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 Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels. Harry Psaros will provide guest commentary.

Reno9: Could you provide some insight on Dwayne Gaitlin? With the recent verbals of safties Eain Smith and Evan Rodriguez to WVU, is he a possible plan-b option?

GURU: Sorry, Reno that's not a name I am familiar with and not a name I have heard associated with Pitt. CaptainH: Is Dave Brytus getting a scholarship for next year?

GURU: What other option is there? I think there is some concern with Dave's focus on mixed martial arts. That will be something that Wannstedt will have to address with Brytus, maybe he won't need to be on a ship.

Pittbball11: Is it at all possible that Bo Williams and Shady McCoy could both come to Pitt? Or is it a first come first serve deal?

GURU: I'm sure Pitt would love to have both, who wouldn't? I just don't see it playing out that way.

HARRY: Pittbball11, I love your attitude. I'm currently reading a book called "The Secret" about the power of positive thinking and how it can transcend your life. Your question is the personification of the book! Would Pitt take both – absolutely. Will it happen? Probably not. I'm always positive, but I try to be realistic.

Mistersteelers: What position do you see Dorin Dickerson playing next year?

GURU: Interesting question. I see people ask all the time why they don't try him on defense. Those people have obviously never seen him play defense. My opinion he is strictly an offensive minded player. Personally, if I am Matt Cavanaugh I would institute some of the Arkansas playbook into my offense and use Dickerson the way the Razorbacks use Darren McFadden. Dickerson ran the same type of a role at West Allegheny, so it just makes sense to me.

HARRY: Mistersteelers – Bob is totally correct. Dickerson has an offensive mentality. He's fine at running back, but he has to given an opportunity. Note to Matt Cavanaugh: Play Dorin. The Panthers coaching staff has sold the concept of early paying time to a myriad of recruits. It's time to stand behind that claim. If an upperclassmen leads you to mediocrity, why not play the younger talent with greater upside?

CaptainH: Is Aaron Smith a redshirt or greyshirt this year?

GURU: Good question…I'll have to see if I can get some clarification on that one. My guess would be redshirt, because he started fall camp, so I would assume he also started classes at that time as well.

tbro34: Is Nate Nix really up to 220 pounds? What is an ideal playing weight for him?

GURU: That's what his brother says, I have not seen him since camp. If he is at 220 that in my eyes would be an ideal weight. Personally, I can't see him gaining 30 pounds that quickly and it being good weight.

HARRY: I have had several sources close to the program tell me that Nate was amongst the hardest working players in the weight room. His brother Lucas told me he was between 220 and 225 pounds and "solid". Look for Nate to land a starting position next season.

Ganymede: I travel all over to see high school football games. I've noticed that District 6 is getting more publicity in the past five or six years. They've always had decent players. Why are people just learning about them now?

GURU: I seldom pat myself on the back, but I will this time. Obviously me being a D-6 guy myself I have made an effort to try and publicize kids in this area. That along with a kid like Larod breaking out and performing well has shown that there are players here. As you know once a few kids come from the region, coaches will begin recruiting the area even harder. Johnstown is an area where people are constantly moving in and moving out so you get a lot of transplants from outside the regions as well. I can't say for certain, but I thought I remembered the Cruz family coming from New York. I know Coach Arcurio and Coach Salem at Johnstown and Bishop McCort make an effort to get their kids out there and get them some exposure, which is always helpful.

CaptainH: Using your crystal ball, where do you see the following recruits ending up (Maurice Williams, Derek Moye, Tony Tucker, Jabaal Sheard, Brandon Curry, Cameron Holland, Akeem Auguste)?

GURU: Mo Williams I still feel will be a Panther. Moye I think loves Penn State, but the depth chart there may force him elsewhere. Tucker as things stand currently looks like a Panther. Sheard likes Pitt, a lot will depend on his visit to Rutgers. Curry may wait too long. Holland may be taking the train to Delaware or Akron. Auguste may end up at South Carolina or West Virginia.

HARRY: Good question. I prefer to look into my funky disco ball. Mo Williams and Tony Tucker appear to be Panthers. Sheard loved his Pitt visit but the longer he waits, the longer I worry. It's down to Rutgers and Pitt. His visit to New Jersey will be telling. I believe the staff will take Curry but they won't wait long. The class is filling up quickly. I like Cameron Holland but he had his chance and blew it. What the heck is a Blue Hen? Can you eat one? It appears that Akeem Auguste will go elsewhere. I don't believe it's a secret: Moye likes PSU. Bob is 100% correct. I believe that playing time might swing him towards the Panthers. Derek is an exceptional talent that needs to visit a Krispy Kreme shop more often.

Reno9: How did Lesean McCoy get the nickname "Shady"?

GURU: Here is an excerpt from an interview I had with Shady last year:

Now the nickname, how did he come to be called Shady?

"My mom gave it to me when I was little," McCoy said. "She said I was a ‘Shady' character because I would be happy and then be sad, sad then happy. Then it just kind of stuck with me."

pittee3: How highly ranked do you expect Lucas Nix to be next season?

GURU: Top five in the state, likely a high four-star to begin with.

Sailboy: With the shakeup to the coaching staff at Michigan State, is there is any chance Pitt will be going after Paul Simkovich?

GURU: No, Simkovich committed to Akron and seems content with it.

HARRY: I was told the staff never even considered offering a scholarship – pre or post Michigan State

Reno9: What ever happend to Jawaan Walker?

GURU: The last I saw he was going by his given name of Eugene Walker and he was attending St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada…Oh how the mighty have fallen from that awesome Erie Cathedral Prep "Dream Team"

Ganymede: What are you thoughts on Bishop McCort's Mike Cruz?

GURU: I like Cruz. He has had some injury issues, but he is a nice looking athlete. When I watched him at Metro-Index he was clearly one of the best players there and he was younger than everyone. Every college coach in attendance was licking their chops.

HARRY: I have been told that he's strongly interested in the Panthers. This comes from several sources close to the Bishop McCort football program.

Sailboy: Has Cameron Heyward given up on Pitt?

GURU: By everything I see it certainly looks like it. Almost looks like he had them in the game and then when "Ironhead" passed he lost interest.

CaptainH: Do you anticipate any more 2008 verbals before 2007 LOI day?

GURU: No, I think Lucas Nix, Mike Cruz, Nic DiLillo could all be Panthers before March. Jonathan Baldwin and Averin Collier as well.

pittee3: In your opinion, what position is best for Lucas Nix at the next level?

GURU: I love him on defense, but he has really blossomed into one hell of an offensive lineman. He has the feet to play left tackle and those guys don't just fall off of trees.

Mistersteelers: Which players may be changing position in 2007?

GURU: That will depend on how the roster shakes up and who is brought in. We likely won't know most of that until spring practice.

HARRY: It's too early to tell, but the one obvious move will be C.J. Davis to center. From what I've been told, John Bachman will be given the opportunity to win the starting center position as well. Either way, the Panthers will be upgrading the position. Look for Jason Pinkston to move to Davis' vacated guard spot.

rmf05: How long do you think it will take for our recent efforts into Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC to bear fruit?

GURU: Tony Tucker would be a big get and an excellent way to start the foundation. It will take a while, but Aubrey Hill is a very personable guy and I think the kids will relate well with him.

HARRY: Coach Wannstedt's decision to place Aubrey Hill in charge of recruiting in VA, Washington D.C., etc. was a good one. Hill may be the most improved coach on the staff. Our wide receivers have excelled on the field and his recruiting efforts have vastly improved. Coach Hill is a gregarious and likeable individual and comes across as "cool". Like all jobs is sales (and recruiting is sales), you need to know how to close. Coach Hill is starting to lure and close top talent. The Panther closing ratio for prospects in the Washington D.C. / Northern Virginia area should be significantly higher than that of Florida. Lastly, Coach Partridge is an animal when it comes to recruiting. I believe he'll have little difficulty handling the state. Coach Partridge even looks like a Pit Bull.

CaptainH: Any rumblings of grey shirts for 2007?

GURU: Nothing so far.

CaptainH: Josh Hartigan ran into a numbers game and was not able to commit to Pitt. Who else is running dangerously close to having the same issue happen with since it is apparently down to crunch time with respect to the remaining scholarships? Or have the remaining scholarships all been set aside for specific individuals, such as Mo Williams and Tony Tucker, and will only be open again if those individuals go elsewhere?

HARRY: Good question CaptainH. The Panthers have landed 18 recruits. I'm assuming the staff may take an additional 7 recruits. Greg Williams will make 19 total recruits (I'm very confident he's going to announce this week). The staff will save scholarships for Mo Williams and Tony Tucker. Both appear close to committing to Pitt. I believe the staff is finished taking linebacker recruits. Hartigan was a bit too slow to commit. The only other "questionable" recruit happens to be Brandon Curry. I spoke with Curry this week. Unfortunately for Curry, he doesn't realize that Florida State is stringing him along. He wants to wait for a few more weeks and Pitt may run out of scholarships. Chris Drager, a January visitor, will factor into the recruiting equation as well. Obviously the staff would take Bo Williams and/or LeSean McCoy in a heartbeat.

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

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