Shakir Soto has been committed to Pitt for nearly eight months. You would think there isn't really anything else he needs to see.
But, as observant as Soto is, he picked up on something pretty quickly. His host for the weekend was Deaysean Rippy--someone who just finished his freshman year at Pitt. JoJo Kemp's host was Rushel Shell. Scott Orndoff's host as J.P. Holtz. All players who were freshmen this past season, already being counted on as hosts on these visits.
Maybe these particular freshmen know the campus that well, and they can show around these players just a year younger than them. Maybe it's the fact that Pitt will have another smaller senior class next year, and that even for official visit weekends, it's just reflective of the proportion of younger players to veterans on the roster.
Soto had a different take.
"Everybody had freshmen hosts," Soto said. "I think they did it so we can ask them what they went through. They just went through their freshman year, what did they think of it? I liked it. I'm sure the seniors can do a good job too, but having someone who just went through what I'm about to do is really helpful."
Soto is enrolling early, and will be wrapping up high school over the next week. Talking to him, there's no being nervous or having second thoughts about forgoing the final semester of high school. Part of it is just being excited to start the college experience, but also to just get with the program. Soto is putting the finishing touches on his spring class schedule.
"It's an extra semester of school to help you do your Master's early, graduate early," Soto said. "It's an extra six months to get accustomed to being a freshman. It gives you a big advantage. I'm looking forward to exploring a new atmosphere."
Soto also got better acclimated with current members of the team, other players in his recruiting class. Specifically, the other three players who will be enrolling with him in just a few weeks.""After this weekend, I'm really excited," Soto said. "I can't wait. Just hanging out with my boys--Tyrique (Jarrett), TraVon (Chapman) and Scott (Orndoff). That was the best part of the visit."
He didn't get too specific with defensive schemes, talking with his position coach Inoke Breckterfield. He understands the defense, citing it as a major factor in choosing Pitt.
"They're starting me off at defensive end'" Soto said. "They have a pretty good defense. I think they're ranked 16th in total defense overall. That's pretty good. My high school, we ran a 4-3. I believe I'll fit in to their defensive scheme. It's just a great defense, great coaches."
As a senior, Soto finished with 110 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 17 tackles for loss and 2 passes batted down at the line. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in his area by at least three different media outlets.