Guru Grill XX

Hello fellow Panther fans, its time for the twentieth installment of The Guru Grill. <br><br> This is where Panther fans get the answers to their questions about University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Big East Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels.

Our staff would like to thank you for your participation and in making our site the number one source for information regarding Pittsburgh Panther athletics and high school recruiting.

1.) CaptainH: Has Kurt Mattes set up an official visit? How does it look with him?

GURU: The last time I spoke to Mattes he had not set an official date, but he did say Pittsburgh would definitely receive a visit. I don't think Kurt will take all five visits, I think the Panthers are in great shape to land him by Christmas.

2.) SkepticSkank: Sean Lee. To me, he has to move to the top of the charts. This kid reminds me of a Paul Poluszny type and would look great remaining a Panther. Thoughts?

GURU: Sean is a heck of a player; right now I would rate him as one of the top linebacker prospects in PA along with Donnell McKenzie, and Andre Mathis. Lee is much better fundamentally; he's the kind of player that is always in position to make the right play. Mathis may be a slightly better athlete. McKenzie is the most physical of the trio.

3.) CaptainH: Does the recent addition of Shawn Simmons affect the prospects of Tommie Campbell? If so, did Pitt get the better of the two?

GURU: Tommie is an athlete, he can play safety, wide receiver, and cornerback, with a year or two in the weight room he could be a tight end. I don't think it will have an affect right now. If Tommie waits until January then it may.

4.) Xlopjoe: Pitt really doesn't have any scholarships available? Is this true?

GURU: They still have some left; I've estimated they should have between 15-18 available. This is the hardest thing to judge on any team, the only one's who truly know are the coaching staff.

5.) CaptainH: What is the story with Collington? Why does there appear to be so little interest from Pitt for him?

GURU: Collington is in my eye's the top running back in the state, he is however slightly injury prone. He suffered a separated shoulder last season, and it still bothered him this year. Towards the end of this season he suffered an ankle injury. The only drawback I see are his academics, due to the fact that he is waiting on test scores, but this staff has offered academically questionable kids before.

6.) SkepticSkank: We have to have a QB in this class. Where do we stand?

GURU: I'm not sure if they will offer Stull, if they do it may be later. I believe Pitt is going to make a run at one of the Eastern Regions Top QB's within the next 1-2 weeks and word is he is interested. For competitive reasons I'm not going to disclose the name until I speak to the kid, but Panther fans would be happy if he comes to Oakland. Just imagine a bigger, faster, right-handed version of Palko.

7.) CaptainH: What are you picking up from the powers that be regarding the coaching situation? Is Walt toast after the USF game? Any inside speculation regarding successor?

GURU: I like Walt Harris and what he has done here. I unlike many still remember what it was like before he got here. I think there are issues that need to be resolved with certain members of the staff. The whole entire way this program recruits needs to be changed. Harris is a draw to parents, and players. The coordination of the recruiting process is lacking tremendously.

8.) NJBob: What do you think Pitt's "2 deep" in the secondary will look like next year? I'm especially curious about Gunn and Brinson.

GURU: Gunn is a likely LB candidate; Brinson is an athlete who can do many things so I'm not sure he'll even be in the secondary. Ask me this after the season and possibly after signing day. The picture will become clearer then.

9.) CaptainH: Looking over some of the current uncommitted players, what, if any, chance/interest does Pitt have with the following:
(CB) - Danny Sadler - maybe no interest with Williams and Jones
(RB) - Javon Ringer - Ohio St seems to be stringing him along, and he did have a season ending injury.
(DT) - Jeff Owens - another Plantation player
(QB) - Ike Whitaker - Germantown, MD - would he be a Rutherford type?

GURU: Sadler no interest there's enough DBs. Ringer is the same small bodied back as Irvan Brown and LaRod Stephens, no more RBs will be taken unless it's a big back like Shane Brooks or a Jason Gwaltney type kid. Owens hasn't listed Pitt among his favorites for months. Whitaker could get some interest, the staff really didn't plan on taking a QB until Getsy left, they were holding out for Greg Boone but it appears there's a bevy of competition for him. Whitaker is way ahead of where Rod was as a high school senior.

10.) SkepticSkank: Eugene Jarvis or LaRod Stephens, if forced to pick one, who would it be?

GURU: I'd take LaRod Stephens; I think he has more upside and more room to grow. Jarvis is a fine player who I really like but between the two I'd say LaRod. Pitt could've had both that's the bad thing. Gene has narrow shoulders and I can't see him getting much bigger. I will reiterate Pitt could've had both, both are exceptional and productive athletes.

11.) CaptainH: Scott Uziel seems to have disappeared from the radar screen. Is there any chance of him being offered with the idea of being converted to OL?

GURU: No, with the ships where they are and the desperate need for lineman to play early Pitt can't take a chance on a project.

12.) OnAltoonaGoPitt: Please explain in full detail as to why Jack McCurry gives Pitt a cold shoulder at times?

GURU: You'd like that wouldn't you? Lets just suffice it to say there are some coaches in the area who dislike Pitt, and there are some that like Pitt. I can't go into any specifics about it due to the working relationship I have with the coaches.

13.) CaptainH: Has the recruiting staff eliminated Lawrence Green from consideration, or is he getting the Bachman run around?

GURU: Lawrence had an injured knee at camp; he had fluid on it, which prevented him from really performing at 100%. My guess is that the staff was unaware of that and evaluated him as is.

14.) SkepticSkank: Perry QB (Desmond Brentley) is he the real deal?

GURU: Desmond Brentley is for real, if you talk to anyone including Coach Gallagher at Perry; Desmond is a lot further along at this stage of his career as a passer then Rod Rutherford or Scott Knapp were. Desmond is a truly great young man who is very spiritual and just happy that people consider him as a D-1 prospect.

15.) CaptainH: On the O-Line, anything new on Brandon Richardson and Elliot Bates?

GURU: If I were Brandon or Elliot I would've given my verbal already, it's November and most programs if interested would have offered by now if they were interested. I understand some programs wait to see senior tape, but the majority have made their decisions on kids already. Bates has developed a liking for WVU, I'm not sure they will offer but he is interested. Richardson is apparently waiting for a major team like FSU to offer, not likely but it's his decision.

16.) NJBob: How solid are our current FB verbals? Do you think we could lose any? Would Walt's status have a major impact on any of their decisions?

GURU: How many people questioned Pitt for bringing in guy's like Greg Lee and Antonio Bryant who had one other offer besides Pitt. While I like anyone else would like to see a class littered with four and five star recruits its just not going to happen. The Big East is not real marketable right now, so I think you take what you can get. If something happens with the staff I'm sure kids will rethink their choice. There are some studs in this class Derrell Jones is perhaps one of the best DTs Pitt has brought in here. LaRod Stephens is special; Bryan Williams is one of the top 5-10 players in Ohio. John Brown is a very athletic lineman. Irvan Brown is a very good athlete. Oderick Turner is going to be a playmaker.

17.) CaptainH: What is the recruiting issue with Stull? He's got the numbers. You indicated grades are not an issue in an earlier Grill. He might need a few more pounds for college ball, but he has the frame at 6' 4" to take it. What are we missing?

GURU: Basically it comes down to evaluations; obviously there is something Walt is not thrilled with. To the normal fan Stull is great, to a guy like Harris who has the background he has with QBs he has been pretty good on his calls so far. Stull will succeed somewhere it may not be at Pitt, but he has plenty of good offers, he is a great kid with a great family he'll be fine. Pitt will be fine whichever way they choose to go.

18.) SkepticSkank: Tyler Scruggs. South Park RB has nice size (6'2" 215lbs) is he a D1 prospect?

GURU: Scruggs is tough and will get looks from D-1 schools; I also believe their JR QB Connor Dixon will as well 6-5, 180. Scruggs may be best suited to play LB at the next level.

19.) CaptainH: Last year Pitt got nailed by verbals who went elsewhere plus Strong verbally committed to Auburn then came to Pitt when the QB slot opened. What is the typical percentage, not just Pitt but overall, of verbals that decommit, such as McClain? Assuming there is a change at the top of the program, what are the chances that some who committed elsewhere, such as Richard Quinn and John Bachman, would reopen their interest in Pitt?

GURU: McClain didn't decommit like AJ or Morelli did, his was a different set of circumstances. I'm not sure of the exact percentages, but it happens everywhere even with top 5 teams. Bachman may end up reconsidering, Quinn not likely. It would likely only have a direct affect on kids who have not committed anywhere, maybe they want a new coach, or maybe they are waiting to see if Harris gets an extension.

20.) Steel curtain: Can you give us an update on these recruits?

James Cole - Penn Hills? Have we offered? Has anyone offered?
Dana Brown - Clairton?
Ed Collington - Penn Hills, have we offered?
Mike Barlak - I like him.

GURU: Cole doesn't have any offers right now. Dana has offers from Maine, Ohio, and a few other MAC schools. Pitt has not offered Collington, WVU and Iowa have offered him recently. Barlak is getting looks from Indiana, and a few MAC schools.

21.) CaptainH: On the quarterback front there have been indications at times of interest from Buck Smith, Drew Willy and Tim Hiller. Where does Pitt's recruiting go with these QBs? If Pitt brings one of these or another onboard, what does that do to Murray? Would he be shifted to safety or would they go with two QB's? Any chance at Carlton Jackson? Ohio State seems to be his first choice, but I don't see him getting the opportunity to play QB.

GURU: I don't see Pitt bringing in Willy or Buck Smith, Hiller could be a possibility but he refuses to name his offers so who knows? I don't know Jackson's level of interest in Pitt or if Pitt is really interested in him right now.

22.) SkepticSkank: Steve Paskorz. How good is he? Could a Caucasian guy be a TB in major D1 or is his future at LB?

GURU: Look at Brian Leonard he does all right for Rutgers, Paskorz will most likely outgrow the TB position, he could be a become a bigger Paul Posluszny.

23.) CaptainH: You mentioned in your story about Tommie Campbell being under the radar. The same was true of Brandon Mason last year. Any others in this category that Pitt is pursuing?

GURU: 85% of this class is under the radar. There are always Plan "B" kids who surface between now and signing day, there's always the surprise that none of us know about.

24.) NJBob: Any news on Gaffney? Is he red shirting for medical reasons or because he can't beat out the other WRs?

GURU: Most of the reports I have gotten is he has done nothing in practice to separate himself from anyone else. It may be a combination of the two.

25.) CaptainH: It's good to see Zack Anderson having an official visit set. Is there any chance of a commitment before the visit?

GURU: I would venture to say the staff would like he and Mattes to verbal as soon as possible. They may have to put the freeze on any other lineman who wishes to verbal until they make their decision. The Kevin Hughes verbal may have shut the door on Richardson and or Bates. The team needs some big bookend types desperately.

26.) SkepticSkank: Tommie Cambell. How good is he? He has the size and speed, what is happening, who is offering?

GURU: I got to see Tommie Friday from the Aliquippa sideline. He has Roosevelt Bynes speed only he catches the ball. He blocks fairly well for a high school receiver, which is rare. He is 6-3, 190 but has a frame where he could add 15 ponds and you'd hardly notice. Some of the Quips coaches think he may play Safety in college but I have a hard time seeing a 6-3-6-4 guy playing safety, especially considering how big of a weapon he is on Offense. He has offers from Pitt and Eastern Michigan, I'm guessing he has more, but Coach Zmijanic usually waits until after the season to tell kids who have actually offered them. Ok to expound on this yes I watched him on Saturday and spoke to him tonight he also has offers from Cincinnati, Connecticut, Kent State, and Buffalo. He will visit UCONN (12/10) he won't likely visit Pitt because he's been there plenty of times to know the program.

27.) CaptainH: What's the latest with Ernest Williams? Do you see him as a LB or RB?

GURU: I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a Tyre Young type of DT, "Mick" needs to dedicate himself to his craft, and he has all of the tools and ability to be great. He could be a great FB, or a very good LB; he just needs led in the right direction.

28.) GepDawg: Could you give us a rundown on how we are doing with offensive linemen for next year? Do we have a chance to land some OL who could make an impact and help this team next year?

GURU: They landed John Brown and Kevin Hughes; I would say they are very much in contention for Mattes and Anderson. I can't see any freshman making an impact as a freshman. The only way a lineman will make an impact is if it's a JUCO guy.

29.) CaptainH: Based on your current knowledge who would be the top candidates to fill/verbal each of these slots?

GURU: Which slots? OK I'm assuming this was supposed to be the second part of Question #31. Thanks Bill…I'm kidding. I can't afford to anger Mr. Harris because he is nice enough to format for me each week. Honestly Captain I do have a very good idea as to who the next 4-6 verbals could be, but I'm afraid that the "Birdies" will read it and I'll lose my competitive edge. I will say this two linemen, two LB's, one WR, one RB, and one QB depending on numbers.

30.) SkepticSkank: Aaron Brown. JB's little brother, how good is he, and is he a Safety or a WR?

GURU: Aaron Brown is a nice prospect, he and Tyler Henderson both from Burrell. Tyler is a Mark Ponko type of Safety. I see Brown as a WR, depending on how much more he grows. Brown has skills that will rival any receiver in the WPIAL right now.

31.) CaptainH: Is there a figure with respect to how many scholarships are available for this year in total? If so how many?

GURU: You could try to figure out the exact amount of 5th year seniors, add the number of 4th year seniors who have used their eligibility, factor in transfers, then and subtract guy's from the previous class like Vernon Smith, divide that by who knows what and you'll be as confused as me…. lol It is so tough to figure out right now like I said previously the only one's who legitimately know are the coaches.

32.) NJBob: Does Pitt have a chance to land any top WR prospects?

GURU: Even if they do we may never know because I'm assuming there may not be room for anymore.

33.) CaptainH: Given the current verbals, how do you see the remaining scholarships allocated by position?

GURU: Ok, Now you have me confused, I thought this was the question you posed a few questions ago. Honestly Captain I do have a very good idea as to who the next 4-6 verbals could be, but I'm afraid that the "Birdies" will read it and I'll lose my competitive edge. I will say this two linemen, two LB's, one WR, one RB, and one QB depending on numbers.

34.) SkepticSkank: Ed Collington. Are his injuries hurting his standing?

GURU: Collington needs to take the SAT, once he gets that and gets a qualifying score the offers will come. Injuries are a part of it as well.

35.) OnAltoonaGoPitt: WPIAL coaches years ago started to feel that Pitt was slighting their players. In fact in one year alone Pitt signed three Ohio kids over 3 PA kids with Pitt pulling offers from two of the local kids, who were these 3 players and who were the players that felt they were slighted?

GURU: This is Q&A, Trivial Pursuit is down the hall and to the left. It really doesn't matter; do you think that Pitt is the only program to have done this? This is a business with million's of dollars at stake each season, it's not about playing Strawberry Shortcake or patty-cake-patty-cake with local coaches.

36.) Themasterghoul: How about your opinion. Assuming Pitt and Harris do part ways, whom would you like Pitt to bring in? How about your 2nd choice? Do you know who is #1 on their wish list?

GURU: I have heard many rumblings that the #1 choice maybe OnAltoonaGoPitt, seriously I have heard nothing other than rumors. I have heard that Wannstedt would not be the #1 choice contrary to what many people say, but I could be wrong. I say extend Walt's contract, with a clause that calls for him to re-evaluate and change some of the staff. I have seriously hear that OnAltoonaGoPitt could be the next Recruiting Coordinator, but he turned it down because they wanted to base his office in Ohio.

37.) NJBob: Is there a possibility Princell could get a 6th year of eligibility if he misses the entire season?

GURU: from what I hear the process has already started to try and secure a 6th year of eligibility.

38.) SkepticSkank: Dorin Dickerson. What position? Is he a high Major D1 recruit?

GURU: Dorin is another kid whom it will depend on how much more he grows, he added 25 lbs of muscle this off-season at that rate he may end up as a LB. He will likely be one of the top kids in the state next season.

Thanks for your continued support of our Guru Grill. Please post questions for next week in our Pitt forums. The more frequent the questions the more frequent the answers.

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