Panthers evaluate Pottsville Linemen

University of Pittsburgh Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt would like to establish a physical and punishing running game. In order to successfully execute his offense, it's imperative the Panthers land tough, physical offensive linemen. It appears Pitt is close to offering a pair of big men from Pottsville, PA.

The University of Pittsburgh coaching staff would like to add five offensive linemen to the class of 2007. Chris Jacobson (6-foot-3 inches, 295 pounds), their first commitment, has established himself as the top offensive guard in the state of Pennsylvania. Head Coach Dave Wannstedt and staff would like add an additional guard, center and a pair of tackles.

Pottsville High School in Pottsville, PA happens to have a pair of outstanding offensive linemen that has attracted heavy interest from the University of Pittsburgh. The recently spoke with Pottsville High School Head Football Coach Kevin Keating about his star linemen Brad Hallick (6-foot-6 inches, 280 pounds) and Gary Bardzak (6-foot-4 inches, 290 pounds).

"Coach Wannstedt and Coach (Greg) Gattuso visited our school two weeks ago," said Keating. "I know they like Gary quite a bit. I think they were most interested in him but they started to notice Brad more and more. It's safe to say that the Panthers are very interested in both of them. Coach Gattuso is coming back to our high school soon."

"I have been coaching for 18 years and I don't think I have ever had a lineman as athletic as Gary Bardzak. It's rare to see someone that size that moves that well. He's capable of playing center, guard and tackle."

"We play a pure wing-T offense. Gary started at open side guard and Brad stared the season at open side tackle. We actually flip flopped Gary and Brad mid-season and our line play improved. Gary performed very well at tackle."

Connecticut was the first school to offer Bardzak a scholarship. Pitt, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Rutgers and all of the MAC school are starting to express serious interest in his services.

"Brad is nearly 6-foot-7 inches tall and most schools want him at tackle. He's gaining slightly more interest than Gary due to his height," said Keating.

Hallick is an exceptionally bright young man currently ranked #1 in a class of 257 students. He was named First Team All-Area, All-Region and All-League honors. Brad averaged 3 pancake blocks a game as a junior.

"Brad is exceptionally smart and driven. I don't think I have ever seen a more goal oriented player. He has offers from Virginia, Vanderbilt, Rutgers and Temple. Pitt, Stanford and all of the MAC school are starting to seriously pick up with their interest."

"Brad, like Gary, has a huge upside. He's big, has a long wingspan and blocks until the whistle blows. He has a non-stop motor. If you need him at guard, he can play that as well."

"Brad and Gary are both interested in the University of Pittsburgh. It would be great to see them stay in-state and play football. We'll see how thing progress by the end of summer."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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