to 25 kids (a recruiting class) you can’t have it be predominantly 2′s and 3′s.


I’m not defending it.

I have noticed one thing though about it.

The kids that have 5 and 4 stars by their name, are the bigger, faster and stronger kids.

There’s no getting around it.

It’s really pretty simple, whether we like the recruiting services or not…………

If you look at most of the top 25 recruiting classes the past 4 or 5 years, those are the teams that are pretty much in the top 25 every year.

Comment by Dan 12.16.13 @ 7:09 pm

@FRANKCAN, how are ya buddy? Hope all is well.

I will tell you one thing. If we are still having seven or eight 2 star players in the next couple of recruiting classes, I can tell you what our record will be in 2016 and 2017.


I’ve supported HCPC, and I still do.

Classes have got to get progressively better and better if he’s gonna turn this thing around.

Comment by Dan 12.16.13 @ 7:13 pm

Hey, I’m cheering for HCPC.

Maybe he’ll get 4 out 5 of the big names still out there on our radar.

Maybe he’ll get all 5??

If he does that, I’ll be the first to come on and say, “looks like we’re making a little progress”.

Comment by Dan 12.16.13 @ 7:16 pm

We need to close strong. Whatever it takes…within the lines of course. Stretch em some.

Comment by TX Panther 12.16.13 @ 7:55 pm

DAN i am good hope you are i am wondering if EMel is ok .
and you are right some times 2 stars make it big but as you say you cant have seven 2 star every year in a recruiting class of 21 and play in the ACC unless you are a bottom feeder.

Comment by Frankcan 12.16.13 @ 8:29 pm

TX Panther strench thoes lines as far as every one else does.
that is fair no more then outhers but no less what is good for one is good for the outher.
what do they say nice guys finish last that is my problem if i were younger it would be no more mr nice guy but to old to change now but pitt could change and do what they do no more no less.

Comment by Frankcan 12.16.13 @ 8:55 pm

Dr. Tom may have hit on something prophetic about the state of the program without meaning to. KK has a facebook page with him in the Script!! That is a jab at the AD and the lack of respect the players have for the AD. Now tell me again how not important a good (not even great) AD is in constructing a program.

Uniforms matter to recruits too! The AD continues to handcuff the coaches by another poor selection. Any updates on leans for the upcoming decisions on the two local kids this week? Pitt can win with them or without them. My preference is with them. Also nice to see the offers out already to the 2015 class. It takes time to develop relationships. We don’t need to worry about our head coach leaving again this year, which is another positive for the program. Now if only our AD would leave…uggh!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.16.13 @ 10:24 pm

I’m with ya! I just can’t get on board with Smiley! He just doesn’t get it! And by it I mean a lot of things! It just seems like he isn’t a good people person. Look at the Wanny situation. Like him or not, he was dismissed without a real plan and without a big name to take us to the next level! Schools like Pitt need to be careful on taking things to the next level! Cause the level I see went down and not up! Lets go back further in his first tenure and the hiring of Walt. Good move that worked out but if you look at Walts first couple years, it wasnt good and by today’s standard he might have been fired. With Walt aside he comes in and changed everything! We had a brand and a tradition and he took that from us! He doesn’t really honor our past. Do we have throwback days? We are the only team who doesn’t do this in Pittsburgh! He got the Pete built which is great but tears down our on campus stadium. He gets us in the ACC but still doesn’t pay our assistants enoug and seems to take the cheap way out! We see it all the time, new Chancellor comes in and wants his or her own AD, he will be gone in three years!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.16.13 @ 10:59 pm

The no throwback day is simply a dick move. Pederson is basically saying I don’t want it and too bad. Don’t be surprised if we have a throwback day–to the 1997 uniforms!!! (Which minus the helmet are better than today’s)

Comment by John 12.17.13 @ 6:23 am

Agree, don’t understand why PITT doesn’t have a throwback day, or even just 3-4 sets of different unis. The kids get excited over that stuff. Even WVU has a bunch of different uni combos.

On recruiting. I get the fact that more ****s = bigger, stronger athletes, and there are a lot more of those type of athletes in the WPIAL than the entire state of Wisconsin. So if HCPC can get even 1-2 of the local 4/5 *****s then I think thinks will work out. Here is an older article from USA Today about Wisconsin recruiting and lack of stars but winning none the less.

link to

Bielema knows what he needs and doesn’t want his assistants getting caught up in the star system or paying any attention to rankings.

“What we talk about is finding a Wisconsin guy, even if he’s in Florida or Ohio or anywhere in the country,” Bielema says. “We try to find a kid that fits here academically, athletically and socially.

Comment by VAYinzer 12.17.13 @ 6:30 am

VAYinzer, Pitt may be being built to win in the B10, but it plays in the ACC. UNC, Miami, FSU, GT and Duke (which scored 55) all had better overall team speed while Pitt beat ND, which beat B10 Champ Mich State.

Comment by wbb 12.17.13 @ 7:24 am

wbb – i saw that once i got down to the bottom of the article, lol. i agree, ACC is faster than B10, but i think PITT is in a better situation – both conference and location – than wisci and therefor PITT can get bigger, faster kids. i want PITT to close strong and hopefully they can get some of the 4**** kids left, but i don’t think HCPC cares about that. he’s going to get the players that fit his system.


Comment by VAYinzer 12.17.13 @ 7:34 am

Dan, you are toooooo much. When you state, “Maybe he’ll get all 5?? If he does that, I’ll be the first to come on and say, looks like we’re making a little progress”. A LITTLE PROGRESS? How big of you to mention it. WE SHOULD BE DANCING IN THE STREETS AND SHOOTING OFF FIREWORKS if we get all five! GET REAL!

Pitt will be fortunate to grab two of the remaining 5 highly rated recruits out there still interested in Pitt:
Montae Nicholson
Adonis Jennings
Alex Bookser
Shai McKenzie
Jamil Kamara
We really need either Jennings or Kamara to compliment Tyler Boyd in the WR corpes. These guys both have the height and SPEED to produce a very good 1 2 punch with Boyd. The other “must get” is Nicholson. The kid can just flat out play football at a very high level! Thank God for Chris James because when we DON’T get McKenzie, it won’t hurt so much since we have 3 incoming RBs now with James probably being the best of the bunch. Bookser also is not essential since we are stocked with OL guys from last year and a good one in this class already with Grimm + 2 others at least for the OL.

Where we need help in the depth dept is on the DL. Apparently there is a kid, Thomas Holley, out of NYC that has given Pitt some consideration even though he hasn’t done a visit to the campus. He has visited Florida, penn state and OSU. I would be all over this guy as of yesterday in light of the great fortunes of AD this past week in the award department. This kid would be a huge get for the Panthers and I would be trying my best to get him in for a visit as a first recruiting priority for this class, challenging him to follow in the footsteps of the great Aaron Donald if he thinks that he can.

My prediction is that we get ONE guy out of this list of 5, and if it is only one, I hope that it is Nicholson. If we get two, then will be making “a little progress” in the recruiting department

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 7:45 am

I think we get Shai, Bookster, Montae and Jamil. 4 out of 5 ain’t bad. Solid group and decent enough overall class. That will boost our overall star to 3.1. FSU stands at 3.5. It’s all relative but if we want better than 6 win seasons we need to close more 4 stars. And Donald was a 4 star by Scout. He wasn’t some 2 star that became great by being coached up or by sheer hard work. The man has some natural god given talent.

Comment by TX Panther 12.17.13 @ 8:18 am

TX Panther, have you begun a Paxil Rx lately? You have become very positive as of late, not that there is anything wrong with that! I sure hope that your prediction is accurate when all is said and done because that would be great for Pitt.

Frankcan mentioned that Nicholson was announcing his decision as of tomorrow. (I have no idea where he saw this report) That would be a very nice early Christmas present for the Panther Faithful to get. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 8:45 am

Anyone know which coach was handling the recruitment of Nicholson and if HCPC did an in home visit?


Comment by VAYinzer 12.17.13 @ 8:57 am

i dont want mckenzie any more if we get him james might leave i would rather have james that is just a guess on my part.
nicholson is rated one space better then henry he is the 13th best safety henry the 14th nicholson is also 6 foot 2 henry 5 foot 11.
so if we get him we are better off he will pick his school thursday at 2 pm

but we need 3 out of the 5 or some one rated as high as they are if we are to have a ok class of recruits

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 9:08 am

to confirm Frankcan … according to Pantherlair and PantherDigest, Nicholsen is announcing on Thursday. Per Dokish Twitter, Nicholsen on Thursday and McKenzie on Friday.

Unlike Henry, there is allegedly no clear cut favorite for either of them. However, according to the so-called experts who predcited Henry to WVU, Pitt has a decent chance of landing both, expecially Nicholsen.

One more thought, Nicholsen’s teammate at Gateway is Anthony Davis, a 3-star CB who is reportedly a Pitt lean … not sure what, if any impact, Nicholsen’s choice will have.

Nicholsen, Davis, Bookser and one of the two 4-star WRs would make me a very happy camper … until the opener next year oe if HCPC has to hire another coach in the off-season.

Comment by wbb 12.17.13 @ 10:24 am

I’m going to the mall this evening. I’ll make a point to wait in line and visit Santa at his North Pole display there to personally give him my gift list, of which Montae Nicholson is on the top of.

I’ve been a good boy all year too, so I should be on his “NICE” list. We’ll see Thursday, I guess, whether Santa has come through for us.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 10:35 am

The bloodline that still bothers me is losing Apke.

I can’t remember a legacy player other than Dorsett and that was years ago. I am sure there were others.

Too bad IronHeads kid didn’t come here. At least he is a Steeler.

Comment by gc 12.17.13 @ 10:36 am

Tom Ricketts Jr originally comitted to PSU but ended up at Pitt, and never played a down … in part due to injury and also (my guess) he wasn’t that good

Comment by wbb 12.17.13 @ 10:43 am

Wbb you are right injury no drive to be good and weight could not seam to get over 275 pounds which is to light for a OT.
APKE i dont get that if i was his dad i would have said ohio state ok ucla is ok but no penn state
not when dad played for pitt i dont get it.

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 11:10 am

Maybe Apke’s dad “didn’t like the way things were set up” Just kidding.

Who knows. Kids make choices. Things happen.

I can’t wait to see us start winning with all these two-and three-star recruits. Football is a team game fellas. And the sum is greater than the parts. I like that these guys are recruiting balanced classes and filling in holes.

They are also focusing on QB’s, which is great. No one position can have a bigger outcome on the performance of a team.

A couple of four-stars never hurt though!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.17.13 @ 11:33 am

Wbb Dan Atlanta panther i want some info please penn state can only have 15 recruits a year the ncaa said that may change next year i repeat nexr year that might change.
so tell me why they have 18 recruits this year how can they get away with this any thoughts i am pissed

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 11:54 am

And were is the real Atlanta Panther who are you when did you start drinking the koolaid.
i liked it better before when you hated are asst coachs and were pissed at the way things were going has the real atlanta panther been kidnaped and you have taken his place WHAT .

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 12:00 pm

DR Tom why does penn state have 18 commits they can only have 15 what the hell is going on.

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 12:05 pm

Frankie lets just say I found religion. It also helps that they stopped playing games… LOL if we lay an egg against bowling green I think you’ll get what you want quickly enough.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.17.13 @ 1:02 pm

Atlanta Panther thats great i thought may be a UFO
had switched you with a implant .
good to know you are still there hope you get well soon.
why does penn state have 18 commits when NCAA says they can only have 15 a year some one give me a why on this what is up.

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 1:44 pm

@ Frankcan, yeah, you must have missed the report of the NCAA scantions being reduced to those buggers from creepy valley that happened in September.

link to

They get 20 in next year’s class and are restored completely to 25 in the 2015-16 class. So much for administering punishment that is appropriate for the crimes and validating the ruined lives of the victims involved.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 2:07 pm

A nice article on AD along with his AP All-American announcement today, even gave one of Pitt’s defensive coaches some love, how can that be? Total Blasphemy!?!?

link to

Article quotes, “Donald wins with anticipation at the line of scrimmage. He worked all season with defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield to break down offenses, offensive lineman tendencies, offensive schemes. They would hole up for hours, either in defensive line meetings or one-on-one, to assess what Donald would face on Saturdays.”

Maybe all of the Pitt’s defensive coaches aren’t moronic one eyed cretines after all.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 2:17 pm


After the week that Aaron Donald has had, to send him off to the NFL with anything less than a bowl victory would be a disgrace and a dishonor to him.

This team better be playing like a team possessed against Bowling Green if ONLY to avoid blemishing Aaron Donald’s final game in a Panther uniform.

This team has the duty to lay it all out there for this one. NO FEAR, NO EXCUSES, NO POSSIBILITY OF EVEN ENTERTAINING THE CONCEPT OF DEFEAT.

Hail to Donald and Hail to Pitt! Bowling Green must be crushed!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 2:29 pm

DR TOM thanks so they have had a year and a half of punshment they got off cheap.

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 4:07 pm

Dr Tom, how do you know it wasn’t Donald mentoring Breckterfield on how to break down film?

Comment by wbb 12.17.13 @ 4:22 pm

wbb, I don’t, but if that was the case let’s hope that Brecterfield was paying close attention for future reference.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.17.13 @ 4:35 pm

Did anyone see this in the PG the other day? A sportswriter predicted the final score for the state AA title game to be 50 to 6, Imhotep beating South Fayette. Actual final score was So Fayette winning 41-0. Worst prediction ever?

So Fayette QB is Brett Brumbaugh who is a 6’4 junior, and broke all kind of records. I would assume HCPC is taking notice.

Comment by wbb 12.17.13 @ 4:36 pm

Texas will have a hard time finding the next coach and who they get wont be there first pick.
just a gut felling .

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 5:28 pm

i dont call that a basketball game i call that suck ball he plays one way for 10 games then plays 1940 style BB i call that suck ball dixon should put a paper bag on his head after that.
we should not be rated we suck when we play some one good.

Comment by Frankcan 12.17.13 @ 10:05 pm

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