Sunseri Gets Head Start

Tino Sunseri isn't the biggest, strongest or fastest player Pitt signed to this year's recruiting class, but the former Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School quarterback is a winner just like Vikings and Pitt alum Dan Marino.

While that's the only comparison that can be made right now between the two, Tino Sunseri is doing everything he can to prepare himself for a successful career in Pittsburgh. That's what his father, former Pitt star linebacker Sal Sunseri, taught him to do at an early age.

So, the younger Sunseri has been working out with his new Panthers teammates since summer drills started, long before the remainder of Pitt's freshman class joined the group this past week.

"Coach Cav and everybody have been so cool about me coming down early and working out with the guys, since I live so close,'' Sunseri said. "I finalized everything with my high school, got my paperwork in and graduated and everything. So, it makes sense for me to get started at Pitt.

"That way, I can get a little head start on summer camp. I can get into the system and work with the guys. I already know everybody from coming down here so much, but this has been a big help to me already.''

Sunseri was quick to point out that the vaunted Pitt defensive line isn't on the field during the summer 7-on-7 workouts, but it's a good opportunity for he and his fellow quarterbacks to work on some timing plays with the Panthers wideouts and for him to get acclimated in Matt Cavanaugh's offense.

The experience also has helped Sunseri get to know his teammates better.

"I became close to all the guys in my class during the recruiting process and got to know the players on Pitt's team, too,'' Sunseri said. "But at Big 33 camp, I hung out with Jarred Holley, Jonathan Baldwin and Michael Shanahan, we text each other all the time. I know we're all looking forward to this season.

"But all the guys are really cool, and I think all the recruits will get along with everybody. Kevan Smith has helped me out a lot. Everybody's been helpful. My teammates have been great. It's seems like I've been around for a couple years now. That's how close we've become. They're a great bunch of guys.''

And extremely talented, Sunseri quickly added.

"There's a lot of talent on this team, and that's one of the reasons I chose to come to Pitt,'' Sunseri said. "Coach Wannstedt and the coaching staff have brought in a lot of good players the past couple of years, so Pitt is going to be a team to watch from now on. I really believe this is a team on the rise.

"We're especially talented on offense, and they'll definitely make you better just by being around them on the practice field. And with the great defense we already have, Pitt's going to make a big impact this year. I'm sure of it. And look, everybody's really working hard already. And it's only June.''

That's just the way former Panthers like Marino and Sal Sunseri would like it.

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