The Guru Grill

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.


NJBob: Any word on how Oderick Turner & Cedric McGee have looked in practice? Do you think either can contribute next season?


GURU: I have heard good things about Turner and I would expect him to be a part of the plans for next season. Kinder and Pestano have stepped up and probably overshadowed the young guys. I have not heard much at all about McGee.


tbro34: Are there any major prospects from St. Edwards (Ohio) next year?


GURU: Nate Oliver is a talented safety. They also have a talented running back (Edmonds) and a talented wide receiver (Hubbard).


Poonugget: Even if Charles Sallet is healthy enough to start the rest of the season, should he still be the starter or has Gus Mustakas or Vernon Botts played well enough to take over that position?


GURU: I personally think Mustakas and Botts have played well enough to earn a starting job over Sallet, but we don't see how these guys practice all week either. Joe Clermond is another guy who has shown flashes. Sallet is good in pass rush situations.


Mistersteelers: Who are some of Pitts' plan-b type offensive lineman?


GURU: I think Andy miller from trinity could end up earning an offer, I'm sure they're looking at a few more JUCO's as well.


PittFan7: Do you think we will have a new Defensive Coordinator next year or will we keep Rhoads?


GURU: The defense has improved steadily; I think Wannstedt may give him another season to see if it improves more as they add better players. If they falter terribly the last three games of the season then all bets are off.


GepGawg: Who will be the Pitt next verbal commit?

GURU: At this stage of the season it could be anyone really. The closer you get to signing day the harder it is to judge.


chris94: What exactly distinguishes an "official" from an "unofficial" visit?


GURU: An "unofficial" is on the athletes own dime, an "official" is paid for that's the biggest difference.


NJBob: Do we have a good chance at landing any of the non-committed seniors who attended the USF game? Are there any you especially like?


GURU: My three favorites in the WPIAL who are non-committed are Barry Church, Terrence McCrae, and Elijah Fields. None of which were at the game against USF. Pitt will likely not offer McCrae and Church.


Pitt1999: While we have seen quite a few new faces on the field this year, what players that haven't seen time that have made the most strides where an incumbent (aka Tyler Palko, HB Blades type) holds down the position. Maybe guys we'll see in 2006 or 2007?


GURU: Doug Fulmer and Oderick Turner are two kids who I think will eventually be very productive players. I still think Billy Stull can be an impact player. Shane Brooks is another who is only going to get better.


toastkc: If coach Wannstedt makes good on his word to release certain players from the team during the off-season, will that open up more scholarships for 2006?


GURU: It all depends when they would be released from their scholarships, the NCAA has certain dates that those things have to fall in-line with or they go to the next semester. I don't know them off hand so I'll have to look it up.


Poonugget: Where does Pitt stand right now with Elijah Fields?


GURU: He is visiting December 2; I still think he ends up at Pitt.


steelcurtain55: In the Big East, which coaches would you say are the best recruiters?


GURU: Head coaches or assistants? Obviously the Pitt staff is very good at what they do. West Virginia and Louisville are both very effective staffs as well.


GepDawg: How serious are Pitt's chances of landing a commit from Lee Tilley?


GURU: Slim to none right now.


CaptainH: Dave Wannstedt and company are concentrating on recruiting for awhile. Specifically who are they concentrating on this week?


GURU: Usually during off time each coach will visit schools in his recruiting region. They will visit recruits who have already committed, and make last pitch efforts to kids they want to get to visit and take a few trips to see some "Plan B" type kids just in case.


NJBob: Do you have any thoughts about any of the juniors and sophomores who were at the game?


GURU: Not really after Syracuse, I was not around and haven't had much time to talk to anyone to know who was there. I was on the IR.


Toastkc: I read a while back that Dave Wannstedt suggested cutting some dead weight from the roster after this season. Who, or what positions, may be affected?


GURU: I wouldn't want to throw names out there and lead to speculation, but just take a gander at the roster and you'll see names of some kids who have been around for a few years and have not made any contribution at all. Those would be the most likely to be gone.


Poonugget: How many more linemen, offensive or defensive, do you think Pitt will pull in and will they be able to challenge for playing time next year?


GURU: They may try and get one or two more defensive lineman and maybe an offensive tackle. When your depth is as thin as it is at Pitt any of these guys could challenge for time very early.


GepDawg: Bob, would you mind explaining all the legalities of offering a high school sophomore? Is it allowed? Are the rules recruiting high school underclassmen any different than recruiting high school upperclassmen?


GURU: Technically, a player cannot be offered officially on paper until September 1st of their junior year. Ben Howland offered a kid in eighth grade before. There's nothing that says a kid cannot be offered as a sophomore it is just a verbal offer. Like Averin Collier, Wannstedt can call Coach Dick at Churchville-Chili and say hey we are offering Averin.


NJBob: What have you heard about Simms, the junior QB for Don Bosco? Will he be a big-time recruit like his older brother Chris? If so, have you heard what schools he may consider?


GURU: From what I have seen he has a very strong arm, I don't know if he's a polished as his brother was. I actually just got film on him to watch so I will let you know.


Mistersteelers: Would you be concerned if the Panthers lose out on both Jeff Otah and Jason Diehl?


GURU: They did lose out on Diehl and he'll be a good college lineman, but Pitt needs tackles. Otah would probably sting a little worse because of the need.



"In Your Grill" Question of the Week:

tbro34: Does the addition of Joe Thomas to this class help Pitt with future prospects from his star-studded school, or is this just a fluke pick-up from an Ohio State pipeline?


GURU: Personally, I think Ohio State slept on Thomas and they missed the boat. Would they admit that? I doubt it, but it's fairly obvious. Anytime you can wrangle a recruit from a power school in Ohio with a Buckeye offer it's a big deal, but Ohio kids are still Buckeyes if offered the majority of the time.

Our staff would like to thank you for your participation as we strive to make our site the number one source of information for Pittsburgh Panther athletics and high school recruiting.

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