Florida LB talks Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh will lose three key linebackers after the 2006 season: H.B. Blades, Clint Session and Brian Bennett. Head Coach Dave Wannstedt is searching for playmakers capable of stepping in and improving the Panthers defense. Where does Pitt stand with this hard-hitting Floridian? Read on for details.

"I have a number of scholarship offers right now," stated linebacker Josh Hartigan (6-foot-2 ½ inches, 215 pounds) from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL. "Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Auburn, South Florida, Akron, Colorado State, Toledo and FIU have offered me."

Hartigan, along with his teammates Bo Williams (6-foot-2 inches, 211 pounds) and Darian Williams (6-foot-1 inches, 185 pounds), recently attended the Dave Wannstedt summer football camp. Pitt has extended scholarship offers to each of them. Panthers assistant Charlie Partridge has been their primary contact.

"I came to Pittsburgh and I didn't know what to expect. I thought it was simply amazing. The facilities were incredible. I couldn't believe how nice the practice fields were. We got to see Heinz Field as well. It was awesome and I could easily see myself playing there."

"I don't have a list of top five schools right now. I can tell you that Pitt is one of my favorites, if not the favorite school on my list. I went to Tennessee the previous week but I think I like things at Pittsburgh a little more. It's an incredible school. Coach (Charlie) Partridge is a great guy as well."

Hartigan's father, Sterling Palmer, was a former standout for the Florida State Seminols. He is capable of running the forty-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and bench pressing 320 pounds.

When asked if the trio of players that attended summer camp were considered a "package deal", he quickly replied, "Bo (Williams) and I talked about that the other day. Anything is possible and we both like Pitt a lot. We were surprised to see how many players they already had from Florida."

"I want to go to a school with great surroundings. I want an exciting environment. Academics are important to me as well. I feel that I'm an impact player so playing time will be factor into my decision. I realize that Pitt is losing three to four linebackers after this season. Most of them are starters. It looks like I could go there and push for playing time early."

"I want to take five visits but things could change. It looks like I'll visit Pitt on December 2nd but that isn't totally set in stone. I'm close to setting a visit with North Carolina State as well. Right now, I'm very high on the Panthers. It seems like an exciting place to play."

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

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