Atkins impressed with Pitt visit

The University of Pittsburgh would like to add another defensive end to its stellar '06 recruiting class. Standout defensive end prospect Geno Atkins (6-ft-2 ½ inches, 265 pounds) from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL would make an excellent addition. Atkins, whose father played in the National Football League, visited Pitt this weekend.

"I had a good time this weekend," stated Atkins. "The visit was very nice. The facilities were the best I have seen and I liked the academic presentation. It's nice that their academic support center is located in the Cathedral of Learning. Darrell Strong was my host for the weekend."

Geno Atkins is capable of running a 4.7 forty-yard dash at nearly 270 pounds. He finished his senior season with 67 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for losses. Geno was named the Florida Class 5A Player of the Year.

When asked to name his favorite part of the trip, he quickly replied, "I liked a lot of things but I was really impressed with their indoor facilities. They were the best that I have seen. Heinz Field was great too."

St. Thomas Aquinas High School lost in the state championship to Lakeland (Fla.) High School 39-10 and finished the season at 14-1. Atkins visited North Carolina State in mid-December (12/16). He will visit Auburn next weekend (1/13) then immediately visit Georgia (1/16-1/18). Geno will finish his string of official visits with Michigan State (1/20).

"Georgia offered me recently and I thought I would give them a look. My family would like me to take all of my visits."

Auburn, Pitt, Georgia, Colorado, Iowa State, Michigan State, North Carolina State, South Florida, Toledo and Vanderbilt have extended Geno scholarship offers. He led the Raiders in tackles as a junior registering 55 total tackles (12 for a loss) and 2 sacks. He currently has a 2.6 grade point average.

Geno had the opportunity to speak with Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt on Sunday. "I liked our one on one talk. He told me that Pitt had a long tradition of winning and they care about their players," he said. "Coach Wannstedt also said they need defensive ends. They are rebuilding their defense and he wants a player with my size and speed."

"The visit went well. I want to take all of my visits and make a solid decision. Pitt helped themselves this weekend."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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