Cruz is a Panther

The Pittsburgh Panthers have been recruiting well in Johnstown, Pa. over the last few years and today they added yet another Flood City standout.

Bishop McCort tight end Mike Cruz has known for awhile that he wanted to be a Pittsburgh Panther, today he made it official.

I went there this weekend and stayed with Scott Corson," Cruz said. "I loved it there and it suits all of my needs, so I figured the time was right and I committed."

The Johnstown, Pa. native held offers from Clemson, Nebraska, West Virginia, Virginia, Akron, Toledo, Kent State and Temple. Cruz talked to most of the current players and that was another key factor in his pledge.

"Everyone is excited for me," he said. "All the players are great. It is like a brotherhood there. It's like a family, not a bunch of individuals."

Cruz was tempted to pull the trigger earlier in the process, but he wanted to wait until his family could see the campus.

"My mom, dad and sister came out to Pitt today and checked out the campus," he said. "Mom was a little shaky at first, but she told me that I worked hard for this and if Pitt is where I wanted to go, she would support me 100 percent.

"She was a little worried about the big city thing, it's a little bigger than what we're used to here in Johnstown."

The proximity from home was also a key factor in the decision making process.

"No matter who you are, you're going to have problem in college," Cruz explained. "I am only an hour from home, so I can always come home. There are always going to be people around me that I can talk to.

"There are so many people from Johnstown who go to Pittsburgh, not just football players. It's like a home away from home."

Cruz has had to grow accustomed to meeting new coaches during his recruitment.

"I started out being recruited by Curtis Bray," he said. "The Greg Gattuso and Junko started recruiting me. I developed a pretty good relationship with Brian Angeliccho the new tight end's coach. He is the most down to earth and coolest coach I have met."

Cruz earned 1st team All-Conference honors as a junior. He caught 19 passes for 225 yards and four TD's. On defense, he tallied 38 tackles and an interception for a TD.

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