Nate Byham: "I want to play"

The University of Pittsburgh football team will be searching for offensive firepower after an anemic 2005 season. Blue-chip tight end recruit Nate Byham, one of the top members of the Panthers' touted Class of 2006, is ready to make an impact. The PantherDigest.com recently spoke with Nate about his future with the Panthers.

Pitt Class of 2006 commitment Nate Byham from Franklin High School in Polk, PA, was considered the top tight end in the nation according to Scout.com. He was selected a U.S. Army All-American and played in the All-American Bowl at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, TX.

"I can't wait to get to Pittsburgh and start working out with the team," stated Byham. "I have been hitting the gym four times a week and seriously lifting weights. I was down to 213 pounds after basketball season. Once basketball season was over, I committed my self to conditioning and weight lifting. Right now I'm 228 pounds and solid muscle. I would like to weight around 240 pounds when I get to Pitt."

"I'm joining Pitt's football team on June 25th. I start summer classes the next day. I'll start working out with the team when I'm there. Right now I'm working with one of my coaches, Dave Smith. Dave plays for the Erie Freeze (American Indoor Football League). He's been a big help."

Nate was named to The Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Team (first team). He set Franklin High School's career records for receptions (86), receiving yards (1,544) and touchdowns (17). Byham had 45 catches for 883 yards and scored 9 touchdowns as a senior.

Byham has been in close contact with the University of Pittsburgh coaching staff. When asked what the staff has relayed to him about his future, he quickly stated, "We speak about once a week and they told me to expect playing time."

"I don't expect to walk onto the team and start at tight end. They have plenty of strong candidates there with experience. I want to get there, learn the offense and work with Steve Buches as much as possible. He has been in the system and I'm sure he can help me out."

"I want to play next year. It doesn't matter where they want to put me; I want to get onto the field. If they want me at wide receiver or fullback, I'll play that position."

Scout.com ranked Nate the 6th overall prospect in the East Region. He was selected to play in the prestigious Big 33 football classic. A force on the defensive side of the ball, Byham registered 200 tackles over his final two seasons.

"I know I can catch the football. My added size should help me with my blocking. Right now, I'm around 230 pounds and my speed hasn't changed at all. I'm still pretty fast for a tight end."

"I speak with Dorin Dickerson and John Malecki all the time. We're all playing together in the Big 33. We want to get to Pitt and make a big difference. I can't wait until next season."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at harrypsaros@msn.com.


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