Pitt Passing Camp Preview

There will be 40 high schools represented Friday and Saturday at Pitt's practice facility, utilizing the indoor field and outdoor ones, for the Panthers' annual 7-on-7 passing camp.

It's been a fun event in the past for fans and families and extremely successful for Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt and his staff, as several recruiting prospects have committed to play football for the Panthers on these days. It also solidifies relationships with area high schools and their football coaches.

"We expect to have another excellent two-day event this year with a full complement of 40 schools competing in the 7-on-7 tournament,'' Pitt assistant athletic director for football operations Chris LaSala said. "There are a lot of good schools at the camp and a lot of great players. It should be a lot of fun.''

While his Penn Hills teammates will be participating in the passing camp, Dan Mason is expected to watch the games. This gives the four-star middle linebacker two more long days with the Pitt coaching staff. He also made the short trip from his Pittsburgh home to the Panthers practice facility last Friday and Saturday and told Panther Digest that Pitt is his top school. The upcoming time spent with the team's coaching staff should solidify that standing.

Even though his Allderdice High School teammates won't be involved in the camp, defensive end Will Clarke again will be at the practice facility for an unofficial visit. He had an outstanding performance at Pitt's Prospects Camp last Friday and could receive an offer in the future from the Panthers.

Other top 2009 recruiting prospects expected to attend with their schools for the two-day Pitt Passing Camp include 6-foot-1, 215-pound running back-linebacker Dante Ushery and 5-10, 170-pound wideout-defensive back Chris Houston from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa.; 6-foot, 180-pound wideout Deon Long from Dunbar HS, Washington, D.C.; 6-2, 230-pound linebacker Nick Sizemore from Manheim Township HS, Lancaster; 6-3, 200-pound quarterback C.J. Brown and 6-5, 190-pound wideout Matt Plautz from Seneca Valley HS, Harmony, Pa.; 6-4, 250-pound defensive end Tyrone Ezell from Steel Valley HS, Munhall, Pa.; 6-5, 230-pound tight end Brock DeCicco from Thomas Jefferson HS, Jefferson Hills, Pa.; and 6-foot, 175-pound safety E.J. Banks from Montour HS, McKees Rocks, Pa.

The high schools attending are primarily from Pennsylvania this year with Clarksburg, Md. HS, Dunbar HS from Washington, D.C., Findlay, Ohio HS, Kenton, Ohio HS and Kirtland, Ohio HS the lone exceptions. Ironically, Gateway HS from Monroeville, Pa., an original participant in the camp, will not be there this year. Coach Terry Smith declined an invitation to the event.

The Pennsylvania schools represented include Berwick Area HS; Bishop Canevin HS, Pittsburgh; Bishop McCort HS, Johnstown; Bishop McDevitt HS, Harrisburg; Brockway HS; Central Catholic HS, Pittsburgh; Chartiers Valley HS, Bridgeville; Clairton HS; Forest Hills HS, Sidman; Fox Chapel HS, Pittsburgh; Franklin HS; Frazier HS, Perryopolis; Greater Latrobe HS; Indiana Area HS; Keystone Oaks HS, Pittsburgh; Manheim Township HS, Lancaster; Montour HS, McKees Rocks; North Allegheny HS, Wexford; North Star HS, Boswell; Oil City HS; Oliver HS, Pittsburgh; Penn Hills HS, Pittsburgh; Penn Trafford HS, Harrison City; Perry HS, Pittsburgh; Pine-Richland HS, Gibsonia; Portage Area HS; Richland HS, Johnstown; Seneca Valley HS, Harmony; Seton-LaSalle HS, Pittsburgh; Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh; Shenango HS, New Castle; Steel Valley HS, Munhall; Thomas Jefferson HS, Jefferson Hills; West Shamokin HS, Rural Valley; and Woodland Hills HS, Pittsburgh.

A key initial matchup will feature Central Catholic versus Bishop McDevitt. Pittsburgh's Quad-A power is loaded again this season, and the Harrisburg Quad-A school that gave the Panthers cornerback Aaron Berry and tailback LeSean McCoy the past few years is dominated by talented underclassmen. That groups is led by 5-11, 185-pound sophomore running back Jameel Poteat, younger brother of former Pitt and Steelers cornerback Hank Poteat.

Buddy Morris and his strength and conditioning staff will conduct the Big Man Challenge Friday. Players slated to participate in that event are from Berwick, Charleroi, Clairton, Dunbar, Frazier, Gateway, Indiana, Kenton, Keystone Oaks, Kiski Area, Manheim Township, North Star, Perry, Pine-Richland, Roane County HS in Spencer, W.Va., Shady Side Academy, Shenango and Woodland Hills.

There will be various weightlifting events, as well as a sled push, monster tire flip race and tug-of-war.

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