Baldwin Heads Group On Pitt Visit

The Pitt football team is expecting 14 players in town for an official recruiting visit Friday, and the Panthers could add to their list of eight verbal commitments before the group leaves on Saturday.

Pittsburgh, which has had a surge in interest since its stunning upset win at West Virginia Dec. 1, will play host to 11th-ranked wideout Jonathan Baldwin from Aliquippa, Pa. High School; 15th-ranked cornerback Jarred Holley from Easton, Pa. HS; 16th-ranked running back Averin Collier from Churchville-Chili HS in Churchville, N.Y.; 29th-ranked wideout Marcus Sales from Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y.; fifth-ranked place-kicker Kevin Harper from Mentor, Ohio HS; 21st-ranked cornerback Antwuan Reed from Johnstown, Pa. HS; 33rd-ranked tight end Mike Cruz from Bishop McCort HS in Johnstown, Pa.; wideout Michael Shanahan from Norwin HS in North Huntingdon, Pa.; defensive end Mikhail Marinovich from Milford Academy prep school in New Berlin, N.Y.; center Rob Houser from Butte junior college in Oroville, Calif.; wideout Ronald Hobby from Gwynn Park HS in Brandywine, Md.; quarterback Greg Cross from Fort Scott junior college in Fort Scott, Kan.; defensive tackle Charles Deas from Milford Academy prep school in New Berlin, N.Y.; and weak-side linebacker Roosevelt Maggett from William T. Dwyer HS in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Deas reportedly missed a scheduled visit for the recent Auburn-Alabama game, so he could be a no-show.

However, all 14 players had their names placed on paper stars that were hung like ornaments on a Christmas tree in the recruiting lounge at the UPMC Sports Complex. Pitt also was feverishly remodeling the downstairs lobby at its portion of the building. Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt said the lobby would be spruced up to make it a little warmer. Pitt's current NFL players will also be highlighted on one wall.

Harper, Reed and Hobby already have verbally committed to Pitt. The two JC players, Houser and Cross, will be pushed to commit this weekend. They are eligible to begin school in January and would compete for playing time in the spring. Houser, in particular, is important because the Panthers badly need an experienced center to step in and start immediately.

Cameron Saddler, the 32nd-ranked running back from Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa., verbally committed to Pitt this week. Along with Harper, Reed and Hobby, he joined fifth-ranked offensive tackle Lucas Nix from Thomas Jefferson HS in Jefferson Hills, Pa.; 43rd-ranked offensive tackle Ryan Turnley from Hopewell, Pa. HS; 23rd-ranked safety Manny Williams from Clairton, Pa. HS; and 10th-ranked running back Chris Burns from Wilmington HS in New Wilmington, Pa.

Williams recently had knee surgery and is rehabilitating the injury. Marinovich is the much-younger brother of former Southern Cal star and NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich. Burns and his high school teammates face off with Terrelle Pryor's Jeannette Jayhawks in a PIAA CLass AA semifinal game this weekend. Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh paid a visit to Pryor a few days ago.

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