Panthers Offer Elite Junior

After speaking to one of the "Keystone States" top juniors on Tuesday night, I had the feeling that he was considering Pitt, but not real seriously. After speaking with him Thursday after practice, he was not only considering the Panthers but they may have launched themselves to the top of the list.

Shayne Hale is a name that I have been mentioning on the message boards for two years as one of if not the best player in the class of 2008. The Monroeville, Pa., native took in the afternoon practice session at Pitt along with teammate Cameron Saddler and Gators coaches Terry and Harvey Smith.

"The practice was fast and very well run," Hale said. It was run like our practice is run. They told me at practice that they will give me a written offer on Sept. 1. I was very happy and wasn't really expecting it."

The injury of a former Gateway player Dan Loheyde hurts, but on Thursday it made the former Gator available to speak to his former teammate.

"Loheyde was hurt, so he sat there and talked to me about the defense that they run and the different schemes," Hale explained. "On each play we were seeing what I would be doing from my spot on the field."

As we stated in the opening, the Panthers were on the radar with Hale, but not as much as they were after Thursdays practice session. "Pitt wasn't always a top choice, but after talking to the coaches and to Dan they made me feel real comfortable," Hale told "Coach (Dave) Wannstedt and the defensive coaches are real cool."

Hale has all the physical tools to be a truly great college football player. He used the Thursday practice session to gauge where he is at currently.

"The physical part I'm not worried about," Hale said. "I can be physical. I love to hit people. I think I need to study the defense more and pay better attention. I need to work more on the mental part of the game, the reaction part is easy."

It is still very early, but the battle for Shane Hale may likely come down to al old fashioned Pitt versus Penn State battle.

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