Johnson Wanted To Commit Early

It turns out that Shane Johnson wanted to commit to Pitt all along, but his coach at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., Bill McGregor, urged him not to rush the decision.

It's not that McGregor wanted the 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive guard to attend another school, but he just wanted Johnson to be certain if Pittsburgh was the place for him. An official visit this past weekend confirmed everything, and Shane Johnson gave the Panthers his verbal commitment Saturday.

"I have a rule at DeMatha,'' McGregor said. "Once you commit, you commit. And we're not going to back out of a verbal. So, make sure that you're sure before you say yes to somebody or before you say no to somebody. And once you say it, nobody else is coming in to talk to you.

"You can call the schools you visited and thank them for the visit and then go from there. So, I think that Shane was a little bit hesitant to commit early because then he would be done. He always liked Pitt, but he just wanted to be certain that everything was all right.''

Johnson had numerous scholarship offers, along with Pitt, like Boston College, Cal, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia and Wake Forest. He took an official visit to Rutgers the previous weekend and then visited Pitt this past weekend.

"Shane had maybe 20-25 scholarship offers, so there was a lot of interest from a lot of different schools,'' McGregor said. "He's a three-year starter and was first-team All-Metro this year, and that's the highest honor you can get here. Basically, it came down to Shane getting to meet all the head coaches and offensive line coaches, and he really liked Coach Wise and Coach Wannstedt.

"They're both great guys. The educational opportunities at Pitt are fantastic as well. So, when he added things up, Pitt was it for Shane. Coach Wise definitely had a major impact on Shane. His knowledge, enthusiasm and coaching style really impressed Shane. They won't have to worry. Shane's low-maintenance. He has good grades. He'll work hard and do whatever they tell him to do.''

McGregor is a Pittsburgh native who attended South Catholic High School, which has become Seton LaSalle. He has been at DeMatha 28 seasons, and now that the Panthers are recruiting the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia areas again maybe more players from this Eastern powerhouse could matriculate to Pitt. Along with Johnson, safety Jeff Knox -- who played for Pittsburgh Central Catholic earlier in his scholastic career -- also has committed to Pitt for 2010.

"Shane's pretty good right now, but I really believe he has a lot of potential,'' McGregor said. "He's a big kid with good feet, and he has a real good work ethic. With a redshirt year and another year for Coach Wise to teach him, he could be a three-year starter for you. And that's really saying something.

"Coach Wannstedt has built Pitt into a strong team with a bright future, and Shane wanted to be a part of that. And I can't think of a better place for him as a football player and student-athlete. It's a no-brainer for any kid, in my opinion, to go to Pitt to be part of what they've built there.''

Pitt now has 23 verbal commitments for its Class of 2010.

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