Ben Kline, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker, chose the Panthers over offers from Michigan, Rutgers, UConn and West Virginia. He added that committing in early June wasn't part of the plan in the beginning, but quickly changed the more evident it was that Pitt was the school for him.
"It's really exciting, it's a real good thing," Kline said of his commitment. "My original plan was to commit right before (fall) camp started. As I sat back and thought about it, putting it off didn't make too much sense. I liked my visits. I liked the coaches. It got to the point, where it was like, 'Why, why put it off?' I sat down with my parents, and we talked things out. Then, I cleared it with one of my friends, who knows everything that goes on in the sports world. Then, I went on with it."
Kline's most recent visit to Pittsburgh was back in April for a spring practice, which demonstrates even more how impressed he was with the school. Instead of taking another unofficial visit to the school, as a number of prospects have done in recent weeks, Kline picked up the phone on Monday to call his recruiting coach, Brian Angelichio, that he was committing.
"I called (Angelichio) to let him know, and he was excited," Kline said. "Then, he called Coach Wannstedt to let him know. He got me on the phone with Coach Wannstedt, and they were both pretty fired up."
Kline felt Pitt had the best combination of everything he was looking for in a school.
"Pitt was a situation, where it was a combination of things," Kline said. "A lot of schools had one or two things that I liked, and that was good. Pitt was a situation where everything was solid. Everything was well rounded. It had the total package. After that practice I went to, my parents said this is the happiest I've been on a visit. It just felt like the whole package."
Kline has played all three linebacker spots in high school. He started off as a defensive end as a sophomore, moved to outside linebacker, then found his home at inside linebacker. He is open to playing any of the three linebacker positions when he gets to Pitt. One of his strengths is his closing speed to the ball, and his ability to cover a good chunk of ground.
"I've played all three in high school, so I'm familiar with all three," Kline said. "I think that I'm fit to play all three, with my ability. I just want to be somewhere with the team, that helps us be as big as possible, whenever that ends up being. I want it to be the best situation for the team when I get there."
Another big draw for Kline is first-year linebacker coach Bernard Clark. Clark hasn't coached a game at Pitt, and so far, he is leaving a good impression on more than a few of these rising high school seniors.
"I talked with Coach Clark a good bit," Kline added. "Every time I talked to him, I walked away with a smile on my face. He knows what he's doing. He's a player's coach. A lot of guys are X's and O's. He is, but he knows how to communicate. He says things that make sense, and he isn't too cerebral. It's still a read-and-react game."
When Alston committed to Pitt, he had commented a little that he would like to get some other prospects to join him in the 2011 class. Kline shares the same feeling.
"I'll reach out to anybody that wants to know about Pitt, or why I picked Pitt," Kline said. "It's an exciting time for the team, and the athletic department. I want to make this team as good as possible. With better players around me, we'll be a better team. I'll reach out to whoever."
So far, Kline is already close with Alston and Rowell.
"Quinton and I, I think we've run into each other a few times through recruiting, even at other schools," Kline said. "Artie, I've talked to him a lot, and we've become pretty close. He's a good guy. He texted me when he committed, and I texted him (Monday). We've been texting on and off all day. Me and him are real close. From what I've read, what I've seen, we're all good players that are going to be making each other better."