Pitt Recruiting Update

The Pitt football team has seven verbal commitments and can take between 10-12 additional for its 2008 recruiting class.

The Panthers verbal list includes running back Chris Burns from Wilmington, Pa. High School; place-kicker Kevin Harper from Mentor, Ohio HS; offensive tackle Lucas Nix from Thomas Jefferson, Pa. HS; cornerback Ronald Hobby from Gwynn Park, Md. HS; cornerback Antwuan Reed from Johnstown, Pa. HS; offensive tackle Ryan Turnley from Hopewell, Pa. HS; and safety-linebacker Manny Williams from Clairton, Pa. HS.

Another two dozen or so players are on the Pittsburgh wish list, and the 10-12 commitments should come from there, although anything can happen in the time leading up to the February signing date. The Panthers are expected to take 1-2 quarterbacks, another running back (and play defense, too), two wide receivers, two tight ends, a center-offensive guard, 1-2 linebackers, another cornerback, possibly a safety and two defensive linemen, but they could get away with securing just one since none graduate this year's team.

Some players, a brief synopsis and their top schools follows:

CB Jarred Holley from Easton, Pa. HS -- Pitt and Virginia are the top two schools, but the Panthers should definitely get an official visit from him.

WR Jonathan Baldwin from Aliquippa, Pa. HS -- Pitt, Notre Dame and Michigan are the top schools, but the Quips have a long and successful history with the Panthers. It all depends if Baldwin wants to stay close to home.

TE Hubie Graham from West Scranton, Pa. HS -- Pitt, Rutgers and a Big Ten school, either Iowa or Illinois are his top schools. Graham is tight with Pitt sophomore TE Nate Byham and enjoyed his stays with him. He is expected to visit Pitt a few weeks before the signing date.

WR Marcus Sales from Syracuse, N.Y. Christian Brothers Academy -- Pitt, North Carolina and possibly Boston College are the top schools. The Panthers have as good a chance as anyone to get him.

RB-DB Averin Collier from Churchville-Chilo, N.Y. HS -- Pitt and Clemson are clear-cut choices, but the Panthers have an edge with his brother, Kevin, a Pitt redshirt sophomore next fall, and RB coach David Walker as an advocate.

DE Dan Vaughn from Pittsburgh, Pa. Central Catholic HS -- Pitt is his top choice right now, but Vaughn believes Iowa and Boston College might offer and that would delay his commitment. As a local player, though, the Panthers have an excellent chance to get him in the fold.

DE Jeff Hutchison from West Boca Raton, Fla. HS -- Pitt was his first offer, but another school or two could get in on him late.

OLB Roosevelt Maggitt from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Dwyer HS -- Pitt and North Carolina State have offered with the Panthers getting on board first. Pitt should get either Hutchison or Maggitt, I believe.

C Robb Houser from Butte, Calif. Junior College -- Pitt and Syracuse are the offers, but he is waiting to see if a West Coast school offers as well. Maybe Cal or San Jose State will offer, but he will visit Pitt Dec. 7-8 and could commit then. If he comes to Pitt he will be eligible to enroll in January.

OLB Steve Gardiner from Dublin, Ohio Coffman HS -- Pitt and West Virginia are the top schools, and he has not yet been offered by Ohio State. The Panthers are high on him and believe they have a good chance to get him.

QB Zack Stoudt from Dublin, Ohio Coffman HS -- Pitt is the top school now, and he also has Mid-American Conference offers. The Buckeyes have not offered him, either, and they'll likely offer if they don't get Terrelle Pryor. But the Panthers have a good shot to get him right now.

WR Vaughn Carraway from Muhlenberg, Pa., HS -- Pitt, West Virginia and Michigan are the top schools. The Panthers have a connection with him because former Pitt safety Sam Bryant is his cousin. Bryant still works out extensively at the UPMC Sports Complex.

RB Ryan Williams from Manassas, Va. Stonewall Jackson HS -- Pitt is in the mix, but local favorite Virginia Tech is the school to beat and Notre Dame has offered as well. The Panthers would like to get an official visit from Williams.

TE-DT Mike Cruz from Johnstown, Pa. Bishop McCort HS -- Pitt, Clemson, Florida State, Illinois and West Virginia are his top schools. The Panthers got back in with him despite an early verbal and then decommitment. Cruz is playing well this season, and he is projected as a TE by Pitt who could also play defense if he is needed.

DT Charles Deas from Milford Academy, N.Y. -- He is committed to Auburn, but Pitt has an in with him because LeSean McCoy and Aundre Wright were his good friends while they were at Milford last year. The Panthers hope to get him to make an official visit to sway him to come on board.

WR A.J. Alexander from Altoona, Pa. HS -- He has visited North Carolina and Tennessee. His other three visits are Pitt, Penn State and Clemson, but the Nittany Lions get a lot of Mountain Lions from nearby Altoona. However, the Panthers should get a good visit with him, and who knows?

RB-CB Isaiah Pead from Columbus, Ohio Eastmoor Academy -- He likely will visit three Big Ten schools and two Big East schools, and Pitt hopes to get a visit from him. Ohio State has not offered him. The Panthers really like him.

WR-DB Cameron Saddler from Gateway, Pa. HS -- He will visit Pitt for the South Florida Nov. 24. His other schools are Virginia, West Virginia and Michigan. He and HS teammate Hale just returned from a visit to Virginia.

DE Shayne Hale from Gateway, Pa. HS -- Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan and Pitt are the top teams. Any could get either him or Saddler together, but it's not out of the question for them to separate, either. Hale does not have a visit schedule to Pitt right now.

QB Tino Sunseri from Pittsburgh, Pa. Central Catholic HS -- He made an early commitment to Louisville, but he has started to look around now and could schedule an official visit to Pitt. His father, Sal, was a star linebacker, assistant and one-game head coach with the Panthers. After several conversations with the Sunseris, they are extremely interested in Pitt now.

QB Terrelle Pryor from Jeanette, Pa. HS -- Pitt continues to recruit this immense talent with hope that he eventually would consider the Panthers. Ohio State and West Virginia are his top schools with the Buckeyes leading.

Pitt's big recruiting visit days are Dec. 7-8 and Jan. 11-12. The Panthers expect about 10-15 players for each two-day session with Sales, Collier and Houser confirmed for the December dates. The recruits will attend the Pitt men's basketball game Jan. 12 at the Petersen Events Center.

They can't have one Nov. 30-Dec. 1 because the West Virginia game is Dec. 1 in Morgantown. Other players could get offers after this scholastic football season, and some could visit that are already verbally committed to other schools. So, anything can and usually does happen in the recruiting game.

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