Guru Grill: Everything Pitt

Hello fellow Panther fans, it's time for The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels.

Poonugget: Where do you think John Malecki and Scott Corson will play, offensive or defensive line?
GURU: Malecki looked a little undersized when I saw him at Metro-Index, I love his attitude and his motor. I think he would be best suited as a DT. He would probably make a nice interior offensive lineman. Corson it will all depend on how big he gets, he may outgrow the defensive line. One thing to take into account is once those kids are on campus they are placed where they're needed and where they will help the team, regardless of the position that they were recruited for.

CaptainH: You seem to be very high on Nate Byham. Sounds like a good one. Do you see him going to Pitt or elsewhere?
GURU: I am very high on Nate Byham; I think he's the best tight end to come out of the Northeast since Vernon Davis from Dunbar in Washington, D.C. a few years back. I like Pittsburgh's chances with Nate Byham; he's a blue collar kid and really likes the staff.

NJBob: How often do you think Pitt will utilize a FB this season?
GURU: It all comes down to a matter of will they have a healthy go-to guy at the position. Tim Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance, but can he stay healthy. Yezovich has not shown signs of stepping up. Tipton is now at LB, the McKillop experiment did not work. Perhaps a walk-on or a freshman such as Conredge Collins could capitalize.

Poonugget: How do you think our defense (tackling wise) will be compared to last year?
GURU: I like Clint Session he's a great kid, and he gives 100%, but he is not the answer at MLB, obviously the staff felt the same way moving Blades to the inside. The key to successful tackling at the 2^nd and 3^rd levels is making plays and stuffing gaps along the defensive front so the secondary doesn't have to lead the team in tackles. Wannstedt will take an active role in the defensive scheme so I can't see it as anything but an improvement.

tbro34: Would you say it is likely Pitt will land a top notch corner this year? It appears that most of the prospects they are showing interest in have high interest in other schools.
GURU: If you see Pitt land a few of the highly touted kids in the area, you may see Darrin Walls do an about face. His dad is a Pitt fan, he likes the staff. This will be a position you'll likely see a Florida kid at possibly a Ricky Gary type player.

Mistersteelers: Since the star rankings aren't up yet, can you compare some of the Pitt's top targets to some players from last years recruiting class ie; Schofield, Webster, Nix, Pinkston, Dickerson, Tkach, Hannah, and Hargrove?
GURU: Schofield is not a top target. All players are different it's not fair to compare this group with last years group and vice versa. I would go as far to say if Pitt landed the above group of players it would be a vast improvement over last years class.

Poonugget: Who will most likely be the next recruit Pitt lands?
GURU: If Skinner gets offered he takes it, there are a number of players like that. That's why Pitt and other's will slow-play them. Its very unpredictable because we have no idea of knowing the exact time that they offer someone, they could have a kid commit on the spot at summer camp like Marlon Terry and Dominic Jones did last summer.

CaptainH: Where does Pitt stand with Jason Kates, Justin Hargrove, Chad Schofield and Jason Kolodziej?
GURU: Pitt will likely get Hargrove if they want him. I don't see them getting Kates unless they convince him to visit. Schofield I have heard conflicting reports on, he may not even have a written offer only a verbal I need to check into that. Kolodziej will likely not be offered, there are too many other outstanding prospects that they are in on at LB.

NJBob: Will our "base offense" be a 2 back?
GURU: I would not be surprised to see some one-back sets, especially if there is no viable answer at fullback. It will all depend on what shakes out at camp.

tbro34: What do you think our chances are with Vidal "Sassoon" Hazelton?
GURU: Slim-to-none I would say right now. He likes the ACC and the SEC.

Dtbpgh: Do you have any explanation for what appears to me a fairly drastic turnaround with Rashad Jennings. He has to be 20 pounds lighter than when he committed and although last year I only saw tapes, seems both quicker and stronger. Is it a change in conditioning or what was expected all along?
GURU: Well as I reported last year he busted his hump he was 255-pounds when he committed, last season when Pitt went to see him he was a chiseled 235-pounds. He is a workout warrior he loves the gym. His former coach Wayne Lance who is now in Kokomo, Indiana told me when Rashad first cam to him he had never really lifted, he walked into his weight room and benched and squatted more then any kid on his squad.

CaptainH: Is Tyler Tkach being recruited as a TE or DE? Is Pitt still at the top of his list?
GURU: I think Pittsburgh will be in it until the end with him, when I spoke to him Pittsburgh was recruiting him as a defensive end. He could play either in college.

NJBob: Do you know if Dave Wannstedt plans to recruit the JUCO ranks? If so, any names on the radar?
GURU: Not that I have heard of, I think you'll see them try and land 50-75% of their class from Pennsylvania, maybe four-five from Florida. The rest will be from Ohio, NY, and states that they may not recruit but may know of a kid or have a connection with him in some form.

Poonugget: Is Pitt in contact with Herb Bynes the QB from Florida?
GURU: Not really according to what I have heard, there are a number of QB's who are higher on their board then Bynes.

tbro34: At this point where would you say Pitt stands with Pinkston, Dickerson, Devlin, and that Hill guy from Conredge Collins' high school?
GURU: I think Pittsburgh stands a very good chance of getting Pinkston and Dickerson. Devlin will be an uphill battle. Javon Hill has been interested and we need an update on him. We will get on that.

Steelcurtain: What freshmen aren't qualified or eligible yet?
GURU: The only one I am aware of who didn't make it or won't make it is Marlon Terry; he is a likely JUCO candidate.

Poonugget: Is Dave Wannstedt recruiting any speed ends?
GURU: Actually Wannstedt visited one of my favorite rush-ends recently in a state that surprised me, I've seen film of the kid and he is a very nice looking prospect. I will post the update on him soon. I'd be willing to bet no one knows who he is.

CaptainH: What is going on with Chris Hanna? Will he ultimately be a Panther? If not, where do you see him going?
GURU: I would think he will if Pitt wants him. Once test scores start rolling in I'll have a more concrete answer for you.

Mistersteelers: Did the blue-gold game have a positive effect on any local recruits and will it help us land any recruits soon?
GURU: The recruits I have spoken to enjoyed the game, several of this years WPIAL class have forged a tight bond and are recruiting each other. If Pitt lands Dickerson or Pinkston you may see a domino effect take place. This is a slow time for commits.

Poonugget: Is Sherman Lang a top flight receiver and has Pitt offered him a scholarship? Is he considering Pitt?
GURU: Lang is small, the last time I spoke with him Pittsburgh had not offered. I have not seen film on him, but I would think there are others that they have more interest in.

CaptainH: Do you anticipate another wave of offers coming out at summer camp? Who do you think would be the prime candidates for any of these?
GURU: We are just beginning to learn of the names of the players who will be attending summer camp. The one I think has a shot is La Plata, Maryland defensive tackle Eric Jobe he impressed the staff at the Adidas Combine.

Poonugget: What are Pittsburgh's chances on Darrin Walls and Greg Webster?
GURU: Like I said earlier if a few of the big dog's commit to Pitt then they may have a shot with "Teets", Webster I believe will be a Panther as long as he doesn't wait too long.

Mistersteelers: Where does Pitt stand with Bynam, the TE from Frankin?
GURU: They are his leader, he's liked them from the get go.

CaptainH: How many commits would you anticipate prior to summer camp?
GURU: The same three that they have now, unless something changes in the near future.

Poonugget: What do you think Pittsburgh's main weakness will be this year? Conversely, what do you think Pittsburgh's biggest strength will be?
GURU: I think the defensive line is the main area of concern heading into camp. The strength is Tyler Palko without a doubt, not too mention it appears as though he'll have a running game which will make him even more dangerous.

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