University of Pittsburgh football fans were thrown into frenzy when Scout.com reported that Duhart has set an official visit with the Florida Gators in late January. After recently speaking with Tommie, it appears that Coach Majeski knew his star athlete all too well. In the end, Duhart's "word" and "integrity" meant quite a bit.
"I had committed to Pitt and my heart was set on going there. Florida came knocking on my door and it seemed like I should at least give them a look," Duhart said. "The more I got to talking with my father; I started feeling odd about the visit. I felt like I was going back on the commitment that I made (to Pitt). Shortly after the talk with my father, Coach (Paul) Rhodes came to visit me. That was the straw the broke the camels back. I chose not to visit Florida."
Duhart was quick to elaborate on his decision. "Florida was bringing in a lot of defensive linemen. I feel like I can compete anyone, but it said to me that I would be one of many linemen they were bringing in," Duhart said. "The plans at Pitt were different. Coach (Paul) Rhodes and Coach (Dave) Wannstedt see me as a key part of their defense next year. I'm more than just one of four or five defensive ends coming into the program."
"I called Florida the night before and canceled the trip. I felt so good about it; I immediately called Coach Rhodes, Coach Wannstedt and Coach (Charlie) Partridge. They were really happy to hear I was sticking with the Panthers."
Scout.com ranks Duhart a "four-star" prospect. He's capable of bench pressing nearly 400 pounds and running a 4.9 forty-yard dash.
Duhart attempted to observe as many Pitt football games as possible. He was quick to pinpoint one glaring deficiency on the defensive line. "Pitt was young and pretty small at defensive end. For a while, they were playing with some defensive ends that were in the 235 to 240 pound range," Duhart said. "You can't take on a 300-pound offensive lineman when you're that light. I think they could have won two extra games with a little more size and experience on their defensive line."
Duhart currently stands 6-foot-4 ½ inches and weighs 285 pounds. He plans on reporting to Pitt somewhat lighter. He stated, "The staff wants me to come in ready to compete at defensive end. I plan on getting down to 275 pounds. I'm going to bring the Panthers size, strength and speed they might not have at the defensive end position right now."
Duhart is having an outstanding season for the Coffeyville CC Ravens. He registered 16 solo tackles, 37 assisted tackles, 10 tackles for a loss (46 total lost yards), 6 ½ sacks (33 total lost yards), 12 quarterback hurries, 4 batted balls, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and 2 blocked field goals. Tommie will have three years of eligibility at Pitt.
"I called my buddy Rashaad Duncan and told him to start looking for apartments. I can't wait to get to Pitt and contribute."
Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at email@example.com.