Offense: The 2004 Pittsburgh Panthers will have a very tough time replacing the likes of All American wide out Larry Fitzgerald and All Big East quarterback Rod Rutherford. The running game will also suffer from the departures of RB Brandon Miree and Lousaka Polite.
The offensive line was atrocious in 2003 leading to several forced turnovers and allowing 43 sacks. The pass blocking was bad the run blocking was worse, averaging a paltry 3.2 yards per carry with only 12 touchdowns. In fairness, injuries decimated the 2003 unit. The return of All Big East left tackle Rob Petitti should help a line that might be forced to start 2-3 freshmen.
The Panthers are beginning the post-Rutherford era with three inexperienced quarterbacks. Quarterback transitions can be very smooth with a decent running game. Establishing a good running game starts with the guys up front. If the Panthers don't find some type of consistency in the trenches, this will be a very trying season for head coach Walt Harris' offense.
Defense: The 2004 Pittsburgh Panthers return seven starters from one of the country's worst defenses in 2003. Last year's defense yielded an astounding 402.6 total yards per game. Four opponents amassed more than 500 yards.
Paul Rhoads' past defenses were physical up front. The 2003 defense got manhandled in the trenches. Rhoads continued to make lineup changes/combinations but could never find the right formula to stop the run. Very little depth was a major factor, the Panthers didn't have the personnel. This season, with a healthy defensive team and quality depth, Rhoads will have more options to make the proper adjustments.
The Panthers have reason for optimism. Potential stars are littered throughout this defense. Quality depth is in place. The young guys are good. They will push the veterans to be better. Success will be determined by the defensive line. If the line improves, the Panthers have a good chance at achieving. An entire year to think of what might have been, should have this defense pumped for a big year.
Special Teams: The Panthers are in a transition mode. After losing several key members of the special teams, do they have the talent to reload? Skill isn't the issue. The Panthers have players with lots of athletic ability. Success will depend on the coaches putting the proper components in all the right places.
David Abdul has not fully recovered and will be red-shirted. JUCO All American kicker Josh Cummings will be called upon to come up big in a relief role. Don't count out J.B. Gibboney having a breakout camp and securing the starting job.
Losing a player such as All Big East punter Andy Lee to graduation will hurt, though Adam Graessle is an all-star kicker who will become the next punter.
The return men are exiting. Walt Harris and company have added a lot of skill players. With the injury to Terrell Allen, finding the right combination will be one of the hardest tasks for Harris and his staff.
Outlook: These 2004 Panthers will indeed be a scrappy bunch. The defense needs to turn it up a couple of notches and take the pressure off of the young offense. Pitt has an opportunity to make some waves in the new Big East. The players need to play within the systems that Walt Harris and the coaching staff implement. The starters cannot become complacent. Another year of underachieving and the Panthers will quickly find themselves at or close to the bottom of the conference. With that said, I think the Panthers persevere in the face of adversity and finish the season 8-3, earning a trip to Jacksonville to play in the Gator Bowl.
Projected Depth Chart:
Quarterback: * Tyler Palko, Luke Getsy
Running Back: * Jawan Walker, Ray Kirkley
Fullback: * Tim Murphy, Justin Acierno
Wide Receiver: * Princell Brockenbrough, * Greg Lee, Jason Gaffney, Joe Stephens, Joe DelSardo
Tight End: * Erik Gill, Steve Buches
(LT) * Rob Petitti, Mike DeLuca
(LG) * Matt Maiers, Charles Spencer
(C) * Justin Belarski, Chris Vangas
(RG) * John Simonitis, Rob Frederick
(RT) * Mike McGlynn, Dale Williams
(WE) * Thomas Smith, Kyle Smith
(DT) * Dan Stephens, Andy Alleman
(NT) * Vince Crochunis, Jake Holthaus
(DE) * Azzie Beagnyam, Charles Sallet
(WLB) * J.J. Horne, Malcom Postell
(MLB) * Clint Session, Chris McKillop
(SLB) * Brian Bennett, H.B. Blades
(RCB) * Josh Lay, Kennard Cox
(LCB) * Reggie Carter, Mike Phillips
(FS) * Tez Morris, Jemeel Brady
(SS) * Tyrone Gilliard, Sam Bryant
(PK) * Josh Cummings, J.B. Gibboney
(P) * Adam Graessle, Josh Cummings
(KR) * Marcus Furman, Jawan Walker
(PR) * Mike Phillips, Marcus Furman
(* Projected Starter)
2004 Pittsburgh Recruit Bios:
Robbie Agnone, TE, 6-5, 224, Etters, Pa., Red Land
First-team All-Mid Penn Commonwealth Division selection at quarterback. Long and athletic tight end prospect. Played quarterback as a senior at Red Land High, passing for 1,490 yards and 13 touchdowns. Started at receiver as a junior and had 30 receptions for 429 yards (14.3 avg.) and eight touchdowns. Was also a basketball standout and had scholarship offers in that sport as well.
Craig Bokor, DE, 6-3, 270, Aliquippa, Pa., Hopewell
The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Team (first team). Harrisburg Patriot-News "Platinum 33". Two-way All-Parkway Conference honoree by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" and All-Class AAA honoree. No. 40 prospect in the Atlantic East and No. 44 in the Midwest. PrepStar All-East Region. All-state defensive end who compiled 128 tackles and nine sacks over his final two seasons. 2½-year starter at defensive end and offensive guard for Hopewell High. Helped Hopewell to a three-year record of 29-8 (.784). Led team to the PIAA Class AAA championship his junior year with a 14-1 mark. His sophomore season the Vikings went 11-1, finishing as the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up. Hails from the same high school that produced legendary Panthers tailback Tony Dorsett, the 1976 Heisman Trophy winner and a member of the professional and collegiate football halls of fame.
Steffan Brinson, DB, 5-11, 193, Swissvale, Pa., Woodland Hills
All-Quad East selection by both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Continues the outstanding Woodland Hills High pipeline to Pittsburgh. Considered one of the WPIAL's fastest players. Rushed for 1,009 yards and nine touchdowns on 177 carries (5.7 avg.) as a senior. Strictly a tailback during the regular season, Brinson also began contributing at cornerback during Woodland Hills' playoff run. Helped Woodland Hills to a 7-4 mark and the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs as a senior. WPIAL Class AAA 100-meter dash champion as a sophomore (while at Ambridge High). WPIAL Class AAAA 100-meter runner-up as a junior. Other notable Woodland Hills products at Pittsburgh include graduates in fullback Lousaka Polite, cornerback Shawntae Spencer and cornerback William "Tutu" Ferguson as well as sophomore fullback Mark Yezovich.
Kelvin Chandler, WR, 6-2, 171, Lauderhill, Fla., Dillard
All-Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA). Selected to play in the prestigious Dade-Broward County All-Star Game. All-Broward County in both the high jump and triple jump. Had 14 receptions for 257 yards (18.4 avg.) in Dillard's run-oriented offense. Had two touchdowns as a punt returner. Also a track and field standout. One of two Dillard products to sign with Pittsburgh this year, joining linebacker Vernon Smith.
Chase Clowser, OL, 6-6, 342, LaGrange, Ohio, LaGrange-Keystone
Two-time first team All-Lorain County Conference. SuperPrep All-Midwest Team. Rated among the top 80 prospects in the Midwest by SuperPrep. PrepStar All-Midwest Region. Physically imposing offensive line prospect who did not allow a sack his senior season. Three-year starter at offensive tackle for LaGrange-Keystone High. Starting center for LaGrange-Keystone basketball team, which reached No. 1 in the state rankings.
Joshua Cummings, PK, 5-11, 180, Newhall, Calif., Hart H.S., College of the Canyons (Calif.)
J.C. Gridwire All-America placekicker who will have junior eligibility at Pittsburgh. Converted 15-of-21 field goals (.714) and 47-of-51 extra points (.922) in 2003. 15 field goals set a school record. Also averaged 39 yards per punt. Had a long field goal of 50 yards. Helped College of the Canyons to an 11-1 record, the Western State Conference Bowl championship and the semifinals of the Southern California playoffs. College of the Canyons reached No. 4 in the J.C. Gridwire national rankings. Is Pitt's first junior-college specialist recruit since All-Big East punter Greg DeBolt in 1998. As a senior at Hart High in Newhall, Calif., Cummings set a single-season school record by making 11 field goals. First team All-CIF Southern Section and All-Foothill League. Named All-San Fernando Valley by the Los Angeles Times and San Fernando Valley Daily News. Helped team to the CIF Division 3 championship with a 12-2 record his senior year.
Corey Davis, DL, 6-1, 302, Pittsburgh, Pa., Peabody
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-City League. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" and All-Class AAA. PrepStar All-East Region. Pittsburgh City League product who was a four-year starter at linebacker for Peabody High. Also started at offensive tackle his final two seasons. Compiled 85 tackles, 12 tackles for losses, eight sacks and two interceptions as a senior. For his career, totaled 187 tackles, 16 sacks, five interceptions and two blocked kicks. Peabody also produced former Pitt standout Kevan Barlow (1997-2000), who now is an emerging star for the San Francisco 49ers.
Adam Gunn, DB, 6-1, 200, Vandergrift, Pa., Kiski Area
The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAAA All-State Team (second team). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25". SuperPrep All-Northeast Team. Rated Pennsylvania's No. 26 prospect by SuperPrep. PrepStar All-East Region. Considered one of the top defensive backs in Western Pennsylvania and also was a versatile quarterback at Kiski Area. Had 55 tackles his senior year. At quarterback Gunn threw for 873 yards (completing 45-of-90 passes) with nine touchdowns. Also rushed for 234 yards. 2½-year starter…two-way starter at free safety and quarterback as a junior and senior. 21 career touchdown passes ranked first in school history, while his 2,012 career passing yards ranked second. Helped Kiski Area to three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berths. One of two Kiski Area products to sign with Pittsburgh in 2004, joining linebacker Scott McKillop. Panthers sophomore linebacker Chris McKillop (Scott's brother) is also a Kiski Area product.
Rashad Jennings, RB, 6-2, 261, Forest, Va., Lynchburg Christian Academy
Two-time first team All-Virginia (Division 2). Two-time first team All-Virginia Independent Conference. Two-time Lynchburg News & Advance All-Area. Lynchburg Christian Academy's Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. SuperPrep All-Mid Atlantic Team also rated Virginia's No. 30 prospect by SuperPrep. PrepStar All-Atlantic Team. Two-year, two-way starter for Lynchburg Christian Academy at tailback and linebacker. Scored 56 touchdowns in two seasons. As a senior, averaged 10.3 yards per carry, compiling 1,978 yards on 192 attempts. Scored 33 total touchdowns in 2003, including 28 rushing, two receiving and three on returns (two interceptions and one fumble return). Also had six receptions for 146 yards (24.3 avg.). Defensively had 75 tackles. As a junior, averaged 9.2 yards per carry, rushing for 1,309 yards on 142 attempts. Scored 23 total touchdowns as a junior, including 19 rushing, three receiving and one on a fumble return. Had 15 receptions for 285 yards, averaging 19 yards per catch. Led team to a two-year record of 18-4-1 and two state playoff berths. Team went 10-1-1 in 2003, finishing as the Virginia Division 2 runner-up. Joins Tyler Tipton as one of two Lynchburg Christian Academy products to sign with Pittsburgh this year.
Derek Kinder, WR, 6-1, 200, Albion, N.Y., Albion
Two-time All-New York Class B. Three-time All-B North Division. Two-time All-Western New York. Named the 2003 recipient of the "Ron Pitts Award," annually presented to the Buffalo area's top cornerback. Rated the No. 12 prospect in New York by SuperPrep. An accomplished all-around athlete who also earned All-Niagara-Orleans League in baseball and basketball. Three-year, two-way starter at Albion High. Started at running back his senior season and receiver as a junior and sophomore. Defensively was a three-year starter at cornerback. Scored 33 touchdowns his senior season and 63 for his career. Averaged 8.7 yards per rush as a senior, compiling 1,705 yards on 197 carries. Had 17 receptions for 289 yards (17.0 avg.). Had eight interceptions on defense. 1,000-point scorer in basketball.
Brandon Mason, RB, 6-1, 204, Phillipsburg, N.J., Phillipsburg
The Associated Press All-New Jersey Team (second team). The Express-Times 2003 Player of the Year. PrepStar All-East Region. Played tailback, fullback, strong safety and free safety during his high school career. Set Phillipsburg single-season records for rushing yardage and touchdowns as a senior. Rushed for 1,880 yards on 250 carries (7.5 avg.) and scored 25 touchdowns (24 rushing and one receiving) in 2003. Also set a school single-game record with 305 yards rushing versus Franklin. Led Phillipsburg to a 9-1 record, including the school's first-ever Skyland Conference Delaware Division championship and a No. 1 ranking in The Express-Times region.
Scott McKillop, LB, 6-2, 220, Export, Pa., Kiski Area
The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAAA All-State Team (first team). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25". Harrisburg Patriot-News "Platinum 33". Rated the No. 24 prospect in Pennsylvania by SuperPrep. SuperPrep All-Northeast Team. PrepStar All-East Region. Most productive defender in Kiski Area history with 332 career tackles, (161 career solo stops was also a school record). Totaled 132 tackles his senior season. At fullback he rushed for 1,121 yards and 14 touchdowns over his final two seasons. Helped Kiski Area to three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berths. A 2½-year starter, McKillop started on both sides of the ball his junior and senior seasons (linebacker and running back). Also an outstanding wrestler who entered the week with a 27-0 record. Brother Chris is a sophomore linebacker at Pittsburgh. One of two Kiski Area products to sign with Pittsburgh in 2004, joining defensive back Adam Gunn.
Marcel Pestano, WR, 6-1, 180, Lehigh Acres, Fla., Lehigh Senior
All-District 4A-12 honoree as both a defensive back and an "athlete". Two-time all-conference selection. Two-year, two-way starter at receiver and safety for Lehigh Senior. Had 14 receptions for 211 yards (15.1 avg.) and four touchdowns his senior season. Defensively had 72 tackles and two interceptions, including one returned for a 20-yard TD. Also an outstanding basketball player who scored a school-record 49 points in a game (breaking his own mark of 40).
Darrelle Revis, DB, 6-0, 182, Aliquippa, Pa., Aliquippa
The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AA All-State Team (first team). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2003 Player of the Year. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2003 WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review All-Midwestern Conference at both receiver and defensive back. Rated Pennsylvania's No. 20 prospect by SuperPrep. PrepStar All-East Region. "The best cover corner in Pennsylvania" according to PrepStar. The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AA Player of the Year. One of the state's most diverse talents, lining up at quarterback, tailback, receiver, cornerback and kick returner during his senior season. Compiled 1,637 total yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, averaging 15.4 yards per touch. Led Aliquippa to a 14-1 mark, the Pennsylvania Class AA championship and the WPIAL Class AA title. In one of the greatest individual performances in a PIAA championship game, Revis scored five touchdowns, including three rushing, one on an 89-yard punt return and one on a 69-yard blocked field goal return. Revis' 64-yard rush late in the fourth quarter gave Aliquippa a come-from-behind 32-27 victory over Northern Lehigh to clinch the state title. His five TDs tied a PIAA record. Also an outstanding basketball player and led the WPIAL in scoring as a junior, averaging 26.2 points per game. Joins fellow Aliquippa product Bernard "Josh" Lay, a junior cornerback, at Pittsburgh.
Jerald Robinson, OL, 6-8, 314, Fort Pierce, Fla., Central
First team All-Area Treasure Coast. Selected to play in the Outback Treasure Coast All-Star Game. Mammoth offensive line prospect who measures 6-8 and 314 pounds. Two-way starter at offensive and defensive tackle at Central High. Compiled 73 tackles, 16 tackles for losses and six sacks as a senior.
Vernon Smith, LB, 5-11, 234, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Dillard
PrepStar "Dream Team". Rated the nation's No. 7 inside linebacker prospect by Tom Lemming. Rated one of the top 50 prospects in Florida by SuperPrep. SuperPrep All-Dixie Team. Played in the CaliFlorida Bowl, the prestigious California versus Florida all-star game. National-caliber linebacker prospect who earned first team All-Florida Class 5A. Collected 81 tackles and four interceptions his senior season. Played at North Lauderdale Academy as a junior, earning third team All-Florida Class A. Compiled 101 tackles during his junior campaign. One of two Dillard products to sign at Pittsburgh this year, joining receiver Kelvin Chandler.
Darrell Strong, QB, 6-5, 245, Sunrise, Fla., Plantation High
Rated one of the top 60 prospects in Florida by SuperPrep. SuperPrep All-Dixie Team. PrepStar All-Southeast Region. All-Broward County and all-district honoree. Selected to play in the prestigious Broward-Dade County All-Star Game. Two-year starter for perennial Florida power. Started at quarterback as a senior and receiver as a junior. Threw for 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns against just three interceptions as a senior. Helped team to a two-year mark of 21-3 (.875) and back-to-back district championships and Florida 6A playoff berths. Plantation went 10-2 his senior season, reaching as high as No. 2 in the Florida rankings, and 11-1 his junior year. Joins defensive end Nick Williams as one of two Plantation High products to sign with Pittsburgh this year. Pittsburgh sophomore linebacker H.B. Blades is also a Plantation graduate as is defensive ends coach Charlie Partridge.
Phil Tillman, DL, 6-1, 313, Edgewood, Md., Joppatowne H.S., Valley Forge Military Academy (Pa.)
2003 Seaboard Conference Co-Player of the Year honors. First team Baltimore Sun All-Metro at Joppatowne High School in Maryland. Product of Valley Forge Military Academy's two-year college. Will join Pittsburgh with junior eligibility. A rare two-way starter for VFMA. Exclusively a defensive tackle when the 2003 season began, Tillman moved into an additional starting role at offensive tackle due to injuries. A two-way first-team All-Seaboard Conference selection at both offensive and defensive tackle. Compiled 72 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries in two seasons at VFMA. Before Valley Forge, was a standout at Joppatowne High. Led the Mariners to their first outright Harford County title and a 2A state runner-up finish with a 12-1 mark in 2001. Had 19 quarterback sacks as a senior in ‘01. Other Valley Forge products to attend Pittsburgh include receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback William "Tutu" Ferguson, cornerback Josh Lay and strong safety Tyrone Gilliard.
Tyler Tipton, FB, 6-2, 227, Goode, Va., Lynchburg Christian Academy
Three-time All-Virginia Division 2 honoree. Two-time Lynchburg News & Advance All-Area. Three-time All-Virginia Independent Conference honoree. Four-year starter at Lynchburg Christian Academy who played diverse roles for emerging Virginia Division 2 power. Starter at quarterback his first two varsity seasons before moving to fullback his final two years. Defensively Tipton started three years at linebacker and one at free safety. Also was team's punter and place kicker. Overall team MVP as a sophomore and junior and defensive MVP as a senior. Three-year team captain. As a senior Tipton compiled 118 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, three interceptions, 13 passes defended and five forced fumbles. Had two defensive TDs (one fumble return and one interception return). Compiled career rushing totals of 1,868 yards and 20 touchdowns. Had 39 receptions for 648 yards and seven TDs for his career. As a senior, Tipton averaged 12.8 yards per carry, rushing for 451 yards and five TDs on 35 carries. Also had 11 receptions for 161 yards (14.6 avg.) and two touchdowns. Tyler had a 38-yard career punting average and a career-long field goal of 42 yards. As a kickoff specialist had 35 touchbacks his final two years. Led team to a two-year record of 18-4-1 and two state playoff berths. Team went 10-1-1 in 2003, finishing as the Virginia Division 2 runner-up. Joins Rashad Jennings as one of two Lynchburg Christian Academy products to sign with Pittsburgh this year.
Steve Walker, DB, 5-9, 175, Canton, Ohio, John R. Buchtel
All-Ohio defensive back. Three-time Akron City Series Offensive Player of the Year. Two-time All-Northeast Ohio. Two-time first team All-Summit County. Rated one of the top 60 prospects in Ohio by SuperPrep. SuperPrep All-Midwest Team. PrepStar All-Midwest Region. Was a three-year starter at quarterback and also started at cornerback his senior season. Threw for 4,640 yards and 40 touchdowns during his three-year varsity career. As a cornerback his senior year, intercepted six passes, returning two for touchdowns. Led Buchtel to a three-year record of 26-8 (.765), including a 10-0 regular season and the Akron City Series title his junior year. Walker continues Buchtel's pipeline to Pittsburgh. The school has sent five players to Pitt during Walt Harris' tenure, including senior fullback Tim Murphy and free safety Ramon Walker (no relation), who starred for the Panthers from 1998-2001 and now plays for the Houston Texans.
Dave Weber, OL, 6-3, 344, King of Prussia, Pa., Upper Merion
The Associated Press All-Pennsylvania Class AAA Team (second team). PrepStar All-American. Rated the No. 28 prospect in Pennsylvania by SuperPrep. SuperPrep All-Northeast Team. First team All-Southeastern Pennsylvania. All-Area and Philadelphia Inquirer All-City at offensive tackle. Norristown Football Officials 2003 Sportsman of the Year. Three-year two-way starter at Upper Merion High. First team All-Suburban I Freedom Division at offensive and defensive tackle. Led Upper Merion to a three-year mark of 27-8 (.771) and the PIAA Class AAA playoffs each season. Team went 11-1 his junior season, capturing the Suburban I Freedom Division championship and finishing as the district runner-up.
Nick Williams, DE, 6-2, 226, Plantation, Fla., Plantation High
First team all-district. SuperPrep All-Dixie Team. Rated one of the top 80 prospects in Florida by SuperPrep. Sustained a concussion in the season's sixth game and missed the final six contests of the year. Compiled 60 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions at linebacker his final season at perennial Florida power Plantation High School. Started three seasons at linebacker. His junior season, Williams helped Plantation to an 11-1 record, the district championship and Florida 6A playoffs. The Colonels' went 10-2 his senior year, reaching No. 2 in the Florida rankings, winning the district title and earning a state playoff berth. Joins tight end Darrell Strong as one of two Plantation High products to sign with Pittsburgh this year. Pittsburgh sophomore linebacker H.B. Blades is also a Plantation graduate as is defensive ends coach Charlie Partridge.
Joshua Cummings, PK, 5-11, 180, Newhall, Calif., Hart H.S., College (JC) of the Canyons (Calif.)
J.C. Gridwire All-America placekicker who will have junior eligibility at Pittsburgh. Converted 15-of-21 field goals (.714) and 47-of-51 extra points (.922) in 2003. 15 field goals set a school record. Also averaged 39 yards per punt. Had a long field goal of 50 yards. Helped College of the Canyons to an 11-1 record, the Western State Conference Bowl championship and the semifinals of the Southern California playoffs. College of the Canyons reached No. 4 in the J.C. Gridwire national rankings. Played under COC coach Chuck Lyon. Is Pittsburgh's first junior-college specialist recruit since All-Big East punter Greg DeBolt in 1998. As a senior at Hart High in Newhall, Calif., Cummings set a single-season school record by making 11 field goals. First team All-CIF Southern Section and All-Foothill League. Named All-San Fernando Valley by the Los Angeles Times and San Fernando Valley Daily News. Helped team to the CIF Division 3 championship with a 12-2 record his senior year. Played under Hart coach Mike Herrington.
Dominic Williams OL 6-4, 300 Colorado Springs, Co. Harrison High School / Air Force Prep School
Spent two years at the Air Force Prep School. Named All Conference and All Area his senior year at Harrison High School.
Jason Gaffney WR 6-3, 185 Oakland Calif. Hayward High School / Laney Junior College
In 2002, despite missing half the season, Gaffney was named First Team All Golden Gate Conference, and Honorable mention All-American by J.C. Gridwire. In 2001 Jason was named All Region II, First Team All California (CCCCA), JCFootball First Team All California. Was a three-sport star at Hayward High School. Earned First Team All City honors as a senior.
Analysis: The Panthers have made recruiting in Florida and Ohio a high priority. Pitt has made inroad into these recruiting goldmines but are they neglecting the fertile recruiting grounds of Pennsylvania and New Jersey? Although Pitt corralled some fine local talent, Darrelle Revis, Craig Bokor, etc., the Panthers have to do a better job of fencing in their backyard. During the glory days of the 70's and early 80's not many blue-chippers got away from Pitt or Penn State. Watching the best prospects in the area leave for institutions out of state is not only alarming, but borderline criminal to some Panther alumni. With state-of-the-art facilities, chances at early playing time, a quality institution of learning, plus a legitimate chance to earn a BCS berth, there should be no more excuses. The time is now.
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