Stinson gives Pitt fans a New Years present

The University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt has been pursing a number of tough, physical running backs that can flourish in the Panthers offensive system. One of the top prospects to sign with Pitt was Florida standout Xavier Stinson. It appears he has early New Year's present for Pitt fans. Read on.

University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt was exuberant in early October when he received a call from bullish running back Xavier Stinson (5-foot-9 inches, 215 pounds) from Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, FL. Stinson chose the Panthers over a number of upper echelon football programs including Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The enthusiasm that accompanied Stinson's commitment was somewhat tempered due his academic status. It was generally believed that he would have to attend prep school prior to attending the University of Pittsburgh. The recently spoke with Xavier and he had phenomenal news for Panther fans.

"I'm text messaging Coach (Dave) Wannstedt right now. I'm wishing him happy New Year and I'm letting him know that I have academically qualified based on my latest test score. I'm very excited," said Stinson.

Xavier was named the Broward County's Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. 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. Pitt previously tapped into Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School to land standout defensive lineman Gus Mustakas.

"I got my results back from the ACT and I scored a 25. You match that with my core grade point average and it I qualify academically. It looks like I'll be in a Panther uniform next year. I'm very excited."

Pitt has added three quality running backs in its class of 2007: Stinson ('s 52nd ranked running back), Shariff Harris ('s 42nd ranked running back) from Jersey City, NJ and Greg Williams ('s 44th ranked running back) from Naples, FL.

"My focus now shifts to wrestling season. I love wrestling and it keeps me in top shape for football," said Stinson. "I can't wait to get to Pitt. I know they need a big, physical back that can get them the extra yards. I'm not expecting to take over a starting role but I want to push for playing time."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at

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