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.

GepDawg: Any chance the coaching staff moves Campbell to WR now that Greg Lee declared for the NFL?


GURU: They could give him a look if it was an absolute necessity, but they need him at safety. One area Tommie has struggled at since high school was his hands he has been inconsistent at times. He is the fastest guy on the team and has unbelievable big play potential but there's more depth at WR then there is at safety at this point.


TheProwl: What is the depth at RB coming into the 2007 season?


GURU: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Shane Brooks, Kevin Collier, Brandon Mason, John Pettiford as it looks now. Collins could go either way tailback or fullback. Brooks does not want too play fullback. New walk-on Adam Atiyeh could also be an option at fullback.


Pittfan78: Are we still keeping in touch with Darrin Walls, just in case he has a change of heart?


GURU: My guess is they will recruit "Teets' until signing day. It's not like others don't do it to them.


CaptainH: Are there any recruits with academic concerns, in addition to Fields?


GURU: None that I have heard of.


Tartan5868: What is the status of Mike Phillips recovery and when he comes back will be a CB or Saftey?


GURU: Pitt has not released anything on his status to my knowledge.


pittengineer75: If you had to put odds on the players left with offers, where would you put them?


GURU: I'm hearing mixed things with Andy Miller right now so I'd go no more than 50/50. Fields I'm guessing 60/40 he goes to Pitt. Augustine seems to favor NC State, but I'm sure Pitt points out the fact that he could start there very early, so I'll go 50/50 and say it all comes down to his visits to both schools. Wright is a Panther if they offer. Lewis may be scared away by two QB commits already in the fold 40/60 with him. I think he signs elsewhere. Mathews I don't have a good read on, I'll go 50/50 Michigan/Pitt. Atkins may come down to Auburn and Pitt. I'll go 50/50 with him. The last time anyone came down to Pitt and Auburn, Pitt lured Darrell Strong away from the tigers on signing day. Aaron berry is another 50/50 between Pitt/Michigan State.


SkepticSkank: How does WVU's and PSU's bowl wins affect our recruiting? Have you guys talked to any of our commits and see if they have been contacted by these schools and are they using this? Also, how does this affect next year's class?  


GURU: Honestly, the only kids who mention it are kids who have been looking at those teams from the beginning. Most kids won't tell you what other coaches are saying to them. I know USC was putting on a strong push for Dorin Dickerson, and he was close to taking a visit there, but he decided against it.


TheProwl: When do the Pitt coaches start recruiting for next year and how far back do they start looking a potential recruits?


GURU: Generally, they will invite some sophomores to games, along with juniors, and seniors that they are interested in. There will be a few local kids that they identify early and they will offer on September 1 the first day they can officially offer. When coaches are out on the road they usually are doing three things. Looking at their commits and showing them some love. Visiting uncommitted targets and potential "Plan B" kids or preferred walk-ons, and lastly is having a presence in the schools with junior targets.

In specific cases such as with Averin Collier they make sure that his coach knows they want him and since his brother is going to Pitt they have an in with him, so they show their hand early.

After the coaches come off the road they will usually get together and discuss the juniors that they like and how they want to distribute their early offers. They will then get a list of prospective juniors and invite them to junior days. Most schools generally have around three junior day events. They will invite a number of these kids to the spring game as well. Then there are the kids they like, but they want to see more of. These kids will be invited to summer camp so the staff can get a first hand look at them. Obviously there's a lot more to it, but I just wanted to summarize it for you.


RBfan: Can you clarify the status of Bryan Williams who is currently in the JUCO program similar to Jeff Otah? I don't believe he is obligated at all to come to Pitt after next season but I see comments saying that a school "places" a kid into a Prep/JUCO program.


GURU: He is not obligated at all to honor his commitment to Pitt. Prep and JUCO issues are like trying to explain AAU hoops there are just so many variables you don't actually know the truth. Some schools have sponsorship type programs that will assist a kid financially in getting to school. You often hear a school has placed a kid there, but how much of that the actual placing schools pay? I have no idea and I'm not sure anyone does.


GepDawg: With Greg Lee leaving for the draft, is it fair to expect Dorin Dickerson to immediately start at WR as a true freshman?


GURU: Really it will depend on how the redshirt freshmen grasp the offense and whether or not anyone steps up. I know Dorin is ready and he wants the opportunity, so if he gets a good grasp of the offense he very well could be the man.


Poonugget: With Jeff Otah and Joe Thomas coming to Pitt what do you think the starting O-line will look like?


GURU: I would assume Otah is going to be expected to start. Ideally, you would not want a freshman starting on the offensive line. Now, having watched Joe Thomas in person, he is special and I do believe he can pull it off. What I see right now McGlynn-Thomas-Davis-Weber/D.Williams-Otah. Obviously, I'll have a better idea during spring practice, you never know where guys like John Bachman will be after a strong off season.


CaptainH: Are there any rumblings about recruits going the grey shirt route this year?


GURU: Not that I have heard just yet.


GepDawg: Could you explain why Dorin was recruited at WR over RB?


GURU: Good question, I have said numerous times that I really do believe he could be an Eddie George type back. It all depends which school you talk to as to where he was recruited. Penn State liked him as a linebacker. Dorin likes wide receiver and that's what he wants too play. He's 6-3, 205 and he fits the WR spot. He runs great routes, his uses his body well. He has big play ability in the open field, and his ball skills are second to none.


pittengineer75: Does the staff have any plans to contact any of the remaining high-end prospects at wide receiver available with Lee leaving?


GURU: Never say never, obviously Pitt has the opportunity to offer someone playing time right away, but Dickerson is about as high end as you can get.


Shoebox: What are the chances that we could see coaching changes for next year?  


GURU: I haven't heard anything substantial from any sources I would consider to be knowledgeable or close to the situation.


TheProwl: Do you think Kevin Collier will be redshirted?


GURU: Not if he grasps the offense or unless someone like Shane brooks has an unreal spring camp. Collier is a player and you don't sit guys like that.


Ganymede: Do you think Pitt made a mistake by not recruiting Brad Kanuch? 


GURU: Kanuch wanted to run track, Pitt does not have what I would consider a great track program. Obviously he is very fast and Pitt needs speed, but apparently they didn't feel he fit any real need.


tbro34: If you had to choose between WR sleepers, Aundre Wright or Lance Jeter, who would you pick?


GURU: I like the bigger receivers, but Wright is a legit 4.3 kid with hands. I just see Santana Moss written all over that kid. So my choice would be Wright, but both are good football players.


GepDawg: If a player goes prep after committing, does he still take up a scholarship the year he's at Prep School? If not, could you explain the whole prep school situation?


GURU: If he is only at a prep for a semester, say he comes to the team in January. He will then count against the previous years scholarship total.


pittengineer75: Any chance we bring Art Kehoe as assistant HC/TE coach and move Gattuso to D-line coach?


GURU: Coach Kehoe signed on with Ole Miss.


poonugget: Can Joe Thomas be like CJ Davis and start at some point in the season?


GURU: I think he can. I personally think Thomas is further ahead at this point in his career then Davis was as a high school senior.


TheProwl: Who will be the Starting TB and SS first game?


GURU: I believe LaRod will be the starter at tailback to begin the season. SS is another story, ideally it would be Tommie Campbell.


SkepticSkank: For the last few years, the reports had many schools using Walt Harris departure rumors against us. Why is this not an issue with PSU and Joe Paterno? 


GURU: I'm sure many people try and use it, but Penn State is smart about how they always announce and extension or put it out there that Coach Paterno will there four more years


poonugget: With Greg Lee heading to the NFL who do you think will be the Panthers' starting WR's next year?


GURU: Derek Kinder and either Dorin Dickerson, Cedric McGee, or Oderick Turner.


CaptainH: Where do you see Hanna and Kates ending up?


GURU: Chris Hanna is heading to Milford. Kates will probably end up at Syracuse.


GepDawg: Why haven't the Panthers offered Aundre Wright yet? You referenced him as a steal in the last Guru Grill and the need at WR has now become even greater.


GURU: They are waiting for his grades and test scores


"In Your Grill" Question of the Week . . .


TheProwl: Do you think the road has been paved for Jordan Mabin and Averin Collier to come to Pitt?


GURU: Most definitely, as long as Kevin signs and has a good experience at Pitt then I firmly believe Averin will follow. If Pitt offers Mabin I think he follows Dorin. Dickerson is always on him, he recruits Paskorz and Mabin as hard as anyone.



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