Panthers and Wolfpack for Florida LB

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.

"Our season didn't go as planned," stated athletic linebacker Josh Hartigan (6-foot-2 ½ inches, 215 pounds) from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL. "We finished the season with a 5-5 record. There were a ton of issues with our team. We had teammates that didn't get a long and things like that. I'm happy with my senior performance but I wish our team would have performed better."

Hartigan has received a number of scholarship offers including Pitt, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Iowa State, South Florida, Akron, Colorado State and Toledo. Scout.com ranks him a "two-star" prospect and the 42nd ranked linebacker in the nation.

"I visited North Carolina State on September 8th and I'm set to take two more visits," he said. "I have one set with Iowa State on December 2nd but I think I'm going to cancel that one due to their coaching situation. My last visit would be Pittsburgh on December 8th."

Hartigan is set to visit Pittsburgh with his teammates Darian Williams, Bo Williams, Jim Maitland and Charles James. Panthers assistant Charlie Partridge has been his primarily contact.

"It looks like I'm down to North Carolina State and Pittsburgh. I had a great experience during my visit at North Carolina State. We had fans come up to us and encourage us to commit to the Wolfpack. I thought that was great," stated Hartigan. "We attended the Panthers summer camp earlier in the year and we loved it there. The coaching staff was great and they treated us right. I know both schools need linebackers."

When asked what he would be looking for during his visit, he stated, "I want to look at the overall direction of the program and their academics. It's important that I like the environment and feel comfortable."

"Playing time is somewhat important to me as well. I know that Pittsburgh is going to lose a bunch of linebackers."

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.

The University of Pittsburgh has already received a verbal commitment from middle linebacker Max Gruder from Charlotte, NC. Pitt continues to recruit Brandon Lindsey from Aliquippa, PA, Tristan Roberts from Perkasie, PA, Ronnie Thornton from Miami, FL, Evan Rodriguez from North Bergen, NJ and Josh Bynes from Lauderdale Lakes, FL.

"I believe I run really well for a linebacker and I'm very good at reading plays. I'm physical and my speed is a big strength on the field."

"I'll have to take my visit to Pittsburgh and make a decision shortly after. I'm looking forward to heading back to Pittsburgh and spending time with the coaches and team."

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


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