Guru Grill Volume 21

Hello fellow Panther fans, its time for the 21'st installment of The Guru Grill. <br><br> This is where Panther fans get the answers to their questions about Pitt athletics 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 football recruiting.

1.) CaptainH: Do you anticipate Pitt accepting more scholarships than it really has in anticipation of one or more not qualifying? Given the increased interest with the BCS bid, it has to be tempting if there is a chance of one of the current commitments might not qualify.

GURU: It's tempting but you must approach it with caution. If it's late in the game and you know a kid is not going to make it then it's fine. If you do it too early it could be a mess.

2.) GepDawg: What's going on with Bryan Williams? He's not listed as one of our commitments anymore anywhere on the Scout.com network! Is that possible? I thought you said he was just going to Minnesota for a free trip; please say this is still true that he's still committed to the Panthers.

GURU: The only way I see him leaving is if Walt Harris is let go. Even then it's not a done deal. Bryan is close friends with Tim Murphy and Steve Walker. I wouldn't read too much into that article.

3.) CaptainH: I've been really excited about Dominic Jones and Bryan Williams together with Darrelle Revis and Steve Walker. Details Bob, please.

GURU: These are two of the top recruits in this class without a doubt. Pittsburgh is loaded in the Secondary. I would not be surprised to see Williams end up as a running back at Pittsburgh. Jones worries me with his height; I can see him doing some special things on special teams though.

4.) NJBob: Is Davon Smart (RB/CB from Hackensack) still considering Pitt? He missed a few games in mid-year with an injury but has looked great since coming back. Hackensack has a state playoff game this weekend.

GURU: He may be considering Pitt, but I doubt they are considering him. Pittsburgh has already received verbals from two talented small backs, now they are searching for a horse, a Shane Brooks or Jason Gwaltney type of back.

5.) CaptainH: How serious is the wavering of Dominic Jones? Do you anticipate him signing with Pitt on LOI Day?

GURU: I spoke with him at the "Backyard Brawl" and he insisted he is not wavering; he is just taking a visit with his brother Keith Massey. Now if there's a coaching change all bets are off.

6.) Zane48: Hey Guru, why no offer to Billy Stull?

GURU: Hey Zane, That's the million-dollar question and I wish I had an answer for you. I like Stull as do a lot of D-1 teams, but Walt is a decent judge of QB talent and apparently maybe he see's something the rest of us don't. People tend to look down at the system they run, throwing the ball all over the field, but what is so different with that as opposed to Pitt's offense?

7.) CaptainH: Any word on John Pelusi? Your thoughts?

GURU: I think he'll be a Panther soon after his high school season is complete. I like him, he grew on me the more I saw of him.

8.) DCPanther: Do you expect Pitt to honor the scholarships for all of the returning 5th year seniors, i.e. Tez Morris?

GURU: I would hope so; Tez is one of the Universities all-time tackle's leaders. His play has improved dramatically from last year. I haven't seen anything that tells me anyone behind him is that much better.

9.) CaptainH: Some people are questioning the basketball commitment of Greg Paulus to Duke. Apparently he did not sign the LOI in the early signing period. Comments by his father seem to indicate he may be opening things up again regarding football. Would he be seriously open to looking at football again? If so, would he consider Pitt, possibly as a two-sport individual? Also, would this have any impact on Lobdell since they are both Christian Brothers Academy attendees?

GURU: Pitt GA Jeff Ambrosie is a CBA alum so that can't hurt the Panthers cause. I believe Paulus has a press conference soon to announce his decision. I don't think a QB like Paulus wants to go to Pitt and sit behind Palko for two years. Lobdell has seen his stock rise significantly since the beginning of the season. Earlier he looked like a sure thing, now it's not quite clear-cut.

10.) GepDawg: I heard Corey Davis is already with the team and practicing under a red shirt. Is this true?

GURU: CD came up to me and gave me a hug at the "Backyard Brawl" he is with the team and he dresses #97. He is a great kid, and a mother that keeps him in check. Corey has really been working hard he has gained wait, but turned a lot of bad weight into muscle. He looks a lot better then he did at the East/West game in Altoona.

11.) CaptainH: Where does Pitt stand with respect to Ernest Williams? He's got an upcoming visit and he seems capable of more than one position.

GURU: Pitt has a shot; I think it may come down to them and WVU. He could be great ant a number of positions if he stays dedicated and focused. I think he is often under rated as far as a fullback goes. Williams played against weak high school competition, so it will be interesting to see how he develops.

12.) SkepticSkank: How much is the unknown status of Walt Harris hurting us in recruiting?

GURU: As each day passes it gets worse; you still have recruits like John Brown, and Tommie Campbell who are going to go to Pitt regardless. No matter what people say about Walt as a coach he is a very likeable guy, and parents and recruits like him. Good or bad something needs to happen or it will cripple this classes potential.

13.) CaptainH: Based upon your comment regarding Pitt going for another QB, does this mean they are looking at Shane Murray as a safety rather than QB? Would he still consider Pitt if that's the case?

GURU: Shane told me Junko said QB is the position he was being recruited for. The QB Pitt was looking at was a Blue-Chip Prospect Ike Whitaker. Don't forget Pitt is not out of the running with Greg Boone either.

14.) NJBob: Is Pitt still recruiting QB Drew Willy? His team also has a playoff game this weekend.

GURU: Drew had a nice camp at Pittsburgh, but I'm not sure he is what Pitt is looking for at this point.

15.) CaptainH: Rico McCoy is taking an official visit to Pitt yet he used the term "curious" to describe his feelings about the visit. Can you clarify what this means with regard to potentially verballing to Pitt?

GURU: I guess this was a question that needed to be addressed the day it was posted…lol*

16.) GepDawg: Any chance at all that Craig Bokor is playing college football somewhere other than the University of Pittsburgh?

GURU: Not at all, he has turned down Georgia, Penn State, Michigan, LSU, and others. He has been a big time Pitt fan for a long time.

17.) CaptainH: What contact has been made with Dave McClain since he went back on the market? Is there any interest on either side's part?

GURU: I was told he went to the Boston College game, and Bray was going to call him back the following week. I have yet to see or hear that McClain was offered so I'm guessing he may not be I the plans.

18.) DCPanther: We have a nice list of recruits coming in Dec. 10th and 17th. Do you expect Pitt to get some verbals out of these official visits?

GURU: I do expect a few, obviously with fear of Guru's from another site watching I prefer to keep it on the low-low of who I actually expect to verbal. One I believe may verbal early this week.

19.) CaptainH: Thinking of Brandon Mason from last year, are there any anonymous recruits out there who are in the running for one of the last available scholarships?

GURU: Every year there is always that surprise like Mason. Greg Lee and Joe Clermond the previous season. No matter how closely you follow recruiting there will always be surprises in the end.

20.) SkepticSkank: I am not overwhelmed with our verbals and offers, it seems like Walt and Deal are going through the motions. Are they "waiting it out" like some recruits maybe?

GURU: Pitt has offered some very good players, just like any other year. The problem is the follow through after the offer is made, the work that needs done between when the offer was made and LOI day. This time of year you'll see a lot of chess type maneuvering by coaches, some kids may want to verbal and they will get slow played. You have to wait on your top targets, which often don't announce until January at the earliest.

21.) CaptainH: Question on official visits. Is there a preference from coaches for the timing of the official visit? Do most prefer the first visit, thinking that it sets the standard or that possibly the recruit will be so blown away he will sign without going on his others, or do they prefer the last one, using the theory of having the last shot at getting someone to sign? Obviously if the recruit signs it doesn't matter whether it's 1 - 5. I was just wondering, using Rico McCoy as the example. It sounds very successful, and I hope it sets a standard that can't be met by the others. At the same time, out of sight out of mind.

GURU: Some coach's don't want bothered if they aren't getting one of your first few official visits. I don't think there is a right answer here, I believe it is a case by case basis type of situation, McCoy's case was different he was the only official visitor in town, and he got lot's of attention.

22.) Pittfan78: Can you give us an update on Vernon Smith?

GURU: I spoke to Vernon's mom this evening; he is enrolled at a JUCO school and has full intentions on enrolling at Pittsburgh in 2006. He wants to fulfill his promise to Pittsburgh and teammate Kelvin Chandler. I will have the entire story this week.

23.) GepDawg: What ever happened to the Oakland Zookeeper? Where, did he go? Wasn't he the dude who won the contest to name this section "The Guru Grill?" I thought he got a free year membership, but then it seemed like he disappeared over night. Why?

GURU: Maybe he wanted more royalties. I'm not sure actually, he lurks occasionally.

24.) NJBob: Have either of the following 2 RB prospects (Terrence Holley or Jeff Jones) received a D1 offer?

GURU: Not that I am aware of; I can do some investigative work and find out though.

25.) DCPanther: Do you foresee any loss via transfers, ie, Bennett, Fritz. I guess any player movement that would offer us some more ships?

GURU: I heard from a decent source Flacco may go, haven't confirmed it so who knows.

26.) CaptainH: We've presently got 12 commitments. I understand that scholarships are limited this year. Of the current commitments, are there any that have significant issues with grades from a qualification standpoint? I'm thinking of last year where Revis hung in there and ended up qualifying and Bokor sucked it up and ended up qualifying the next year compared to Vernon Smith who seems to have disappeared altogether.

GURU: I have not heard of any of this crew being in any trouble academically.

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

Bill Harris/PantherReport


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