The Guru Grill

Hello fellow Panther fans, it's time for The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels and PantherDigest.com publisher Harry Psaros.

Hello fellow Panther fans, it's time for The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels with guest commentary from Harry Psaros.

CaptainH: In what order would Pitt rank the Florida running backs they're recruiting (Bo Williams, Greg Williams, Xavier Stinson, Zach Brown, Chacon Lee)? And what odds would you give Pitt for getting each of them?

GURU: Actually, I would rank them exactly the way you wrote them out. I think they have a great shot with Bo Williams. I think if Bo commits that's all they would take, maybe two if the second was Greg Williams or Xavier Stinson. I can't see them taking any more unless they plan on moving someone to another position.

HARRY: I would say Bo Williams, Xavier Stinson, Greg Williams, Zach Brown then Chacon Lee. You could easily flip flop Greg Williams and Zach Brown. The beauty of your question is that Pitt has an excellent chance to land all of them. Lee is a Plan B back.

WeRNotTheirRivals: I'll ask it, LeSean McCoy, have you heard anything about the rumors, he's heading to Pitt?

GURU: Everytime I ask anyone at Milford they say if McCoy gets 820 on the SAT he is headed for Miami. I'll know more if and when I get to talk to him myself.

tbro34: How would you compare Brandon Lindsey to Greg Webster heading into their senior seasons of high school football?

GURU: Brandon is a better athlete. Webster was the better pure linebacker.

CaptainH: Do you know the actual number of scholarships the Panthers have to give for the class of 2007?

GURU: The number I was told was 20, I always give a plus/minus two just in case.

HARRY: Three or four of Walt Harris' "fringe" recruits left during camp. It wouldn't shock me to see the staff reel in nearly 25 recruits once the dust settles

mistersteelers: Have any of the freshman been a surprise so far in terms of their performance?

GURU: Ty Tkach has been a surprise. The big time guys like Malecki, Byham and Joe Thomas you expect to be good, but I think they have been better far sooner than most thought that they would be. Aaron Berry has played very well also.

HARRY: T.J. Porter was expected to be "pretty good". It appears that Porter may be Pitt's next great receiver. He's the real deal. Bob is correct, Tyler Tkach has been solid. Aaron Berry is going to be very good. He, along with Malecki, Byham and Thomas, has been standouts. Kevan Smith and McKenzie Mathews have been coming on strong as of late.

CaptainH: Which high school juniors, who have not been offered, do you expect to receive one by Sept 1?

GURU: I would expect Shayne Hale, Jonathan Baldwin, David Posluszny, Lucas Nix and Averin Collier to be amongst the first to be offered officially.

Chris94: What are your thoughts on possible Big East football expansion and the chance of the football schools breaking away from the basketball only schools?

GURU: My thoughts are and have been that Notre Dame needs to be given an ultimatum either join in both or leave in basketball. I wouldn't expand unless there are viable options out there that would make the conference better as a whole, not to fill slots just because they need filled.

CougarClaw: How many practices have you been able to attend?

GURU: I was able to see two of the scrimmages this camp.

rja66: After moving Dorin Dickerson and Elijah Fields, do you think that Pitt will definitely take at least two wide receivers among its remaining spots for the 2007 class?

GURU: I believe so. Obviously if they can land Clemons, Moye and Maurice Williams they will take all three.

HARRY: Keep in mind that the aforementioned moves will greatly help the coaching staff land recruits like Clemons, Moye, Williams, A.J. Guyton and Matt Clements. The moves have created far less competition.

tbro34: Though UVA has some question marks, they have several years of superior recruiting. Do you think the expectations for Pitt to beat the Cavaliers are a little much?

GURU: I didn't think Pitt would be the favorite. Pitt returns its starting quarterback which is always a plus and it's a home game. I personally think that although it is the first game of the year, it is almost a must-win for both teams.

CaptainH: Does the addition of Jordan Gibbs mean that Pitt no longer has an interest in Kyle Hubbard or any other tight end or is he being looked at as an offensive tackle?

GURU: Gibbs will be an offensive tackle.

HARRY: Gibbs will officially become the Panthers' Andre the Giant look-alike.

mistersteelers: Who are some other interior line prospects the Panthers are targeting now that Caleb Ruch has verballed to Rutgers?

GURU: I don't think it is really a priority right now to get another interior guy. If the right one comes along they may take him, but I don't think it's a necessity at this time.

HARRY: The Panthers are in-deep with center/guard Joel McCleod (6-foot-4 inches, 300 pounds) from Everglades High School in Miramar, FL. If the continue to accrue extra scholarships, don't be shocked to see McCleod visit. He's an exceptionally bright young man known for a nasty streak on the football field. There's always a possibility that Cameron Holland could change his mind.

Reno9: With Dorin Dickerson's move to running back, while also having freshman Kevin Collier in the fold, will this have an impact on the running back prospects from Florida?

GURU: Florida boys in football are like New York city kids in hoops, they don't care about depth charts usually.

CougarClaw: What is your opinion of defensive end Doug Fulmer's potential?

GURU: I think Fulmer could be a double-digit sack guy and be one of the best defensive ends Pitt has had in recent memory. I see him as a cross between Bryan Knight and Claude Harriott.

HARRY: Bob "The Godfather" is totally correct. Fulmer has outstanding potential and I'm more than pleased to see him named a starter. I remember watching his high school highlight film. He was roughly 6-foot-3 inches and 200 pounds. I was amazed to see him at practice. He's a 6-foot-4 ½ inch, 240 pound physical specimen. Fulmer and Greg Romeus have the "Javon Kearse" look.

rja66: Should we still expect Jordan Mabin to announce before his team's season opener?

GURU: Jordan told me he would announce before his August 25 season opening game. He has always maintained that time frame.

HARRY: Jordan has been highly frustrating as of late. He initially appeared to be a Pitt lock. Mabin called me a week ago and he sounded like he was ready to commit to Northwestern. Look for Jordan to visit Pitt and Northwestern and make a decision. I'm assuming he will make a decision late September.

tbro34: Why has Jordan Mabin's offer list been so small?

a.) More that he is known to be a Pitt lock.

b.) Schools haven't seen him at corner.

c.) He's not as good as originally advertised.

GURU: I think it is a combination of the first two examples that you gave.

CaptainH: Which of the Florida running backs are still seriously looking at Pitt?

GURU: I would say that Bo Williams, Greg Williams, Xavier Stinson and Zach Brown all have interest. You have to remember if they schedule visits you know they are interested and you have a shot. Most Florida kids wait a little longer to decide.

HARRY: The staff actually has to be careful with their official visits. There is a distinct possibility that Pitt could land almost every one of the aforementioned running backs from Florida. Bo Williams, their most coveted prospect, doesn't want to visit until December. He's actually waiting in order to have "one on one" time with Coach Wannstedt, Coach Partridge and Coach Walker. If you set aside two scholarships for running backs, you have keep in mind that Zach Brown and Xavier Stinson could commit on their official visits. It's a very nice problem to have. You can't go wrong with any of them.

mistersteelers: When all is said and done, how do you think Pitt's class will rank on a national level?

GURU: I don't see why they can't muster another Top 20 class. They are in on a lot of highly ranked prospects still.

moose420: With news that Dorin Dickerson is practicing at running back, is this due to a lack of depth or do they feel this is the position where he can best help the team?

GURU: Dorin has gotten very top heavy with muscle. Anytime as an athlete that your upper body gets that big and your lower body doesn't it makes you more susceptible to lower body injuries, especially ankles. A wide receiver with bad ankles is not a good thing.

rja66: Do you think that the position changes of Dorin Dickerson and Elijah Fields will significantly impact our standing with our top wide receiver targets, such as Tony Clemons, Maurice Williams and Matt Clements?

GURU: I don't think it will make a tremendous impact, it may make them slightly more attractive.

WeRNotTheirRivals: Any news about Woodland Hills DB Rontez Miles?

GURU: Miles future will be decided by how he does in the classroom this year.

HARRY: The staff loves Miles. His highlight film was highly impressive. If he qualifies, the coaching staff at Pitt will be all over him. As Bob stated, his academic standing is key

tbro34: You stated earlier that Darrell Strong is a freak and doesn't know how good he can actually be. How much of this is from coaching problem?

GURU: I don't think it is really a coaching problem. I just think he is still learning. He was a quarterback and this is his second offense he has been in at Pitt. So he made a position switch and had to learn another offense. He also received work at wide receiver, so he has had to learn plays and formations that are different from those at tight end.

CougarClaw: Do you see Kevin Smith as serious competition for the starting quarterback position in 2007?

GURU: I do, I think mechanically he is as good as anyone. He really came to camp well prepared and has been another freshmen that has really surprised this year with how far a long he is.

HARRY: You just touched on one of my top sleepers. Smith has looked really good. He's further along than the staff expected. Kevin is a big, strong player with a rocket arm.

CaptainH: Is Antonio Reddic completely off the Panther's radar or are they waiting to see how he does this year?

GURU: There are two concerns with Reddic, one is his size he is very thin. The second is his speed, he ran a very slow time at camp. I don't think he has been totally written off, but it will depend on those first few games of the season.

Ohiopa: Kyle Hubbard is now close to 6'5" and about 240 pounds. With another year continuing to grow and fill out, do you think he may become a defensive end at the next level?

GURU: I don't believe so. Hubbard is a better offensive weapon.

HARRY: Hubbard is the #1 tight end target for the Panthers' coaching staff. They love his ability. At 6-foot-7 inches, 300 pounds, Jordan Gibbs is clearly an offensive tackle. Coach Wannstedt and staff are doing everything then can to pursue Hubbard.

rja66: Xavier Stinson is a player who has seemed to be very high on Pitt. Now that Henry Hynoski has committed, do you think that Stinson is still a major target at running back or did the staff simply view him as the backup plan at fullback had Hynoski went elsewhere?

GURU: I believe Pitt likes Stinson as a RB and Hyno as a fullback. Personally, from watching Stinson on film he looks like a fullback to me.

Reno9: Other than Myles Caregin (commit) and Cam Heyward, who else is on Pitt's wish list and how many scholarships will they use on this position?

GURU: Defensive tackle is a very deep position right now. I think Heyward is the main focus right now, unless someone emerges during the season.

CaptainH: Where do you think the following prospects end up, Brandon Lindsey, Cam Heyward and Jabaal Sheard?

GURU: Lindsey I think ends up at Pitt, look for Jamie Dixon to get involved with Heyward and that may make a huge difference and help the Panthers land him. Sheard I won't venture to guess until after he schedules his official visits.

HARRY: Like Bob, I believe Lindsey will eventually join the Pitt football program. Sheard, a highly athletic defensive end, has recently stated that the Panthers are amongst his top three schools. It's very difficult to predict Heywards' final destination. Cam is an impact player. mistersteelers: Who would you say has been the most impressive of the freshman in camp?

GURU: There has been a number of them Berry, Byham, Pinkston, Thomas, Porter, Malecki. I'd probably say Malecki if I had to pick one, but I probably couldn't pick just one.

1GPA1: I am happy to hear how many of our freshman defensive lineman are looking good and appear to be headed for the two-deep. I'm a little surprised that Jared Martin doesn't seem to be one of them. Physically, he sounded like the strongest of the bunch. How has he looked so far?

GURU: From what I see the biggest difference between Jared Martin and a few of the other young guys is physical conditioning. Martin reminds me of Corey Davis as a freshmen, physically he just wasn't ready.

HARRY: I'm a big fan on "J-Mart". He's on the short side but powerfully built. He has the thick legs and upper torso you look for in a defensive tackle. I have hit the gym and done thousands of shrugs in my lifetime. I could only dream of having "traps" that big. I believe he will redshirt and develop into a solid contributor for years to come.

rja66: Of prospects within our traditional recruiting region, which two or three kids would you offer today, if you were Dave Wannstedt?

GURU: Diauntae Morrow from St. Edward is a kid I like; he is a big, physical corner. He could also end up as a safety and not hurt you at all. My wildcard would be Da`von Moore from Brentwood, he has decent size and is legit 4.4

PittFan007: Which remaining Florida targets do you see Pitt having a good shot at landing?

GURU: You can't accurately guess anything on Florida guys until you see who is going to take official visits.

mistersteelers: Will Pitt end with the best recruiting class (2007) in the Big East?

GURU: It should be Pitt or West Virginia from the looks of it. I would expect a late charge from Louisville also.

Chris94: Of the 2007 commits so far, which one do you think is the underappreciated gem?

GURU: It's tough to say a four-star guy is underappreciated, but I still don't think people realize just how good Chris Jacobson really is. I think John Fieger could also turn out to be a very good college player.

rja66: Should we read anything into Toney Clemons' no-show at Pitt practice a few weeks back, or is this simply a case of a high-school kid having other things going on or wanting to spend a little "non-football" time before his team's camp started?

GURU: No, the kids have an open invitation to hit practice whenever they want, Clemons has been to Pitt a ton of times

CougarClaw: Is Chris McKillop good enough to make the All-Big East teams this season.

GURU: He has improved, but I'm not sure he has improved that much just yet.

HARRY: There's nothing fancy about Chris McKillop. He's a true brawler. I know the term blue-collar is overused, but he's every bit blue-collar. He's a slight step slower than Clermond and Fulmer, but he's going to be a major contributor this season.

WeRNotTheirRivals: Why aren't there more schools recruiting Devan Johnson ?

GURU: Could be grades and some view him as a tweener, some aren't sure exactly where he'll play.

CaptainH: What is the latest on Bryan Williams, Chris Hanna and Aundre Wright? Will they be offered?

GURU: Hanna has a torn ACL, so if he'd get an offer it won't be until next year. I do believe Wright will get offered if he makes grades. Williams all I hear about him is he needs to improve his grades and mature as a person.

mistersteelers: Who are some players on the defensive line that could be productive on the offensive line, if they were moved?

GURU: Malecki and Pinkston could be studs on either side of the ball.

Reno9: Does Malcom Harris or Markeece Preston have interest in the Panthers?

GURU: I have a hard time believing that Pitt offered Preston. Harris seems to be interested, not sure how much interest Pitt has right now.

Bitterpill94: Is Joe Thomas a future guard or tackle?

GURU: That will depend on what Pitt gets around him. If they can recruit some tackles then he would stay at guard. He looks very comfortable at guard right now.

HARRY: I initially assumed that Thomas would move to tackle. With the graduation of John Simonitis and the influx of talent at tackle, I now believe he will remain at guard. With Thomas, Craig Bokor and super stud Lumpy Jacobson at guard, I'm truly getting excited about the offensive line's future potential.

CougarClaw: Does Doug Fulmer have a good chance of displacing Charles Sallet?.

GURU: Personally, I think Fulmer is the most talented end they have right now, so it would not shock me if he did.

HARRY: I like Charles "The Jet" Sallet, but he's a "feast or famine" defensive end. At roughly 6-foot, 240 pounds, it's like lining up H.B. Blades at defensive end. When rushing the passer, the fast Sallet does an excellent job and frustrates offensive tackles. If the opposing team decides to run, Sallet usually is hammered to the ground. Fulmer is clearly a better option. He's just as fast yet he offers superior size and instincts.

CaptainH: What class does Dave Brytus count against?

GURU: That would be next year, if he gets a scholarship.

rja66: It's still very early for Florida kids, but how would you handicap the Bo Williams race as of right now?

GURU: I think Pitt has great shot to land Bo Williams.

HARRY: Coach Partridge and Bo have developed a very close relationship. Bo and I spoke a few days prior to Coach P's daughter being born and Bo made it sound like it was his child. He extremely excited. I like truly like our chances. If Bo does commit to Pitt, look for his teammates to come with him. NOTE: Give Charlie Partridge a tremendous amount of credit. His daughter was born right when spring practice was about to begin. He basically dropped off his wife and daughter and ran to the South Side to prepare for drills. He's a dedicated professional. I'm sure it wasn't easy for him, but you have to give him credit for "taking one for the team".

Our staff would like to thank you for your participation as we strive to make our site the number one source of information for Pittsburgh Panther athletics and high school recruiting.

Bill Harris PantherDigest.com


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