Juantez Hollins, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound two-way lineman from Aliquippa, Pa. High School made the short drive to Pittsburgh for the day.
"I wanted to bring Juantez down here to watch a practice and see what's going on,'' Aliquippa assistant coach Sherman McBride said.
Hollins clearly is an athlete, in the mold of so many other great Beaver County football players who shined at the scholastic level and then went on to play collegiately as well. Hollins most assuredly will do that, although the Panthers are his only scholarship offer to date.
But that's not a bad thing for the soft-spoken Hollins. He wouldn't mind playing football for Pitt, which is practically his hometown team.
"My mom would like me to go to Pitt, because it's close to home,'' Hollins said. "I don't think she wants me to go too far away. I would like it, too. At least I would know some guys on the team, so that would be all right.''
Hollins, a senior in the fall, is athletic enough to play on either offense or defense and with his size, speed and strength could make an immediate impact.
"He started his ninth-grade year,'' McBride said. "He could play defensive line, but he'll be a great offensive lineman. By the time he leaves here he could be 6-foot-6. He has a nice wing-span and he uses his hands well.
"He has good feet and he can run. ... Really, the only thing he needs to work on right now is the weights. He understands wants about to go down. He lifts right now because he has to. He just needs a little push and he'll be fine.''
Coming to Pitt wouldn't be that much out of the question since former Quips Brandon Lindsey, a redshirt freshman outside linebacker, and wideout Jonathan Baldwin, a current Aliquippa senior and Panthers frosh this fall, will be on the Pitt roster when it's time for Hollins' recruiting class in 2009.
By the time the Quips football season rolls around, Hollins likely will have many more offers, just like he watched happen to Lindsey and Baldwin.
"I saw that and wondered if it would ever be like that for me,'' Hollins said. "I hope I get some schools looking at me. I think I'd like it, but I like Pitt. It's real nice here. They should have a good team this year, and it's close to home.''
And the Pitt pipeline to Aliquippa would continue to produce.
Notes: Xavier Nixon, a 6-5, 270-pound junior offensive tackle from Jack Britt HS in Fayetteville, N.C. also attended Pitt's practice. He reportedly has several dozen scholarship offers, but the Panthers aren't among them. Nixon was touring colleges this week, hitting Ohio State and Pitt and checking out West Virginia today. ... Six incoming Pitt recruits watched practice as well: Baldwin, Michael Shanahan, Lucas Nix, Tino Sunseri, Ryan Turnley and Manny Williams.
Hollins Could Continue Aliquippa Pipeline
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