Montae Nicholson is very familiar with the Pitt program since it's close to his home. Still, attending the junior day on Saturday, he learned some new things he hadn't seen before.
"They talked about academics, we talked with the academic advisors," Nicholson said."Then, they took us off in individual groups by position. So, for me, they took us with the defensive backs, watched films and things like that.
"It was great. I met a lot of new players, I knew some of them. The coaches are always nice. It was definitely a great experience."
In fact, Nicholson says the coaching staff is one of the overall highlights for Pitt right now. He's far from having a list of favorites or a leader, but the Pitt coaching staff has definitely made a favorable impression with him so far. Linebackers coach Chris Haering is is chief recruiter. Defensive backs coach Matt House met with him in the individual breakdown on Saturday. Nicholson has also gotten a chance to meet head coach Paul Chryst a couple of times.
"It's kind of a group effort," Nicholson said. "Coach Haering, he recruits us, but they all keep in touch with us very often. Just the fact that it is home, so close, I felt right at home. The coaches are all very good--just how they coach, their positive energy. Sometimes, it's the simple things that matter the most."
Another highlight was the Pitt basketball game on Saturday, where he and the rest of the juniors were there to see the Panthers knock off No. 6 Syracuse. Upon entering the Petersen Events Center, Nicholson and the recruits received a standing ovation from the fans--just for attending.
"That was phenomenal," Nicholson said. "I have never had that feeling. I've been to a few football games and heard the fans, but not like that. It's nice to feel wanted like that. It was such a great game, a perfect game to have a junior day."
Nicholson said they'd he's received a lot of junior day invites. Right now, he's sorting through that interest to see which schools he will be able to get to in the spring. He did say that he'll be back at Pitt for a spring practice.
One of his more recent offers came from Temple where his former head coach at Gateway, Terry Smith, took over as receivers coach.
"It's a weird feeling, now that he's gone, but it's a good feeling, too," Nicholson said. "He helped me out, starting the recruiting process. Now he's on the other side of it. I'm very happy for him."
In 2012, Nicholson finished with 25 receptions for 653 yards and six touchdowns on offense. On defense, he racked up 36 tackles, an interception and three fumble recoveries.