The Guru Grill

Hello fellow Panther fans.  It's time to fire up The Guru Grill. This is where Panther fans come to get the answers to their questions regarding University of Pittsburgh athletics and recruiting from Recruiting Analyst Bob Lichtenfels.    Let's get started.


Brownpanther:  What are our preliminary chances with Tyrone Ezell, Juantez Hollins, and Jack Lippert?  


GURU: Lippert is a big Penn State fan, so I wouldn't hold your breath there unless they fail to offer. Hollins is a Quip and Quips go to Pitt. Ezell is originally from Chicago, so it's not as easy to tell like it would be with a kid originally from the area. I would assume that since Pitt has been on him so long and they have shown him a lot of love early that they have to be considered the favorite.


sskuba06:  What's your take on DJ Barney as a quarterback at the college level?


GURU: Barney has the skills to be a D-I quarterback. I was very excited about him after seeing him at our combine, but The Colonels went with Deonte Flemings as their QB after Barney was hurt early on and he was tough to unseat. The combine and camp season will be huge for Barney.


NJBob:  What kind of QB is Andrew Shoop?  Is he "pro-style" or more of a dual threat quarterback?


GURU: I would consider him as more of a pro-style guy who is mobile. Of all the QB's I have studied film of this year in-state he may be the best overall. I want to see him in person to get a feel for his size and his mechanics, but his tape is very good.


PittFan7:  How are we in standing right now with Eric Shrive?


GURU: Shrive has blown up and I don't think Pitt stands much of a chance right now. Shrive has turned into a national recruit and he is on the opposite side of the state where Pittsburgh is just getting its feet wet still.


pacoach:  Do You Think That Pitt has any type of real chance with Tommy Savage?


GURU: I think Coach Brian Angelichio will give it his all and keep Pitt in the game, but I don't see it. I personally don't think he is that much of a need guy this year. He won't make or break a class.


Knobbers24: Who is Pitt's most underrated recruit?


GURU: From the 2008 class? Mike Shanahan I feel is under rated and now after seeing senior film, I would say Justin Virbitsky may be slightly under rated. I still think Manny Williams is going to be very good.


Jells73:  For the class of 2009, how many linemen do you see them taking on both sides of the ball?


GURU: I look for somewhere between five and eight total.


PittFan7:  How does Dorian Bell feel towards the Panthers?


GURU: In Dorian's words "I will not go to Pitt" Now Shayne Hale was very similar, so I'd never say never, but it is an uphill battle.


pacoach: Do you see any major change of positions coming for the spring?


GURU: Dorin Dickerson was the big move. I don't expect the staff to keep both Dom DeCicco and Elijah Fields at safety. It would not surprise me to see one shifted to WILL. You also have to say Bokor, because it just always happens.


76Panthers: Any guess on some under the radar guys currently on the team who may step up and contribute/ surprise people this season?


GURU:  All the things I have heard seem positive for Dom Williams. Scoot could be the missing piece of the puzzle on defense. I think fans are under estimating how good the team can be getting all those injured players back. It will be almost like the Kinders and Mustakas's of the world will be like new recruits.


PittSC97:  How many scholarships this year?


GURU: I'm hearing it should be close to a full class of 25, but obviously things change. We'll have a better idea after Spring practice.


Reno9:  When will we start hearing more of what players won't be back next year?


GURU: I think right around the end of Spring practice when Coach Wannstedt starts sortingout everything you'll know. Plus students will be taking finals around the same time as the spring game, so that will weed some out as well.


Ribo37:  Can you please give your opinion on the recruiting abilities or recruiting track record of the five new assistant coaches hired and where will be their areas to recruit?


GURU: Bennett will basically be the same type of closer that Paul Rhoads was. He will be working mainly the Cleveland/Cincinnati areas. Bryan Bossard will have the same area's that Aubrey Hill had and that will be Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia and Delaware. Tony Wise will have most of Paul Dunn's old territoty of Philadelphia and South New Jersey, Coach Hafley will be in North and Central New Jersey, Coach Thompkins will be in Florida, Matt Cavanaugh will be in Youngstown/Akron/Canton, Brian Angelichio will be Central/Eastern Pennsylvania, Dave Walker will be in Erie and anything North of I-80, so basically North of State College and he will still be in New York.


Brownpanther:  How interested is Pitt in DJ Barney?


GURU: He'd have to have a strong camp showing.


sskuba06:  Do you see anyone committing to us on junior day?


GURU: I'm guessing this question was posed before the first junior day, so can I cheat and say no? Maybe for the Blue Chip day, but I'll guess during camp may be the first commits.


Brownpanther: What is Aaron Smith's status with the team?  Is he seen as wide receiver or a defensive back?


GURU: Aaron is working hard and getting ready for the season. He is currently playing wide receiver.


Ribo37:  Do you think Pitt will make a commitment to recruit New Jersey hard and how long before you think it will pay off?


GURU: The biggest factor in becoming a player in region's like New Jersey is stability. You can't just walk in to schools and own them. You have to milk those relationships and build in roads with the coaches first. Wise and Hafley will do ok there, but they need two to three years to be truly effective there.



PittFan7:  How well is Derek Kinder's rehabilitation going? Will he be back to old form?


GURU: I have not heard anything, maybe Dale can chime in on the board.


tbro34:  Do you have any idea what kind of position distribution the staff will take in this years recruiting class?


GURU: See Ribo37's question above.


Brownpanther:  Are Cory King and David Istanich heavy Pitt leans?


GURU: I hate calling anyone a lean in February of their junior year. I think Pitt stands a good chance to land King and I think if Istanich gets offered he'll commit shortly after.



sskuba06:  If you had to guess at this point in time, which quarterback will commit to Pitt in 2009?


GURU: Honestly, I'm not sure I have seen many QB's worth an offer, but I'll go with Emmanuel Yeager for now.


 "In Your Grill" question of the week


Ribo37: Can you list the top 10 WPIAL players for 2009?  Can you gauge their interest in Pitt at this time?



1.) LB - Dorian Bell – Gateway   (Uphill battle)

2.) WR/DB - Todd Thomas – Beaver Falls (Could be PSU-Pitt Battle)

3.) WR/CB – Corey Brown – Gateway (Could be Cameron Saddler vs. Everyone Else Battle)

4.) RB – Jordan Hall -Jeannette (Forget About It)

5.) MLB – Dan Mason – Penn Hills (Penn State's To Lose In My Opinion)

6.) DE – Tyrone Ezell – Steel Valley  (Good Shot)

7.) TE – Brock DeCicco – Thomas Jefferson (Probably A Panther Already)

8.) LB – A.J. Fenton – McDowell ( Could Get Interesting, If Penn State Offers)

9.) OT/DT – Juantez Hollins – Aliquippa (Quips Go To Pitt)

10.) CB – E.J. Banks – Montour ( Would Be Surprised If He Chose Pitt))




Our staff would like to take the time to thank you for your participation as we strive to make our site the number one source of information for Pittsburgh Panther athletics and high school recruiting.

Bill Harris

Panther More Top Stories