Standout OH Linebacker has Pitt ties

The University of Pittsburgh successfully landed two of the top Class of 2006 players from the state of Ohio. Head Coach Dave Wannstedt and staff would like to continue the trend. It appears they may have the "inside track" on one of the top linebackers from the Buckeye State.

"Right now I would have to say I'm looking at Pitt, Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Vanderbilt," stated talented linebacker Ben Graeff (6-ft-3 inches, 220 pounds) from Jackson High School in Massillon, OH.

"Both of my parents are Pitt graduates. We have been season ticket holders for the last six years. I like to root for the Panthers in basketball and football. You could basically say I have grown up rooting for them. It's very cool to thing they are recruiting me now. Playing there would be a dream."

Graeff registered 85 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 1 interception his junior season. Ben led the Polar Bear's to a 7-3 overall record last season. He has attended junior days at Ohio State, Notre Dame and Purdue. Graeff will soon be attending the Pitt's junior day on February 25th.

"I play inside linebacker in high school. I'm not sure what linebacker position I would play in college. We play a 4-4 defense and I'm considered the Mike linebacker. The position is great because I'm in control and I can line everyone up. If I had my choice, I would like to stay in the middle."

Ben has a lengthy frame capable of adding weight. He is capable of running a 4.65 forty-yard dash, bench pressing close to 300 pounds and squatting 400 pounds. Qualifying academically will not be an issue. He has an outstanding 4.1 grade point average and recently scored a 30 on his ACT.

When asked about his strengths, he stated, "I'm a good tackler, a hard hitter and I have great knowledge of the game. I'm usually in the hole before the running back can get there."

Graeff isn't the only Polar Bear being recruited by the Panthers. Pitt is taking a strong look at his teammate Rob Reiland (6-ft-3 inches, 225 pounds). Reiland, a tight end, will attend the Panthers junior day with his teammate. Graeff and Reiland were named team captains last season.

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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