The Guru Grill

Hello fellow Panther fans. It's time to fire up The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. Let's get started.

TheMcKillopsRule: Rumor has it that Pitt is recruiting a few linebackers from Florida. Can you give us any inside scoop on them?


GURU: Shane Gordon and Austin Gamble two kids from Cypress Bay, the same school that produced Buddy Jackson. The staff seems pretty high on these two as is the case with most Florida kids you wait to see if they camp or take an official before you try and decipher their interest level.


JaronBrownMythManLedgend: Bob your best estimate of how PITT's class will look position wise.


GURU: I'm going to use the usual 18 or so scholarships.

1-     QB, 2-RB, 1-FB,  1/2 TE, 2-WR, 2/3 OL, 3 DL, 2- LB, 3/4 DB.

If as expected LeSean McCoy would depart, you can expect Pitt to try and bring in two running backs. Quarterback is not a glaring need, but I'd expect them to at least bring in one. Conredge Collins will be leaving, that leaves you with Henry Hynoski and Shane Brooks at fullback. They need to add depth there. I'd expect them to get DeCicco, so I would assume they may pursue another blocking tight end. The offensive line is actually deeper than it has been in a long time. If they can add two to three more solid contributors this could be a special group. The defensive line is as good as it has been in a long time, but it could use an infusion of youth. Linebacker depth will be ok, but it can always be better. You can never have enough good defensive backs. The depth at safety is non-existent so I'd expect them to add a few bodies there.


UPitt33: Is there any chance that one of the two local tall tackles, John Wetzel or Adam Gress, gets a Pitt offer soon? What are your opinions on these two?


GURU: I would offer Wetzel on potential alone. Kids who are 6-foot-7 who can move and are nasty are a rarity and he fits the bill. Gress I have not seen at tackle, just as a tight end. He was a big, athletic kid at tight end. I would assume they'd try to bring both kids in for camp.


PittNC: I understand that Pitt has a small number of scholarships available for next recruiting year. Some Pitt fans are concerned that Pitt has no commitments while OSU and WVU, for instance, are off to a good start, while some of the better prospects in Western Pa. have committed elsewhere. Do you think that the Pitt staff is taking it slowly and giving out fewer offers or are the next commits just taking it slowly? I am wondering if Pitt's approach is a little different this year.


GURU: It seems as though every year people get concerned with the number of available scholarships, yet the staff finds a way to sign 20 players. I doubt this year is the exception. I'd still figure around 18 ships. I think it is two-fold. The staff may be going at a slower pace because expectations are high and if they can compete for a conference title and BCS bid, then obviously you become more attractive to higher profile recruits. I am sure that a lot of kids are taking a cautious look at Pitt right now. Three losing seasons and a lot of coaches probably telling kids Dave Wannstedt is possibly on the hot seat. I would expect a few verbals the next two months. Now if it hits August and there are no verbals, then I would worry. You are seeing a lot of coaching staffs doing things in a lot more aggressive manner and it seems like Pitt is not, so we'll see what the end result is and we'll judge them.  The biggest problem I see is the "Saban Rule" that kept head coaches off the road during the May evaluation period. For a school like Pitt who relies so much on the ability of its head coach to recruit, it is crippling. You have to rely more on your assistants and in a year with so much turnover on the staff, it has hurt the Panthers.


JaronBrownMythManLedgend: Any good prospects in New York that Pitt is going after?


GURU: I have heard they were looking at the running back from Indian River Curtis Dukes and possibly a lineman from Christian Brothers Academy.


pacoach: Are there any prospects that Pitt would take the time to look at in WPIAL class AAA this year other than Brock DeCicco?


GURU: They offered E.J. Banks. They may possibly take a closer look at Pat Eger if he camps there. AAA doesn't seem to be very deep in talent. If you consider the City League AAA I'd say Pierre Carr from Peabody who is a big time sleeper who transferred from the state of Indiana. He recently won the PIAA gold in the 100 meters.

TheMcKillopsRule: Justin Gildea put up nice numbers at the Combine and likes Pitt. Is he a good football player and do you think he will get an offer?


GURU: I don't see it happening. I would think he'd be a possible MAC or possible service academy type guy, unless he comes to camp and kills it.


jells73: How good is Pete White, the guard Pitt has offered from Tony Tuckers former high school?


GURU: Pete White is very good and the closer he gets to 300-pounds the better he will become. White was up to around 350 pounds at one point. He is hovering around 325/330 right now and looks very good. We hope to see him next week at our Baltimore combine.


TheMcKillopsRule: Do you see Todd Thomas moving to another position in college


GURU: Thomas is versatile. He is primarily a running back in high school and I can't see him doing that in college. I think he'll be a wide receiver or defensive back.

bear071562: How long before the Pa. top 55 will be updated?


GURU: I want to wait until after next Tuesday's combine in Baltimore, so I can see a few more kids.

JaronBrownMythManLedgend: What are Pitt's chances of landing Dan Mason?


GURU: I think their chances are very good. Mason has said from day one that he wanted to stay close to home and he said that Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia were the three he was considering. He has really never acted like he wanted to visit anywhere else and he seems content with that


PittFan7: Do you think even with an OSU offer in hand that Corey Brown will still come to Pitt? Or is OSU a done deal and only a matter of time before he announces for the Buckeyes?


 GURU: Brown seems to want to take his time, which is not a bad thing if you're Pitt. Ohio State offered three cornerbacks the same time as Brown and it was right after Darrell Givens had decommitted. Brown was ecstatic with the offer, but I still think he waits, just because they made him wait and I still don't think he knows where he wants to go yet.


pacoach: Do You see Pitt offering a scholarship to a punter this year with Dave Brytus being a senior?


GURU: It makes sense, but everyone wants a kicker or punter for free. Most of the walk-on guys out there are just as good as the scholarship type guys, unless it is a Kevin Harper or Brandon Walker type prospect that is a difference maker. Special teams are so important, but it still gets overlooked. I'm guessing that if they see someone during their specialist camp that blows them away they may offer. Plus the kicking camps like Jamie Kohl's are just finishing or starting, so I would suspect they'll get evals on guys from camps as well and then decide.

 rkohberger: Why was Dale put on sabbatical?


GURU: I think everyone knows the answer to that and it really does anyone any good to bring it up. Dale has learned a lesson and he is an important member of this site. He'll be back in action very soon.


JaronBrownMythManLedgend: Do you think that Pete White out of Washington, DC will be Bryan B's first big get for the Panthers?


GURU: I think Pitt has a great shot at him, but I just have a funny feeling that Duron Harmon could be that first guy. I could be wrong and he could have a great poker face, but he just seems to get excited when he talks about Pittsburgh and Bryan Bossard.


PittFan7: Will the 2010 WPIAL class be a lot deeper than 2009? Off the top of your head are there any prospects that really stand out?


GURU: It is not even close in my opinion. The 2010 class will rival the 2008 class, which was outstanding. There are several kids who standout from what I have seen so far. Paul Jones the quarterback from Sto-Rox, Jordan Paskorz from Hampton, Manessah Garner from Brashear, Mike Hull from Canon-McMillan, Kevin Weatherspoon from Clairton, Brandon Ifill from Penn Hills, D.J. Meyers and Jeff Knox from Pittsburgh Central Catholic are all great players who have big time potential.


bear071562: How many offers has Pitt officially extended? How many of the kids offered have committed elsewhere?


GURU:  By our list we have 70 offers and it is usually pretty close, we're usually within ten. Of the 70 we count 17 that have committed to another school, so far.

Could you see Harper being Pitt's kickoff man this year, or will Wannstedt let Dave Brytus kick off one more year, so as to not waste Harper's red shirt year?


GURU: I don't think Wannstedt can afford to save a player who can help his team win now. Harper has an outstanding leg and Brytus has not been a real solid option on kick-off's. Field position means a lot and this is an area that the Panthers can ill-afford to struggle in. Lee is a great kicker, but his game is limited to inside 48-yards, Harper is a weapon from 65-yards and in, so that also adds another dimension to the special teams.


bear071562: What are the chances this recruiting class will finish lower that 50th?


GURU: Judging by what Rutgers and West Virginia are doing in the conference, the Panthers have a lot of catching up to do, but also remember they are still in on a lot of top end talent such as Tyrone Ezell, Juantez Hollins, Brock DeCicco, Todd Thomas, Corey Brown, etc…Wannstedt has proven that he can recruit, this year we may get to see just how good, but the chips are stacked against him right now. I would definitely say they may not finish in the top 25 for the first time in Wannstedt's tenure, but there is a long way to go before signing day.


JaronBrownMythManLedgend: Chances we land both Ezell and Hollins?


GURU: I think it is a very realistic possibility. Hollins has camped at Pitt since he was a freshman. Ezell has a great relationship with Greg Gattuso and Gattuso always lands his share of recruits.



"In Your Grill" question of the week:


rmf05: Are there any kids on our radar, or vice versa, that have that infectious Saddler/Shady/Dickerson personality that really pulls in other recruits on visits?


GURU: I really haven't seen it yet. Logan Heastie and Tahj Boyd are those types of guys and you can see the effect it is having with West Virginia and their class. Corey Brown is a calmer guy, but he'll talk to kids and you can bet that Shady and Saddler will still play an active role.



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