Guru Grill: Your Stop For Inside Pitt Athletics

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 Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels.

CaptainH: You indicated Pitt will probably accept another 4 - 5 verbals, barring injury, transfer, etc. The feeling was concentrating on OL, DE and possibly a DT and CB. Would you think it is safe to say that LeSean McCoy and Darrin Walls fall into the "find a way to get them a scholarship" category, with Walls filling that CB slot?

GURU: There are always exceptions to the rule; you always find a way to accept players like McCoy or Walls. Walls will decide soon, so he will not really be a find a way to get a scholarship guy. That is unless; of course he decides somewhere else and would change his mind late in the process.

Burgerczar: Do you think that Pitt will offer any other local prospect such as Nate Williams or Chris Hanna?

GURU: As ‘Plan B" type's maybe, if someone pulls out, or something opens up late possibly. The one that could be in the mix depending what his grades are like is Perry's Aundre Wright.

PittFan7: Do you foresee any great OL recruits for 2007 in PA?? If so, do you think Pitt will be in running for any?

GURU: Josh Marks-Southern Columbia, Zak Kasparek-New Brighton, Evan Blankenship-Center, Mike Dykes-Woodland Hills, Cameron Holland-Perry, Matt Ostrowsky-Highlands, Dan Matta-Erie McDowell are a few. It's a little early to classify anyone as great; personally I'm pretty high on Josh Marks. I'm sure Pitt will be recruiting a few of them. Blankenship was at their camp this year.

CaptainH: What are the chances with the following recruits, and who do you think are most wanted by DW & Co. (Aaron Berry, Jovani Chappel, Elijah Fields, Tamarcus Porter, Eric Latimore, McKenzie Mathews, Jared Martin, Jeff Otah and Daniel Wenger)?

GURU: If Walls would choose Pittsburgh that would give them two corners in this class, berry is an athlete so they may take him just because he can play WR also. Fields is a difference maker I would think you take him no matter what. They need a DE I think they feel they can land one of the two Latimore or Mathews. Otah could be a guy who could compete next season. Wenger if he chose Pitt would arguably be the best center they have recruited since Mark Stepnoski. It will all come down to need as to what value they hold with the staff. Me personally, I would say Wenger, Fields, Otah, Latimore, Mathews, Berry, Martin, Porter, Chappel.

Little Panther: What happened to Jerald Robinson?

GURU: I know that one is really eating you up, but I do not know. I think the Harris staff became infatuated with the kid's size and feet and jumped on him before they really had a good evaluation on him. If you are in Florida and you are that size, you do not slip through the cracks for no reason.

DCPanther: Do you think Pitt will garner any early verbals, i.e. Clemons from Valley?

GURU: I'm not sure how comfortable this new staff is with offering kids early. I haven't heard of any offers on paper, so I am assuming they may not offer many at all early on.

CaptainH: Since Wenger seems less likely than before to attend Pitt, is the door opening up for Dominic Alford, Chris Hanna and Jake Miller?

GURU: It would be pure speculation at this point, but any of those guys would be an option, along with Bob Gulley.

Burgerczar: What is your gut feeling on landing Darrin Walls?

GURU: I usually have an idea of where I think a kid will go, but this one has me puzzled. You would think that by him saying he will still visit Notre Dame after he decides it would make the Irish the favorite, unless he is trying to throw people off. Some think he goes to Florida, since he enjoyed his trip so much. I don't think he goes that far from home.

AZPitt: With the exceptional job DW and staff has done to fill the skill positions in 2005, do you think this gives us a leg up with a big name QB for 2006 like Bostick?

GURU: I'm sure it has to be attractive for a QB to have weapons to throw to, but most of the teams who are recruiting him like Michigan and Penn State all have weapons at the skill positions. Obviously, the more big names you bring in it makes your program more attractive, but you still have to get it done on the field as well.

CaptainH: Are there any other major/under the radar candidates the staff is actively pursuing that play any of the above positions, or do most of them fall into the fallback category, e.g., another DT who could take the place of Martin, and who are these individuals?

GURU: I'm sure the Pitt staff is collecting senior video on a daily basis. There are always a few kids who pop up late in the game. Two kids to keep an eye on would be Randall Hunt and Matt Timmerman at Valley Forge, both are OL there. Hunt attended camp at Pitt, and Paul Dunn is very aware of the pair.

Chris94: What impact, if any, should McCoy's season-ending injury have on his recruitment?

GURU: It all depends on how severe it actually is, your ankles are so important for a RB. I would guess a few schools will back off. Some will use it to their advantage, by that I mean you can really raise your value to a kid if you show him in a time of need that you still want him.

Scorchlord: What are the chances of Pitt landing a Jeff Otah?

GURU: I am still trying to get in touch with Coach Burner at VFMA to find out myself. From what I have heard it seems the have a fairly good shot.

CaptainH: Is Bryan Williams still a candidate for 2006?

GURU: I have not heard where he has ended up, if it's JUCO then no. If he's at a prep school then, yes.

Burgerczar: Is there another local athlete that they are strongly considering at this point?

GURU: There could be a few who end up offered if things fall right Barry Church, Ashton Cobb, Terrence McCrae, Aundre Wright, and Cart Kelly are three that come to mind.

Little Panther: Who is going to replace Charles Spencer next year?

GURU: Possibly Clowser, unless they bring in a JUCO player. Maybe, Kevin Cimador the Baldwin (New Mexico State) transfer. Kevin Hughes is another big kid who could play into future plans. Joe Thomas could be the wildcard.

AZPitt: Can you name a couple more potential top elite regional QB's that would be interested in using the Panthers newly acquired offensive weapons?

GURU: I'm not quite sure what you mean. I wouldn't think this year, so I'll assume you mean next year. Bostick has a chance to be elite from what I have seen so far for 2007.

CaptainH: Any word on Tommie Duhart and whether he remains a possible candidate for Pitt?

GURU: Duhart will have to be at Butler for another year after this one so that's a ways away.

DCPanther: Has Pitt offered any of the highly regarded juniors, S. Paskorz, P. Bostick, J. Ditto, T. Clemons and J. Mabin. And if not, is there a reason why?

GURU: Not officially on paper, it's just a philosophy; they are showing interest in all of them.

CaptainH: Is Vernon Smith out of the picture entirely, or is he still looking to come to Pitt?

GURU: Actually I spoke with Vernon's coach the other day and he said as far as he knows Vernon is still intent on heading to Pitt. I am going to speak to him this week.

Pitt1999: At this point in time with Pitt's poor start, what recruit(s) is it imperative for Pitt to land considering interest levels, the poor start, and guys Pitt is recruiting hard?

GURU: It's imperative that they keep the ones that they have commitments from first and foremost.

CaptainH: When do you anticipate another verbal and who or what position do you think it will be?

GURU: at this time of year it could happen at anytime, generally right around official visits are hot times for commits. Maybe October 3rd Walls surprises everyone.

"In Your Grill" Question of the Week:

GepDawg: Does Pitt take the best OL and DL prospects they get with the remaining scholarships, even if those prospects aren't as highly ranked as some other recruits at positions this class and the current team already have an abundance of (i.e. RB, WR?)

GURU: I wouldn't think they will just take anyone to fulfill that position of need. Scholarships are like gold, you never know when they may come into play. Look at the David Harvey situation, if it comes to pass your thankful Pitt has a ship to offer him.

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