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.

Reno9: What kind of talent is Duron Harmon (Star Rating)?  What do you think his ideal position would be and do you consider him a Pitt lean?


GURU: Personally, I think he will be a four-star based on where he will be in the rankings. He is smooth at corner and I can definitely see him playing there, but he could also play safety if need be. I think he likes the Panthers a lot right now.


CaptainH: Caleb Porzel seems to be an intriguing prospect. How are Pitt's chances with him?



GURU: He would be a nice change of pace guy to replace Larod Stephens-Howling. A lot of what happens with a lot of these diminutive backs that are out there this year is that they will start separating themselves. For instance, if Tavon Austin goes to West Virginia, then I can't see Porzel going there as well. I can't say their (Pitt) chances are good or bad with him until we see if he actually visits or not.



w0lfinator: Do you think Pitt is switching its focus on QB's since signing Greg Cross and looking hard at Emmanuel Yeager?



GURU: I can't say that without seeing Cross play a real game. I'm sure after seeing Pat White and Mike Grothe the Panthers would love to always have a dual-threat guy around as well as a pocket passer. It is an evolving part of college football now. I'm just not sure I would count Yeager as a pure dual-threat kind of a QB. He is a decent athlete, but not in Cross' category.


kbrody: There has been a significant turnover in the coaching staff, and I understand that the terminology has changed, at least on defense.  Does this cause some setback for the players already in the system (not responding instantly and instinctively to play calls) and, if so, is the setback of such significance that it could cause problems when the season starts notwithstanding the several months opportunity to learn the new terminology?


GURU: The general scheme has not really changed. The terminology is fairly easy to pick up on when the scheme stays constant. There will always be exceptions. You will have some kids that learn it quicker than others. Most of the terminology was probably already learned during the install work at spring practice. So I don't see a huge problem with it.


Reno9: Do you see Coach Bossard making an impact with recruiting in this upcoming season?  I've noticed with the recent articles a lot of kids in MD and NJ think very highly of him, seems to be the same w/ Coach Jeff Hafley.


GURU: Only time will tell, continuity is key in recruiting. You have got to establish in roads in those areas. Bossard was hired in part, because he already had a lot of ties in the areas he was going to be recruiting. He like all the new assistants just got a late start. The early returns seem to be favorable. Hafley has always been liked by the players at Pitt in his short time there, so he should have no problem translating that into success recruiting.


sskuba06:  You mentioned, that if you had to guess who would commit to Pitt from PA, that you thought Todd Thomas would. It seems that any time he's asked he mentions that he favors PSU. What makes you think he'll say Pitt in the end?


GURU: Just a hunch. He could very well end up at Penn State. Either school would be a good fit for him. Now that Penn State is so thin at WR, they may be even more attractive to guys like him.


CaptainH: When a player transfers within the Big East, does he have to sit out one or two years?


GURU: Two years is always the rule that I have known in the Big East. Every conference varies.<p>


kbrody: What is your assessment regarding the impact on recruiting that the coaching changes will have and will bringing in a number of coaches who have not had a longstanding close relationship with Pennsylvania high school coaches likely have an adverse impact on recruiting within our state?


GURU: Not really, the coaches that have been recruiting Pennsylvania the past few years are still the same guys with some small variation. Paul Dunn did the Philadelphia area, but he wasn't there long enough to develop ties. Tony Wise has instant credibility just because of his vast NFL experience. The biggest thing that hurts a team like Pitt is the new NCAA "Saban" rule that doesn't allow the head coach out on the road. Guy's that do well on the road like Wannstedt suffer the most.


ToddPA:  Anyone have an idea why Mike Cruz is not playing in the Ken Lantzy All-Star Classic in June?  Reed is definitely on the roster, why not Cruz?


GURU: The Lantzy game has lost some luster for D-I guys. Most of them get chosen to play in the Big 33 or East/West game and kids don't want to play in multiple games anymore.


Reno9: Has Cavanaugh done anything different w/ the offensive playbook that may utilize the speed and playmakers we have this year? i.e. not being as vanilla as the last several  years?  Do you see the Panthers going four-wide to exploit the opposing teams defense?



GURU: I don't think you can really gauge last years offense as being vanilla, because you're playing a freshman QB behind a patchwork offensive line. What you have to realize is with four-wide formations you are leaving your QB exposed. The best formation for Pitt last year would have been two tights and max protect. I'm sure if Cavanaugh is comfortable with the line and that they can protect the QB he will take off the training wheels. You can only do so much with what you have to work with. There were times last year that defenders were on the QB as soon as the ball was snapped. Not to mention the fact that four-wide formations add more routes and more reads for a QB. You don't want a true freshman thinking that much.


brownpanther: I appreciate Shane Murray's skill and work ethic, but he is a bit undersized.  Is there a chance that someone could beat him out (Greg Williams)? 



GURU: Greg Williams was very impressive this spring. I would anticipate him playing quite a bit this fall. Murray is a great kid and a consummate team player. The kid came to Pitt as a quarterback. He then moved to safety and then to linebacker to help the team. Part of you feels bad for him, but then part of it is evolution. This team is stacked with talent and the best kids will play. I just don't think Shane will go down without a fight.


CaptainH: Thinking back to the Pryor signing episode, what happens if a player has not signed an LOI when the signing period ends?  Suppose he doesn't decide where he wants to go until June?



GURU: From all the research I have done on it, my answer adds up to basically nothing. Here is a response I found to your question on

You are not required to sign a National Letter of Intent but many student-athletes sign a National Letter of Intent because they want to create certainty in the recruiting process. Specifically, by signing a National Letter of Intent, you agree to attend the institution for one year in exchange for the institution's promise, in writing, to provide you athletics financial aid for the entire academic year. Simply, by signing a National Letter of Intent you are given an award including athletics aid for the upcoming academic year provided you are admitted to the institution and you are eligible for athletics aid under NCAA rules. Furthermore, by signing a National Letter of Intent you effectively end the recruiting process. Once you sign a National Letter of Intent, a recruiting ban goes into effect and you may no longer be recruited by any other National Letter of Intent school.


w0lfinator: You wrote in the last grill that Emmanuel Yeager will most likely end up at Pitt. How many QBs are we targeting and is he a legit QB prospect, or just an athlete?


GURU: The QB class this year is not very good at all. Yeager has one of the best arms I have seen. If I am Pitt I would not take one so I could put all my eggs in the Paul Jones basket. The kid from Sto-Rox is a STUD in the class of 2010.


CaptainH: Since there was a concern about center last year, anyone in particular Pitt is looking at, possibly Nate Klatt from Canal Fulton in Ohio?


GURU: He looks like a MAC level kid from what I have seen. We had a few guys who went to see him at a camp in Cleveland and they came away unimpressed. I think he'd have to come to camp and impress the staff to get offered.


TheMcKillopsRule: Why doesn't Pitt recruit the Youngstown/Warren area harder? Is Matt Cavanaugh responsible for this area?


GURU: I don't think they can really recruit it much harder. They offered basically every good kid from there this year and they are all going to Ohio State or Michigan. There is only so much you can do, especially with three consecutive losing seasons and an empty stadium. Ohio State has been in two national championships in three years and play in front of a packed house. If you're from Ohio where would you go?



"In Your Grill" question of the week


JaronBrownMythManLegend: What will it take for PITT to be a no-brainer for high school recruits in the area?


GURU: Dave Wannstedt needs to put the program back on the map and build off the momentum they earned by beating West Virginia. Pitt needs to win eight games or more and be in a decent bowl. I'll go one step further with the talent that is being collected there they need to compete for BCS bowls. Get back on the winning track and start going to bowl games. Find a way to fill that stadium and keep getting guys drafted. Other than that there is not much else they can do. The staff works hard and kids really seem to like them.


 Our staff would like 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.



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