Pitt Recruiting Winding Down

There were no official visits to Pitt this weekend, and none are scheduled for the Panthers football team from now until National Letter-Of-Intent day Feb. 6.

Only two Pittsburgh commitments attended the Panthers basketball game against Rutgers, Hopewell, Pa. High School offensive tackle Ryan Turnley and Mentor, Ohio High School place-kicker Kevin Harper. Quarterback Domonick Britt from Madison High School in Trotwood, Ohio, and middle linebacker Eteyen Edet from Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Md. were previously scheduled to attend, but neither were there on official visits.

Some of Pitt's other verbal commitments attended a banquet for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association's Mercury Award, which was presented Saturday night to Western Pennsylvania's top high school football player at the club's annual Johnny Majors night.

Jeannette quarterback Terrelle Pryor won the award for the second straight year to join Kent State tailback Eugene Jarvis of Central Catholic HS in Pittsburgh (2003-04) as the only two-time winner. Jarvis finished fifth in the NCAA in rushing with 1,664 yards this past fall and was among the leaders most of the year. However, Jarvis shared the award one year with Justin King from Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa.

Four Pitt commits were among the eight finalists for the Mercury Award. The group included three other U.S. Army All-Americans -- wideout Jonathan Baldwin from Aliquippa, Pa. High School; linebacker Shayne Hale from Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa.; and offensive tackle Lucas Nix from Thomas Jefferson HS in Jefferson Hills, Pa. The other Pitt verbal among the finalists was quarterback Tino Sunseri from Central Catholic HS in Pittsburgh. His teammate, running back-cornerback Andrew Taglianetti and running back Christian Wilson from Montour HS in suburban Pittsburgh were also finalists.

Discounting a verbal or two during the final week leading up to LOI Day or a surprise that day, Pitt appears to be solid with 19 verbals. Along with Turnley, Harper, Hale, Baldwin, Nix and Sunseri, the Panthers expect cornerback Jarred Holley from Easton, Pa. HS; middle linebacker Joe Trebitz from West Boca Raton HS in Boca Raton, Fla.; tight end Justin Virbitsky from Lakeland HS in Jermyn, Pa.; tight end Mike Cruz from Bishop McCort HS in Johnstown, Pa.; center Robb Houser from Butte junior college in Oroville, Calif.; quarterback Greg Cross from Fort Scott, Kan. junior college; wideout Michael Shanahan from Norwin, Pa. HS in North Huntingdon, Pa.; quarterback Zack Stoudt from Coffman HS in Dublin, Ohio; tailback Cameron Saddler from Gateway HS in Monroeville, Pa.; wideout Ronald Hobby from Gwynn Park HS in Brandywine, Md.; safety Manny Williams from Clairton, Pa. HS; running back Chris Burns from Wilmington HS in New Wilmington, Pa. and cornerback Antwuan Reed from Johnstown, Pa. HS to sign with them on Feb. 6.

Past Mercury Award winners include Arizona Cardinals wideout and return specialist Steve Breaston from Woodland Hills HS in Pittsburgh (2001), Buffalo Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny from Hopewell, Pa. HS (2002), Penn State cornerback Justin King (2004) and Pitt linebacker Dorin Dickerson from West Allegheny HS in Imperial, Pa. (2005). King shared the award with Jarvis.

The PAA also inducted former Pitt football coach Jackie Sherrill into its Hall of Fame Saturday night. Sherrill had a 50-9-1 record from 1977-81 and led the Panthers to wins in the Gator (twice), Fiesta and Sugar bowls. Sherrill also coached at Washington State, Texas A&M and Mississippi State before retiring.

Sherrill will join past inductees that included Franco Harris and the late John McGinley from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pitt's Charles "Corky" Cost, Panthers Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, former Pitt lineman Bill Fralic and Majors, Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the late Bob Prince, the Pittsburgh Pirates long-time announcer.

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