Pitt's 2008 Recruiting Class

The Pitt football team is less than three weeks away from beginning summer training camp to prepare for the upcoming season, but the Panthers' 2008 recruiting efforts have been in full swing for quite a while now.

The University of Pittsburgh already has seven public verbal commitments and actually has eight when this year's recruit, defensive lineman Wayne Jones, is included. Pitt is expected to secure at least 10 more recruits, depending on what happens to its total scholarship number this season.

Jones will be greyshirted this fall, pay his own way, and then officially join the team in 2008 to go on scholarship. So, he counts toward next year's recruiting class. The seven verbal commitments from this fall's high school seniors-to-be include running back Chris Burns from Wilmington Area High School in New Wilmington, Pa., cornerback Antwuan Reed from Johnstown, Pa., safety Manny Williams from Clairton, Pa., cornerback Chris Hayden-Martin from Greensburg, Pa. Central Catholic, offensive tackle Lucas Nix from Thomas Jefferson High School in Jefferson Hills, Pa., offensive tackle Ryan Turnley from Hopewell, Pa. and tight end Nic DiLillo from Madison, Ohio.

The Panthers are still in on many big names for their remaining recruits. They want to take one quarterback and have offered Terrelle Pryor from Jeannette, Pa., Zack Stoudt from Dublin, Ohio Coffman and Star Jackson from Lake Worth, Fla. Another possibility is Josh Vick from Kiski, Pa., but he only has Mid-American Conference offers so far since his junior season was cut short due to a knee injury.

Pryor has not discussed his recruitment lately, but it's a long shot for him to go to Pitt. Jackson and Stoudt have shown interest, but Jackson is believed to be considering Auburn, Alabama, Central Florida and West Virginia the most. Vick is highly interested, but he won't be offered -- if at all -- until after the Panthers see him play a few games this fall.

The Panthers could add another tight end to go with DiLillo, but only if it's Hubie Graham from West Scranton, Pa. He is highly interested, but is a four-star recruit with many schools after him. So, it's no guarantee that he'll matriculate in state.

Pitt is in the running for several wideouts with Aliquippa, Pa. standout Jonathan Baldwin at the top of the list. Marcus Sales from Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse , N.Y. and Vaughn Carraway from Muhlenberg High School in Laureldale, Pa. The Panthers could take two wideouts this year and have also offered D.J. Woods from Strongsville, Ohio, Tommy Streeter from Miami's Northwestern High School and A.J. Alexander from Altoona, Pa. Sales and Baldwin are strong possibilities.

Since Pitt has secured commitments from tackles Nix and Turnley, the only other offensive line recruit needs to be an interior player, either a guard or center. And there are several outstanding candidates including Steve Caputo from Unionville High School in Kennett Square, Pa. and Logan Shultz from Gettysburg, Pa.

Since the Panthers will not graduate a defensive tackle after this year, they likely will take one or two defensive ends this year. Kaleb Ramsey from Laurel Highlands High School in Uniontown, Pa., Reggie Ellis from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and Leon Mackey from Christiana High School in Delaware are possibilities. Ellis actually is a tackle, but Pitt won't turn him away if he wants to go there.

The Panthers are still looking for two linebackers after losing a few of their previous candidates. Steve Gardiner from Dublin, Ohio's Coffman High School and Justin Staples from St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio are high on Pitt's list, as is Shayne Hale from Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. Gardiner and Staples are strong possibilities, but Hale reportedly is leaning toward Michigan or Ohio State. Staples could also grow into a defensive end in the next couple years.

Averin Collier, younger brother of Pitt tailback Kevin Collier, is a strong running back candidate. However, the Panthers have worked him out as a linebacker and he could be listed there as well. And Williams, a verbal commitment as a safety, could also be considered a linebacker since Pitt's weak-side spot has pass coverage like a safety.

The Panthers have Burns coming in as a running back and also are after Ryan Williams from Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Va. Williams is a four-star athlete and would be an excellent recruit.

Finally, Pitt could add another cornerback to its 2008 recruiting class and would love to secure Jarred Holley from Easton, Pa.

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