Stinson: "I think Pitt needs me"

The University of Pittsburgh recently hosted a number of upper echelon recruits last weekend. One of them happened to be burly running back Xavier Stinson from Chaminade-Madonna High School in Hollywood, FL. Despite verbally committing to Pitt, Stinson visited Pittsburgh for the first time. He spoke with the about his experience.

"I really had a great time over the weekend. I felt comfortable at Pitt and I can't wait to get there," stated burly running back Xavier Stinson (5-foot-9 inches, 215 pounds) from Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, FL. "There's nothing I can say negative other than the weather. I need to get used to playing in the cold. I can do it and adjust."

"My host for the weekend was my old teammate Gus Mustakas. It was nice to see him again," said Stinson. "We arrived on Saturday morning so everything went pretty quickly. They were able to give us a tour of all of the facilities. I thoughts the (UPMC) practice facilities were amazing. Heinz Field was incredible as well."

"I didn't get a chance to see a ton of the city, but Pittsburgh was really beautiful."

Stinson chose the Panthers over Florida State, Auburn, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Pitt, Auburn, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and Florida International offered him a scholarship.

"I know it was a tough loss on Saturday but the team is young and getting better," said Stinson. "I really tried to pay attention to their running backs. I think Pitt needs me. Their starting running back right now is fast but on the small side. I watched Ray Rice for Rutgers pound the ball. He's short but thick like me. I think I can complement what Pitt has now and give them a different look. I'm the power back they need."

Stinson visited the Panthers with two of his teammates: safety Eain Smith (6-foot, 180 pounds) and cornerback Akeem Auguste (5-foot-11 inches, 175 pounds). When asked about his teammates, he stated, "I have been recruiting Eain pretty hard. He had a great time on the visit. It looks like we may get him. Akeem has been talking about South Carolina a lot but you never know. He had a great time too."

Xavier was named the Broward County's Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. He rushed for over 500 yards on offense. The Panthers previously tapped into Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School to land standout defensive lineman Gus Mustakas.

"I'm officially going to start recruiting for the Panthers. I'm going to do my best to bring Akeem and Eain with me. There are some other players from down here I'll talk with too. I did my best to get us the defensive end from Hialeah, FL (Adewale Ojomo).

"We were able to sit down with Coach (Dave) Wannstedt before I left. He seems like a really cool guy and I look forward to getting to know him better. I spent time with Coach (Charlie) Partridge and Coach (Mike) Walker too. All of us felt comfortable with the coaching staff."

Xavier is capable of running for the forty-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He was primarily recruited by Panthers' assistant Charlie Partridge. Stinson has been a three-year starter on both sides of the ball. The nephew of former Pittsburgh Steeler Tim Lester, he ran for 930 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as a junior.

"This was my first trip to Pittsburgh and I loved it. I can't wait to get there next year and help the team."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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