Guru Grill Volume IX

Hello fellow Panther fans, it's time for the ninth installment of The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans get the answers to their questions about Pitt athletics from our resident recruiting expert Bob Lichtenfels. Our staff would like to thank you for your participation and in making our site and our Network the number one source for information regarding Pittsburgh Panther athletics and high school recruiting in Pennsylvania.

1) Dadschicken: Could you give us a breakdown on the recruitment of OL's? Your ranking, sign ability and bio would be a good start.

GURU: Jason Kacinko I see as a 4 star kid, and I like our chances. Elliot Bates I see as a 3 star kid and I really like our chances. Kevin Wiggins I see as a 3-4 star and I like our chances. John Brown I like and we have him. Ronnie Wilson 3-4 star and I think we have a shot at him.

2) GepGawg:
What must Pitt do to have a 10-win season in the next few years and do you think Pitt has a legitimate chance of accomplishing 10 wins soon?

GURU: They must score more points than their opponents every time out. I'm kidding. I think Pitt is well on their way to accomplishing this feat. They are only a few good OL and DL away add an elite WR here and there and patch some holes and the makings of something special are there.

3) Brooksy3:
I'm wondering how you think our class will end up this year. We already have two 3-star players who are blue and gold through and through, but honestly, do we have a top shot at the out-of-state kids who are 4 star recruits? How much do you think the "new" big east is changing their decisions?

GURU: The NBE is fan fodder, most of these kids don't even really care, maybe 1-2 out of every 10. I think Pitt has a shot at some very good recruits this year. If things end up like it looks now, Pitt will have one of the top WR corps in the nation.

4) Steelcurtain55:
Is Rob Frederick scheduled to start at left guard?

GURU: No one knows who will start on the line right now, the battles will be fought and one at camp. Rob Pettiti and Simonitis are the only 2 that have spots locked up.

5) PantherinWV:
What are your thoughts on Cyrus Kersey. Some think he's a tremendous prospect, others label him a major project. I like the fact that he apparently loves Pitt, and his size, bench max and squat max are nothing to sneeze at. But in his photo, he doesn't appear to be what one might dub a "physical specimen".... not that many of us are!! I'm sure he dominates on the high school level, but what's your evaluation of his D-1 potential?

GURU: I would label Cyrus as a project. He's definitely not a physical specimen, but that can be fixed. He has decent feet and a nice punch. He is quick on his movements for his size. He's 366 lbs.

6) Pitt25:
What are your thoughts on John Simontis? I know the staff was high on him when he came to Pitt. Can he develop into a very good OL?

GURU: I love Simonitis, he's an animal. He plays the game like it's supposed to be played. He's very physical and played his butt off last year and he's still young. He had a baptism by fire and I think he held up quite well. He may end up as an All-American before he leaves.

7) CaptainH:
What is your take on the 2 sets of 3 prospects from Ohio: (Buchtel) - Bryan Williams, Carlos Parrish and Cyrus Kersey. (Maple Heights) - Richard Quinn (offered), Terrico Marshall and Danny Sadler?

GURU: Bryan Williams is a very physical shut down corner. Parrish is a solid DT, who is very strong. Kersey I don't think will be offered. Quinn is an absolute stud that gets better every time he takes the field. Terrico is very impressive. Once he gets his test scores, he may get offered. Sadler got hurt at Toledo's camp and couldn't workout at Pitt. I liked him on tape. I just don't know what will happen scholarship-wise.

8) Daboman:
A few PA OL have slid under the radar in recent months, (Nate Hartung, Zach Haulman, and Morgan Thomas). I was wondering if you had any updates on them?

GURU: Zach was at Pitt camp Friday and was very impressive. Someone is going to get a steal with him. Hartung has offers from WVU, Syracuse, and Akron. I still think most teams are scared by his weight and slow forty time. Thomas still has no offers. I haven't seen any tape on him, so I can't really give a good evaluation.

9) Pitt25:
Your thoughts on our defensive backfield. Can any of the youngsters step up and help replace the loss of Spencer?

GURU: Allen Richardson is looking like a stud. Kennard Cox looked good this spring, as did Mike Phillips. Spencer was consistent, so only time will tell, but if you're comparing these kids to Spencer when he was a senior, no. But if you were asking if any compare to Shawntae when he was that age, I'd say yes.

10) PittParade:
How did the Pitt staff go from being the possible leader of WR prospect Marcellus Bowman in May only to see him commit to BC, of all places, in June? Did the Pitt staff back off or did Bowman lose interest?

GURU: It had nothing to do with the Pitt staff. Marcellus went to Boston College and fell in love with the place. It happens. Sometimes a place just feels right and that was the case here.

11) Steelcurtain55:
What is Charles Spencer's status?

GURU: Spencer will be playing OL. Hopefully, they get something out of him. He is too physically gifted to not be a big part of the team.

12) SkepticSkank:
What are your thoughts on (QB) Shane Murray from Central Catholic?

GURU: I like Shane, but I don't think he has a strong arm. He does a lot of things well. At this level, you have to have the arm strength.

13) GepDawg:
How can Pitt recruit better in the Philly area (or the whole eastern part of the state) for football? Can Pitt get more games on TV in that area to maximize coverage?

GURU: I'm sure they try to recruit the area. From what I have witnessed, the area is very pro-Penn State. Pitt will be on TV six times this season.

14) Theoaklandzookeeper:
I maintain that unless a guy who is super wants to go to Pitt, we should not bring in a QB this class. I'd take a Greg Paulus, Greg Boone, a couple of others. (If we do, who do you think it will be)?

GURU: I think Boone is the top target. Paulus is committed to Duke right now, until he says otherwise. All of Pitt's QB's are young and the scholarship may be needed elsewhere.

15) Steelcurtain55:
What is Vernon Smith's status - Panther or not?

GURU: He is still waiting on his test scores to come back.

16) PantherinWV:
QB recruiting - Some are saying we won't take a QB in this class. What are your thoughts about if we offer and to whom? Also, any belief that the loser of the Palko/Getsy QB battle may not finish their career at Pitt? Any chance that this possibility will have Walt shuffling QB's for the first few games so that neither will know who the definitive starter is?

GURU: The only reason you'd shuffle the QB's is if one is not effective. I think they are both good QB's and Pitt really can't lose. I just think Palko is more of the complete package with better intangibles.

17) GepDawg:
Any new updates on Stull, Kacinko, Cruz, and Boateng? Who have we offered? Anyone a potential verbals over the summer?

GURU: No new ones other than what I have been writing. I think there will be 3-4 verbals in the next 2 months. If I tell you who, it takes the surprise away from it and no one will have to stay tuned.

18) PantherinWV:
Any worries that Nyan Boateng supposedly made a visit to WVU over the weekend but did not swing by the Pitt camp?

GURU: Nope, I still think Nyan will be a Panther.

19) SkepticSkank:
I read your article on the QB camp and it was a good article. However, it concerned me that Bill Stull was not mentioned. Was he there, has he eliminated us?

GURU: Bill and his teammates attend the passing camp at Pitt, which will be Friday and Saturday. So there is really no need for him to attend the other sessions. He hasn't eliminated anyone.

20) Steelcurtain55:
Are our DB's we've recruited out of Florida similar to the types of recruits going to South Florida Univ? I mean we've got a decent amount of DB's out of FLA lately and I was wondering are they like the kids going to S. Fla and Central Fla or are they a tier above and how do they compare to the PA DB's we've recruited?

GURU: I don't pay much attention to who USF or UCF has gotten lately. Revis is as good a DB as anyone from anywhere. Gunn will likely grow into a LB. Josh Lay the jury is still out on him. I really can't compare them to kids from Florida. A player is a player to me.

21) CaptainH:
What are the chances that any of the following will be offered: Bachman, Haulman, Kersey and Maderia? Are they waiting for camp or possibly letting some of the higher rated prospects find their schools first?

GURU: Bachman and Haulman were at camp. Those two out of the four have the best shot at an offer. I think they'll have to wait and see if the higher rated kids decide what they are doing first.

22) NJBob:
What linemen converted from defense to offense look like they might contribute this season?

GURU: Charles Spencer, he has always had the physical tools. I like Vernon Botts, that move could pay dividends. I was joking around with Jo Jo Clermond on Friday telling him he should play TE. I swear that kid has one of the best pair of hands on the entire team.

23) NKSplitter:
Do you have any idea what type of offense Darrell Strong ran in highschool?

GURU: Not off the top of my head, I can try and find out though.

24) Steelcurtain55:
How has Terrell Allen progressed?

GURU: I still have not heard anything about this from anyone besides on the net. It may be true, but I have not been able to substantiate the rumors yet.

25) Willemakit:
All Pitt fans know we have many question marks heading into the 2004 season. Give your honest assessment of the team and your final prediction BC. (Before Camp).

GURU: From what I have seen in the scrimmage and the spring game, the big question is will the OL hold up and provide any protection. I think the team goes as far as the OL takes them. I think we will have a very fast and athletic defense and special teams and I honestly think we'll surprise a lot of people. I'm going to say 9-3 and we shock the college football world.


Thanks for your continued support of our Guru Grill. Please post questions for next week in our Pitt forums.


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