When Jameel Poteat decommitted from Pitt during the Wannstedtian upheaval of 2010-11, it was a difficult but understandable action. Difficult because the 4-star, Bishop-McDevitt kid was also relative of one of the few standout Panthers from the late 90s. He attended the same high school LeSean McCoy did, and was talking of following his path. Difficult because Pitt had done so well in mining Bishop-McDevitt up to that point and getting some very good players.
At the same time it was understandable. Poteat didn’t know the new coaching staff. The offensive system did not seem to fit him well. And he was hardly the only decommit from that group, that he almost got lost in the volume. He switched to Cinci and Malcolm Crockett went from being a Cinci verbal to coming to Pitt.
Things did not work out the way anyone expected. Poteat did not develop as his star ranking suggested. Eventually transferring from Cinci down to Stony Brook.
“I really should have gone there when I left Cincinnati,” Poteat told Panther-Lair.com. “Pitt was where my heart always was, but things were always up in the air. Throughout my college career, I would talk to my mom and she always wanted me to go to Pitt. And I felt like I should have gone there, too; I always wondered about it.
“It’s crazy; me and Terrell Chestnut” – the current West Virginia safety who also committed to Pitt in 2010 but decommitted during the coaching change – “I still talk to him and sometimes we say, ‘What if we had gone to Pitt?’ I don’t want to always say that and always wonder, so I’m going there now and I thank the coaches because they didn’t have to give me a chance. I’m going to earn it.”
Poteat has kept in touch with more players from the recruiting process than just Chestnut. Players like Tom Savage, Pitt’s quarterback in 2013 who was at Rutgers when Poteat was getting recruited, or redshirt junior defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith, who was a member of the 2011 recruiting class and stuck with Pitt through the coaching changes.
“I was talking to Tom Savage because I hung out with him during the recruiting process, and he’s like me: he had been through a lot,” Poteat said. “So I talked to him and he said the coaches were great at Pitt and he told me how they all accepted him and it was a good place.
“I’ve been talking to K.K. (Mosley-Smith) and those guys for a long time, and we would joke around about it, about me going back to Pitt one day. So one time I said, ‘I’m going to do it; I’ll go in and work to earn it.’ It’s a big decision, and a lot of people will say I should have gone there from the jump, but everything happens for a reason.”
Once Poteat decided to make Pitt his final stop, he had to find out if it would be the right fit. That meant meeting a new coaching staff – technically, the fourth Pitt staff he interacted with – and building a relationship with Paul Chryst and the rest of the coaches.
I had completely forgotten about Chestnut. Playing defense for West Virginia can have that effect.
It’s hard to imagine Poteat cracking the 2-deep offense in 2015. Maybe he will have an impact on special teams. Still, he will have a full year to prepare. And keeping running backs healthy has been a bit of a chore for the last year.
The other way to view this is hopefully another step in reestablishing a solid relationship with Bishop McDevitt and the kids that come from that program.